Bridgetown Shopping and Districts

(Bridgetown, Saint Michael, Barbados)

Bridgetown is the commercial heart of Barbados, and shopping here is wildly popular with tourists. The Barbados dollar is pinned to the US dollar, and either is accepted by virtually all merchants and retailers. Bridgetown showcases some of the best duty-free shopping available on the island, and credit cards are also widely accepted.

Duty-free merchandise fuels the shopping scene in Bridgetown. Depending on your ability to see through the marketing ploys, there are some serious discounts available. The most sizeable savings are attached to more expensive merchandise, such as jewellery, crystal, perfume and cameras. Anything made on the island is sold tax-free, including rum and handicrafts.

When to Shop and Where

It is a good idea to plan ahead if you intend to capitalise on the duty-free scene. Before you depart, try to do some research to get an idea of what you would pay at home for the items you're interested in buying. It's easy to be blind-sided by carefully framed discounts, but a savvy shopper can expect savings of up to 30 to 40 percent on select merchandise.

Pelican Village is a leading shopping venue. Located in the heart of Bridgetown, Pelican Village draws shoppers from all over Barbados. Handicrafts, artwork and Caribbean souvenirs can all be picked up here, along with take-home rum cakes and bottles of Barbadian rum.

You will also find street vendors selling cheap souvenirs all along the Careenage near Independence Arch. Broad Street has more upmarket offerings, including the Cave Shepherd department store - the biggest on the island, and the Da Costas shopping mall. Opposite this, Swan Street has an open-air mall with more affordable merchandise. Shop here for inexpensive clothing and CDs of Reggae and Calypso.

Shops around Bridgetown Harbour are especially busy on days when cruise ships dock. Passengers disembark to pick up souvenirs and duty-free merchandise before heading out for a quick tour of the beaches and historical sites. Other shopping outlets that are worth checking out include the Bayshore Complex, with its designer boutiques, while any number of trendy stores are attached to Bridgetown's major resorts.