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From couture to crafts, cosmetics to crystal and smart boutiques to street markets, the Caribbean offers serious shoppers and casual browsers spectacular choice and incomparable bargains.

If you want a little something to remind you of your vacation, we've got it – from local honey, rum, pepper sauces and spices to baskets, embroidery and pottery. As for the world's premier brands – they're here too, at the best possible prices.

If you want to shop till you drop, the Caribbean is the place to do it. Many towns and ports enjoy duty-free status. Some do not have sales taxes. In some shops, you might be able to negotiate discounts that could bring the price down even further.

The Caribbean has long been one of the world's major trading centres. Three hundred years ago, it was the vital marketplace for Europe and the Americas, its warehouses offering silks, spices, slaves, sugar, rum and guns.

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The Caribbean offers serious shoppers and casual browsers a spectacular choice and incomparable bargains.

The silk and rum are still there, but today the duty-free shops and malls are treasure troves packed with the finest luxury goods: fashions and leather goods from Italy, linen from Ireland, perfumes from France, watches from Switzerland, cameras and electronics from Japan.

Dazzling silver and gold jewellery and precious and semi-precious gems are displayed in elegant boutiques. As well as diamonds, rubies, emeralds and sapphires, amber from the Dominican Republic and blue tanzanite from East Africa are especially sought-after by shoppers seeking an extra-special gift or souvenir. In many of our countries, our own designers turn them into beautiful and distinctive pieces.

A shopping trip in our region can be a chance to discover striking original painting and sculpture in one of our many galleries, to pick up a stylish garment from a local designer, or find CDs of our celebrated music that haven't yet hit the mainland.

Then wander through the street and waterfront markets for an authentic taste of the Caribbean's many unique local cultures – their arts and crafts, locally-made embroidery and crochet work, straw baskets, local jams and jellies, distinctive island liqueurs, and the spices to be taken back home as reminders of your Caribbean vacation. Try a little serendipity – you'll be surprised at what you find.