Shopping in the BVI is an adventure that will take you from one island to the next, exploring open-air markets, charming West Indian boutiques and elegant resort gift shops.
Caribbean flavour abounds in cultural traditions like basket weaving, hat making and painted gourd bowls. Local artists display paintings of cultural events, photographers capture the beauty of sunsets and dramatic beach scenes, while jewellers work with local stones like the blue Larimar to fashion exquisite island-style pieces. Even pottery shops feature bowls, cups and light sconces textured with coral impressions and kiln fired with a unique sea-blue glaze.
Local Arts and Crafts
High on the list for most shoppers is a piece of local art or a handcrafted item. A good place to start on Tortola is the Crafts Alive Village in Road Town, right on the waterfront. Housed in a series of pastel-coloured traditional West Indian wood houses, this is a great spot to pick up handmade dolls, woven baskets and traditional straw hats. Sellers often sit in the doorways encouraging you to enter their shop and each offers a slightly different variation of local goods. Pottery including bowls, mugs and vases can be found on Main Street at the Bamboushay Pottery outlet store or head to Nanny Cay to visit the pottery studio and see items fresh from the kiln. Hucksters on Main Street, ensconced in the historic Old Customs House also carries pottery items such as tiles and plates.
Trellis Bay features an emporium of Caribbean folk art with unusual items like sea fan lampshades and colourful recycled beach rope fashioned into baskets. Pottery displays are constantly changing and a variety of artists’ pieces are available for purchase. Gourd bowls, local handmade musical instruments and basketry are some of the many other craft items you'll find here. Anegada is another island where pottery is available. Many pieces feature hand-painted scenes of marine life such as dancing crabs and jumping fish.
Nutmeg Designs is a recycled art shop tucked into a corner behind the Tico liquor shop on Wickham’s Cay II. You’ll find recycled beach rope fashioned into sturdy baskets as well as pendants, purses, computer bags and luggage made from reused sail cloth and commercial truck tarps. The motto here is “Shop for a Prettier Planet.”
Local art can be found in many locations around the islands. Crafts Alive Village features the art studio of well-known local painter Joseph Hodge who captures island scenes in vivid Van Gogh-like brush strokes. The Gallery on Main Street, a charming historic West Indian house, is the best location to see a variety of local artists’ work all displayed together. Prints framed or unframed can be purchased, original as well as Giclee prints.
Liquor, Photography and Maps
On an island where almost every purchased item is more expensive due to duty and shipping, the one exception is liquor. Rum, an island favourite, along with specialty liquors made from guavaberry and other local fruits, can be found at many popular outlets. Crafts Alive Village has shops that specialise in local liquors, while Pusser’s is a main outlet for its unique brand of rum. Liquor stores with a wide selection include Tico and Caribbean Cellars.
The Allamanda Gallery on Main Street features the photographic work of Amanda Baker, a longtime resident of the BVI. Here you will find stunning beach scenes, nature shots and photos of Caribbean architecture, as well as portraits. The photos are available in cards, prints and decorative magnets. For the authentic map hunter, Hucksters carries historic map prints from the Caribbean region.
Fashion and Jewellery
Soper’s Hole is a colourful centre full of boutique clothing stores situated on the western tip of Tortola. Many stores feature island wear and casual boating type clothes. In Road Town at Wickham’s Cay II, Something For Her is a trendy women’s store offering bathing suits, dresses, shoes and bags as well as jewellery. For the handyman on vacation needing a multi-purpose pocket tool, Clarence Thomas Ltd. carries the Leatherman brand and is a great all-in-one shop for household items.
Jewellery shops can be found on all the four major islands, but Tortola and Virgin Gorda Yacht Harbour are known for their high-end specialty shops. The premier Rolex watch distributor in the Virgin Islands is A.H. Riise (St. Thomas). Inside the store you’ll find many styles to choose from, whether you're looking for a sport watch or elegant evening wear. Smaller local shops on Main Street in Road Town include Samarkand Jewellers, featuring nautical pieces and jewellery fashioned from the Larimar stone.
Nanny Cay and Road Town
The Nanny Cay studio is the design and production facility for a wide variety of high-quality handcrafted ceramic pieces. Long known for their sconces and hanging lights, Bamboushay also creates glazed and hand-painted vases, bowls, candle lanterns, platters, dishes and mugs. The Gallery in Road Town complements the Bamboushay ceramics with locally made note cards and postcards, jewellery and handbags as well as soaps from Dominica and candles from Jamaica.
Wickham's Cay II
Nutmeg Designs' slogan "Shop for a Prettier Planet" says it all. It’s for people seeking beautiful one-of-a-kind gifts and memorabilia. It's also Tortola's first eco-friendly retail outlet. In addition to being home to annie macphail™ rejuvenated truck tarp bags, Nutmeg showcases handmade home accents made from reclaimed wood, metal, stone and even discarded BVI sails. This is one shop worth seeking out.
Olivia’s Corner Store
Myett’s Garden Inn and Grille
Cane Garden Bay
In this well-appointed store, you’ll find unique and unusual gifts; local arts and crafts; Caribbean music, books and cards; camera accessories; sunglasses and reading glasses; skin-care products; jewellery; toys; men’s, women’s and children’s tropical clothing; Cuban cigars and more.
Wharf & Marina
West End, Tortola
Soper’s Hole Wharf & Marina is Tortola’s premier shopping, dining and marine centre. This centre is a unique and architecturally colourful collection of buildings housing many boutiques, shops and Pusser’s Landing Restaurant.
Need to rent a car in the BVI? Hop a plane for an inter-island flight or catch a ferry? Here's help with schedules and reservations information.