Port Antonio is not a shopping bazaar like Montego Bay and Ocho Rios. Most activity centers around Musgrave Market, on West Street, in the center of town. This is one of our favorite markets in all of Jamaica. It evokes a movie set on which the director is about to call, "Lights, camera, action!" The most active market day is Saturday. To see the market at its most frenzied, go any day of the week from 8am to noon.
The sprawling Fort George Village Shopping Arcade, which opened in 1997 to immediate denunciations, is not a mirage. To call it an architectural monstrosity would be too kind; this three-floor structure looks like some of the world's major architectural ideas, thrown into a blender -- baroque, English Tudor, French Gothic, with hints of Syria and Iraq thrown in for spice -- and spat out. In theory, at least, the arcade was designed to represent various architectures from around the world.
Regardless of what you think of its design, the arcade is fun for a shopping jaunt, thanks to outlets for jewelry, antiques/junk, CDs, computers, and more. the center of town across from the courthouse, en route to Titchfield Hill.
On Harbour Street, you'll come to the City Centre Plaza, but it's rather dull. As for its crafts, we've seen better. Still, it might come in handy for souvenirs and those things visitors always need: postcards for the ones you left behind, suntan lotion, and that Nora Roberts paperback for the beach.
At the Gallery Carriacou, on the grounds of Hotel Mocking Bird Hill, on Mocking Bird Hill (tel. 876/993-7267), you can view the sensuous and evocative paintings and sculptures of Barbara Walker, who is one of the partners in the hotel. Her works, and those of other noted Jamaican artists, make up the finest collection of art for sale in the area. Walker also conducts classes, on request, in sculpture and painting.
At the Errol Flynn Marina, you'll find space for up to 32 different shops and boutiques, even though only some of those spaces will be occupied by the time of your visit. The most appealing of the lot is Things Jamaican (tel. 876/715-5347), where gift items, fashion accessories, and housewares -- each made in or pertaining to Jamaica -- are lined up for easy-on-the-eyes shopping.
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