The U.S. Virgin Islands are rightfully known as the shopping mecca of the Caribbean. It’s tempting indeed to comb the historic streets of St. Thomas’s capital, Charlotte Amalie, in search of bargains amid the global outposts of “luxury” goods, those international brands of china and crystal, jewelry, and cosmetics that blanket every cruise port. But for those seeking original, artisanal gifts made by the people who actually live here, the following is a sampling of our favorite Virgin Islands mementos.
- Hot sauce: Virgin Islanders love their hot sauce (aka “pepper” sauce), and many island cooks prepare and bottle their own. Look for local favorites like Jerome's, Miss Anna’s, and ValleyDoll, which are sold in gift shops and food stores around the islands.
- Local art: In St. Thomas, you can find the latest work of local artisans (dolls, jewelry, soaps) in the Native Arts and Crafts Cooperative.