As the “showcase of the British Empire,” the shopping scene in Bermuda showcases all of the best things about Great Britain. From the refined attitude of shopkeepers and the cozy cottage locations of many shops to the luxury goods, shopping in Bermuda is nothing less than a treat.
There are some cases in which Bermuda sells items at a lower cost than visitors will find in the United States due to a trade deal that Great Britain has with the island. Be on the lookout for jewelry, watches, perfume, fine china, cashmere, tweed, crystal, and silverware. Not only do they carry a slightly lower price, but they are often impeccably made. It is also possible to save between 30 and 50 percent on certain liquors in Bermuda.
If money is no object, antiquing is incredibly popular in Bermuda. Jewelry, artwork, shipwreck artifacts, and engraving are popular finds.
Like many vacationers, you may be looking for a souvenir that speaks to the country's heritage, or something unique to the island. These items include items made of cedar, Gombey rag dolls and leaf dolls, woodcarvings, silk scarves, and Bermuda shorts.
Hamilton has perhaps the widest range of shopping available to any city in Bermuda. There are department-like stores such as A.S. Cooper & Sons and Marks & Spencer, full on shopping centers like the Emporium and Windsor Palace, and various locally owned businesses to explore, particularly on Front Street.
If you happen to be in Hamilton on a Wednesday night, do your shopping then. This is when the city hosts Hamilton Harbour Nights, so you can enjoy live entertainment, extra crafts booths, and delicious food while you shop.
If Hamilton is out of the question, historic St. George is your next best bet – many of Hamilton's most popular shops and boutiques have branches in St. George (including A.S. Coopers and the Crown Colony Shop). When shopping in St. George, King's Street, Somers Wharf, and Water Street have the most options.
For a wide selection of locally made products and artwork, towns in the island's West End are a great option. At the Royal Navy Dockyard you can often even see artisans at work, and make special requests for items you would like to purchase. Don't miss the Clocktower Mall and the Bermuda Craft Market.
...go home with a souvenir you can treasure...
While many vacationers head to the Caribbean dreaming of deals on luxury goods, Bermuda does not offer this to its patrons. Unfortunately, high tariffs paid over seas coupled with duty taxes means that there are few deals to be had. What you do find in Bermuda, however, is items of very high quality.
There are a few ways around paying duty taxes, however. U.S. law allows U.S. citizens to bring items that are at least 35 percent Bermuda crafted through customs duty free. You can also pick up items in the duty-free shop in the airport.
Be aware that the official currency in Bermuda is the Bermuda Dollar, though most shops will gladly accept U.S. Dollars. You can expect most stores and shops on the island to be open Monday through Saturday, between the hours of 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., though some shopping centers do offer extended hours. Do not plan to shop on a Sunday, as many facilities will be closed.
If you plan to do a good deal of shopping in Bermuda, make sure to set aside a large portion of your budget to do so. Unlike many other Caribbean islands, goods here don't come cheap, but they aren't made cheaply either. No matter how much you spend, you are certain to go home with a souvenir you can treasure for life.
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