Posted on April 05 2019
A vacation to the Caribbean — what could be better? From relaxing on pristine beaches beneath a cloudless sky to searching out the finest local cuisine, there’s so much to adore about this beautiful part of the world. Whether you’re taking a quick whirlwind trip or staying for much longer, it’s impossible not to fall in love with the vibrant beauty of the Caribbean Islands. Best of all, you can cherish the memories you make here long after you return to your everyday life.
Of course, as wonderful as memories are, they aren’t quite the same as a physical reminder of your days spent in paradise. While memories can fade with time, souvenirs will always remain just as beautiful as the day you first bought them, acting as a perfect way to remember your trip. And as long as you’re already buying souvenirs for yourself, why not take a moment to think of loved ones back home? How can you best tell them you thought of them every day? Why not show your love and appreciation through an authentic Caribbean gift?
While any gift will technically get the job done, you want to give them the very best. To help you achieve exactly this, we’ve compiled our ultimate guide to the best Caribbean souvenirs. By adding one of these items to your suitcase for the trip home, you can feel sure that you'll have the perfect way to tell your loved one just how much you missed them while you were away.
The Best Caribbean Gifts
“What should I bring back from the Caribbean?” Anyone who’s ever visited this beautiful part of the world has surely asked themselves this question a time or two. If you’re looking to show a little love to friends and family who couldn’t make the trip with you, what better way to do so then to bring them back one of these stunning Caribbean gifts?
Good old-fashioned photos are by far the easiest souvenir to bring back from your trip. There are no price limitations on how many of these you can bring back with you, and they’re the least difficult item to pack. So go a little crazy as you hop from one island to the next. Fill up your camera with as many photos as you can, and consider bringing an additional memory card so that you can go beyond even this limit.
Once you return, there are all kinds of ways you can gift these photos. Simply pass your phone around to let your friend “oo” and “ah” over the gorgeous sights, or make the gifts a bit more formal by printing and framing photos. You might even use online templates to print photo books that you can gift to friends that showcase the very best of your Caribbean adventures.
No matter where you travel to in the world, one universal souvenir is artwork of the local famous landmarks and sites. If you travel to Paris, for example, you’ll find artwork of the Eiffel Tower on every corner. The same holds true in the Caribbean. Therefore, what better way is there to share your trip with someone who couldn’t be there than by bringing them artwork of a spot you visited?
This artwork can come in any form, and you’ll likely find prints in every imaginable shape and size, from postcards to full-size wall art. Make your selection based on what’s available, what you feel your loved ones would appreciate the most and what will be easiest for you to transport home again.
3. Attraction-Based Paraphernalia
If you’re visiting one of the more touristy sites throughout the Caribbean, you’ll be in luck. Most major tourist sites expect people to be looking for souvenirs, meaning that they’re well-stocked with every item you could imagine, usually emblazoned with the site’s logo or name. Choose from items such as t-shirts, hoodies, flip-flops, beach towels, fridge magnets, bumper stickers and key-chains as you sort through this type of merchandise. While these souvenirs may not be the most elegant or elite items out there, what they lack in exclusivity they make up for in ease of taking home.
4. Spa Items
When we think of the Caribbean, we think of blue waters, crystal skies and utter relaxation. We think of beaches, resorts and of course, some of the very best spas in the world. Since not all of your loved ones from home can be there to experience this sheer bliss with you, why not bring home some spa products with you to let them experience the next best thing?
Many Caribbean spas may have a shop division, where they allow you to purchase some of the products that you experienced during your spa treatments. Even if you find your spa doesn't allow this, it should be an easy thing to locate a gift shop or even a specialty spa store that lets you purchase these things to take home, giving your friends and family the gift of their very own Caribbean spa treatment right at home.
5. Clothing Items
Clothing items are much more of a personal item. To gift them well, you need a bit of knowledge about the recipient’s size as well as their style preferences, making them a gift that is only appropriate under certain circumstances. A gift of a dress or a sunhat, for example, might be a lovely gift for a child or a spouse. This type of gift may be less appropriate for a casual co-worker or the person you want to thank for watching your pets while you were away. For that reason, you’ll want to think carefully before you choose to gift something like this.
If you do decide a gift like this would be appropriate, however, it can be an excellent choice. Spend some time browsing gift shops or local clothing stores for just the right item. Your goal will be to find something that fits with your loved one’s style and looks and feels uniquely Caribbean. Ideally, this should be a piece that a person might wear and feel that it could have come from nowhere in the world but the Caribbean.
Authentic Caribbean handicrafts are perhaps the very best way to capture the local flavor and feeling of the islands in one single, easily-transportable object. If you’re looking for good souvenirs for friends that couldn’t make the trip with you, why not bring them back a woven basket, a decorative tapestry or an ornamental knickknack to set around the house?
Items like these are a great way to share your experience with others, allowing them to display treasures from your Caribbean adventures around their space and feel that even though they couldn’t be there, they’re experiencing the next best thing. Visit any local vendor's stall or market stand to find handicrafts such as these in abundance.
7. Collector’s Items
Many of us have collections we’re proud of building slowly over the years. Perhaps your spouse collects a piece of currency from every country you’ve visited together. Maybe you have a child who loves collecting seashells from around the world or a parent who aspires to own a handicraft from every country on the map.
If the person you’re shopping for has a growing collection like this, then your job is easy. Look for an item that fits neatly within the bounds of this collection and bring it home for them. Gifts like these can be particularly special because they say, “I was thinking about you,” as well as, “I know you well enough to know what you would have bought if you’d been here.”
This category is broad, and you can interpret it in any way you like. This may simply be an ordinary book you happened to find on your trip that reminded you of someone back home. It may be a specialty book published only in the Caribbean. It could be a book written in a local language, or it could be an over-sized coffee table book with pictures or artwork from the island where you purchased it.
Books are like art in the way they make an effective gift because they can be used again and again without their value diminishing over time and without the item becoming used up. Loved ones from back home can proudly display books like this in a way that makes them great conversation pieces when company comes over.
9. Coffee and Spices
The Caribbean is known for its eclectic palette of spices and, of course, its delicious coffee. While it’s lovely to enjoy these things during your vacation, wouldn’t it be even better if you could bring these things home with you to share with friends and family back in the states?
Within reason, you can. Every island has different regulations, and the United States customs office has its own rules about what you can and can’t bring into the country, but things like coffee and spices are usually permissible, provided you aren’t bringing an excessive amount. Be sure to do your homework on the island’s regulation, as well as any limitation by U.S. customs, and you should have no problem here.
10. Fine Jewelry and Watches
Yes, you can buy fine jewelry and watches back home in the States just as easily as you can in the Caribbean. But do you know what you can’t find at home at your local jewelry retailer? Duty-free pricing. Duty-free pricing refers to the fact that, since the product was purchased outside the U.S., it will not be subject to many of the same local taxes that you would need to pay if you bought the very same item at home. Because of this, the savvy traveler can easily save plenty when shopping for designer watches or luxury jewelry items.
Fine jewelry can be purchased for great prices when you shop in the Caribbean, making it an ideal souvenir for a treasured friend or family member who couldn't join you on your trip. Because jewelry is such a personal item, they can always carry with them this physical reminder of your trip and the fact that you thought of them while they were away. So why not surprise your family member with Rolex’s Submariner watch or perhaps this Fashion Yellow Gold Tone and Tortoise Link Bracelet from Michael Kors?
Things to Avoid Bringing Back
The Caribbean is full of beautiful items to bring back for your family and friends to enjoy. Despite this abundance, it’s important to realize that not everything can or should travel back to the States with you. A couple of things you’ll want to avoid packing in your suitcase for the return trip include:
While food has the potential to make an excellent gift, there are also numerous pitfalls around it that you’ll want to avoid. Most notably, it’s illegal to bring many specific food items into the country. Most vegetable, fruits, meats and cheeses, for example, are strictly prohibited and cannot cross U.S. borders. These laws may seem arbitrary, but they’re critical and designed to prevent the spread of new invasive species to the country, as well as any disease that may be incubating on imported food items. For this reason, it’s essential to obey these laws to the letter. Feel free to enjoy the local cuisine while you’re out of the country, but don’t bring it back with you.
2. Bulky Items
The very best souvenirs are ones that you can easily tuck into a suitcase or travel bag. Anything larger than this will be difficult to transport. If you happen to find a souvenir you absolutely must have, but it’s too big for a suitcase, you can try mailing it back home separately. To save on both shipping and hassle, however, this should be a last resort and not a first solution. Instead, look for small items. These will be easier to pack, as well as of a size that your friends and family can easily place around their homes, instead of needing to rearrange their entire house to fit them.
Shop Fine Jewelry at Little Switzerland
Are you enjoying a life of luxury in the Caribbean, but missing someone back home? Show them how much you thought of them on your trip by bringing back the perfect gift. And what gift could be more perfect than a piece of fine jewelry or a designer watch from Little Switzerland?
Here at Little Switzerland, we’re proud to be the preeminent luxury jewelry retailer in the Caribbean. With over 30 locations scattered across the region, you can be sure that no matter where you travel, you’ll never be too far away to visit. Best of all? We also offer a wide variety of financing plans, meaning that it’s never been easier to get that sparkly souvenir you’ve had your eye on.
When you shop at Little Switzerland, you’re getting more than just another piece of jewelry. You’re getting a priceless souvenir that will remind you and all your loved ones of this trip to paradise. So stop by your nearest Little Switzerland next time you’re in the Caribbean and browse our selection for that perfect souvenir you’ve been looking for.