Shopping in Dominica
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Dominicans produce distinctive handicrafts, with various communities specializing in their specific products. The crafts of the Carib Indians include traditional baskets made of dyed larouma reeds and waterproofed with tightly woven balizier leaves. These are sold in the Carib Indian Territory and Kalinago Barana Autê as well as in Roseau's shops. Vertivert straw rugs, screw-pine tableware, fwije (the trunk of the forest tree fern), and wood carvings are just some examples. Also notable are local herbs, spices, condiments, and herb teas. Café Dominique, the local equivalent of Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee, is an excellent buy, as are the Dominican rums Macoucherie and Soca. Proof that the old ways live on in Dominica can be found in the number of herbal remedies available. One stimulating memento of your visit is rum steeped with bois bandé (scientific name Richeria grandis), a tree whose bark is reputed to have aphrodisiacal properties. It's sold at shops, vendors' stalls, and supermarkets. The charismatic roadside vendors can be found all over the island bearing trays laden with local and imported souvenirs, T-shirts, and trinkets. Duty-free shopping is also available in specific stores around Roseau.
Dominican farmers island-wide bring their best crops to the Roseau Market, at the end of Dame Eugenia Boulevard and Lange Lane, every Friday and Saturday from 6 am to 1 pm. It may well be the largest farmers' market in the Caribbean. They start setting up on Friday night, and often customers begin their shopping then. Vendors are usually out on roadsides when there are cruise ships in port.
One of the easiest places to pick up a souvenir is the Old Market Plaza, just behind the Dominica Museum, in Roseau. Slaves were once sold here, but today handcrafted jewelry, T-shirts, spices, souvenirs, batik, and trays, plus lacquered and woven bamboo boxes, are available from a group of vendors in open-air booths set up on the cobblestones. They are usually busiest when there's a cruise ship berthed across the street. On these days you can also find a vast number of vendors along the bay front.
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