If you're looking for a Nassau memento that transcends resort-issued flip-flops or plush-toy flamingo, you'll need to nose out the right kinds of stores. Luckily, we've done the legwork for you. Here are five local shops to pick up a keepsake you'll actually want to keep.
Nassau Straw Market
Handwoven straw items — bowls, baskets, hats and dolls — have long been a staple of Bahamian households. Though straw markets dot New Providence, the biggest and best is the Nassau Straw Market. This daily (and always bustling) spot stocks thousands of souvenirs, especially keepsakes made of woven straw, carved wood or decorative conch shells.
W Bay St., Nassau, Bahamas; bahamas.com
Bahama Crafts Centre
Located in a multicolored Art Deco–style building, this market offers dozens of stalls selling conch-shell jewelry, junkanoo art, driftwood paintings, steel drums, blown glass and fabrics, but not much in the way of snow globes. The shopping is great, but you can also watch some of the artisans at work and beef up your bartering skills with the friendly vendors.
Paradise Island Dr., Nassau, Bahamas; facebook.com/BahamaArtAndHandicraft
Bahama Art and Handicraft
Pause to ponder the flamingos painted on the façade of this classic Bahamian-style home; then head inside to browse a jumble of quirky gifts: a painting of swimming pigs, say, or floral-glazed tumblers or a nautical-themed dinner set. If you get peckish, the owner's sisters run the Deli Kitchen just up the street, which makes tremendous jerk chops.
E Shirley St., Nassau, Bahamas; facebook.com/BahamaArtAndHandicraft
Craft Cottage Bahamas
This small shop on the grounds of the Doongalik Studios Art Gallery bursts with color on the outside and charming souvenirs on the inside. Among the items on offer are artisan jewelry, straw bags, and painted glass, plus small-batch bath and body products.
Nassau, Bahamas; nassauparadiseisland.com
Marina Village at Atlantis
This outdoor marketplace — set up to look like a quaint Bahamian village — offers a refined shopping experience. Retailers include Colombian Emeralds, La Parfumerie, Paradise Blue Surf Shop and the Plait Lady, the last of which sells wonderful handwoven straw items. Also, find an array of onsite dining options and carts selling more modest mementos.
Paradise Island, Bahamas; nassauparadiseisland.com