Shopping may not be uppermost in the minds of most visitors to Tobago. But there are some interesting gifts, souvenirs, and locally made items to pick up if you know where to look, and Tobagonian ingenuity ensures that your shopping experience here will be unique. Rustic or elegant, utilitarian or ornamental, there is truly something for everyone’s taste and shopping list (including yours!). We’ll also guide you where to look for routine shopping, grocery items, and more — along with what not to buy.
Popular local craft items & souvenirs
Miniature steel pans are always popular among those shopping for souvenirs, as are locally made shoes, jewellery, fabric, sculptures, ceramics, preserves, and cosmetics.
Be sure to take in the fine artistinal shopping (herbal products, jewellery, clothing, local craft) at Things Natural in Crown Point, and to try one of the sinfully sweet soaps made by Anthea’s Treasure Trove (304-1256/289-4573). This chemist uses all-natural local ingredients like mango, soursop, noni, turmeric, rosemary and neem to create healing products.
Shore Things in Lambeau offers original art and craft (all-natural fruit soaps, calabash, ceramics, fabric, paintings and prints, pottery, and more) as well as food and drink in an idyllic setting. At Bago-to-go in Lowlands, you can find hand-crafted dolls, jewellery, pottery, sculptures, textiles, and other trinkets.
At Store Bay’s 35-booth Craft Market, you will find everything from local sweets to hand-tooled leather goods, including a profusion of shell jewellery, calabash art, wooden sculptures, rasta hats, sandals and sarongs at their. Many of these vendors also turn up at Buccoo’s Sunday School from around 7pm to 11pm. Most are locally produced, though imported clothing, beach wraps and souvenirs are also for sale. Similar items are sold at Pigeon Point and Scarborough Market.
Batiki Point, a permanent store on the Sunday School site, is noted for owner Tina Louis’ vibrant batik wall hangings and hand-painted T-shirts, while Planet Ceramics, in front of the jetty at Pigeon Point, sells handmade ceramics, from house signs to miniature turtles.
Scarborough’s Milford Road Esplanade is a twenty-shop food court and craft centre on the seafront. For some Tobagonian social history, chat with Goldburn Job, The History Man, as he plays pan in his store, Goldburn’s Historic Parlour.
Scarborough Market is noted for leather goods, and there are other craft outlets at Englishman’s Bay and Mount Irvine Bay.
Popular souvenirs include miniature steelpans, complete with sheet music and instructions on how to wow your friends with a rendition of Jingle Bells.
Also check out Forro’s Homemade Delicacies (Scarborough); at the airport; and at many resorts and hotels.
Art & fashion
Looking for original local art? Some Tobago-born or -based artists to look out for include Jim Armstrong, Kevin Ayoung-Julien, Marcia Des Vignes, Edward Hernandez, David Knott, Earl Manswell, Jason Nedd, Michael Spencer, Rachael and Martin Superville (of The Art Gallery in Lowlands), and the late Luise Kimme (who work is displayed at the Kimme Museum aka “The Castle” in Bethel). If you’re in the market for local fashion, check out Cee Wee Designs, Ashley Christmas, Movement Bago, Tobago Gyul, and Yesa Designs, among others.
Chocolate & sweets
If you’re a chocolate lover, make sure to seek out products from the award-winning Tobago Cocoa Estate. You can purchase directly from the estate in Roxborough, and at select retailers island-wide. You’ll also want to check out Tobago Chocolate Delights, next door to Shore Things in Lambeau.
For something with a Caribbean flavour, try the local jellies and jams (including mango, guava, cherry and plum) at Morshead Plaza, or perhaps the widely available local hot sauce, or the benne balls, tamarind balls and sugar cake sold by the vendors at ANR Robinson (formerly Crown Point) airport. Many Trinidadians would not dream of getting on their plane without stocking up on these Tobago specialities.
Malls & plazas
The Gulf City Lowlands Mall is a one-stop commercial centre for clothing, shoes, pharmaceuticals and personal care items, books, accessories, souvenirs, jewellery, home furnishings, banking, and fine wines and cigars. The mall is smartly designed, air-conditioned, and already has several regional and international brand names under its roof. There is a comfortable food court, hair salons, and the new MovieTowne multiplex cinema is adjacent. The Mall is conveniently located just off the highway between Crown Point and Scarborough. There is a smaller mall in Lower Scarborough, hosting a number of shops and businesses.
Plazas also have popped up all over Crown Point, with the Buccoo Town Centre almost ready to join the newly opened Shirvan Town Plaza and the Milford Bay Plaza and Shoppes@Westcity.
Groceries & markets
Grocery stores can be found from Crown Point to Scarborough, the largest being Pennysavers in Canaan and Carnbee. Specialty food items are available in Mt. Pleasant at Moreshead. Small parlours, dry goods stores and produce stands are located almost everywhere.
The Scarborough Market is best visited on a Friday or Saturday, specialises in fish, fruit, vegetables and local foods. Vendors at the port in Scarborough and opposite the check-in area at ANR Robinson (formerly Crown Point) international airport sell traditional candies in sizes that travel well.
And if you’re looking for inexpensive holiday reading, Finders Keepers at Morshead Plaza has a large selection of second-hand thrillers, bestsellers and romances. Perfect beach reads.
What not to buy
Please don’t buy anything made from endangered or environmentally sensitive species (eg coral, sea turtles, conch, some snakes, some birds). If in doubt, ask what material the item is made from, and whether it is protected. And if the answer is not satisfactory, don’t buy it.
Advertorial: brand voices
Visit Things Natural for an artful explosion of colour, herbal infusion and style
An eclectic boutique located at Crown Point, Tobago showcasing hand-crafted creations produced by local artisans and designers. Our expanding lines include herbal body products, aromatherapy products, healing oils, supplements, artwork and gift items.