Xtabentun: Local to this specific area and culture, Xtabentun is not easily found in other parts of the world. It's a uniquely delicious honey-anisette flavored liqueur and makes a wonderful treat and souvenir.
Tequila: Even though many tequilas are easily found in the U.S., the prices and variety of tequilas are amazing in Cozumel. However, don't get taken as a tourist...make sure you are getting the authentic product and look for "100% Agave" on the label.
Mexican Vanilla: Vanilla originated in this part of the world and Mexican vanilla is truly amazing for baking. However be careful because a majority of vanilla sold in this region is imitation. If you are a true foodie, your taste buds will know the difference between real and imitation. Make sure you check the bottle to make sure that you are bringing home 100% pure vanilla and it will be the highlight of your trip.
Achiote: If you love exploring culinary treasures, find a local market and you’ll see a variety of spices. One favorite in this Yucatan region is achiote. With an earthy flavor, it’s made from ground annato seeds and used in many native dishes.
Chocolate: "Mexican chocolate" is traditionally ground with sugar, cinnamon and almonds. You can find this in a bar form or as powder to use in cooking and drinks. Also, if you like unique kitchen utensils, you’ll love a “molinillo”, a rattle-shaped tool used to whip hot chocolate.
Cajeta: Often also known as “dulce de leche”, it’s similar to caramel but made with sweetened condensed milk instead of sugar. Cajeta is sold in plastic jars or little wooden boxes. It's perfect to use in baking, serve over ice cream, or even (my personal favorite) dig in with a spoon!
Rum Cakes: You can’t visit Grand Cayman and not bring back a Tortuga Rum Company cake. They are so popular that you’ll also see them all throughout the Caribbean and even in airport gift shops. But rest assured that the freshest and most flavorful cakes are found in their headquarters in Grand Cayman. It’s the perfect souvenir to bring home and you’ll remember your fantastic vacation every time you take a bite.
Rum: Numerous delicious local rums are made on Grand Cayman. One recently popular distillery is Cayman Spirits Company. They make Seven Fathoms Rum, Governor’s Reserve Rum and Gun Bay Vodka. They even offer tours and tastings at their facility so make sure to visit CaymanSpirits.com before you go.
Virtual Hint: If you get a chance to enjoy a meal when on this island, don't miss the local delicacies of fresh fish, hot peppers and coconuts. It's a terrific and memorable experience for the whole family!
Coffee: Delicious, but not inexpensive, Jamaica is known for their locally produced Blue Mountain Coffee. It’s easily found by the port, although the cost is usually inflated. If you have a car and driver or taking a tour, stop by a local market or store and pick up a bag. Where ever you may find it, it’s definitely worth the price.
Jamaican Jerk: Yes, they really use this in Jamaica! With the main ingredients a concoction of scallions, scotch bonnet peppers, all spice, cinnamon and nutmeg, this seasoning provides the smoky hot flavor that Jamaica is known for. Pick up a bottle of this to try the next time you are the grill master at home.
Rum: Everyone’s favorite is well-known Don Q Cristal, easily found in many stores on the island.
Coffee: Besides rum, Puerto Rico is best known for coffee. Look for famous brands such as Yauco Selecto and Alto Grande.
Hot Sauce: Many local stores not far from the port carry hot sauces made with peppers indigenous to the area. They are usually happy to oblige for a sample, although get ready to purchase a bottle (or two!)
MaDouDou: Another favorite rum found in St. Maarten is MaDouDou, distinctively packaged in gorgeous hand-painted bottles. The MaDouDou rum bottles make wonderful souvenirs and gifts. Not only is the rum delicious, but after you drink it, the bottle is a beautiful keepsake.
Guavaberry Liquor: Head off the ship into the port shopping area and local Guavaberry rum is easy to find. It’s locally made and a delicious treasure to bring home. If you find it a bit strong, try blending it with some Coco Lopez (coconut cream) and ice for a delicious tropical cocktail.
Before you purchase any of these local products, make sure to check up-to-date information at the U.S. Customs and Border Protection to find the food items allowed to bring back to the US for consumer use.
And, of course, cruise on over to the Destinations section of the website for pictures and tips for when visiting these beautiful Eastern Caribbean and Western Caribbean islands.
My Virtual Vacations Blog
About the Author
Thanks for cruising by! Along with creating this website and blog, I work in an office full-time and as a mom to two energetic young men. With our family's busy work and school schedule, we look forward to traveling during holidays. Although it seems that our family can never agree on anything, we do when it comes to vacations. We typically travel on cruises or stay at luxury hotels while enjoying upscale dining, beautiful decor, excellent service, and spacious accommodations. However, we still need family friendly and comfortable! When we are not traveling, I enjoy dining out locally, as well as cooking and baking in my own kitchen.
Virtually escape and start planning your next luxurious cruise vacation on land or sea with My Virtual Vacations. Contact me for any specific questions or recommendations. And don't forget to keep checking back for the latest blog posts and information. There are always more family vacations in our future!
You'll also find me on Cruise Critic boards as SunnyAJ. Let's connect!
About the Photos
Our beautiful photographs are creatively captured by my talented freelance husband/photographer located in Baltimore, MD. Click here to explore more of his work.
There is no stopping us! We immensely enjoyed our first Aqua Class experience on Celebrity Equinox this past spring.
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