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Shopping in Grand Cayman is a popular activity on the Caribbean Island and exactly how we decided to spend the day on our recent visit.
Grand Cayman is a popular cruise port for many Western Caribbean itineraries. Its sparkling blue waters are ideal for snorkeling and scuba diving. Marine animal lovers enjoy opportunities to get up close and personal with their local stingrays and sea turtles. The island’s seven-mile beach is an attraction for those who like to indulge their inner beach bum. There is another popular activity for Grand Cayman visitors and that is duty-free shopping.
Our second stop on our recent cruise was beautiful Grand Cayman. It was another port where we had very limited time. This was my second visit to the island and I did go snorkeling on my last visit and absolutely loved it. It was the highlight of that cruise but it didn’t leave me with enough time to do much else besides a quick lunch.
Derek and I did contemplate swimming with the stingrays but I decided that I wanted this visit to be more relaxed and less scheduled. We decided to instead do some Shopping in Grand Cayman and although we weren’t focused on the duty-free aspect of it we did see many shops along the way for those that were.
So, what does “duty-free” mean? It’s when the local taxes or duty of products meant for international travelers have been removed. Citizens of the United States are usually given tax exemption up to $800 on souvenirs brought back from the visiting country. However, the rules do vary when it comes to which country you visited and what type of product you brought home.
Liquor, for example, is a popular duty-free item but you are limited on how many liters you are allowed to bring home. In most cases only one per person unless you’re returning from a US territory like St Thomas then you are allotted up to five.
Something to keep in mind is that duty-free doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll be saving a lot of money. Sometimes the cost of the item is more than what you can get in the states. It’s important that you know ahead of time what exactly you’re looking to buy. Popular items are liquor, tobacco, jewelry, watches, cosmetics, and fragrance. Know what you want to buy and do your research ahead of time so you’ll know whether or not you’ve found a great deal while shopping on the island.
If you’re like us and visiting Grand Cayman as a port of call on a cruise, the cruise lines will usually offer some sort of shopping seminar and even shopping guides. You can use those as points of reference but I also wouldn’t strictly rely on them as a resource either. Use your best judgment to get the best deal.
Something to be aware of when visiting Grand Cayman on a cruise is that it is a tendered port, this means that the ship is not docked and that a ferry will pick you up from the ship and take you to the island. There are many touristy items for purchase in that terminal but you are also just steps from similar items off of the main drag.
You will also be bombarded by people wanting you to not only buy their products but use their taxi or tour services. This was quite a surprise for me because the last time I visited the island it was not like that at all. It does get frustrating after a while but in all honesty, it’s just a taste of what you can expect if your next port of call is Cozumel.
Derek and I were in search of touristy items, hats in particular. It took a while but we found ones we both liked at a great price. If you’re looking for similar items, I highly recommend the store, Too Hot. They have two locations. One is in the same plaza as Margaritaville and the other is further down near the Guy Harvey store. We received excellent customer service at both, the latter in particular, and the prices were very reasonable. I do have to admit that although we weren’t focused on the duty-free end of shopping, it is always nice to save a couple of bucks whenever I can especially when traveling.
I hope this post on Shopping in Grand Cayman will help guide you a bit when you’re visiting the island. If you’re looking for more in-depth information, check out this article I found on Smarter Travel about US Customs and Duty-Free Allowances.
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