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Cayman Shopping

Grand Cayman is one of the Caribbean's great shopping destinations. The capital of the nation's shopping world is George Town. Along the George Town waterfront on West Bay Road and Harbour Drive, duty-free shops tempt travelers with china, perfumes, leather goods, watches, crystal, and, most especially, fine jewelry.

You'll find that prices average about 25% below retail price tags in the United States, although some goods run as much as 40 to 45 % below US retail. However, travelers would be well advised to know their prices before they leave home; not all items are a bargain.

Top Shopping Deals

Jewelry is a top purchase in the form of watches, custom-designed pieces and stones. Diamonds and other gemstones are found in most fine jewelry stores as well as 14k and 18k gold. Jewelry made from antique coins and doubloons recovered from shipwrecks around the world is very popular here.

Caymanite, a stone found only on the eastern end of Grand Cayman's East End and the bluff on Cayman Brac, is sold throughout the islands mounted as jewelry. The semi-precious stone, a form of dolomite, ranges from a light beige to a beautiful amber color and is often mounted in a gold setting.

Another popular purchase is black coral jewelry. Artisans design it into fine jewelry and small sculptures. You'll find black coral necklaces, charms, earrings, and more, often highlighted with gold inlays, sold in most of the fine jewelry shops.

Cayman-produced rums and rum cakes are a popular purchase and can be found in many shops. Tortuga Rum Cake, made using five-year-old Tortuga Gold Rum, is sealed in a red tin and is the product of a 100-year-old family recipe.

Or, for travelers who want to skip the cake, a bottle of Tortuga, Blackbeard, or Cayman Gold Rum makes an inexpensive duty-free purchase.

Local arts and crafts are also popular buys. Birdhouses made from coconuts, brooms woven from thatch, and pepper sauce distilled form fiery scotch bonnet peppers to capture the spirit of the islands make inexpensive island souvenirs.

Customs concerns

Harvesting of black coral depletes the sea's supply. Only jewelers licensed to remove the coral may do so and without a certificate testifying that your purchase is from an approved seller your black coral may be confiscated in us customs.

Travelers in transit through the US need to avoid anything made with turtle products. All goods including oils, steaks, shells, and jewelry made from turtles and turtle shells have been banned by US customs. All in-transit passengers traveling through the US to other nations will have to surrender turtle products at US customs.


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