The Cayman Islands are a shopper’s paradise because you can buy high-end — and duty-free/tax-free — items that are imported from around the world: handcrafted items from local artisans, as well as gourmet food items like rum cakes, pepper jelly and sea salt that are made right on the islands.
Don’t be misled, though; while the shopping is excellent on Grand Cayman, don’t expect to find many bargains to write home about. The island is expensive, but the gifts and souvenirs you can buy are special.
Here are the five top shopping finds in Grand Cayman:
On the Cayman Islands, look for caymanite. This multilayered, semiprecious gemstone that looks somewhat like marble was formed on the islands nearly 25 million years ago. No two pieces of caymanite look the same, so jewelry made from this stone is quite unique.
Pick up a scrumptious rum cake or two or 10 to bring home for yourself, or to give friends and family. Look for BlackBeard’s Cayman Island rum cake, made from BlackBeard’s rum. You can buy the cakes at their own shops throughout the island, including their outpost at the Seven Mile Shops (near Treasure Island, West Bay Road, Seven Mile Beach) or at most grocery stores.
Also, look for Tortuga rum cakes, which you can pick up at grocery stores and gift shops across Grand Cayman. Rum cake flavors from both of these companies include original, coffee, chocolate, coconut, banana, Key lime, pineapple and piña colada.
The silver thatch palm is a tree that’s commonly found on all of the Cayman Islands, and its tough fronds are used to create many unique handicrafts like baskets, hats and fans. You’ll find these beautiful products at the Cayman Craft Market at the corner of Boilers Road and South Church Street in George Town.
If you’re looking for an unusual gift for someone who loves to cook, check out Cayman Sea Salt. Their gourmet products, including sea salt and sea salt BBQ rub, are crafted by hand.
You can buy Cayman Sea Salt products at grocery stores on the island like Foster’s, Kirk Supermarket, and Hurley’s or at gift shops like Pure Art or Bodden Town Art Shop (at 293 Bodden Town Road).
Grand Cayman is known for selling duty-free and tax-free items, ranging from liquor and cigarettes to cosmetics and perfume to designer handbags and apparel. (What is “duty”? It’s the local import tax that is usually charged on these items.)
Check the U.S. Customs and Border Protection website for up-to-date information on the amount of duty-free products you are allowed to bring back to the United States. There is no duty on food, art, handcrafted items or books. Can duty-free deals really be had? Sometimes, especially when it comes to liquor and cigarettes, but you should be familiar with the prevailing retail price in the U.S. so you’ll know if you’re getting a bargain when buying duty-free.