Cayman is famous for its tax free shopping including: jewellery, watches, luxury brands, gems, precious metals and more. You will find recommendations on where to purchase these items below, as well as where to locate the best gifts and other essentials. Although import duty is charged on most goods entering the country, certain luxury goods remain free of both import duty and sales tax. Such items can therefore work out considerably cheaper to purchase in Cayman than in North America or Europe.
Grand Cayman’s best galleries that sell locally produced original paintings (as well as prints) can be found at: Guy Harvey Gallery & Shoppe in George Town; The National Gallery of the Cayman Islands and Kennedy Gallery (Tel: (345) 949 8077) both in the Seven Mile Beach area; Pure Art Gallery & Gifts (345) 949 9133 in South Sound and the Bodden Town Art Shop (345) 943 2827. Locally produced underwater photographs can be found at Cathy Church’s Underwater Photo Centre & Gallery on South Church Street.
The Ritz-Carlton also use their bridge across West Bay Road as an art gallery where they feature local artists.
For antique maps, ancient and shipwreck coins and interesting antique prints visit Artifacts (345) 949 2442 situated within the Cayside Galleries building on Harbour Drive in George Town.
Great gifts to take home or to buy as a memento include locally made art, jams, hot sauces, rum cakes and a multitude of other gifts. The two best places to find these things are again at Pure Art Gallery & Gifts in South Sound and the Bodden Town Art Shop. See the Shopping in George Town for more details.
Hidden away under the jagged crust of Grand Cayman’s East End and the craggy cliffs of the Bluff in Cayman Brac, lies a beautiful rock called Caymanite. With layers of earth tone colours created by the different metallic contents of each strata, once expertly cut and polished, the stone’s radiant hues transform jewellery and carvings into a completely unique Caymanian gift. There is a Caymanite display at the Cayman Islands National Museum and it can be purchased from the Museum shop, the Craft Market, Pure Art Gallery & Gifts and the farmers market at the Cricket Ground.
Designer handbags, luggage sets, belts and more from designers such as Fendi, Cartier, Chopard and Longchamp are available in various Kirk Freeport boutiques. Cartier has a beautiful boutique store located in downtown George Town just a hop-skip from the cruise ship terminals.
Lalique, Waterford, Swarovski, Baccarat, Wedgewood, Herend, Versace, Vera Wang and Lladro are just some of the designers whose pieces are available here from Kirk Freeport. Look out for the Lladro and Lalique stingrays, exclusive to the Cayman Islands.
Cayman is famous for selling fantastic cameras at prices far better than those in the US and Europe. The main dealer is Cathy Church’s Photo Centre located on South Church Street, just outside of George Town.
Other great things to buy while in Cayman are watches, gems and precious metals as all are duty free and sales tax free. The best option is to just head downtown and wander around one of the many Kirk Freeport stores located on Cardinall Avenue or in Bayshore Mall in George Town. As well as offering a wide range of diamonds, rubies, emeralds and other gemstones, they stock brands such as Vera Wang, Bvlgari, Cartier, Hearts of Fire, Mikimoto, to name just a few. They also have a wide range of branded watches and one of the largest collections of Rolex's in the world.
The boutique, family-owned jewellery store, Rocky's Diamond Gallery, specialise in high-end jewellery. They offer an extensive collection of gemstones, perfect for life's big events. You can even have a piece of jewellery designed and made by their in house jewellery designers.
After that you can look around a few specific spots on Seven Mile Beach – check out the The Ritz-Carlton and the Strand Shopping Centre. In Camana Bay The Mansion is a good option.
If you are looking for beach or resort wear there are plenty of stores. The best places to look are George Town and Camana Bay, try the following: Guy Harvey Gallery & Shoppe, Blue Wave, Divers Supply and Sand Angels in Camana Bay. Funky Monkey in Governors Square is another great option. It is also worth looking in the hotel shops in The Ritz-Carlton, the Kimpton Seafire and The Westin.
Divers Supply sell, rent and service diving and snorkelling equipment. They are located in the West Shore Centre (Pink Plaza) on SMB. Most dive operators also rent snorkelling and diving equipment.
Cayman has numerous liquor stores and wine merchants and the quality and quantity of what they sell is extremely good. Liquor, however, carries a heavy import duty and this is reflected in the price of a bottle of liquor in liquor stores, as well as the cost of drinks in restaurants and bars. For example, duty on hard liquors starts at CI$11.85 per litre, so over a third of the retail price of a bottle costing CI$30.99 (Appleton VX Rum for example) consists of duty. Duty on wine is CI$3.60 per litre, champagne is CI$10.85 per litre, sparkling wine is CI$7.80 per litre, over-proof liquors is CI$15.98 and beers are CI$1.95 per litre. Jacques Scott, BlackBeard's and Big Daddy's are popular wine and liquor companies and they have numerous stores around the island.
For a huge selection of inexpensive good quality souvenirs try the Blue Iguana Souvenir Outlet and 2Blue, both are downtown. Every Bloomin' Thing in George Town is a hidden gem with a treasure trove of unique gifts and gadgets.