The Cayman Islands is quickly becoming one of the shopping meccas in the Caribbean, and not just for duty free items. From the high-end, to surprising bargains and everything in between, a wide range of goods and services can be found locally. Artwork, books, china, cameras, jewellery, watches, household accessories and furniture, to name a few, can be purchased from the array of shopping centres. Fashion lovers no longer have to travel abroad to purchase high-end clothing or accessories as there are stores offering a wide selection of men’s suits and work-wear and a phenomenal selection of swim and resort wear, lingerie and even evening wear, should you need to make an appearance at that gala. Fashionistas preferring a bargain should not lose heart; there are many shops that offer great choices, at very low prices, for those weekend purchases.
For those interested in local creations, there are stores around the Island that carry handmade crafts, artwork and delicious artisanal jams and pepper jellies. The historic shop at the National Museum, Cayman’s first post offfice, which was established in 1890, is a wonderful stop to make, if buying local. They specialise in jewellery made from the beautiful and uncommon Caymanite. The Farmer’s Market at The Grounds and at Camana Bay, continue to improve their offerings every year, with local farmers working diligently to increase the varieties of fruit and vegetables that can be grown in Cayman. Not only do home-grown produce taste better than many of their imported counterparts, but many local growers apply strict organic practices, so you will be making a healthier choice when you buy local. If you have green thumbs, head down to the Botanic Park or one of Cayman’s numerous plant nurseries to purchase plants and fruit-bearing trees.
While it is important to acknowledge that the prices of some goods are more expensive than in the US, there is often a very valid reason for this. Every item has to be shipped to Cayman whether by air or sea; then, Customs charge duty on (most) items at 20% (to retailers) or 22% (to the general public). This duty is calculated based on the value of the goods, the shipping costs (from origin), as well as the insurance charged. The items are then on display in stores that pay far higher electricity bills than in the US and have to pay high work permit fees for their staff. However, seasonal sales do happen frequently and local competition means that stores have to be competitive with their prices.
It is worth shopping around as things like spa services, cosmetic enhancements and hair dressing, vary depending on the business and the service. Products to beautify your home, from bedding and furniture to lighting fixtures, can be found at all the major homeware and accessory stores on-Island. Second-hand furniture and other used products can be sourced online and at the local thrift stores.
New shops are opening all the time. In August 2014, a batch of new shops opened in Caribbean Plaza on West Bay Road and in February 2015 the new 18 Forum Lane in Camana Bay, a mixed use commercial property, will include brand new expanded shopping facilities.
Is there something specific you're looking for? There's a great article on Shopping in Grand Cayman
on Explore Cayman that could assist in finding that hard-to-locate item and/or perfect souvenir.
Duty Free Shopping
Leather goods and cameras are duty-free as well as being free from sales tax. (Editor’s note: in this context, duty-free means the Government has not added any import or customs duty to items when they are imported into Cayman, and tax-free refers to the absence of any form of sales tax in the Islands). Without the mark-up of duty fees, sales tax, GST or VAT Island retail prices can be considerably less than in mainland countries. When buying products in a duty-free, tax-free market, there can also be pricing benefits that come directly from the manufacturers.
Many luxury goods manufacturers fix the retail prices of their products and dictate that retailers do not sell them for less than the prescribed price. These are typically set according to country or geographic area. However, in duty-free markets, manufacturers will generally allow retailers to give better pricing than customers might expect in their home market. It pays to shop around, particularly on Saturdays when there are usually no cruise ships in port and it is much quieter in George Town.
Cayman has a very good selection of bicycles for sale for adults and children. The main supplier with the largest selection is Uncle Bill’s Home Improvement
(Tel: (345) 949 7601). They also sell a large variety of bike-related products, accessories, lights and repair kits. Kirk Home Centre
(Tel: (345) 949 2521) also sells a good selection of children’s bikes. Both can be found on Eastern Avenue.
Bicycle RepairsSheldon Bike Repair
Tel: (345) 525 2020
Email: firstname.lastname@example.orgUncle Bills Home Improvement
Tel: (345) 949 7601
Buying In Bulk
There are good wholesale stores if you are looking for bulk items like nappies, cleaning supplies, toilet paper, paper towels etc. Priced Right and Cost-U-Less both sell an array of different items, from appliances and furniture to electronic equipment. Cost-U-Less
Governors Square, 51 Lime Tree Bay Avenue.
Tel: (345) 745 5377.
Two stores: Fosters Airport and West Bay.
Tel: (345) 949 5155.
(See Computer & Office Supplies
People in Cayman love to throw parties. Fortunately, there are several party supply stores and services available to serve your needs, regardless of the size of your event. It’s Your Party
(Tel: (345) 946 4453) located in Bodden Place next to Little Darlings, sells a wide variety of party supplies, fancy dress costumes and they also rent bouncy castles and more. Party Source
(Tel: (345) 947 2789) on Godfrey Nixon Way also sells and rents supplies for birthdays, weddings and corporate events. They also have another store upstairs which sells a huge variety of fancy dress items. For large party supplies like tents, tables, chairs and more, try Massive Equipment Rental
(Tel: (345) 949 7990) or Celebrations Ltd
(Tel: (345) 623 2044).
There is a good selection of thrift shops in Cayman that all sell a variety of nearly new items at competitive prices. They are always in need of donated items in good condition. They will then sell them on and use the proceeds to support various good causes or distribute the items to the needy within the community. The Claws-It Thrift Shop
Located above the Humane Society shelter. The shop sells clothes and shoes for the entire family, plus jewellery, handbags, school bags, housewares and computers at bargain prices. Every dollar spent goes towards the many homeless dogs and cats at the shelter and helps find loving homes for them. Open Monday-Friday, 10am-5pm and Saturday 9am-4pm. 153 North Sound Road. Tel: (345) 945 5596, email: email@example.com
.New To You Bargain Shop
Located on Anthony Drive, just off Smith Road in George Town, this thrift shop is open Monday-Friday 3pm-5.30pm and Saturdays from 8am-3pm. All funds raised help fund the NCVO programmes. Tel: (345) 949 2124.PAWS Thrift Shop
PAWS Thrift Shop sells clothes, shoes, furniture and computers at low prices. Every dollar spent goes towards the care of homeless dogs and cats in the Eastern districts, including the spay and neuter programme. Open Monday to Saturday, from 10am-3pm. Located in the plaza next to the Bodden Town Post Office, Tel: (345) 916 3957 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
.Red Cross Thrift Shop
Open for the public to donate and buy new and gently used items such as clothing, shoes, furniture, appliances and more. The funds generated are used to help support the vulnerable in the community. Pick-up of donations is available on Tuesdays and Thursdays and residents wishing to donate larger items (such as furniture) are urged to book a pick-up in advance of the date. They are open Tuesday–Friday from 9am-2pm and 5pm-7pm and Saturdays from 7.30am-1.30pm. Red Cross Headquarters, Huldah Avenue, George Town. Tel: (345) 949 6785 ext. 31 or email: email@example.com