Caribbean Shopping Savvy
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What Are Some Good Caribbean Shopping Tips?
Few travelers resist the lure of Caribbean shops, bazaars and markets. Research guidebooks and Websites and learn about local specialties. Make a list of things you want to buy and a gift list. Study prices for the items on your wish list on EBay or Google items for price comparisons. Customs regulations and fees vary according to your destination. Read Know Before You Go from U.S. Customs to avoid having purchases confiscated or paying exorbitant duty fees.
No matter where you shop, seek out unique mementos that have meaning long after your trip. Here are some specialties found in the Caribbean Islands:
- U.S. Virgin Islands – Flavored rums and rum candy, fine jewelry, diver's watches and local crafts.
- Bahamas – Baskets, Rum and local crafts.
- Antigua – Duty-free Scottish cashmere, hand-printed fabrics, rum liquors, and silk robes and skirts.
- Barbados – English china, African-batik, spices, run, pottery, baskets and leather goods.
- Cayman Islands – Duty –free designer jewelry and perfume. Treasure-coin pendants and rings, Tortuga Rum Cake, chocolates, Caymanite beads, turtle sculptures and enamel iguanas.
- Jamaica – Appleton Rum, Tia Maria, Blue Mountain Coffee, Reggae CDs, knit caps and folk paintings.
- Aruba – Imported china and designer fashions. Aruba Aloe lotions, Delft blue tiles and vases, Palmera rum and coconut bonbons.
- Grenada – Spices and local crafts.
If you enjoy shopping in markets and bazaars, learn to bargain with best. Ask your Caribbean
vacation rental agent/owner about local bargaining protocol. As a general rule, begin bargaining at 50% off the asking price and expect to settle for about 30%-40% off the seller's original price. Don't haggle over pennies. When negotiations reach that point, give in or walk away. Consider the economic conditions where you are and how much a few cents means in a poor economy.