As a free port, there is duty-free shopping and a range of British glass, crystal, china, woollens, perfumes and spirits are available. US citizens are entitled to a US$400 exemption after being away from the USA for 48 hours.
Black coral carvings and jewellery are widely available. Note that since the 1978 Cayman Islands Marine Conservation Law prohibited the removal of coral from local waters, manufacturers turned to Belize and Honduras for their supply. All the Central American countries are now members of CITES, so if you must buy it, it would be worth checking the source of the coral in case it has been procured illegally. Caymanite is a semi-precious gem stone with layers of various colours found only in the Cayman Islands. Local craftspeople use it to make jewellery.
At Churchill’s Cigar Store, T9456141, you can buy Cuban seed tobacco, which is rolled and packaged in the Cayman Islands so it can be legally imported into the USA, look for Cayman Crown and Cayman Premium. The day’s fish catch can be bought from the fishermen most afternoons opposite the Tower Building just outside central George Town. Otto Watler makes and sells honey in Savannah, sign on the right just after the speed limit notice.
Useful for arts and crafts is the National Gallery of the Cayman Islands (T9458111) comprehensive ‘Art Trail’ map which highlights the location of artists, studios, galleries, craftsmen’s homes and retail outlets, related establishments and points of interest in the Cayman Islands. Pure Art, on South Church St (also at Hyatt Regency), sells the work of over 100 local artists and craftsmen and women; paintings, prints, sculptures, crafts, rugs, wallhangings etc. Open Monday-Saturday 1000-1600.
The National Gallery of the Cayman Islands has a stall at Rum Point, Grand Cayman, selling work by local artists and craftsmen, run as a co-operative called Native Done. The National Museum on the waterfront in George Town has a popular, well-stocked gift shop for prints, posters, books and crafts. Open Monday-Saturday, 1000-1600, T9498368. The National Trust House headquarters on Courts Rd, T9490121, Email: ntr...@candw.ky, open Monday-Friday 0900-1700, has a new gift shop featuring locally made gifts, Cayman-related books and Trust materials, including posters of the red-footed booby and the endangered blue iguana. Caribbean Charlie’s in Northside, near Rum Point, offers a wide assortment of tropical crafts with handmade, custom designed and signed work, T9479452. The Glassblowing Studio on the waterfront in George Town is open Monday-Saturday 0830-2100, T9497020, and you can watch the artisans creating glassware and figurines for sale. Interesting if not to everyone’s taste. They have two other stores: Flameworks, in the Anchorage Centre across from the Port Authority and in the Regency Court, next to the Hyatt Hotel. Caymanian artist Kara Julian has a gallery in Galleria Plaza, T9465272, where you can buy her art glass paintings in vivid colours and tropical designs, ranging from champagne flutes to soap dispensers. Tropical L’Attitude Islands Gifts and Apparel, T9451233, in Butterfield Square across from the main post office in George Town, sells gifts and clothing from around the world, batik, bags, baskets, jewellery, paintings, carvings and furniture. On Cayman Brac, NIM Things sells items made locally, including caymanite jewellery, straw bags and crochet. Open 0900-1800 at Spot Bay, east-end of the Main North Side Rd, but not always open.
Joe Tourist is the newest ‘Made in Cayman’ casual wear and accessory line. The children’s range is decorated with stingrays, blue iguanas and green sea turtles. Adult clothing is in earth tones and Caribbean colours and uses natural fibres and textures in locally-made products such as straw hats, leather bags and burlap knapsacks made from recycled croaker sacks. Joe Tourist products are available only in the Cayman Islands.
The Book Nook (which sells Caribbean Islands Handbook among other books, toys, gifts and games), is at Galleria Plaza, West Bay Rd, T9474686, and Anchorage Centre, T9497392, PO Box 1551, Grand Cayman, F9475053.