NORWALK, Conn., Aug. 31 /PRNewswire/ — As the sun sets on a record summer travel season, travelers are taking one last plunge at their favorite resorts and destinations, basking in the most popular vacation activity around: shopping. And the experts at Travelers Advantage have made their lists, grabbed their shopping bags and weighed in on the top Caribbean resort hot spots for that end-of-summer adventure.
Shopping continues to be the most popular trip activity, according to the Travel Industry Association of America, with about 91 million people, or 63 percent of adult travelers, who include shopping as an activity on a trip each year. The most popular places to shop on trips are traditional enclosed shopping centers or malls (62 percent), according to the TIA. Overnight shopping trips average 4.8 nights, and travelers spend, on average, $563, excluding the cost of transportation to their destination.
“One of the highlights of everyone’s summer trip is to take in the sites, sounds — and shopping — during their vacation adventure,” said Julia Ryan, vice president of Travelers Advantage and TravelersAdvantage.com. “Many of the popular Caribbean resorts offer vacationers exotic, one-of-a-kind treasures to remind them of their visit.”
Whether it’s stunning jewelry, designer fashions, hand-rolled cigars or high-end liquors, the Caribbean offers top quality goods for much less than you’d pay at home. Here are the top shopping treasures of the Caribbean, according to the shopping experts at Travelers Advantage:
Aruba … If you’re interested in designer fashions, luxury goods like
jewelry, china, crystal and hand-rolled cigars. No need to worry about
sales tax, because the entire island is sales tax free.
Bahamas … The Straw Market is well known for handbags, woven mats, hats
and other straw items. Find duty-free deals on designer fashions and
European luxury goods such as perfumes, china, crystal, glass and
jewelry. The Bahamas Duty-Free Promotion Board, working with the
Bahamian government, has made shopping easy. Look for the symbol of the
pink flamingo. Merchants displaying this symbol are required to
guarantee the authenticity of their products.
Cayman Islands … The Cayman Islands are ideal for luxury goods
aficionados, offering china, jewelry, porcelain, Swiss watches, and other
fine fare. The Caymans consist of three main islands, Grand Cayman,
Cayman Brac & Little Cayman. These islands are duty-free and tax-free.
Local merchandise includes conch shell jewelry, coral, caymanite (black,
gray & red gemstones found only in the Caymans) , baskets, and hammocks.
Dominican Republic Shopping … Embroidery, fabric dolls, leather goods,
mahogany and cedar handicrafts, Dominican rum, and coffee are famous
finds throughout this country. Cigars are one of the most popular items
on the island — especially the handmade Fuente cigars in Santiago and
those from the Ciabo Valley. Amber, a rare stone that is found in the
Western Hemisphere, is abundant in the Dominican Republic, as well as
another precious stone called Larimar, blue in color similar to
turquoise. Be sure to check authenticity from an established jeweler.
Jamaica … Offers a variety of native items such as Blue Mountain coffee
and Tia Maria, a coffee-flavored liqueur made on the islands. The
popular jerk seasoning spice and Pickapeppa hot sauce helps recreate
Jamaican cuisines in your home. Don’t forget about the Jamaican rum, and
other souvenirs such as woodcarvings, woven baskets and handmade sandals.
Puerto Rico … Craftsmen in Puerto Rico are known for their exquisite
hand-carved quality work. Many visitors search for these crafts along
with hand-rolled cigars and the island’s world-famous rum. Other popular
items on this island are “Santos” — hand-carved religious figures — and
“cuatros” — 10-string guitars. Other local crafts such as Spanish style
jewelry, mundillo lace, papier-mache festival masks and mahogany items
are favored by many travelers.
St. Lucia … Visitors enjoy a plethora of bargains at St. Lucia duty-
free shops. Local crafts such as unglazed clay pottery, wood, straw
work, shell art, batik, cane furniture, coffee, cocoa, spices and bottled
hot sauces attract Caribbean tourists from around the world.
St. Martin … Another island with duty-free shops boasting European
fashions, jewelry, perfume, china, porcelain, watches, Italian leather,
and liquor. You can also find cane furniture ceramics, embroidered
linens, straw goods, and pareus which local craftsmen market and visitors
St. Thomas … A Caribbean shopping crown jewel, St. Thomas is a major
port of call for many cruise ships. Charlotte Amalie is the bustling,
main shopping street offering duty-free shopping on liquor, linens,
china, crystal, jewelry, designer fashions, perfume and other luxury
goods. Native shell jewelry, carved calabash bowls, straw brooms, woven
baskets, and hand-made dolls are popular locally produced crafts.
About Travelers Advantage
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