This is a question I would get asked during my 25 years as a Port Shopping Guide on Cruise Ships.
Visiting Aruba by Cruise, staying in a Resort or Hotel you will want to shop, here is your ultimate guide…
These are the top items visitors shop for when visiting Aruba.
Tax and Duty-Free Shopping
Everything in the Caribbean is tax and duty-free; many guests embark on a cruise ship ready to shop ashore to save anywhere between 15- 65% on luxury products. It’s hardly surprising that the Caribbean islands have become hot spots for luxury shopping over the years to accommodate this appetite by cruisers to shop ashore.
Jewelry and watches are the number one item guests buy because the prices are so much less than back home. The key here is to do some research before you leave for your cruise. Visit your high street or search online. There are four things to consider when buying a diamond; see below.
You’re saving your tax; how much tax do you pay back home? Then that is how much you are saving straight away. I live in the U.K., so if I were to buy a diamond on my high street, I would need to pay 20% tax at the cash register. The jeweler will have also paid import duty for the pleasure of receiving the diamond from the manufacturer, which can be 4 – 5%. If you are not sure what VAT or GST you would pay back home on luxury goods, which is what a diamond falls under, then use this link to find your sales tax, which you are saving when you buy luxury products in the Caribbean.
You’re Personal Allowances
Even though you are saving your all your tax please bear in mind you will have an allowance of what you can bring back into your own country. The allowance isn’t a limit you can spend over and above and indeed many people do, you also won’t pay the full tax on the overage check with your local authority for your own personal allowances and personal use tax rate to pay. If you go over Check with your Customs website here is the Customs Duty Information | U.S. Customs and Border Protection (cbp.gov) and here is the UK Government website link.
- There are four main factors to consider when buying a diamond, referred to as the four c’s – Cut, Color, Carat weight, and Clarity. All of which affect the price.
- The next thing you can do is figure out roughly what size, known as the Carat Weight of the stone. Please bear in mind this is only one of the pieces in the puzzle.
- Then choose the shape of the stone, known as the cut, do you like round, oval, square shapes, rectangle, or even heart shapes? This is the basics, and it is okay to have about three to choose from. I recently helped a friend buy an engagement ring for his intended, and he knew that she liked square diamonds. A couple of options for the cut, emerald, princess, and radiant cut, can fall under this category. But here is a guy trying to surprise his fiance to be, and he at least knew the shape, so we had a starting point.
- All you need to do is look at the color and clarity of the stones – the whiter and cleaner a diamond, the more valuable it will be, but this is also where you can save some money talk to the sales associate about your options and trust your judgment, you can see if a stone is white and clean by comparing them to each other.
Tip if you want a One Carat Diamond then go just below – try a 0.90ct or 0.85ct the price will suddenly jump up when you get to a whole Carat weight.
This is the most popular colored gemstone that guests buy even to this day. The gemstone was discovered in Tanzania, East Africa, in 1967. It was the famous Tiffany & Co. that took the stone to market in 1968. But the scientific name of “blue-violet zoisite” was not thought to be sufficiently consumer-friendly by Tiffany’s marketing department, so they gave the gemstone the name ‘tanzanite’ named after Tanzania, the country in which it was discovered. In 2002, the American Gem Trade Association chose tanzanite as a December birthstone, the first change to their birthstone list since 1912.
It was around that time I remember hearing about this gorgeous colored gemstone, and it started to become widely available in the Tax and Duty-Free stores in the Caribbean. Of course, it has increased in value over the years, but it is still a great deal in the Caribbean, saving your tax and duties but again, do make sure you know what you’re looking for when shopping ashore.
There is only one mine in the world for Tanzanite in Tanzania, East Africa, then this mine is exhausted there will be no more Tanzanite.
You can find a lot of rare one of kind gemstones in the Caribbean because each store sees more customers in one day than your high street retailer would see in a month; brands and suppliers like to supply their finest gemstones in the retailers positioned in the ports of call and Aruba is no exception. You can find Alexandrites, rare colored diamonds such as yellow, pink, and blue available mostly in Shiva’s Gold & Gems, and one-of-a-kind gems such as Paraiba Tourmalines, Morganite, Cambolite, and Blue Zircon, all available at Kay’s Fine Jewelers.
Mark Henry design gorgeous Alexandrite jewelry do check them out available at Mark Henry Collection — Kay’s Fine Jewelry
This is a no-brainer, so you love a watch, you know the brand, model, and the price you would pay back home. Going on a cruise, simple buy-in ashore, here is a list of retailers in Aruba that are authorized dealers for each watch brand, so you are given your warranty just like if you bought the watch from an authorized retailer back home. The difference is your saving your sales tax and duty; you are looking at saving between 7 – 25% on a fabulous watch:
Diamonds International – Hublot, Breitling, Philip Stein, Bremont, Zenith, Fendi, Longines, Bulova, Hamilton, Movado, Bomberg, Baume & Mercier, Blancpain, Jaquet Droz, Ernst Benz.
Shiva’s Gold & Gems watch selection – Chanel, Corum, Glashutte, Hamilton, Hublot, Michele, Blancpain, IWC, Jaeger le Coultre, Carl F Bucherer, Harry Winston, Panerai, Zenith, Piaget, Tissot, Vacheron Constantine, and Longines.
Kay’s Fine Jewelry– Bulova, Citizen, Frederique Constant, Hamilton, Philip Stein, Rado, Seiko, Shinola, Tissot, and many other watches, check their website.
One of the most popular watches purchased in the Caribbean is a Philip Stein, you can find these with authorized retailers such as Diamonds International, Kay’s Jewelers and you can shop online directly with Philip Stein using this link enter this code MELID30 at check out for a discount of 15%
Aruba is a brilliant place to buy unique souvenirs; with the Dutch European influence. You will find many fabulous colors of Dutch souvenirs. Here are some highlights that I saw the guests buying a lot of. Colour change T-shirts with, of course, Aruba designs; check out Del Sol with products that change color in the sun; so much fun to take back to the kids; here is the link to their store in Aruba. If you have heard of Del Sol before, they are in a lot of Caribbean islands, each island specializing in the local designs, head over to the Del Sol Website there is always an offer on and at the moment, it is a FREE Tote Bag when you buy two Tees – here is the link to Color Changing Clothes, T-Shirts, Accessories by DelSol.com.
Also, Cariloha sells ultra-comfortable bedding, clothing, and bath goods made from the most sustainable renewable resource on the planet – bamboo! They even offer bamboo face masks. Bamboo is very soft, comfortable, and hypoallergenic. Bamboo grows pesticide-free, self-regenerates when cut down, and some species can grow up to four feet per day. Explore all the incredible benefits of this miracle plant! Bamboo Essentials Comfort, style, and sustainability can coexist. And that’s what you’ll experience with all of Cariloha’s eco-friendly bamboo fabrics. Bamboo’s soft, buttery feel and lightweight breathability. Designed to appeal to those who seek the very best in natural luxury. Here is the location in Aruba; if you can’t wait to cruise to Aruba to shop or you just visited and forgot to pick up your Cariloha essentials, here is a link to their website Bamboo Clothing, Apparel & Accessories | Cariloha
This is an awesome thing to buy in Aruba; again, the art is a mixture of Caribbean vibrance with the European class and style because of the Dutch influence. Check out Cosecha, which, when translated, means harvesting. This Art Gallery reflects the diversification of the Aruban craft heritage and the artistic supply of artisans. Personal inspirations and craftsmanship are exposed in their products. Here is a link to the website.
Cosecha is a haven for locally made arts and crafts. Highlighting the locals and visitors with a pure representation of the Aruban heritage. Cosecha showcases arts and crafts with the SEYO certification, the national seal of craftsmanship.
At the Cosecha store in San Nicolas, there is also a creative center. Facilitating workshops for the public and a small restaurant. Within the Cosecha, you will find distinguished artisans who play a crucial role in upholding Aruba’s arts and craft industry. The current collection showcases the variety hereof.
Cosecha San Nicolas Thursday – Saturday 1.30 pm – 6.30 pm
Cosecha Oranjestad Monday – Saturday 1.30pm – 6.30pm
You can also shop online, click on the website for all the latest one-of-a-kind art available to purchase.
You can buy the most amazing aloe Vera products from here with the only aloe vera harvesting, manufacturing, packaging, and selling company on the island. There is a product you can buy in most retail outlets in Aruba called Aruba Aloe. They pride themselves on creating Aloe Vera products with a plant that is so prominent in Aruba. Aloe Vera is so unique in its countless benefits. Aruba’s Code of Arms even features an aloe plant it is sometimes nicknamed ‘The Island of Aloes.’ Aloe Vera marked Aruba’s first source of welfare. The quality of the Aruban Aloes has been the best in the World for more than 150 years. If you want to shop for this online, here is the link to the website Aruba Aloe.
To know more about this fantastic product, check out this blog on their website; here is a link.
Some places advertise the local Dutch cheeses to buy. Honestly, think of your luggage weight to buy that cheese back home in your local supermarket.