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  1. #1

    Default What does duty free do for you?

    I am confused on what the duty free shops really do for you. If I buy Rum at the gift shop at the resort or some where else what is different than buying it at the duty free shop? I guess part of the difference is how you have to pack it for checking in at the airport in Jamaica, but if you are going to have to put in your checked bag in the US anyhow I don't see any advantage there.

  2. #2


    When a company imports liquor to the island it will fall into two categories:

    #1 Alcohol to be consumed on the island. The Jamaican government will charge an import duty on every bottle brought in for this purpose. That additional cost will show up in the selling price.

    #2 Alcohol to be consumed off the island. The Jamaican government will not impose an import duty on these bottles and thus their selling price will be less to the end consumer (or should be less, all things being equal). However, to enforce their "off island consumption only" rule, the bottle can only be purchased at specially licensed shops, such as at the airport.

    A duty on alcohol is usually justified as a means of offsetting some of the social costs of alcohol consumption -- drunk driving, health problems, etc. But alcohol that is consumed elsewhere avoids some of those costs locally so it's logical for the gov't to encourage alcohol purchases from which they can generate their normal tax revenue from sales to tourists with no downside.

    If you purchase a bottle of rum at a resort gift shop it probably will not truly be "duty free" as there would be no way to enforce the "off island consumption only" rules. But retailers throughout the Caribbean are notorious for posting big "Duty Free" signs all over the place to entice the unwary into thinking they're getting some exceptional deal. They may in fact be getting a great deal but it's probably not because the bottle is duty free.

  3. #3


    It's been my experience that the duty free at the airport is SIGNIFICANTLY cheaper than the resort gift shop, at least for rum.

  4. #4


    Buy it at the airport, it is much easier, and cheaper.

    We only buy rum cream, I can get appleton VX at my local grocery store for about $5 a bottle more, so it is not worth lugging it on a plane. But rum cream is of course not available, so I stock up.
    Last edited by IACouple; July 24th, 2010 at 01:21 PM.

  5. #5


    The bottles at the gift shop were 3 to 5 dollars more than the airport shopsfor rum.

  6. #6


    The only value the duty-free offers (to me) is price and availability that can not be met in the states on certain commodities, such as some rums and 100% Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee.

    Other than the higher price, I would not buy rum at the gift shops because it then has to go through THREE extra handling events by luggage handlers... once to load on the bus, once to offload the bus, and once to load on the plane... normally not healthy for your booze or for your luggage. The duty free MUST box up your liquor, and they do a bang up job of it, making it much safer to stash in you luggage once you arrive at your first home port.

    "In an abundance of water, the fool is thirsty..." - Bob Marley - "Rat Race"

  7. #7


    Anyone know how much a good size bottle of cream rum and bag of coffee cost at the airport before we leave?

  8. #8


    I think "Duty Free" is an excuse for some who loves to shop ... to shop. I smile when people tell me about the great deals they got on jewelry in a vacation destination.
    Last edited by rhallva; August 23rd, 2010 at 05:34 PM. Reason: typo correction

  9. #9


    Can't remember since it has been a while but if you buy alcohol either at the airport or at your resort do you pack it in you checked luggage or do they let you carry it on? I know that it would be more than 3 oz.

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