Monday, June 11, 2007

Shopping plan: Curacao

This Thursday i am leaving for holiday, in Curacao, Netherlands Antilles.
I am a very organized person, so before going somewhere for the first time i like to make lists with things to see, things to do, places to eat and, of course, things to shop.

I don't especially "need" to buy clothes in exotic destinations such as Curacao (but if the opportunity is in front of me, why not? :) ), but i am looking more for some other categories of items, like souvenirs, local pieces of art etc.

As i read on different websites on Curacao, the shops there are tax-relax, which means that the VAT applied is smaller comparing to other countries. Also, Curacao used to be a major trade centre in the Caribbean, so the shops there are packed with quality items from all around the globe.

It looks that things like digital cameras, sunglasses and high class designer clothes can be bought at relatively low prices (more that 30% lower that the prices in US for example).
That's why i decided to pay a visit to some fashion boutiques (located in the Punda district, as i read in online travel reviews), maybe i can find some good deals. Other that that, the word "reduced sunglasses" popped in front of my eyes, so i will search for a pair of Police shades that i just want forever for my husband.

The Punda district in Curacao

As i said before, i don't have a habit in going clothes shopping in exotic destinations, but if something is really nice i will make an exception. The "specific", "local", "traditional" clothes or accessories are of course not included in this rule; I like to buy hand-made necklaces or some other jewelleries from different places in the world (for example i have a nice carved-wood bangle from this year Easter Trip in Greece, great with any easy-going summer outfit, and, last year, in Bora Bora - French Polynesia, i developed an obsession for black pearls- among others, i bought a very expensive 14mm diameter pearl, which i wear almost all the time). I also like to buy a piece of traditional clothes. In Tahiti i was crazy about the colourful flower dresses or shirts the local used to wear all the time, so i bought for myself a pink dress, and a blue & white shirt for my husband. I also stocked with several pareos, with different colors and designs (one was hand-painted in front of my eyes by a local artist...very nice!).

So i am sure that this year, in Curacao, i will find some very nice hand made coral jewelleries, or some other things the local artisans sell.

I plan also to buy some local liqueur (the blue Curacao). I like the taste of it (so i will purchase some nice little cute bottles for my self, but it is also a great souvenir gift for friends or relatives.

Back home, i have an extended collection of fridge magnets. If you look on my fridge door, you can see all the places I've seen during the years. So i will definitely buy a nice Curacao fridge magnet to add to my collection.

Another must-purchase is a Curacao lighter. My husband collects them, and we always laugh when, for example, in Bora Bora, he uses a Ischgl (Austrian ski destination) lighter, and in Ischgl he lights his cigarettes with a Bora Bora one.

I've read about the ostrich farm in Curacao, and planned a visit there. They have a nice art shop inside, where you can buy hand-painted ostrich eggs. That's a nice adding to my art collection from all-around the globe!

The last chapter in this shopping plan is the beauty section. I like to buy local beauty products made of famous local ingredients. For example: when in Greece i always buy olives beauty products (i am addicted to body lotion and shower gel) and in Tahiti i like the Tiare (small white flower, very popular in French Polynesia) massage oil, which is perfect for tan skin and has a very nice flagrance.
In the many reviews about Curacao I've read ever since i decided that this Caribbean island is going to be my next summer destination, every body is excited about the Aloe Vera beauty products made here. There is also an Aloe Vera farm, where you can learn all about this curing plant, so i am sure they have an interesting shop.

So, to summarize:
* search Police sunglasses at a very good price
* buy some hand-made local jewellery by local artist (maybe coral?)
* good deal designer clothes
* art (and i don't go for cheap items!)
* Curacao blue liqueur (for me, friends and family)
* Curacao fridge magnet
* Curacao lighter
* hand painted ostrich egg
* some more souvenirs
* Aloe Vera beauty products

What are you planning to buy in your holiday?

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