Anytime a visitor goes to Punta Cana, it’s only normal that one would want to bring back a souvenir of their time on this beautiful island. At face value, goods may not appear cheaper to the casual observer, however, a large part of shopping in this Caribbean island is a willingness to bargain and haggle.
In many small shops and markets, it is expected that the asking price on an item is just a starting point for negotiations.
Bargaining is Key
While goods will, in general, be cheaper on the island, a willingness to engage in bargaining is necessary to get the best pricing on goods. Whether it’s with beach vendors or in the marketplace, haggling over pricing is to be expected.
Pricing, in general, is set with the expectation that buyers will engage in negotiation for a lower price. When in the market or on the beach, it is generally a good price point to negotiate for 50% below asking price. A willingness to not accept prices at face value will save a traveler a lot of money of the course of the trip.
Avoid Resort Gift Shops
When looking for souvenirs to bring home, resort gift shops will be among one of the most expensive areas to shop. If uncomfortable with the thought of haggling, the goods in the gift shops are still affordable, however, they will not be as cheap as those purchased on the beach or in the markets.
The gift shops in the resorts are generally cheaper than those found on other Caribbean Islands. Also, consider shopping for rum or food items in local Super Markets. These will be priced for the local economy and not at the high rates that some vendors near the resorts may charge.
Travelers to Punta Cana can also avail themselves of some free souvenirs. While on the beach, shell collecting is one of the most popular activities that will result in small tokens to remember the trip by. Another option is to bring small glass vials and fill the vials with sand from the beach.
These vials can then be added to a necklace or as decorative items in the home.
Practical Tips on Purchasing
While everyone wants a deal, a few things should be kept in mind. If purchasing items like amber or other semi-precious stones, be sure to check the quality of the item and that it is actually amber. Some vendors may try to pass fake items as real, and any savings in the haggling is lost when travelers realize they have purchased an item that is fake.
Also, be mindful of exchange rates when purchasing. Something may seem like a great deal, but may not actually be based on the currency exchange rate. A final tip is to be willing to say no and to walk away from an item. Goods are not that much cheaper if travelers spend money on items they don’t really want.
Some sellers can be pushy, and walking away from a bauble may be the best choice.
Overall, pricing of goods is cheaper in Punta Cana. Compared to some of the other islands in the Caribbean, goods are much more affordable to the average buyer.
A willingness to bargain and haggle with vendors will ensure an even better price on goods when in Punta Cana, and purchasing items away from resort gift shops will result in the best value.