I’ve always been told to just walk by the Duty Free stores, that the products cost the same as they do here. That’s true in some cases. However, the big Duty Free shops do have a couple of perks you might not want to pass up.
1. Liquor Sales: most of the premium alcohols are about the same price, but sometimes the shops will do a big price cut on one of your household staples. The “package” store (as they call the liquor stores here in Atlanta) absolutely kill you on every type of vodka, so for me, the Duty Free sale price on Stoli, Grey Goose, and Ciroc is really good. But if they aren’t on sale, I usually don’t bother.
2. Exclusive Liquors: All of the forgein countries I have visited recently have domestic brands you can’t find in the US. During my trip, I always sample one or two when I go to bars so I’ll know which one I want to buy at the airport. I love to bust them out at parties and special occasions to give my guests a treat and fun story. Above is Clase Azul reposado, a brand of tequila
that is said to be shutting down! (see update below!) It’s our absolute favorite and rare in the US. Every time I go to Mexico, I pick up a big bottle for the house ($75) and a few smaller ones ($43) to give as gifts. People love them at first sight because the bottle is so unique and then usually call a week later raving about the tequila. Another one I just stumbled across is Siete Lenguas, which is made and owned by the Patron Family.
3. Chocolate: Chocolate candy bars are so much more decadent in forgein countries because they are manufactured with more chocolate and less fillers. Think Mexican Coke versus American Coke; the former is so much better! The same holds true for Kit Kats (my favorite), Hershey’s, Cadburry, you name it. So I always grab a bag, indulge on a few, and then share the rest with friends.
**You are allowed to bring back 2-3 liters worth of alcohol per person, depending on which state you live in. Just make sure to ask at the store.
UPDATE: Clase Azul is doing the exact opposite of shutting down. They just celebrated their 15th year anniversary with an event at Las Ventanas in Cabo and a major marketing push for their product. YAY! I’m so glad it will be more widely available here for all of us to enjoy! The PR rep who contacted me with this good news also added that the prices at Duty Free are better than you will find in a retail store, so still stock up on your way out of Mexico!