Shopping in Cuba
If you are looking for souvenirs from Cuba you should read this.
The island of Cuba is one of the Caribbean countries that have little variety of products. Sometimes it is difficult to find certain items. However, one can not leave Cuba without tasting some of its most typical delicacies such as rum or coffee, visiting their tobacco plantations where their popular cigars are made or dancing to their more traditional music such as chachacha and rumba, among others.
One of the most common purchases in Cuba are CDs, perfumes, which are much cheaper than in other parts of the world, and crafts. The country has small shops that sell recognisable Cuban paintings, souvenirs made of wood, Cuban hats or native delicacies. Some of the best shopping centres are the Comodoro, the Feria de San José and the Palacio de la Artes, in Havana; Also the Varadero Street Market has a good variety of products.
Cuba is not the best country for clothes. However, in Havana, there are some shops and boutiques where you can find wonderful one-off handcrafted items. In the shopping centres Galerías Paseo and Cohiba, next to the Malecón Habanero, you can find several boutiques, although most are not very cheap, due to the exclusivity of the pieces. In the shopping centre La época there are also clothing stores, as well as in the streets of San Rafael, Obispo and Oficios.
Cultivated organically, Cuban coffee is characterized as being very aromatic. It is not native to the country, however, it became famous because of the unbelievably high quality of the beans. One of the most popular areas to see the plantations or visit the coffee factories are the terraces of Pinar del Río or the Sierra del Rosario. Also, the Sierra Maestra mountains in Santiago de Cuba, where the first coffee plantations were planted has been declared a World Heritage Site. Some of the best-known brands are Turquino, Cubita or Serrano.
Cuban crafts represent one of the main economic incomes for the country. Every traveller to this island wants to take home a typical handmade souvenir. Some of the most sought after crafts are paintings, jewellery made from coconut or coral, wooden figures, books, antiques and stamps. If you are interested in purchasing art one of the best places to go is to the sustainable development village of Las Terrazas, in Pinar del Río. This is where many of the artists have their studios. Also in Baracoa, where one of the best-known artistic communities is based. In Havana, there are several markets such as the Palace of Crafts and the Fair of San José, the latter of which is very popular. If travel to Trinidad as well, then you cannot miss the Art and Crafts Market, where there are also textiles.
Part of the stereotypical image of Cuba is the flat-topped straw hat adorned with a red or black bow. Although not exclusively typical of Cuba, on the island it is widely used to protect wearers from the sun. These can be found in the markets of Old Havana such as the Fair of San Jose, the Market of art and crafts of Trinidad, or in the Street Market of Varadero.
The iconic drink of Cuba, and one of the countries trademarks. It can be found in almost all the cities of the island, although our recommendation is to purchase the best quality rum in the factories that actually produce it. For example, the factory in Arrechabala, located near Varadero. Another option is to buy it in the rum museum of Old Havana, where you can find a variety; or in the shops of the hotels or in the airport's duty-free zone, where the prices are similarly cheap. Cuba has a large number of rum brands. Some of the best known are Havana Club, Caney, Legendario or Arecha, among others.
One of the essential activities in Cuba is to visit some of its many tobacco plantations. For this, the perfect area is Pinar del Río, the heart of Cuba's tobacco industry, where the regions of Vuelta Abajo and Semi Vuelta, which include the tobacco districts of San Luis and San Juan, are located. In all of these areas there are tobacco factories where you can buy the popular Habanos cigars. Even if you do not smoke, a Cuban cigar is a valuable souvenir.