Havana may not be known for its shopping, but it''s a good place
to check out the local wares and enjoy the shopping geared at
tourists - a sad reality of the country''s capitalist stance as most
Cubans can''t afford the luxurious products on sale, though some
locals can be found strolling through the streets and malls,
browsing, shopping and mingling with international visitors.
The biggest market in Havana is open daily on Calle TacÃ³n in La
Habana Vieja, with local arts and crafts, t-shirts, and other
popular souvenirs. Or you can head to the ultra-modern Tiendas
Carlos Tercero on the Avenida Salvador Allende where everything
from clothes and shoes to electrical and sporting goods can be
found while for local fashion and designer goods, La Maison in
Miramar is the place to go.
Old Havana is a great place to browse too as the area is
becoming increasingly popular with small boutiques and specialist
shops lining the streets and while you''re there, head to the local
craft market behind the Plaza de la Catedral where stalls selling
Cuban paintings, sculptures, wooden statues and embroidery abound
and haggling is welcome.
Cuba''s most famous export is undoubtedly its cigars. Regarded as
among the best in the world, ''cubans'' make great gifts from Havana
for smokers. Cigars should only be bought at La Casa del Habano
shops, as the black and grey-market cigars available on the street
are often low-quality substitutes. Authentic boxes of cigars are
sealed with ''Hecho en Cuba'' (made in Cuba) branded at the bottom of
Another well-known product of Cuba is its music, with salsa,
folk, jazz, and reggaeton being popular. As with cigars, it is
advised to buy cds from official state-run stores, as albums bought
from the black or grey market are often low-quality bootlegs.
Visitors will notice that Che Guevara''s likeness adorns just
about everything from t-shirts and bags to mugs and coasters. Ron
Caney or Havana Club rum makes a great Havana souvenir, or Cuban
coffee. Men may like to pick up a colourful guayabera, an
embroidered tropical shirt. Most shops in general open from 10am to
6pm and 10am to 1pm on Sundays.