Cuba’s shopping paradises

Trinidad, photo by Patrick Dinnen

Cuba is the kind of country that you can’t leave without buying some souvenirs. Of course, there are more than enough awesome travel experiences for you to try in Cuba, so it’s highly unlikely that you won’t have any great memories to bring home with you, but the local products of Cuba are simply too good to resist. No one would peg Cuba as a shopping destination of the caliber of New York of Paris, but what the country generally lacks in fancy brand shops (although you can most definitely find a few of them in Cuba) it makes up in beautiful and ingenious local crafts and products. Cuba’s shopping paradises are closer and more numerous than you think, and here are a few of them that you might want to check out.

Plaza Carlos Tercero, Havana

Shopping malls are nothing unusual in Cuba, and one of the largest and most popular shopping centers of this kind can be found in central Havana. Plaza Carlos Tercero is crowded at all opening hours, sometimes so much that you have to stand in queue at the shop entrances. Like any other mall, the three floors of Plaza Carlos Tercero include a food court, cafes, various clothes shops, book stores and electronics stores.

Pinar del Rio

Havana, photo by Tony Hisgett on Flickr

It’s not difficult at all to get cigars in Cuba, and they make a wonderful souvenir of gift if you are allowed to take them across the border. If you are a big fan of cigars, one of the destinations you must visit in Cuba is Pinar del Rio, the center of the country’s cigar industry. Visit the Francisco Donatien Cugar factory and update your cigar making know how, and load up on souvenirs at the shops.

Calle Heredia, Santiago de Cuba

Santiago de Cuba doesn’t offer much in the way of shopping if you are interested in clothes, shoes or luxury items, but if you prefer to buy interesting local crafts anyway, head to Calle Heredia, a street lined with various small shops. Every day there is a small market with stalls where you can buy ebony statues, paintings, masks, jewellery and other decorative items.

Pena street market, Trinidad

Santiago de Cuba, photo by tinali778

Trinidad is one of the most touristy cities in Cuba, and one of Cuba’s shopping paradises par excellence. Although you can find the requisite rum and cigar shops in Trindad, it’s the street markets that make the shopping scene in Trinidad truly interesting. The stalls on Pena street have plenty of clothes and beautiful handmade lace, as well as carvings and other crafts.

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