Cuba Shopping
Cuba Shopping

There are many reasons to go to Cuba, one of them isn´t shopping. Havana, although it is the best you will find in Cuba, is by no means a great shopping city.

Cuba

The reason by now must be obvious: Cuban economy does not allow for much room for the average Cuban to buy anything beyond the basic daily necessities.

Those shops that do offer luxury products are entirely aimed at tourists, or the occasional foreign diplomat or worker. Hence, all such shops selling to tourists operate exclusively with United States dollars (CUC$), and the majority of them are run by the state.

Cuban Art
The Cuban art scene, however, is cutting edge and whether you´re a collector or just an admirer: Cuba hosts many interesting art galleries.

Cuba

To export artwork from Cuba, always make sure to ask for an official receipt to show Cuban customs to prevent confiscation upon departure. If you´ve bought the work at a state-run gallery, the official receipt should usually suffice.

If, however, you´ve bought the work of art directly from the artist, you´ll need to go to the Registro Nacional de Bienes Culturales in Vedado Calle 17, no. 1009 (between Calles 10 and 12). The procedure is as follows:

  1. Bring the objects to the Registro;
  2. Fill out a form;
  3. Queue (expect several hours);
  4. Pay a fee (between 10 and 30 CUC$);
  5. Return 24 hours later to pick up your certificate.

Occasionally the artist will offer to obtain the permit for you, as long as you´ll pay the deposit.

The state-run company in charge of management of Cuban art export is ARTex. Besides promoting Cuban musicians and artists abroad, ARTex runs a series of stores around the country. Depending on the size and location, these shops offer a good selection of Cuban music, t-shirts, and sometimes even quality Cuban instruments.

Another interesting place to visit would be the Taller de Serigrafía René Portocarrero in Calle Cuba 513, between Brasil and Muralla in Habana Vieja. This atelier makes impressions over carton and textile materials, and contains a photographic laboratory with a wide offer of services in black and white and full color. Young Cuban artists exhibit and sell their work here.

Other Shopping
Cuba Another favourite is the Cuban cigars, most famously the Cohiba for being Fidel Castro´s favourite brand. One of the many places in Havana to buy your Cuban cigars is in the Palacio de la Artesanía, Calle Cuba 64. Here you´ll find the other typical tourist trinkets such as Che merchandise and other souvenirs.

Get your copies of famous Cuban films in Cine Yara, which in addition hosts an impressive collection of film posters, postcards, and t-shirts. You´ll find it on the corner of Calle 23 and L.

To bring Cuban music home with you, go to Longina Musica in Calle Obispo 360. Great CD collection plus an impressive arsenal of Cuban instruments.

For those that like to stroll second hand markets, the permanent flea market Area de Vendedores por Cuenta Propio in Calle Maximo Gomez 259 might be of interest.

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