Shopping in Cuba. Some useful tips
Who says that Cuba isn’t a shopping destination? The best cigars and rums in the world, a wide selection of arts and crafts, stylish boutiques, jewellery, musical instruments and competitive prices for tourists are just some of the attractions for shopaholics. Not only in Havana, but in Varadero, Trinidad, Holguín and even at the easternmost tip of the Island: Santiago de Cuba, shoppers will find a whole host of local and truly authentic treasures reflecting the heritage, creativity and passion of the Caribbean.
Tobacco: This is the first thing your friends will ask you for once they find out that you’re coming to Cuba! Countless types, brands and models offer you the choice of the finest cigars in the world, making a wonderful gift for smokers. Cigars should only be purchased from La Casa del Habano shops, as those sold on the streets on the grey and black markets mostly contain poor quality substitutes. The boxes of authentic cigars are sealed and carry the “Hecho en Cuba” (Made in Cuba) label underneath.
Rum: Habana Club is the world’s most recognised brand, but there are many more to choose from, according to colour, age, alcohol content, price: Santiago, Mulata, Ritual, Legendario, Caney… You can find them in any shop. Don’t miss the guided tour of the Havana Club Museum to discover the history and origins of a drink dating almost as far back as the island itself!
Coffee: In Cuba they drink coffee from dawn til dusk. The typical coffee is known for its strong, sweet flavour. You can enjoy it in any combination, whether in a coffee shop or an exclusive restaurant. We recommend El Café Cubita!
Music: Popular and traditional Cuban music is yet another of this country’s treasures: Buena Vista Social Club, Silvio Rodríguez, Los Van Van Orchestra, Descemer Bueno, Gente de Zona, just to name a few. Available in CD, cassette or even vinyl format from specialist shops and markets in Old Havana. Musical instruments made in Cuba are also highly sought-after items.
Jewellery, Handicrafts and Artwork: Items made from black coral are the speciality of Cuban jewellers and can be found in specialist shops and hotel shops. Local products such as sketches, sculptures, wooden figures and an abundance of fabrics can be found at the craft fairs. It’s ok to bargain. To export other items, such as art and antiques, you must obtain permission from the Registro Nacional de Bienes Culturales (Cuban Register of Cultural Property). The majority of legitimate sellers have these permits and can provide you with an official seal on your invoice.
More info at: http://www.meliacuba.com