SHOPPING IN HAVANA
Havana has many different options when it comes to shopping: arts and crafts markets, art workshops, boutiques, music stores and, of course, its world-famous rum and tobacco factories.
To start your shopping tour we recommend the Plaza de la Catedral (Cathedral Square), right in the centre of Old Havana, with its arts and crafts market every weekend. Here you will find anything from typical Cuban articles, second-hand books, postcards and the odd ice cream, sweet or nut stall.
Another popular arts and crafts market is on the corner of Malecón and 21st street, where, from Tuesday to Sunday one can find a wide range of local arts and crafts, necklaces made with seeds, musical instruments, small ceramic figures representing Eleguá, the African deity and postcards of Cuba, among many other things.
For arts and crafts and art in general (engravings, paintings and sculptures), you can also go to the Fondo de Bienes Culturales, which is bound to have something that catches your eye among the wide range of things offered.
In Old Havana, you can also go to the Feria de la Habana Vieja, on Cuba Street, which offers a complete selection of arts and crafts as well as a section with Cuban musical instruments and traditional and contemporary music CDs and cassettes.
When it comes to tobacco, Cuba is the perfect place to visit. One of the best places is Fábrica de Tabacos Partagás, behind the Capitolio Nacional, on Industria Street, offering an excellent selection of tobacco as well as the chance to take a guided tour through the factory.
Remember that Cuban rum is world-famous, and a bottle of Havana Club (7 years old) should cost you around $9 in the shops. Other quality brands are Varadero and Guayabita del Pinar, among many others.
For clothes and shoes we recommend you pay a visit to the boutiques on Trocadero Street (Hotel Sevilla). And if you are really serious about shopping, Miramar is the place to go. Here you will find a great many exclusive shops with a wide range of clothes and footwear made by Cuban designers. The Centro Comercial (Shopping Centre) 5ta and 42 is the largest in Havana and is also to be found in Miramar, on Avenida 5ta, with several shops, as well as cafés where you can stop and have a light meal and a drink. Other popular shopping centres are La Epoca and Sorpresa in the centre of Havana.
When it comes to practical shopping, there is a variety of supermarkets in all the different areas in Havana, such as Vedado, Miramar, the city centre and Old Havana, all of which offer a wide range of tinned goods, fresh produce, bread, fruit and vegetables, as well as drinks and tobacco.
If you prefer traditional fruit and vegetable markets, your best choice is to visit some of the many markets scattered all over the city: Barrio Chino, Vedado and Plaza de la Revolución (near Avenida Boyeros).