Choosing souvenirs to bring back from vacation is always a difficult task!
A thousand questions arise: where should I shop? What will I bring back for my great aunt? What are the duty frees worth? So to help you, we tell you everything about the best souvenirs of Cuba to bring back in your suitcases!
Who says Cuba says Cuban cigars! It is the most inescapable of the souvenirs of Cuba! Impossible not to visit cigar factories if you travel in the “Pearl of the Caribbean”.
It is in the Valley of Viñales that you will find most of the factories.
There, after having explained to you all about the culture of tobacco and the manufacture of cigars, you will be inevitably proposed to buy some.
Personally, we let ourselves be tempted by cigars, which, we were told, were organic, at 4 CUC the piece.
In retrospect, they were not of an extraordinary quality but it is a nice souvenir.
Otherwise, you will find in Havana the very famous factory of Cuban cigars the Real
Fabrica de Tabacos Partagás.
You will be able to buy there cigars of big brands at prices lower than those practiced in France (93 CUC the box of Romeo y Julietta, 14 CUC the package of Cohiba cigarillos).
In the capital, we also recommend the cigar store of the Hotel Sevilla, in the Centro Habana district: the sellers are very friendly and you can even pay by credit card.
However, be careful! The quantity of cigars that can be brought back to France is limited.
To learn more, you can read our article summarizing the restrictions at the Cuban customs.
If you bring back Cuban cigars, make sure you store them in the best possible conditions.
The ideal is to invest in a humidor.
Don’t get too excited, because it’s the same thing for rum as for cigars.
You can also only bring back a limited amount.
If the most famous Cuban rum is of course Havana Club, there are also a lot of other local brands that will make you happy: Mulata, Legendario, Santiago de Cuba… You will find specialized stores in all the big cities.
In Havana, the Havana Club brand has its own museum, el Museo del Ron, in the Habana Vieja district.
You can have a tasting there, and of course store in the museum’s boutique.
If your flight is direct, you should know that Cuban rum is on sale at the airport duty free at interesting prices.
However, be careful, if you have a stopover, your bottles may be seized at the time of your connection! It is therefore better to do your shopping beforehand and store your rum in the hold.
It would be a shame to have your souvenirs of Cuba confiscated!
The chocolate of Baracoa
If you take your Cuban trip as far as Baracoa, don’t forget to bring back a souvenir of chocolate, the local specialty! In bars or in powder, the choice is yours.
It is on the Casa del Chocolate, that it is necessary to put the course to make your purchases.
I might as well say it right away, the chocolate bars did not like the temperature changes and the flight back.
But hot chocolate is drunk like whey! If you don’t go to Baracoa, don’t panic! You can also shop at the Museo Casa del Chocolate, on Calle Mercaderes in Habana Vieja.
Trinidad’s art galleries
The beautiful colonial city of Trinidad is full of small art galleries selling the works of local artists.
Art lovers will undoubtedly find something to their liking.
But be careful: like rum and cigars, artworks are subject to Cuban customs controls.
Craft market in Habana Vieja
You will love a small handicraft market on Calle Obispo in La Habana Vieja where you’ll find a nice selection of Cuban souvenirs to take home.
Jewelry (5 or 6 CUC for necklaces, 3 CUC for earrings), handbags, wooden objects (we brought back hand-carved dominoes to our grandparents for 5 CUC): there is plenty to do!
Musical instruments in Santiago de Cuba
If the whole island of Cuba honors music, it is even more true in Santiago de Cuba! Indeed, Santiago organizes every year the most famous carnival of the island and even of all the Caribbean.
It is thus not very surprising that it is there that we found handcrafted musical instruments.
For lack of space, we only brought back a clave, a small percussion instrument.
But if you don’t mind being crowded, you can also bring back a guiro or maracas.
It’s a more original souvenir of Cuba than the usual cigars! To do your shopping, go to the Museo El Carnaval on Calle Heredia.
In front of the entrance, craftsmen sell instruments.
And if you go inside the museum (the entrance is 1 CUC), you will find the stand of the artist who designs the posters of the festival.
Some of them are offered for sale.
The guilty pleasure: the trinkets of tourists
We have to admit it (no one is perfect), we have a little penchant for tourist trinkets… You know, mugs, magnets, keychains, and other absolutely and completely futile purchases! In the four corners of the world, we find the same tourist stores and Cuba is no exception.
Havana is the place where you can do your shopping.
License plates (5 CUC), t-shirts with the effigy of Che Guevara, with the logo of Havana Club (10 CUC), or even Cuban flag (6 CUC): you have the choice! We also liked the postcards with old photos of Fidel Castro and Che.
When it comes to souvenirs from Cuba, there is plenty to do! The smokers and the drinkers will be particularly filled!
But beyond the unavoidable Cuban cigars and rum, if you look hard enough, you can also find more unusual or offbeat souvenirs. There is something for every budget, so get your pesos!