During my trip to Cuba, many original items caught my attention in markets, state shops, farms and even in hotels. Here I have listed the most interesting of them so that you know what to look for in Cuba when deciding on gifts shopping. Take them home as a treasured memory of this Caribbean country changing so rapidly in recent years. In addition to the 10 things every woman should know before visiting Cuba, here is a list of things worth buying in Cuba.
1 – Cigars and Rum
Cigars you can buy from a tobacco plantation – these cigars are lighter and more fragrant but have much fewer tobacco leaves. Or you can buy cigars with certification in the state stores, but basically, they are the same as in the shops all over the world.
2- Leather Sandals or a Bag
On the photo above, I’m choosing a pair of leather sandals in Pinar del Rio. It was not difficult – there just 2 or 3 models to chose from.
The leather is processed by hand, the design is simple, but the quality is very good and most importantly – with proper care, these leather items will serve you forever because they are made from natural materials and are possible to repair (unlike many of the things which we buy nowadays).
3 – Local Natural Beauty Products
Cubans have one of the best medical industries in the world and the beauty products produced locally are not inferior in quality. The ingredients are completely natural.
4 – T-shirt and/or a Hat
There are several choices – from T-shirts with Che Guevara’s face or with the Cuban flag to copy of the Che Guevara’s hat and other, fancier brim hats.
5 – Cuban Coffee
“Serrano” is the premium quality packaged ground coffee and you will find it in the shops for …foreigners (tourists). You can also buy coffee beans directly from the farmers and while this coffee has less quality, its aroma endures much longer. It is also cheaper but most importantly – you help the local people by buying directly from them. See where in Havana you can taste and buy the best coffee. If you are a coffee aficionado, read about the traditions of Cuban coffee in this article.
6 – Paintings and Wood Sculptures
They are all made by local artists and are very colourful. The disappointment is that there is no variety of themes and styles. Cienfuegos is a great place to find and buy some of the most beautiful Cuban paintings.
7 – Hand-embroidered Cotton Tablecloths
However, check the fabric by hand before buying, because between 100% cotton sometimes they are fabrics of not so good quality.
8 – Cuban Music CD by a Local Band
You will do so at many places because all the bands playing in restaurants, bars, and even tourist sites sell records with their own music. Not expensive (10 CUC, which is 10 $ or 9 €) and will bring you good mood and sweet emotions long after your departure from Cuba. Have in mind that these groups earn their living from tips and selling their CDs.
9 – Bean Necklaces
Very cheap (1 CUC), completely natural and original. Bright red beans that resemble corals are strung on a necklace that will add colour to your outfit without danger to darken or change its colour as often happens with jewellery from other materials. If you wan
10 – Cloth Dolls
The funny thing about these dolls is that they have two faces. One, for example, black, but when you turn the doll upside down appears the white one. There is some symbolism in these dolls. The two faces of one person, two colours of a nation – as it is in Cuba, the heirs of the Spanish plantation owners and their slaves. White to black, black to white, everything is now one.
Cuba changes with every year and while several years have passed from my trip, these list of things worth buying in Cuba can give an idea of what is unique and different, what to look for during your travelling around the country. Look for the handmade products and try to buy directly from the people who make them.
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