10 Things Worth Buying in CUBA

During the wanderings around 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 and perhaps decide what things worth buying in Cuba and take it home as a treasured memory of this Caribbean country changing so rapidly in the recent years. In addition to the 10 things every woman should know before visiting Cuba, here is the list of possible purchases:

1-Cigars and rum.

Cigars you can buy from 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 like in the shops all over the world.  

2-Leather sandals or bag

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 Hat

T-shirt with the national hero Che Guevara and hat with the Cuban flag.


“Serrano” is the premium quality packaged ground coffee; you can also buy coffee beans directly from farmers and the aroma of this coffee will stay much longer. Not to mention that it is much cheaper.

6-Paintings and wood sculptures

They are all made by local artists and are very colorful. The disappointment is that there is no variety of themes and styles.

7-Embroidered by hand 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 local group

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 necklace

Very cheap (1 CUC), completely natural and original. Bright red beans that resemble corals are strung on a necklace that will add color to your outfit without danger to darken or change its color as often happens with jewelry from other materials.

10-Cloth dolls 

The funny thing with 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 colors 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.

Small market in Trinidad


6 Comments on “10 Things Worth Buying in CUBA

  1. Hi Geri – I read both your articles, which were super helpful as my best friend and I are planning a trip to Cuba in May. Can you tell me more about where to buy local beauty products?

    You mentioned bringing mascara to give away because it’s hard to find…but what’s the context for doing this? In a casa where you stay? Trading for local beauty products?

    Thanks for your advice; so glad I found your site!

    • I am happy to be of help! And envy you 😉 because I miss Cuba tremendously.

      I meant to bring mascara (or small, hotel size soaps) as a gifts to the people you meet. During your trip you will meet many nice Cubans and giving them these small items is like a “thank you” for their kindness and help. But the mascara is for someone who was really helpful to you. For me it was our guide Gladys.

      Wish you wonderful time in Cuba!

    • About the beauty products you should ask at place. There are some in the hotel shops but the best is to visit local shops and for that you will need the guidance of someone local.

  2. Very nice idea! I remember buying the coffee for our friends..the bean necklaces are great idea too – they are really nice and handmade 🙂 What a coincidence I am about to post an image from Trinidad later today and here it is, I saw your post with pictures from Trinidad 🙂

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