You may have heard from others who have taken a holiday in Cuba that Havana isn’t a particularly good shopping city, but that couldn’t be further from the truth! In fact, as more and more exciting shopping malls are popping up on every corner, Havana has become a more-than-satisfactory destination for shopaholics!
Here are some of the best places to find great bargains and amazing souvenirs to take back home.
The Boulevard, Calle San Rafael
Although the pedestrianised ‘El Bulevar’ really can’t compare to shopping streets in the United States or Europe, if you’ve booked Cuba accommodation in the Centro Habana district then you’ll get a front-row seat to this local shopping street. The 1950s vibe rings through the stalls of this street, and thanks to the low prices and cheap snacks, this shopping street has become a firm favourite of local Cubans, providing you with a very authentic and unique experience that you won’t find in the more westernised malls.
La Puntilla, Street A and 1st Avenue, Miramar
This may be one of the oldest shopping centres in Havana, but it’s also one of the biggest and one of the most comprehensive. By Cuban standards, this is one of the more upmarket places to shop, and there’s a pretty good supermarket here which is great for restocking the kitchen at your Havana villa. It’s an easy walk from the Vedado district, and you can’t miss it with its loud, bright blue exterior. Although the nightclub on the top floor is no more, there are still a lot of shops to explore at La Puntilla.
Galerías de Paseo, Calle Paseo
Located in the city’s Vedado district, this shopping centre is yet another that boasts a bright blue appearance, making it easy to spot from a distance. The mall is relatively small compared to La Puntilla, but it still has quite a lot of diversity inside, with shops covering three floors. There’s a supermarket, some sports shops, a few clothing stores, and even a car showroom! The best thing about this shopping centre is the cafe on the third floor (look closely and you might be able to see your Havana villa!).
Plaza Carlos III, Avenida Salvador Allende
If you’re looking for more of an American mall experience, then there’s no better place than Plaza Carlos III in Havana, which is one of 39 outlets across Cuba. Considered to be quite ‘flashy’, this is the place to pick up well-known brands like Adidas and Head, as well as sample some of the country’s most famous fast food items. What makes Plaza Carlos III really stand out, however, is that it has become one of just a handful of Cuban businesses that operates an e-commerce website, allowing Cubans to buy online.
Palacio de la Artesanía, Casa de Don Mateo Pedroso
Want to shop in one of the finest former homes in the Caribbean? The Spanish colonial-style Casa de Don Mateo Pedroso was originally built for the Pedrosos, one of Cuba’s most affluent families. Since then, the building has been used as a court, a jail, and even a police headquarters before becoming a market-style shopping centre. Today, this is one of the best places to pick up gifts and souvenirs, such as Cuban coffees and rums, t-shirts, local artwork, jewellery, and a range of antique books.