5 places

Five Places to Shop in Havana

Old Havana is a Unesco World Heritage site and about as photogenic as neighborhoods come. But its streets are also a surprising shopper’s delight.

Customers stand outside Clandestina, one of several appealing stores in Old Havana.CreditCreditEliana Aponte Tobar for The New York Times

By Shivani Vora

Visitors to Old Havana usually come to the neighborhood to take in its faded beauty, the vintage cars cruising cobbled streets and the colonial buildings dating back to the city’s Spanish roots in the 16th and 17th centuries. This photogenic neighborhood, a Unesco World Heritage site, isn’t typically thought of as a shopping destination. But worth exploring are a number of appealing spots; generally Cuban-owned, these establishments sell a diverse range of mostly locally made goods, from art, jewelry and home goods to, of course, cigar boxes.

Cuban designer Idania Del Rio, 37, opened her store a few years ago on a heavily trafficked street bustling with tourists, with the intention of offering more stylish souvenirs to buy than the requisite T-shirt or postcard. The items sold here have a stylish flair, such as the burlap and cotton totes printed with catchy logos in bright colors. One white cotton tote was imprinted in bright blue with “se acabo el drama” — “the drama is over.” Merchandise also includes pouches, pillowcases, aprons and T-shirts. From one Cuban peso, or about $1.

Villegas St, 403; clandestina.co

Victor Manuel Gallery in Old Havana displays paintings by modern Cuban artists.CreditEliana Aponte Tobar for The New York Times

Paintings by modern Cuban artists decorate the walls of this sprawling gallery, once a public bath house, but not only art is for sale. Statement jewelry, all of it made by local designers, such as the silver necklace with a round large silver pendant, was recently for sale behind a glass shelf. There were also knickknacks like handsome humidors crafted from Cuban cedar wood. From 15 Cuban pesos.

Cathedral Square


Decorative objects crafted from repurposed items are for sale at Piscolabis in Old Havana.CreditEliana Aponte Tobar for The New York Times

Creative decorative objects, crafted by Cuban artisans from repurposed items such as ink wells, oil lamps and bottles, are the lure of this store and coffee shop. A lamp with a Canada Dry ginger ale bottle as its base was one Instagram-worthy find among the unique goods. From one Cuban peso.

San Ignacio, 75; piscolabishabana.com


Habana 1791 evokes a perfumery from a past century.CreditEliana Aponte Tobar for The New York Times

Evoking a perfumery from a past century, this charming shop, a former 18th century mansion, specializes in custom-blending fragrances for men and women. The real treat of a visit, however, is smelling the scents that were popular in colonial Cuba, such as sandalwood, tobacco, jasmine and rose. Once shoppers decide on their favorite, they can pick the bottle they want to take it home in. Local artists crafted the extensive collection of bottles, a mix of glass and ceramics. From 10 Cuban pesos

Mercaderes, 156


Lomo del Angel is a boutique hotel and home to a small shop selling women’s accessories.CreditEliana Aponte Tobar for The New York Times

This boutique hotel, situated in a stately centuries-old building, is home to a small shop selling women’s accessories from the fashion label Eulalia de Lucia. The goods bring summer to mind, and although they’re produced by artisans from around the world, they’re inspired by Havana. A standout was the brightly colored cotton scarves with whimsical patterns such as different varieties of bugs. But the espadrilles, sombrero hats and totes were tempting, too. From 70 Cuban pesos.

Calle Cuarteles, 104; lomadelangel.com

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A version of this article appears in print on , on Page TR4 of the New York edition with the headline: Here, Even Tiny Souvenirs Are Big on Style. Order Reprints | Today’s Paper | Subscribe


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