Storefront view of Clandestina design shop in Havana Cuba with colorful mural decoration

Havana Shopping Guide: Cuban-Made Goods We Guarantee You’ll Love

When it comes to shopping in Havana, to say much has changed in the past decade would be a gross understatement.

For over 50 years, strict laws around ownership of private property meant that Cuban individuals were prohibited from owning a private business. The few existing non-government stores were in located in hotels and sold assorted designer wares imported from Europe.

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The Shopping Scene Today

These days, it’s a whole new world. The number of private enterprises has exploded with the legalization of businesses, spawning a vibrant entrepreneur community and a crop of fantastic new businesses selling products designed and made in Cuba.

Even if you’re not the type to shop when you travel, keep in mind that buying from private shops in Cuba is more than simple retail therapy or souvenir hunting. By engaging with private enterprise in Cuba, you’re supporting the nascent small business community in compliance with the guidelines outlined in the Support for the Cuban People travel category.

So, on behalf of the Cuban people, we say, “Shop! Shop to your heart’s content!” Where, you ask? Here are our faves:

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Capicúa

Nestled in Centro Habana a block from the waterfront, Capicúa is a local fashion brand created by Cuban designer Laila Chaaban. Her style is defined by colorful “tropical vibe” patterns, and the brand’s goals are to make clothing that is durable, creates as little waste as possible, and is 100% made in Cuba. If you’re staying at Malecón 663 Boutique Hotel, it’s a short walk away along the waterfront.

Clandestina

The first independent Cuban fashion brand to make a name both nationally and internationally was Clandestina, and for good reason. Founded by Idania del Rio, this trendy boutique mixes humor and with with a DIY sensibility, and prides itself on its sustainable approach to fashion, using recycled materials and promoting local talent. From graphic t-shirts featuring quirky slogans to funky tote bags adorned with iconic Cuban imagery, Clandestina’s designs celebrate the island’s culture in a playful and unconventional way.

Located just off of Plaza de Cristo, its a great place to take a pit stop while exploring the streets of Old Havana. Clandestina’s success has led to new projects, including La Carpintería, a nightlife venue with live performances, and printing classes at their workshop in San José Artisan’s Market.

Dador

Located just a few blocks from Clandestina, Dador is another terrific, home-grown fashion brand started by a team of three Cuban women. Their shop showcases their designs as well as some a curated selection of accessories, all handcrafted by Cuban artisans. The store also doubles as their workshop, so you’ll often hear sewing a machine purring in the back.

Zulu Bolsos

Specializing in handmade leather goods, Zulu Bolsos crafts stylish handbags, backpacks, purses, wallets and belts. Each piece is meticulously crafted by skilled Cuban artisans using locally sourced materials.

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Beyond Roots

Beyond Roots is Cuba’s first private enterprise promoting Afro-Cuban culture. The store sells clothing and other products, and the local team hosts experiences on Afro-Cuban religion, music, dance, and other aspects of culture. They will even plan your trip!

Matty

Matty is a locally owned shop in Old Havana that sources Cuban made products of all types. They sell clothing, toys, jewelry, art, ceramics, stationary, and more!

Color Café

Color Café is both a great café and a clothing store, selling designs by the café’s owner and local designer Loypa Izaguirre.

Piscolabis

With its bohemian vibe and laid-back atmosphere, Piscolabis is a must-visit destination for art lovers and collectors alike. This eclectic boutique showcases a diverse array of contemporary Cuban art, including paintings, sculptures, and mixed-media pieces, all created by local artists.

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AMA

AMA is a charming boutique and breakfast café, selling a mix of handmade necklaces, women’s clothing, handbags and other accessories made by local artisans. It’s a great place to grab breakfast and peruse if you’re staying at Hotel Chile Habanero just around the corner.

Alma

Housed in the a beautiful, restored building in Old Havana, Alma is another local fantastic privately owned boutique selling Cuban-designed art and handmade goods. The store’s mission is to elevate Cuban artists and artisans, demonstrating their creativity and the quality of their work, and a portion of profits is donated to organizations helping Cuba’s stray animal population.

Gao

Located in the Old Havana, Gao is a “tropical gift shop and café” selling all types of handmade Cuban products, including their own handmade clothing designs created by owner Annalisa Gallina.

Ala de Tres

Alas de Tres is another exciting new private enterprise owned and operated by a team of three local women who design all of the products. The store features clothes, handbags and accessories.

BarbarA’s

BarbarA’s is the first Afro-Cuban clothing brand in Cuba, featuring colorful designs derived from traditional African patterns mixed with Cuban styles like the guayabera. Located in a quiet area of Havana near Havana’s central train station and just a few minutes from the Capitolio area.

Almacenes de San José Artisans Market

Almacenes San José is a vast warehouse-like market that houses many dozens of stalls where locals sell all manor of items, from the most touristy souvenirs to truly unique art and artisanal products. Our favorites are the D’Brujas artisanal soap stand and the vendors selling hand-made screen prints of Cuban films. Located along the port in Old Havana, it’s a great place to add to your route.

Havana’s growing private enterprise community offers a diverse array of opportunities to explore Cuban products in away that hasn’t existed for decades. Whether you’re searching for unique fashion finds, artisanal treasures, or contemporary artworks, these top spots showcase the best of Cuban craftsmanship and creativity, inviting visitors to immerse themselves in the vibrant spirit of the island. So, next time you’re in Havana, be sure to carve out some time for a shopping adventure that promises to delight the senses and leave you with cherished memories of your Cuban experience.

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