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10 incredible souvenirs to take away from Cuba

What souvenirs to take away from Cuba as memories with me? There are many objects and products that are a symbol of Cubanness throughout the world, due to their excellence and unique quality. Luckily many of these products you can take with you when you return home from your trip to Cuba. It is true that when thinking about the most common souvenirs to buy in Cuba, the particularities of the destination must be taken into account.

What are their unique buildings, statues, bridges, native animals, personalities and history that represent the nation? In my country we have all that, and more. What is the most typical memory of Cuba? What memories to bring back from Cuba?

1. Habanos

Cuba is not the only country that produces cigars (for us, cigars are cigars, not cigarettes), but anywhere in the world, if they see you with a Habano in your hand, they will surely tell you that it is the best of the world. There are many internationally recognized brands: Cohíba, Monterrey, Romeo y Julieta, Partagás, and countless high-end names, each with its own characteristics, some made with black or blond tobacco leaves, with more more sheet drying time or different way of twisting it.

The main places for selling souvenirs in Havana in relation to this product are hotels, “Casas del Habano” (name of the official stores) and the airport itself. In most of these establishments you can also find the famous humidors. These are boxes specially made to preserve cigars, some are true collectible pieces, especially for the most connoisseurs and lovers of the art of smoke.

The cigar has been consumed since before the arrival of the Spanish, since it was implemented by the native tribes for their rituals, ceremonies and even as a medicine. It was used to be smoked in corn leaves!

2. The famous Cuban rum

As with Habanos, Cuban rum has achieved a very good international reputation. Its tones and flavors make us travel to cane fields over 500 years old and ancient cedars. The best known brand of Cuban rum is Havana Club, but I can tell you that it is not the best. Just because it’s not the best doesn’t mean it’s bad. A 7 year old Havana Club is exquisite.

Now, for me, the ones with the most quality, in any of its variants and ages, are Santiago de Cuba Rum, Caney, Legendario, Santero, Mulata and Guayabita del Pinar (characteristic of Pinar del Río). These are not the only rums, in case you decide to buy a souvenir from Cuba, there are many brands, some typical of the regions and only sold locally in those native places, but in general these are the best and easiest to find. This souvenir from Cuba can be found in liquor stores, airports, hotels, as well as in shops and markets.

Dry, aged or sweet, this drink has become a symbol that represents the traditions of the islander and, in turn, a letter of introduction to the world. So much so that there are many who come here to enjoy first-hand the different brands of Cuban rum that exist.

How is Cuban rum made?

Do you know what makes Cuban rums so special? First of all, the use of unique ingredients from the island is what guarantees the exceptional quality of Cuban rums. These ingredients of Cuban rum are:

  • The exquisite sugar cane from which a dark and very sweet honey is obtained.
  • The natural and crystal clear water.
  • A healthy and unaltered yeast.

Added to this is our brandy and the dynamic aging system that allows the creation of rums of different flavors from the same brandy.

Finally, the true guardians of the entire production process: the Cuban Master Rum Makers, in charge of fusing modern manufacturing techniques with the most finished and native culture.

Time is another factor that characterizes the production of our rums. In the industry’s wineries, the rums are aged in American white oak barrels. There they rest for years until the bouquet, the presence and exclusivity of the rum is reached.

3. Typical cuban garment

In Cuba, the typical garment is the guayabera, it is even the official garment of the state and Cuban diplomacy. It has become an identity symbol of Cuban identity and respect for traditions. We Cubans use it for special occasions and always with royal respect. This would be an excellent gift with true Cuban identity. The guayabera is very easy to find in Cuba, either in stores dedicated to textiles, cultural stores like Artex or in some craft markets.

A special place to find the guayabera is in Trinidad, declared an artisan city, and the variety and quality of what they make in this colonial city is unique, both for women and men. Not only guayaberas, there are countless presses, with excellent designs and always with the warm and fresh touch characteristic of our tropical climate.

These garments were initially used only by men who worked on the land, but today there are also designs for women in both shirts and dresses, whether with short or long sleeves.

As history attributes the origin of the popular shirt in Cuba to the land of Yayabo, currently in that city there is a Guayabera House Museum where the largest collection of this garment on the island is exhibited.

In the cultural institution, inaugurated in 2012, there are more than 200 pieces that have been used by political personalities, medical sciences, culture and other social aspects.

4. Yarey Hats

Like the guayabera, one of the typical Cuban souvenirs to buy are the Yarey hats. They are traditional from the Cuban countryside, totally recommended to take care of the sun. So as soon as you see one, grab it.

The chorus of a well-known Cuban song performed by the popular Manzanillo Original Orchestra says, Who has seen my yarey hat around? which attests to how important this garment is in the history and traditions of that island.

Its use was limited several years ago only to the peasantry, who made it their inseparable ally to protect themselves from the hot sun of that nation, especially when working in agricultural work.At present it has already reached the cities for outings to popular festivities, parades and public events among other activities. As its name specifies, it is made of a material called yarey, although there are already some other variants, but they never replace the specialness of the original.It is a fresh garment, easy to make, very light and with wide wings to better cover the face from sun damage.

5. Domino game

There is a board game widely used by Cubans: “Dominoes.” He comes from Asia, but we have made it our own. It is common for them to see four people sitting at a square table playing dominoes on a street corner, in a doorway or in the patio of a house. It is almost certain that near that table there is a bottle of rum, and that you hear its players with noise and joy.

There are several ways to play it, although as a couple it is the most common. This is the perfect gift to buy in Cuba focused on families. You can find it at almost all craft fairs, as well as in various materials.

6. Miniatures and crafts

Now, normally one of the most typical gifts in Cuba that many tourists usually take with them due to its size and ease of finding:

  • The wooden pieces, whether they are statuettes or common objects.
  • Another object is the dolls. In Cuba, handmade dolls are still maintained (although more and more are being lost), always with a local style, and curiously it is common to see black dolls, and I say curious because despite Western influence (almost all of the dolls that are sold are white) here we continue to maintain our culture and represent it in art.

7. Paintings, folk art

Apart from tobacco, rum and typical Cuban clothing, there is also a whole variety of popular art, one of which is painting. These paintings are not difficult to find, you will find them in every tourist area, whether they are state markets or craft markets where artists -in many cases amateurs and self-taught- sell their works directly (the latter are the most abundant). Variety of themes, sizes, shapes, styles and colors, all this art that you find in these markets has in common the reflection of Cuban daily life. Where is it most common to find these markets? In tourist areas like Varadero.


The magnets, that stamp that when someone goes home and sees it on the refrigerator, they assume that we visited that country. Of these there is a variety, from plates of the National beer, colonial houses, references to the Cuban Revolution, beaches. In any of its facets it is common to see the reference to classic cars, those cars from the 50s that have become a Cuban symbol, making cities true open-air museums with rolling museological objects. You will also see references to the Cuban woman – often clichéd – voluminous, strong; colorful streets, paradisiacal beaches, and a host of images that will undoubtedly refer you to this Caribbean Island.

9. Souvenir photos of the best places

Take a photo in each incredible place you know on the island. Take memories of the best horizons, the best beaches, the fantastic adventurous journeys, the exotic Cuban foods, exquisite drinks like the famous Cuba Libre, take the best experience from our island, do not forget, a photo will remain for the wonderful memory of this Incredible trip to the largest of the Antilles.

10. Other elements

It is clear that there are many more things to mention: a T-shirt with the image of Che, that olive green cap that resembles the one worn by Fidel, old photographs, posters of the time or books, are some of the things that come to mind. mind now and could be original souvenirs to buy in Cuba. But what if there is no doubt is the variety that you are going to find, and always with that seal of Cubanness that makes whatever you want to take with you unique.

What souvenirs to take from Cuba?

It is good to remember that regardless of the price or the quality of what you buy, these souvenirs from Cuba do not necessarily have to be expensive presents.
It is good to remember that regardless of the price or the quality of what you buy, these souvenirs from Cuba do not necessarily have to be expensive presents.
Es bueno recordar que sin importar el precio o la calidad de lo que compre, estos souvenirs de Cuba no necesariamente tienen que ser regalos caros.
It is good to remember that beyond the price or the quality of what you buy, these souvenirs from Cuba do not necessarily have to be expensive presents.
Es bueno recordar que más allá del precio o la calidad de lo que compras, estos souvenirs de Cuba no necesariamente tienen que ser regalos caros.

They are memories that we want to last with their essence of what they represent for us. Regardless of its value, a craft will always be important and valid for the love you had when buying it. Looking at it and thinking about how much fun you had, or simply because you want to give it away and you want someone else to have that value it had for you. So on that suspended shelf, on the bookcase, on the bedroom table, on the wall where you didn’t know what to hang or on the refrigerator… There will surely be a bit of Cuba there.