The Best Markets in Havana, Cuba

In the heart of Havana is Cubas Secondhand Book Market
In the heart of Havana is Cuba's Secondhand Book Market | Flickr
Breanna Molloy

You probably won’t find your favorite brands or high-end stores in Cuba, and that’s exactly why you should go shopping here. Swap out plastic toys for handmade trinkets and commercial malls for open-air markets, and instead have a one-of-a-kind, cultural experience. Listed here are three markets in Havana you need to visit, and what makes each of them so unique.

Plaza de Armas Secondhand Book Market

Park, Bookstore

A bookseller next to a stand of secondhand books
© Peter Kraayvanger/Pixabay
Booklovers beware—one step into Havana’s Secondhand Book Market and you may not want to leave. Situated in Havana’s historic Old Town, you’ll find rows of booksellers touting their favorite reads. Expect to browse through old magazines, some Revolutionary propaganda, and a lot of Hemingway—he did live in Cuba for nearly 20 years, after all. Along with books, you can browse through stacks of retro posters, stamps, and old beer labels—any of which could make a unique souvenir.

This market runs every day but Sunday, and is one of the most popular in the city. But why? Scarcity of new imports plays a role, and Cuban entrepreneurs are famous for their ability to reuse and recycle goods. The biggest reason, however, may be that Cubans love to read. Cuba’s literacy rate is 99.8—among the highest in the world.

Galerías de Paseo

Shopping Mall

Expect to find high-end rum shops at Galerías de Paseo
© Kosala/Flickr
Galerías de Paseo is a market that caters to foreigners and Cuba’s upper-class. This market features Cuba’s high-end clothes and stores, as well as Cuba’s famous Jazz Café—a club that features some of the best jazz, timba, and salsa musicians in the country.

This market is all indoors, so it’s a good option for rainy weather. It also has air-conditioning, which can be a welcome break in the heat. What makes this market so interesting, though, is that it offers a glimpse into what life is like for Cuba’s wealthy—you probably won’t recognize many of the brands or designers. While everyone is supposed to be equal in socialist Cuba, Galerías de Paseo depicts a different reality.

Almacenes San José Artisans' Market

Market, Shop, Bazaar

Expect walls of color when you enter Havanas Artisan Market
© Dan Lundberg/
For people wanting to leave Cuba with a one-of-a-kind souvenir, Almacenes San José is definitely worth a visit. Located in a large two-story warehouse, this market features the work of hundreds of Cuban artists. It’s the perfect market to buy original paintings, handmade jewelry, and hammocks. It’s Havana’s only covered outdoor market, so visitors can shop in the shade. Almacenes San José is a local favorite, so it won’t feel as touristy as other markets. Just be prepared to bargain for your art and ask for a certificate if it’s original.
culture trip left arrow
 culture trip brand logo

Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip

meet our Local Insider


women sitting on iceberg


2 years.


It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.


I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!

culture trip logo letter c
group posing for picture on iceberg
group posing for picture on iceberg

Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.

map of volcanic iceland trip destination points
culture trip brand logo
culture trip right arrow
landscape with balloons floating in the air


Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world

Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.

Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.

Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.

We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.


Holiday Sale Offers on Our Trips

Incredible Savings

Edit article