Havana stands out, refreshingly for some, as one of the few capitals in the West whose centre is not dominated by a shopping district – Obispo, in Habana Vieja, is as close as it gets. Elsewhere, although new malls and boutiques are mushrooming steadily around the city, the general standard of merchandise is quite low, with rum, cigars, coffee and crafts the exceptions. For everything else the large hotels and the Artex and Caracol state chain stores have some of the best-quality products. Standard opening hours are Monday to Saturday 9am to 6pm; only a tiny minority of shops stays open after 7pm. Some shops are open all Sunday but most either don’t open or close at lunchtime. Havana still has a significant number of national-peso shops, especially in Centro Habana, mostly half-empty and stocking used, old or shoddy goods – the fading signs and barely stocked outlets along Avenida de Italia stand as testament to a bygone era.

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18 brilliant pictures of life in Cuba

18 brilliant pictures of life in Cuba

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09 Dec 2016 • Rough Guides Editors insert_drive_file Article
12 tips for backpacking Cuba

12 tips for backpacking Cuba

Cuba’s captivating, colourful streets and carnaval­ feel make it appealing for travellers year­-round. The country's popularity is skyrocketing, and visit…

10 May 2016 • Freya Godfrey insert_drive_file Article
Delving into the Daiquiri: Havana’s favourite drink

Delving into the Daiquiri: Havana’s favourite drink

Cuba’s cocktails chart the country’s ambivalent relationship with its neighbour to the north, America. This is most obviously demonstrated by the Cuba Libre…

24 Feb 2016 • Henry Jeffreys insert_drive_file Article
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