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Do you have countless neon keychains from places you have never been?
I know I do! I am guilty of being on the giving end of this as well (shame on me!). For me, after spending money to book a trip, then blowing the budget while there, the thought of bringing back expensive souvenirs makes me cringe. However, if you are planning on bringing back souvenirs at all, set aside money before the trip so you don’t become the tacky souvenir person. A little creativity goes a long way when bringing back cool treasures your loved ones will be excited about. Below I have listed a couple of frugal options at different price points so you will have no excuse to give lame Cuban Souvenirs.
The Best Cuban Souvenirs from Havana that will Fit in Your Backpack:
Money: Money is the perfect example of a frugal gift idea to bring back. Maybe not for everyone, but most kids would be thrilled to have a coin from another country. And guess what?! You will likely save over 90% when you bring back 25¢ worth of change since souvenir prices typically start at $2.99.
A Cool Picture, Map or Brochure: If you have a camera or a Smartphone with you, Cuba is a photogenic dream! Think about who you are gifting and what their interests are. One idea is a picture for animal lovers. There are seriously adorable kittens, puppies and peacocks around just about every corner. Take a great shot or several and have it framed or even painted.
Nature lovers will likely be just as pleased with photographs of beautiful trees and flowers. Whether you venture outside of the city or not, you are sure to find unique gifts from Mother Nature.
Architecture lovers will be thrilled to receive evidence of the incredible structures in Havana. Each building captures history and truth.
Menu or Map: If photography isn’t your thing, consider bringing back a brochure from a restaurant. You will likely be offered countless brochures from restaurants you pass with a menu and map. Take the idea further by cooking a Cuban inspired meal from the menu when you get back home.
Consumable Cuban Souvenirs:
Coffee: Coffee lovers will surely appreciate the gift of authentic, Cuban Coffee. Make sure to save room to buy a bag for yourself too! The best tips for bringing back coffee include:
- 1.) Bring a large Ziploc bag to put the coffee in. For some reason, the bags are not sealed very well (possibly due to heat). Otherwise, the grounds will go everywhere and you will be crying over spilled coffee.
- 2.) Coffee is surprisingly difficult to find depending on availability and how much time you must wait in line, etc. If you want coffee beans, be prepared to stand in line for at least an hour in sweltering heat. For ground coffee, you can save tons of time and get out of the heat by purchasing in the terminal near the money exchange. The coffee is identical to the bags you will see in the shops. Please note that this was my personal experience and may be different depending on the time of year you travel.
Rum: You won’t believe the incredibly low prices on high quality rum! For 3 CUC you can get a nice bottle of rum. Prices vary based on your selection. Rum is a fantastic souvenir for yourself and others.
Cigars: American legislation seems to be ever changing on this, but currently US travelers can bring back cigars for personal use. Options are endless and easy to find. Prices are all over the place depending on what you want. Pay anywhere from a few dollars to over $100! Be sure to buy these in shops only and not on the streets. Locals claim that many cigars sold on the streets are full of banana leaves. 😱🍌
If you prefer, you can also find kitschy souvenirs around every corner. Sometimes a picture is all you need.