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Frequently Asked Questions
Cuba is not generally considered a shopping destination. Mostly, you’ll encounter state-run shops or hotel shops, where prices are fixed. Such locations sell very basic necessities, along with items like beer, coffee, or rum. On occasion, you will find open-air or craft markets in Cuba. To find out the schedule and location of the markets, ask your Cuban guide or hotel concierge. 

Opinions vary on whether negotiating prices for artwork is acceptable but keep in mind that Cubans earn a fraction of what most travelers to their country do.

While you can enjoy Cuban cigars and rum while in Cuba, effective September 24, 2020 authorized U.S. travelers are no longer permitted to return to the US with alcohol and/or tobacco products acquired in Cuba. For more detail see U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

Working hours in Cuba often start around 8am and end around 5:30pm during the weekdays. Banks are open from 8am-3pm. Museum hours can be very unpredictable, but typically are from Tuesday to Sunday 9am-5pm (with 1/2 days on Sundays and closed on Mondays). If visiting a certain museum is important to you, it would be best to call ahead to confirm it will be opened after your day of scheduled people-to-people activities.

Yes. Americans have no restrictions on what they may purchase in Cuba.   

Due to the U.S. sanctioned embargo, the U.S. government routinely confiscates goods purchased in Cuba, which are of Cuban origin.  The only exception to this regulation is informational materials such as books, films, artwork, posters, photographs and CDs.

Please note that clothing and other souvenirs that normally can be purchased when traveling abroad are not typically found to the same extent in Cuba, nor is haggling common practice.

Artwork, Cuban coffee, and music are the most common items guests bring back to the U.S. and make great gifts.

Please see U.S. regulations on import good for non-personal use items.

You can buy “tourist art” on the streets of Havana. These pieces don’t require exportation procedures. However, when purchasing local art from a gallery, remember to have the gallery authenticate the painting or sculpture. You should receive a receipt or export permit to show Cuban customs, provided the artwork was purchased at an official sales outlet. If the gallery can’t provide an export permit or you didn’t receive an official receipt, you can obtain documentation for the art from the Registro Nacional de Bienes Culturales (National Registry of Cultural Goods) and Centro de Partimonio Cultural (Center of Cultural Heritage) in Havana. Permits are also available at regional offices in provincial capitals, when traveling outside of Havana. It generally takes two days to process art licenses, and artwork must be brought to the office directly. If the piece of art is too large to bring into the office, a photo will suffice. Either way, it’s important to plan ahead.