Those hoping for a shopping splurge in Cuba will likely be disappointed - art being the obvious exception. There are a few luxury shops in Old Havana and in large hotels like the Habana Libre, but stock is generally uninspiring.
Cuba makes the world's finest cigars. Buy the real thing at factories such as Real Fábrica de Tabacos Partagás in Havana, which also sells fabulously ornate cigar boxes. Other official outlets called Casas del Habano sell authentic wares as well. Cigars from street vendors will probably be fakes or factory rejects. Visitors can export 20 loose cigars, or up to 50 boxed cigars if they are in their original packaging, with all seals and holograms intact. Receipts must be shown to export over 50 cigars. Fidel Castro's favourite brand was Cohiba, Ché Guevara favoured Montecristos, and, before he put the blockade in place, JFK stocked up on H Upmanns.
Santiago de Cuba was once home to the Bacardi family distillery, but Havana Club is now the most famous Cuban rum. Good though it is, connoisseurs prefer Varadero. The rich seven-year-old variety is sipped like fine malt, while younger and lighter blends are used for cocktails.
A new, welcoming crafts market, the Almacenes San José, has opened in the historic port building at Avenida del Puerto, next to the church of San Francisco de Paula; open 1000-1800 Monday to Saturday.