Centro Cultural Antiguos Almacenes Market

  based on 1 review   write a review

Avenida del Puerto, Havana, Cuba
+53 5 807 6335

Centro Cultural Antiguos Almacenes Market Havana Reviews

starship1 starship1
40 reviews
Centro Cultural Antiguos Almacenes Market Oct 25, 2017
I like to visit craft markets when we travel if possible. So before leaving for Cuba, I researched whether Havana had any craft markets within walking distance of the Sierra Maestra cruise terminal. I came across information for the "Centro Cultural Antiguos Almacenes Market" so we planned to visit there during free time on our second day in Havana. Problem was I couldn’t quite pinpoint where it was located because different online sources listed two different locations.

As it turns out, that was because the market was once located near the Plaza del la Catedral in an open-air setting, but has since moved to a restored 1885 maritime warehouse called the Almacenes de San José positioned on Havana Harbor. While the exterior of the building retains its vintage look, the interior is definitely an industrial-looking, modern structure with metal beams and high ceilings.

The building houses what seems to be a never ending number of individual craft stalls laid out in long horizontal rows. But despite its size, the Almacenes Market is a tourist friendly, lively place waiting to be explored and it certainly has a little bit of everything to explore -- paintings, metal artwork, wood carvings of all types, jewelry, clothing, toys, souvenirs, straw crafts, and leather to mention just a few of items on sale here. Food and drinks can be bought here as well.

Many, if not all, of the items you find here are not mass produced on a large scale nor imported --- refreshing! These are made somewhere on the isle of Cuba if not strictly in Havana itself. I have read that Cuba has no historical tradition of producing handmade crafts, though I feel that may change as more and more tourists arrive on its shores. With the changes in restrictions for Cubans to engage in some private business, and with the recent increase of American tourism, the Cuban tourist industry seems to be reawakening now after an extended period of relative inactivity. Still, even simple tourist items such as postcards are not necessarily easy to find. We did manage to find some, though not at the craft market.

Artists/shop owners will try to draw your attention to their items for sale, but they are not aggressive or rude. The only thing is that stalls are jam-packed from floor to ceiling, and so many have the same or similar items for sale! We attempted to explore each aisle in a switchback pattern in order to cover all of them, but we ran out of steam as we had already been walking all day. We happily made some good finds and several small purchases for gifts for family & friends – a small leather coin purse, hand-carved wood items, and a charming painting of the Cuban countryside. Most items were 1 to 5 CUC, and the painting was 10 CUC. Had I given it more thought I would have looked here for a Guayabera shirt for my son who would have enjoyed wearing it on our next trip to Cuba. Guayabera shirts are Cuban traditional men’s shirts made of linen or cotton, with either two or 4 pockets and are meant to be worn without being tucked into pants. They can be dressy or casual depending on whether they have embroidery running in vertical strips down the front.

Everything here was so reasonably priced that I did not feel the need to bargain nor did I want to (the normal Cuban’s income here is very low and while a few extra Convertible Cuban Pesos might mean a nice boost to their income, spending a few more would not affect me). And, in at least a couple of cases the artist/owner dropped prices without even being asked.

The market's large, industrial doors allow exit to the rear of the building and an area facing on the harborfront though not necessarily at its most scenic spot. As a bonus for visiting the Almacenes Craft Market, you’ll find that the front of the market is nearly opposite what was once the 1730 building of the Iglesia de San Francisco de Paula, a church devoted to Saint Francis of Paola (founder of the Roman Catholic Order of the Minims, an ancient Italian religious order). Listed as a National Monument since 1944, it is considered a major place of national heritage though it is no longer used as a church and may be possible to visit.

The Centro Cultural Antiguos Almacenes market is located on the Avenida del Puerto, (Habana Vieja) within walking distance of the Sierra Maestra cruise terminal. The market is open daily from approximately 9am to 8pm, and admission is free. We found the market well worth the nearly hour of time we spent there!
7 / 7 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
Toonsarah says:
Looks a great place to shop!
Posted on: Feb 16, 2018
starship1 says:
@gingerbatik, Thanks so much for the congrats!!
Posted on: Feb 15, 2018
Congrats on your featured review. Well done.
Posted on: Feb 15, 2018
Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!

Check Havana Hotel Deals

Havana Map
1 review
1 review - $39
2 reviews - $101
2 reviews - $53
1 review - $79
photo by: mario26