Perfumes, Toiletries, and Jewelry
Havana 1791 (Mercaderes #156, esq. Obrapía, tel. 07/861-3525, daily 10 a.m.–6 p.m.) sells locally made scents (CUC6–18) in exquisitely engraved bottles with not entirely trustworthy cork tops, in an embossed linen bag. The 12 fragrances—aromas coloniales—include Tabaco, which smells surprisingly unlike cigars. It also sells brand-name French perfumes at duty-free prices. Yanelda, the official “Alchemist of Old Havana,” will make up a fragrance to order.
In a similar vein is La Casa Cubana del Perfume (Brasil #13, tel. 07/866-3759, Mon.–Sat. 10 a.m.–6 a.m.), on the south side of Plaza Vieja.
Farmacia Taquechel (Obispo #155, e/ Mercaderes y San Ignacio, tel. 07/862-9286, daily 9 a.m.–5 p.m.) sells face creams, lotions, and other natural products made in Cuba.
Perfumería Prado (Prado, e/ Refugio y Colón, Habana Vieja, 10 a.m.–6 p.m.) has a large selection of imported perfumes, as do boutique stores in most of the city’s upscale hotels.
Tienda Museo el Reloj (Oficios, esq. Muralla, tel. 07/864-9515, Mon.–Sat. 9 a.m.–6 p.m. and Sun. 10 a.m.–1 p.m.) will cause a double-take. At this deluxe store, gold-plated fountain pens (each in an elegant cedar humidor with five cigars) sell for CUC1,000 and the cheapest watch costs US$2,000. These are limited editions made by Cuevos y Sobrionos.
Playa (Miramar and Beyond)
Most upscale hotels have quality jewelry stores, as do La Maison (Calle 16 #701, esq. 7ma, Miramar, tel. 07/204-1543, daily 9 a.m.–5 p.m.) and Le Select (5ta Av., esq. 30, Miramar, tel. 07/204-7410, daily 9 a.m.–5 p.m.).
Also try Joyería La Habanera (Calle 12 #505, e/ 5ta y 7ma, tel. 07/204-2546, Mon.–Sat. 10 a.m.–6 p.m.) and the Club Habana’s Joyería Bella Cantando (5ta Av. y 188, tel. 07/204-5700, daily 9 a.m.–5 p.m.).
© Christopher P. Baker from Moon Cuba, 5th Edition