Cuban souvenirs are usually really cheap but first rule of buying anything in Cuba is haggle and negotiate as hard as you can. Real prices are usually about a third of the initial asking price. If you can’t get the price you know something should sell for, just pretend to be walking away or ask the vendor next door but make sure the initial ones sees you, you’ll get instant discounts.
If you find something special that you like you should buy it on the spot as many souvenirs are hand made and it could be possible not to find them again later on.
A good strategy is to find a vendor and buy all your souvenirs at once from the same store, or at least most of them, as you will get considerable discounts. If you ask for them obviously.
Fridge magnets – go for the ceramic ones as they are unique – usually 5 for 8 CUC. Make sure you package them right as I had some of mine break in transport.
Printed paintings – these you can do yourself at home, but in case you want to carry them over from Cuba, you shouldn’t pay more than 5 CUC for 2 pieces.
Cigar cutter – 3 CUC – they’re not really useable as most have blunt blades.
Lighter, Keychain – 1 CUC.
Granma Newspaper – it’s a great authentic Cuban souvenir both in English and Spanish at just 1 CUC, or 10
The Cuban Constitution – about 3-4 CUC depending on where you find it, it’s a neat insight into Cuban lives. For example did you know that if a country strips you off your citizenship of origin for fighting against the system, Cuba automatically gives you Cuban citizenship?
Cuban National Peso notes – especially the 3$ Che Guevarra one – if you can find one as they are pretty elusive. Pleas note tough that it’s illegal to carry currency out of the country and should you get busted…
Stamps with Fidel or Che – I paid 10 CUC for the ones below:
Cuban Flag – about 5 CUC for the small one, 10 for the the really big ones.
Cuban Hats – made out of straws, max 5 CUC.
Recicled materials souvenirs – about 10 CUC depending on the model, they are usualy old cars made out of beer cans.
Vanity License Plates – 3 to 5 CUC depending on the model. These ones are pretty unique too, so if you find one that you like just buy it then and there, you probably won’t find the exact same one again.
Cigars – make sure you buy them form a legal store and get the receipt! They have posters all over the airport against counterfeit cigars and they might not let you exit the country with them. Counterfeit cigars are not any good anyway so you shouldn’t be buying them. Prices vary dramatically according to quality. The best are: Partagas, Cohiba, Romeo & Juliet.
Rum – usually has a fixed government price but it’s about 3 CUC for the Havana Club “No Years” Blanco, 5 CUC for the 3 year old one and about 7 CUC for the 7 Years one. You probably can find most of this at home depending on your country but the only quality rum that they only export to Spain and not the rest of the world is the Havana Club Ritual – about 5 CUC in tourist stores. It has a distinct vanilla flavor it gets from the barrels they age it in.
Street Portraits: I had this guy walk up to me and hand me a portrait of myself that he sketched in just a few seconds behind my back as I was buying some books. He said to give him 1 CUC for it, I only had 0.50 on me but he let me have it anyway.