Walking the Art Market in Havana

Written by Sophia Bass 

My first trip to Old Havana I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of art vendors, musicians, and colorful fruit stands that colored the streets. I could have spent days wandering around the Cathedral Square that is a central destinations for travelers around the world. After a long day of walking in the heat, I stumbled across the San José Artisans' Market.  Contained in a large warehouse to protect travelers and locals from the sun, arts and crafts vendors set up stands from dawn to dusk to sell paintings, ceramics, clothing, instruments, cigars, and crafts.

I can recall men hustling to sell cigars and handmade wooden boxes. My partner bought a beautiful carved wooden box with the Cuban flag carved on the front and two cigars for my father. As my eyes wandered to the paintings and ceramics, I purchased two brightly colored plates painted with blues, greens, oranges, and yellows to decorate my home.

As Old Havana is blend of Afro-Spanish culture, it is fascinating to see how the two cultures have blended their artistic styles and influences throughout  Cuban art and music. You can find an abundant amount of instruments at the market from bongos to claves. I decided to purchase handmade painted maracas while at the market for $5 US dollars to add to my music collection.

After walking around the market for a few hours, my partner and I purchased fresh coconuts to quench our thirst. They were more than refreshing and a perfect way to hydrate in the Cuban sun. As we walked towards the back of the market, we took in beautiful views of the ocean as the market is open to the air. The Art Market is great destination to watch the sunset in Old Havana.

If you're traveling to Old Havana, I recommend stopping by the San José Artisans' Market for souvenirs, music, and fresh coconut. 


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