Miramar Trade Center (Playa, Miramar, Havana) May 2019

                     Shopping in Cuba can be quite the adventure for a tourist. I don’t want to tell you what it’s like for a local, especially these last few weeks. However, in Havana, as bad as it is, things are much better than in the rest of the country. If you’re a frequent traveler to Havana, as I am, and stay in a house, as I do, you may have had to do some form of shopping unless you eat out every day. If I’m there for more than a few days I tend to do a fair bit of shopping and I always keep an eye out for the best places to find what I need. I hate going from store to store trying to find supplies (but end up doing it anyway)….from what I hear locals say and painfully discovered for myself, it’s the norm in Cuba. I have the luxury to be able to afford whatever it is that I’m looking for and therefore tend to go where I’m more than likely to find what I need as opposed to where the best price is. From my experience I have found the best stores for general supplies (supermarkets) are in the Miramar district but the best outdoor markets are closer to or within the city. A close distance to the house I stay in are a number of shopping complexes and supermarkets, one of which is the ‘Miramar Trade Center’.
                 The ‘Miramar Trade Center’ is a mix of office and retail space. It’s a joint venture between Cuba and a foreign company. The initial plan was to build 180,000 square meters of space in 18 buildings. The existing buildings were constructed between 1999-2006, the first of which were opened in Jan.2000. So far 55,600 square meters have been erected and are in operation. Phase one, 2 buildings with 5 floors and phase 2 were 4 buildings with 4 floors & a total parking for 200 cars….so far. It’s the largest shopping center of it’s kind in Cuba.
                 Now you would think that with Cubans being so poor you wouldn’t see any of them here since most or all the stores and restaurants cater mostly to foreigners but that’s not the case. I always see a large amount of Cubans as well as a fair bit of tourists here. Mind you, an Etecsa store (Cuba’s Telecommunications Company) selling phone cards & internet time on several computers is located here and there’s always a lineup at this location. Several Travel Agencies and Airline Offices also rent space here and it’s mostly Cubans that are looking for passage. There’s a decent mix of shops which makes this a go-to place for me: pharmacy, restaurants, cafeterias, appliance stores, market, jewelry store, shoe store, gift shops, Cadeca (money exchange) and an Etecsa shop (with computers for internet access…as mentioned previously). My favourite spot is the Amelia Cafeteria where I have breakfast several times during my stays in Havana….they make a pretty good breakfast (sometimes it’s better than other times). There are also several Consulates located here.
                 Times were changing for the better after the Obama visit but things have recently gone back to worse, things are no longer as readily available as they had begun to be. I’m not sure if product availability has struck the stores in these buildings but I’m sure it has, there’s always something they’re short of. Sometimes having money isn’t always the answer, if it doesn’t exist, you won’t find it through any means. The buildings are hard to miss as they take up several blocks between 3rd and 5th Avenues and 76th and 80th streets.

PS………the Elephants in the center of the complex are made from Inflatable Metal constructed by the famous Cuban Artist JEFF as he’s know or Jose Emilio Fuentes Fonseca.
http://cubancigarsculturelifestyle.blogspot.ca/2012/01/jose-emilio-fuentes-fonseca-and-his.html

Cafeteria Amelia (for breakfast)
http://cubancigarsculturelifestyle.blogspot.ca/2013/09/cafeteria-amelia-for-breakfast-miramar.html

Centro de Negocios Miramar’ (Miramar Trade Center)
3ra Avenida e/76 y 80
Miramar, Playa, Havana
+53 7 2044437