The world of commerce and distribution has been at the heart of Port of Havana since the 16th century. Over the years, the port has been transformed into a mecca for artists, craftsmen, and musicians to gather and exchange ideas and merchandise. The Almacenes de San Jose is home to the open-air market where locals can set up as venders to serve as a business location. Cuban culture is represented all through the market from sculptures and paintings to traditional Cuban cuisine. The growth of the market has led to the relocation from the Plaza de la Cathedral in Old Havana to the Almacenes de San Jose in 2009. The change in location has allowed locals to thrive.


Being the cultural epicenter of Havana the Almacenes de San Jose presents Cuban culture in a variety of ways. They have added theatrical performances, recreation activities and other exhibits that triples the importance of the market. This has allowed the culture to spread exponentially. Cuban locals create handmade items and crafts to sell on Port of Havana. For centuries people have gathered to barter their goods.


What you’ll find on the Port of Havana

You will be exposed to some of the rarest artifacts and custom accessories in the country of Cuba. Cuban craftsmen create ceramic dishes like pots, bowls demitasse sets and saucers. These handmade pieces are valuable to the Cuban society. People appreciate the hard work it takes to work a craft to support your family. Painters and sculptors gather and hold exclusive exhibits for the local patrons. Offering original Cuban and Spanish art for sale, the port is an ideal spot to find original Cuban pieces of art. Sculptors pride themselves on tapping into the natural resources that surround them in the Cuban mainland. The artist utilize homemade Cuban wood like mahogany, cedar, majagua and ebony. The Port of Havana presents business opportunities for the locals to capitalize on.


Musicians serenade the port throughout the day collecting change and trades as payments. The Havana citizens enjoy music and dance as much as any Latin American country through moral and financial support of those musicians who make up the port. People gather from all over Cuba to engage with the musicians and dancers that showcase at the Almacenes de San Jose. A miraculous view of the bay relaxing behind the port is an experience of its own. Some of the most popular items you’ll be able to find at the market are accessories. Handmade accessories like handbags, wallets and belts reign supreme in popularity.


Leather is Number one

Leather is the premium product at the Cuban port. Local patrons designing and crafting handmade items with leather is one of the fascinating aspects of the country. People utilize their hands to make shoes and sandals with traditional Cuban designs. There are also a lot of Cuban made jewelry using natural fibers found around the country. Finding items created from the natural fibers of coconut and guano from palm trees is not uncommon. Locals have learned to craft handbags, toys, masks and more out of the fibers found on palm trees.

Finding Cuban based instruments will be easy on the Port of Havana. Instruments such as the Afro-Cuban percussions like bongos and Bata drums are easy to find. You can also find handmade guitars and other instruments as well. The custom made items create an appeal to the local community and tourist.


Business First

The Port of Havana is a place of business and they offer the necessary certifications needed to do exports right on sight at the National Patrimony Office. Along with the Patrimony office there are several currency exchanges for travelers to use as well. These are important places for aspiring participants of the market. The business that has grown the Cuban community over centuries still to this day holds a valuable part in the economic stability of Cuba. Offering more than just a space to exchange goods but a social mecca where some of the rarest traditional Cuban garments and art can be found. The foundation of the city lies in the hands of the patrons that make up the Almacenes de San Jose every day. New renovations have opened the doors to more venders making the experience even grander the last few years.


All of our Havana tours visit this historic market.  Why don’t you join us while we explore the capital city?  Reserve a space today in one of our tours for just $300.00.  For more information contact us at

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