Robaina's plantation

Saturday 15 February 2014

Miramar Trade Center (Playa, Miramar, Havana)

                Shopping in Cuba can be quite the adventure for a tourist. I don't want to say what it's like for a local. In Havana however things are much better than in the rest of the country. If you're a frequent traveler to Havana as I am and rent 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....from what I hear locals say, 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 in the city. Within walking distance of 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 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 all the stores and restaurants only accept Convertible Pesos but that's not the case. I always see way more Cubans than tourists and I see a fair bit of tourists here. There's a decent mix of shops which makes this a go-to place for me: pharmacy, restaurants, cafeterias, appliance stores, grocery stores, jewelry store, shoe store, gift shops, an Etecsa shop (with computers for internet access), lots of travel agencies and my favourite spots...the Amelia Cafeteria where I have breakfast several times while there and the Halo's-Palco wine shop and bar that has a decent selection of wines from Chile, Italy, France, Spain....
                 Times are changing and lets hope they continue to be for the better, for who I don't know. I can tell you that things are more readily available today than they were when I first started coming to the island many years ago. The trick however is always to know your way around and money isn't always the answer, sometimes things are just not available. What I've found in most cases is that if you can't find it in a large complex like this, you probably can't find it anywhere on the island. The buildings are hard to miss as they take up several blocks between 3rd and 5th Avenues and 76th and 80th streets.

Lease Info. (537) 204-4427

PS.........the Elephants are made from Inflatable Metal constructed by the famous Cuban Artist JEFF as he's know or Jose Emilio Fuentes Fonseca.

Cafeteria Amelia (for breakfast)
Casa del Vino Halo's-Palco (wine shop)

Wine Shop next to the Etecsa Center 

Amelia Cafeteria for breakfast or a ham & cheese sandwich


  1. I've never been here, I usually do my shopping in Havana Centro, but I think I've seen it from the outside...the Havana bus tour passes it!