Fresh Produce Markets
From early in the morning to late in the afternoon, markets, called agromercados
or agropecuarios , operate all over the island, selling produce. These markets are
often crowded, noisy, and lots of fun. Vendors are usually independent farmers or
sellers who work on the behalf or larger co-operative farms. Prices can vary
slightly from one stall to another, depending on produce quality or ripeness, but
generally the prices are uniform within each market. In richer neighborhoods,
prices tend to be a bit higher than in poorer locations. Most fruits and vegetables
are sold by weight, but some larger items such as pineapples usually go by unit.
Prices are always in Moneda Nacional.
These are small butcher shop stands selling meat, deli products and sometimes
cheese. By western standards, prices are cheap, with the most expensive item,
bistec de cerdo (sliced, boneless pork loin), usually costing only 40 pesos (MN)
per pound. Meat selection is usually limited to chicken or pork. Chorizo sausages
are also usually available, selling for 5 pesos (MN) per link. The meat is usually
fresh, and sliced right in front of you after you order, but it should be noted that re-
frigeration methods in these outdoor locations are lacking. It is advisable to shop
for meat in the early morning, rather than in the afternoon, as you will generally
get a fresher and tastier product. Remember to bring your own plastic bag or oth-
er container as these shops never provide one for free, and sometimes do not
have any available for purchase.
Food Carts and Independent Produce Resellers
It is common to see little carts, laden with fruits and vegetables, being pushed
around most cities and towns in Cuba. These vendors usually grow their own pro-
duce or buy it from markets and then resell it for a small mark up. They push their
carts around busy streets, shouting out or singing their items and prices. Most
days, around supper time, it is also common to see onion and garlic sellers walk-
ing the streets, shouting loudly to proclaim their presence. It's not a glamorous
lifestyle, but these sellers provide an important service, especially of you are
cooking a meal and forgot to buy a clove of garlic on your last trip to the market.
Their existence adds to the charm of this island and harkens to a simple and
genuine way of life.
Fairs, Street Sellers and Bazaars
In tourist areas, it is common to find outdoor street fairs selling souvenirs, jewelry,
and handcrafted products. Prices are in CUC and are usually not overly expens-
Along some busy streets, it is also common to see vendors using their front porch
to sell clothes, music CDs or household items, both new and used. Prices are