Gift-giving etiquette for Cuban hosts

I’m taking a tour to Cuba, and the tour materials suggest bringing small gifts for our paladar hosts and/or anyone we meet who’s especially helpful or kind. They recommend everyday toiletries (toothbrushes and toothpaste, soap, lotion, ibuprofen and vitamins) as well as souvenirs from your hometown (postcards, pens, keychains, etc.). Does anyone have any experience with this and whether the gifts were appreciated? I would love to make personal connections and share useful items, but I don’t want it to come off as condescending or like a charity handout.


I stayed with a couple in Havana and brought them a model car of an NYC yellow cab. They had a young grandson, so were excited to give that to him.

A lot of the people who are sanctioned by the government to allow foreigners to stay are running their guest rooms like a business, so a rule of thumb might be to bring what you think would be suitable for a souvenir collection that advertises the diverse places people came from to stay at that particular home.


Thanks! That’s a really good point.

Hi! Echoing Luke, any sort of small souvenir, emblematic of where you’re from, is a small gesture that your hosts will definitely appreciate.

1 Like