This Homegrown Rum Is Cuba’s Little Secret


Not so long ago, it was illegal for Americans to possess Cuban cigars and rum. Not so today. The relationship between Cuba and the United States is ever-changing. As more and more travelers make their way to this enigmatic country, there are more and more items which Americans are allowed to bring home with them.

Easing of borders and added flights to and from the U.S. have created a market for take-home goods for visitors. According to The Washington Post, "Since the U.S. government moved to restore diplomatic relations with Cuba in late 2014, Americans have been allowed to return from the communist island with $400 worth of newly bought merchandise. However, no more than $100 of the loot can be of the tobacco and alcohol variety. And for those found in violation, penalties can reach $250,000 and 10 years in prison, the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol noted just last month in its most recent warning on the matter."

Our guests are savvy shoppers, but there is still a limit on how much product you can take out of Cuba. While it's not clear how much enforcement is being done at the border, playing it safe is the best policy. With some bottles of rum costing over the $100 export limit, and top quality cigars sold in government owned stores exceeding $10 a piece, bringing home prized Cuban delicacies is harder than you might imagine.

Here’s a tip. Guayabita del Pinar, or "Little Guava," is Cuba's own homegrown rum. It’s micro-distilled, and you will probably only find it while in the Pinar del Rio region. This is your go-to exotic, totally local, a unique and inexpensive souvenir from your Cuba travels. While it may not be as refined as an aged $1700 bottle of Havana Club, it's a fun replacement and an authentic reminder of your trip.

Made from a dwarfed guava fruit, guayabita is sweet, nutty and smooth.

During Access Culinary Trips’ Cuba tour, guests spend time in the tobacco-rich Viñales Valley, and this part of the trip is the perfect time to grab your guayabita. You're unlikely to find it elsewhere in the country.

Rum has been brewed in Cuba since the 1900's. Bacardi was king in Cuba until the communist revolution confiscated Bacardi's holdings and sent the company overseas. Still, rum persists as the definitive Cuban drink, and finding a locally made and unique rum is just too fun to pass up.

Learn more about our Cuba Culinary Tour and explore Cuban culture through its cuisine.

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