Air conditioners. Flatscreen TVs. Toilet paper.
These are the first things many travelers see when they arrive in Cuba—and none of these items are Cuban.
That’s because visitors to Cuba are flooding the island-nation’s airports with goods their Cuban friends and relatives can’t buy legally at home.
“I’m bringing clothing, toiletries, creams, shampoos, and, I believe, two perfumes—French,” one recent arrival said. He said they were for his grandmother.
Another visitor said he was bringing “an air conditioner and different clothes for the family.”
Under recently loosened regulations, such items are legal to bring into Cuba, but are not available to buy within the country—except on the black market.
Until that changes, the arrival sections of Cuban airports will continue to feature a lot of large cardboard boxes.