Welcome in the big Island of Cuba, the largest in
the Antilles. With almost 6000km of beaches of white sand, its tropical
flora covering its many mountains, its colonial cities and its peaceful
countryside, it is easy to fall under its charm.
The European and African influences, mixed with the aboriginals
and Asians, gave birth to a very characteristic and diversified
people. They are a warm people and very sympathetic. Their blood
is hot, especially when the hypnotic rhythms of Cuban music are
The Cuban economy consists mainly of sugar cane, rum, tobacco,
coffee, exotic fruits, fishing, pharmaceutical and biotechnological
industries, nickel mining and especially tourism. Education is free
for all the levels and is obligatory until the end of high school.
Medical services are free for all Cubans.
Cuba Travel Facts
# Capital :
# Currency :
Cuban convertible Peso
# Driver's License :
International license recommended. Must be 21 years old and have
a credit card
# Electricity :
110 V, 60Hz, American plugs. Hotels often have 220 V .
# Entry Requirements :
A valid passport throughout your stay is required as well as a tourist
card delivered by your travel agency, the airline companies or the
Cuban consular establishment.
# GMT Time :
-5hr. Daylight savings time is applied.
# Government :
# Land size :
110 992 km2
# Language :
Spanish, basic English in resort areas
# National Airlines :
# Population :
approx. 11 207 000
# Religion :
The catholic religion is the most widespread but the afro-Cuban
practices are very present.
# Requirred Vaccines :
# Tourist Season :
Novembre through April
# Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada :
Consult the "Country Travel Report
The Cuban kitchen blends Spanish and African influences with a
dash of Chinese. Aliaco is the national dish: a kind of stew including
vegetables, meat (traditionally pork) and seasonings. Other traditional
dishes include seafood, roasted pig, fried plantains, black beans
with rice, tamales and baracoa chicken.
The national drink is rum, whether it is refined, white, amber
or aged. If one likes to drink it alone or with ice, it is preferable
to choose an amber or aged rum. For cocktails, on the contrary,
the white rum (carta blanca or carta plata) is preferred because
it is at the base of most cuban cocktails such as the Cuba Libre,
the Mojito, the Daiquiri, the Cubanito and the Saoco.
The Cuban culture is much diversified with its Spanish, African,
French and Chinese roots. Many Cuban artists have greatly influenced,
on an international level, the worlds of literature, Fine arts,
cinema, dance and theatre.
A particular mention must be made for Cuban music, to which we
owe universal rhythms such as the danzón, the son, the bolero,
the mambo and the cha cha cha, to quote only but a few.
Several prestigious cultural events are organized regularly in
all these disciplines, as for example the literary contest of Casa
de las Américas, the international Ballet Festival and the
New Latin-American Cinema Festival.
Flora and Fauna
In Cuba, the flora and fauna are very rich and diverse, making
it a paradise for ecotourism. One finds more than 300 protected
areas, accounting for approximately 22% of the territory. Cuba counts
six zones classified by UNESCO in the Biosphere Reserves: the Peninsula
of Guanahacabibes, the Sierra del Rosario and Marshes of Zapata,
to the west, the area of Buenavista, in the center, the Baconao
Park and Cuchillas del Toa, to the east.
The lush tropical forests, the mountainous masses and the semi-desert
regions shelter exotic orchids, cacti and mangroves. And then one
finds the splendid Cayos. Defined by 5 archipelagos, one counts
approximately 4195 tiny islands. These are favoured by diving and
nature enthusiast for its corals.
Its fauna includes parrots, pelicans, turtles on the coast, iguanas,
crocodiles of Guama, as well the smallest frog (12 mm long) in the
Cuba displays magnificent coral reefs, underwater caves, vertical
walls, cliffs and channels. More then a thousand fish species are
to be viewed, 200 types of sponges and 60 varieties of coral. Several
sunken pirate ships and Spanish galleons can be found.
Cuba is situated between the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean,
at the mouth of the Gulf of Mexico. This archipelago consists of
two large islands, the Island of Cuba and the Island of Youth, and
counts nearly 4195 tiny islands.
The Island of Cuba measures 1200km (from the Cape de San Antonio,
western end, to the Point of Maisi, in the East) where close to
400 beaches natural are to be found.
The plains prevail but it has four important mountainous areas:
the Cordillera of Guaniguanico, in the west, the Cordillera of Guamuhaya,
in the center, the Sagua-Baracoa and the Maestra Sierra, in the
Its history begins in 1492 when Christopher Columbus landed on
its shores. Not long after the conquest and the colonization of
Cuba followed. At the beginning of XVIe the first seven cities are
founded: Baracoa, Bayamo, Santiago of Cuba, Santísima Trinidad,
Sancti Spiritus, Santa María del Puerto del Príncipe
(Camaguey) and its capital San Cristòbal de Habana.
After the exhaustion of the natives, African slaves were imported
to work. The latter largely influenced the population and the culture
of this island. With the end of the XIX century a series of battles
for independence fail until the Triumph of the Revolution in 1959.
Fidel Castro then installs a socialist republic. Cuba lives by modest
means since the embargo of the United States in 1960.
Cuba has produced great medaled athletes in sports such as boxing,
judo, athletics, volley ball, fencing, wrestling, chess and in weight
lifting. But baseball remains the most popular sport.
Diving enthusiasts will adore the magnificent coral reefs, underwater
caves, vertical walls, cliffs and channels that Cuba has to offer.
More then a thousand fish species are to be viewed, 200 types of
sponges and 60 varieties of coral. Several sunken pirate ships and
Spanish galleons can be found. Those who prefer snorkelling should
head for the coral reefs of Cayo Piedra, Cayo Coco and Guardalavaca.
Many Jeep safari tours are offered in the countryside of Cayo Coco
or the Peninsula of Zapata where the largest marsh of the Caribbean
is. Trekking in the area of the Sierra Gran Piedra has gained enormous
popularity in recent years.