Cuba Tourist Guide & Info
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 heard nearby.
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.
Origin & Culture
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.
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.
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 east.
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.
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 world.
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.
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.
Other Useful Info
Since November 2004, all purchases will have to be made only with the Cuban convertible Peso (which is par with the American dollar). Canadian dollars, Euros and British pounds can be exchanged for the Cuban convertible Peso without the premium of 10% being charged for American dollars.
Credit cards and the travellers' cheques are widely accepted unless they are issued by an American bank.
Usually hotels will exchange money but you will get a better rate at an exchange office.
The Cuban climate is very pleasant because it is located in a moderate sub-tropical zone. One distinguishes two seasons: the rain season (May-October) and the dry season (November-April). The average air temperature is 25,5degrees C and that of coastal water 25degrees C. There are nearly 330 sunny days per year. The annual average of relative humidity is 78%
For monthly average temperatures please refer to your destination of choice.