All About Cuba

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Cuba is a set of islands covering 100 922 km2 of surface. It’s formed by Isla de Cuba, Isla de la Juventud and around 4 200 cays and islets. It’s located at the entrance of the Mexican Gulf, 77 km from Haiti (south), 210 km from the Yucatan Peninsula (west) and 180 km from Florida (north).

There are 16 provinces and over 160 municipalities. The central government it’s located in Havana with dependencies in every province.

Language

Spanish is the official language spoken by every citizen on the island. There’s a general knowledge of English. Several other languages such as French and Italian are somewhat common among the population, especially those related with touristic activities.

Population, Religion and Culture

Population

Population in Cuba is around 12 million inhabitants (as for 2012 census). The largest city is Havana (north) which helds a bit more than 2 million people. It’s is also the capital of the island and the largets touristic attraction. The second largest city is Santiago de Cuba (south) with over 1.5 million of people.

Religion

There’s no official religion in the country, although there’s a majority of catholic Christians, as well as the afrocuban cults. There are also different denominations of Protestants such as Evangelic, Adventists, Jehovah Witnesses, Methodists, and Presbyterians. Muslims constitute a small minority.

Culture

Culture in Cuba is a mixture of the European and African cultures. It’s considered as one of the most influent in the region as it expresses in a singular way in every different artistic manifestations. Cuba owns 9 sites declared World Heritage Sites by UNESCO.

Weather

Weather in Cuba is subtropical moderated with a prevalence of warm temperatures. There’s scarce cloudiness, as average 330 days per year are sunny. Average temperatures are 25.5º C (77º F). January and February are the coldest month while July and August are the hottest.

Currency

Currently Cuba possesses two currencies. The Cuban Peso (CUP) and the Cuban Convertible Peso (CUC). All major currencies can be swapped for CUC at the banks and airports. We strongly recommend only exchange money in designated places such as banks or hotels as you may be a victim of scam and get Cuban Pesos (CUP) instead of Cuban Convertibles (CUC). Tourists are encouraged to spend CUC, as it’s more expensive and helps the economy, however you can also buy some CUP, which is the common currency for locals. Buying in CUP is cheaper but choices are limited. Still you can buy some fresh fruits and vegetables at local markets as well as some meat, however it’s wise to extreme precautions in washing the merchandise. Pineapples, guavas, papayas and bananas are especially tasteful.

Visa requirements

Citizens from the European Union do not require a visa to visit Cuba. You just need a valid passport, onward ticket and the address of your first night’s accommodation and your tourist card which can be obtained from the Cuban Embassy but is often provided by local tour operators or airlines.

Medications and vaccines

Cuba has one of the highest doctor to patient ratio in the world, but there’s a considerable lack of equipment and medical facilities are far from having the necessary health conditions. We recommend you to bring basic first aid supplies with you as well as any special medicines you may need as they may not be easy to obtain. Vaccinations are recommendable but not compulsory. It’s best to talk to your doctor before your visit.

Playas

There over 300 natural beaches stretching over 600 km. There are more than 500 diving sites in with coral reefs and wreckage sites.

Electric power

Electricity in Cuba is 110 volts at 60 Hz. Sockets’ connector are flat. Most hotels features 220 volts. It’s recommended to bring adapters.

Wardrobe

Recommended fabrics are cotton and similar. For winter season and acclimatized places a thin wool coat is recommended. A light raincoat may be useful in rainy season.

How do I get to Cuba?

Main access to Cuba is by airplane. There are 11 international airports receiving regular and charter flights from over 40 airlines around the world. There are also 10 Marinas and 4 Cruise terminals.