- Continent: North America
- Area: 110,860 km²
- Population: 11,167,325
- Capital city: Havana
- ISO code: CU
- National language: Spanish
- International dialing code: +53
- Currency: Peso
- License plate number: C
- Flight routes from Cuba: 2068
- Flight routes to Cuba: 2997
- Popular airports: Havana (HAV), Varadero (VRA), Holguin (HOG), Santiago de Cuba (SCU), Bayamo (BYM), Cienfuegos (CFG), Cayo Coco (CCC), Santa Clara (SNU), Cayo Largo Del Sur (CYO), Baracoa (BCA)
- Large cities: Havana, Santiago de Cuba, Camagüey, Holguín, Guantánamo, Santa Clara, Las Tunas, Bayamo, Pinar del Río, Cienfuegos, Matanzas, Ciego de Ávila, Manzanillo, Sancti Spíritus, Palma Soriano
- Airlines based in Cuba: Cubana de Aviacion, Aerocaribbean
Cuba travel guide (North America)
Cuba is the largest island in the Caribbean and is one of the last remaining socialist states in the world. The country is famous for its music, its poets, and rum and in particular for its cigars. Due to its island location the country has no direct neighbours.
Geography: on the whole, the country is flat. Only about 25 % of the country is covered by high mountain chains especially in the east and the west, reaching an altitude of 2,000 m. Many coastal regions in Cuba are marshy and covered by dense mangrove forests.
Mountains and Rivers: the highest elevation is the Pico Turquino with 1974 m (6476 ft) in the Sierra Maestra mountain range and the longest river is the Rio Cuato with a length of 370 km (229 miles).
Climate and the best time to travel: the climate in Cuba is warm and subtropical throughout the year. Most of the rainfalls in the months from May to October and dangerous tornadoes may also sweep over the country during this time, as Cuba is located in a hurricane danger zone. In the cooler months between December and April, there is comparatively little rainfall, meaning that this is the most popular travel season.
National language and communication: The official and national language of Cuba is Spanish. French and English are also spoken. Frequently, German is also spoken in the tourist resorts.
Health and immunisation: recommended are vaccines against Hepatitis A, Typhus, Diphtheria and Tetanus. Long clothing should be worn and a local insect repellent should be used to protect from viruses spread by mosquitoes. There is no danger of contracting a dangerous Malaria virus in Cuba. Medical care is particularly good in the larger cities and the tourist resorts. Foreigners are only treated in the special hospitals for foreigners where medical care is of a high standard and can be expensive. Travellers should obtain a comprehensive international travel and medical insurance with repatriation cover. Fruit and vegetable should be peeled and boiled and taking a first aid kit is recommended.
Entry requirements: British nationals require a visa to enter Cuba, which should be obtained before travelling. Those planning to travel to Cuba should therefore contact the Cuban embassy in good time to obtain the correct type of visa and for further information on travelling with children, health precautions and safety.
Arrival and onward journey: Cuba is served daily by many charter and scheduled airlines, for example British Airways (BA), Iberia (IB). Cubana Airline (CU) also fly to Havana (HAV) or Santiago (SCU) from London (LHR), Rome (FCO) or Paris (CDG). Convenient domestic connections are offered from here for example to Varadero (VRA), Holguin (HOG) or Cayo Coco (CCC), these should b booked in advanced as there is a limited offer.
Capital City: Havana, the unique pearl of the Caribbean, is the capital of Cuba and still has a magical flair for visitors from around the world. The city’s enchants visitors with its morbid charm, the famous sea promenade Malecon and with the carefully restored houses in the old town that have been on the UNESCO’s list of World Heritage Sites since 1982. The fortress of El Morro, landmark of the city is worth visiting. Work on the building was begun in 1563 to protect the city from pirates and only completed 40 years later. The Fortress El Castillo de la Fuerza is also worth visiting. It is the oldest fortress in the capital and was built between 1565 and 1583. It is located on a hill in the old town and now houses the military museum. An evening in La Tropicana should not be missed; it is the biggest nightclub in the world and has existed since 1931. Every day there is a show with 200 dancers at the club. All famous Cuban musicians have at some point performed in the Tropicana.
Attractions and Beaches: Cuba is a country of natural beauty the island is covered in dream landscapes and there are caves to explore that once served as hideouts for pirates. There is also a great number of national parks to admire. One of these is the Cueva de Santo Tomas in Vinales, the largest caves in cuba only 50 m of which have so far been explored. Other caves are the Cueva de Caleta Grande on the Isla de Juventud. In the caves there are many paintings dating from the tome of the indigenous Tainos. The Cueva de Punta del Este with its hundreds of cave paintings is considered a masterpiece amongst cave paintings.
The "Alejandro Humboldt" national park is also worth mentioning and was added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 2001, the area covers 4 provinces and contains many important ecosystems, such as the coast with mangrove swamps the coral reefs parallel to the coast, the tropical rainforests slightly inland, and the rainforests in the highlands where the El Toldo is also to be found at an altitude of 1,168 metres. The Archipelago of Camagüey is another natural attraction. The 400 islets are a natural paradise with a wide variety of flora and fauna and more than 200 different species of animal.
Those looking for traces of the Cuban revolution should visit the Monumento Che Guevara in Santa Clara. The gravesite was built in 1997, where the remains of Che are now located in a Mausoleum. The front is decorated with a massive bronze statue as a monument.
Highlight: Santiago de Cuba, in the east of the island is the secret capital. This was the birth site of the Cuban revolution and its victory announced in 1959. The wonderful buildings from the colonial era, a rich cultural life and the nearby Caribbean Sea all add to the charm of the city. Santiago was added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 1988 due to the wealth of colonial architecture. The UNESCO also lists Trinidad as World Heritage Site: an architectural treasure with its many pastel coloured houses dating back to colonial times and the baroque style palaces.
Religion: about 55% of people in Cuba are without religion, 40 % are of Catholic faith and the rest are of Protestant or Jewish belief.
Major cities and accommodation: Havana, Santiago de Cuba, Camagüey, Holguín, Guantánamo, Santa Clara and Trinidad.