Explore Cuba

General Information

Telecommunications
Currency
Transport
Car Hire
Electric
Health Care Climate
Vaccinations requirements
Flights to Cuba
Entry Requirements
Customs information
Time Zone
Country Profile

Map of Cuba
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Telecommunications

Cuba to UK dial: 119 44 +STD code +Local no.
UK to Cuba dial: 00 53 + area code + local no.

Currency

The official currency is the Cuban Peso (1US$ +26 CUP)
The Peso Convertible (CUC) is valued 8% more than the US$. Tourist should take sterling or Euros and exchange for the Peso Convertible upon arrival.
Traveller’s cheques (except those issued by US Banks) and credit cards (except American Express and Diner’s Club) are accepted.
Room tax: Included
Service Charge: Included

Transport

Driving is on the right. Cars, motor scooters and bicycles are available for hire. A valid drive’s license is required and drivers must be over 21.
Local services: Taxis, Buses, and Train and air service.
For information about coaches in Cuba, please visit the following website: www.viazul.com

Car Hire

Car hire available from Havanautos, Cubacar, Transautos and Transgaviota on arrival at the airport or from the tourism desk of the hotels.

Electric

110v, 60AC. Two flat prongs.

Health Care

We recommend obtaining a Travel Insurance for your trip. In Cuba, Insurance can be obtained from Asistur S.A., the country’s official travel insurance company.All hotels have doctors or staff who guaranteed primary care. Every major resort area also has an international medical clinic that handles more complex medical conditions. The clinics are scattered across the country.
For more information about Asistur, please visit the following website: www.asistur.cu

Vaccinations requirements

None compulsory.

Customs information

Please visit the following website: www.aduana.co.cu

Flights to Cuba

Flying times: Gatwick to Havana 9 hours 40 mins - Manchester to Havana 9 hours 20 mins
Schedule flights:
-Virgin Atlantic direct to Havana from Gatwick (Mond & Thurs).
-Air France from UK to Havana via Paris.
-KLM from UK to Havana via Amsterdam.
-Air Europa from Gatwick via Madrid.
Charter Flights:
-Thomas Cook Airlines direct to Varadero, Cayo Coco and Holguín from Gatwick and Manchester.
-Thomas Cook Airlines direct to Santa Clara (cayo Santa María) from Manchester during Summer.
-Thomson Airways direct to Varadero from Manchester.
-Thomson Airways direct to Holguín from Gatwick.

Entry Requirements

Tourist visiting Cuba require a Tourist Card (£15, 00) valid for one trip of up to 30 days, which must be obtained before departure from the UK. Full valid passport and a photocopy of its main page, return ticket and accomodation are required. Tourist card must be obtained from your Tour Operator or direct from the Cuban Consulate (09:30-12:30 Monday to Friday) or by post:
167 High Holborn
London WC1V 6PA
Tel: 0207 240 2488

Link to the website: www.cubadiplomatica.cu

Time Zone

Eastern Standard Time (GMT). UK: -5 hours.
Cuba is on Daylight Saving Time from March through October.

Climate

Cuba’s climate is moderately subtropical and predominantly warm. The island’s average temperature is 25.5ºC and average relative humidity is 78 per cent. It also sees an average of 330 days of sunshine a year. Cuba’s two clearly defined seasons are the rainy season (May to October) and the dry season (November to April).

Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun July Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Ave Temp ºC 22 22 23 25 26 27 28 28 27 26 24 23
Ave Temp ºF 71 71 73 77 79 81 83 83 81 79 75 73
Ave Rainfall mm 60 45 45 55 70 160 130 140 150 170 70 55
Humidity % 75 73 71 71 79 76 75 76 78 78 75 74

 

Country Profile

Population

Cuba has more than 11,200,000 people, with 75 per cent of them living in urban areas. The average density is 100.3 residents per square kilometre, with the most heavily populated spots being the cities of Havana (2,198,000), Santiago de Cuba (1,023,000) and Holguín (1,021,000). The country’s official language is Spanish, although most Cubans working in the tourism industry can communicate in English.

Geography

Cuba is a long and narrow island (1,200 kilometers from Cabo de San Antonio, the westernmost tip, to Punta de Maisí, the eastern tip). At its widest point it measures 210 kilometers and at its narrowest 32 kilometers. It is dominated by plains and has four major mountain ranges: the Guaniguanico mountains, in the west; Guamuhaya mountains in the central portion; the Sagua-Baracoa range; and the Sierra Maestra the east. The latter contains the country’s highest peak: Turquino, 1,974 meters high. The landscape is diverse, ranging from semi-deserts to tropical rain forests. The country has a large biodiversity and well-preserved ecosystems.

National emblems

Flag

Flag of Cuba.svg

Shield

Coat of Arms of Cuba.svg

Official language

Spanish.

Environment

Cuba is a long, narrow island stretching 1,200 kilometres from Cabo de San Antonio at its western tip to Punta de Maisí, the eastern tip. At its widest point, it measures 210 kilometres; at its narrowest, 32.

The landscape ranges from semi-arid desert to tropical rainforests. While largely flat, Cuba has four major mountain ranges: the Guaniguanico mountains in the west; the central Guamuhaya mountains and Sagua-Baracoa range; and the Sierra Maestra the east. The latter boasts the country’s highest peak: Turquino, 1,974 metres. The country also has well preserved ecosystems and a diverse biosphere.

Flora and fauna

More than 300 protected areas in the country occupy some 22 per cent of the island. Six of these have been declared world biosphere reserves by UNESCO: Guanahacabibes Peninsula, Sierra del Rosario and Ciénaga de Zapata, in the west; Buenavista in central Cuba; and Baconao Park and Cuchillas del Toa in the east. More than half the island’s diverse flora and fauna are indigenous.

Historical summary

On October 27, 1492, Christopher Columbus discovered the Cuban archipelago during his initial voyage to the New World. Between 1511 and 1515, Diego Velázquez led the Spanish colonization of the island and founded the country’s first seven townships: Baracoa, Bayamo, Santiago de Cuba, Santísima Trinidad, Sancti Spíritus, Santa María del Puerto del Príncipe (Camagüey) and San Cristóbal de La Habana (Havana). Spanish domination lasted four centuries and ended with the country’s military occupation by the United States in 1898, which continued until 1902 when a neocolonial republic was established. The island’s history has been marked by repeated struggles for independence. The first was on October 10, 1868; the last began on July 26, 1953 with the attack on the Moncada Garrison led by Fidel Castro. This revolution culminated in the establishment of the current republic on January 1, 1959.

National holidays

January 1: Liberation Day. Anniversary of the Triumph of the Revolution
May 1: International Workers’ Day
July 25, 26 and 27: Festivities for the Day of National Rebellion
October 10: Anniversary of the beginning of the Independence Wars
December 25: Christmas Day

Economy

The two pillars of the Cuban economy are tourism and sugar. Other major industries are tobacco, coffee, rum, honey, cocoa, citrus fruit, pharmaceuticals and biotechnology, as well as construction materials, fishing and mining. Cuba has the world’s largest nickel deposits (some 34 per cent of global reserves). It also mines copper and magnesium.

Education

Education is provided free of charge at all levels and is compulsory through ninth grade. In 1961 the country eradicated illiteracy through the National Literacy Campaign. Specialized polytechnic institutes, universities and other higher education centers exist in all the provinces.

CUBA EDUCATION

Health care

Cuba’s primary health care system is considered unique in Latin America. Medical services are provided free of charge to all Cubans. There is an extensive networks of medical centers (442 polyclinics and 281 hospitals), as well as other specialized centers. The infant mortality rate is 7.2 per 1000 live births and the life expectancy is 75 years. Cuba is among six countries in the world that produce interferon. Its vaccines against meningitis B and C and hepatitis B are unique in the world. These achievements are possible thanks to the existence of 211 scientific research and production institutes

Culture

Cuba has produced major international figures in literature and fine arts, film, ballet, modern dance and theatre.
The country is also renowned for its original rhythms such as the danzón, son, bolero, mambo, cha-cha-cha and more. Cuba’s prestigious cultural events attract international celebrities in dance, music, theatre and other arts.
Among these events are the Casa de las Américas literary contest, the Havana International Ballet Festival, the Festival of New Latin American Cinema and the International Jazz Festival.

Sports

Every year, Cuba hosts numerous international sports events. A world sports power, the country is known for boxing,baseball and volleyball, and boasts stars in track and field, fencing, judo, Greco-Roman and freestyle wrestling, chess and weightlifting.

Cuban sport and culture attracts Canadian travelers

Religion

The country’s Constitution guarantees total freedom of religion. The most commonly practised religion is Catholicism, although Afro-Cuban religions are deep-rooted.