Cuba Fast Facts
Cuba is a country that has been attracting increasing numbers of visitors since the US eased its decades-long trade embargo. Chic vintage cars, beautiful landscapes, fantastic beaches and somehow a break from stress, time pressure and the rest of the world – that’s Cuba. See ANDYEDUCATION for education in Cuba.
|Currency||Cuban Peso, Convertible Peso|
|Telephone Area Code||+53|
Fast facts to know
- There are two currencies in Cuba: the Convertible Peso (CUC) and the Cuban Peso.
- It is recommended for travelers to take euros with them.
- Cuba is famous for its music, hot dances, good rum and vintage cars.
- Bottled water is very expensive.
- The Caribbean beaches are great for diving.
- For overnight stays, casa particulares are recommended rather than hotels.
- The Bay of Pigs invasion is unforgettable.
- Cuba is a socialist country.
- Supermarkets are not necessarily well stocked. Imported is very expensive.
- Restaurants are often under state management – there are only a few dishes.
- Cubans like to flirt – also with whistles, air kisses and compliments.
- The condition of the Cuban roads leaves a lot to be desired.
- Tipping is expected for almost everything, 1 CUC is often enough.
- Small gifts are always welcome.
- Photography prohibited: military objects, soldiers, bridges, airfields, public buildings.
- Cuba is considered a fairly safe country.
Exciting cities in Cuba
- Santiago de Cuba
- Saint Clare
- Hundred fires
History of Cuba
- 16th century Beginning of Spanish colonial rule.
- As a result, indigenous peoples were virtually wiped out by violence and disease.
- Tens of thousands of slaves deported from Africa to plant sugar cane.
- 1868 Beginning of the struggle for independence.
- 1898 Declaration of Independence after American intervention (Spanish-American War).
- 1902 formal independence.
- 1959 Revolution led by Fidel and Raúl Castro, Camilo Cienfuegos and Argentinian Ernesto Guevara, known as Che.
- 1961 establishment of a socialist state.
- 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis between the USA and the USSR, beginning of the comprehensive economic, trade and financial blockade by the USA.
- 1990s severe economic crisis.
- 2015 Cuba is removed from the list of states supporting terrorism, USA and Cuba resume official diplomatic relations.
Climate & travel weather in Cuba
- Tropical savanna climate.
- A dry season from Nov-April.
- In the south-east of Cuba, there is a hot steppe climate.
- No big temperature differences in the course of the year.
- Hurricane season from June to November.
- Recommended travel time:
- November to April
Ideas for trips in Cuba
- Steam train ride through lush green sugar cane fields.
- Beautiful orchid garden in Soroa.
- Visit to the “Rainbow Waterfall”.
- Dancing & enjoying Cuban music.
- Swim with dolphins and turtles.
- Cave tour in the Cuevas de Santo Tomas.
- Hemingway Museum.
- Explore the exciting cities of the island.
Top sights in Cuba
Eating & drinking in Cuba
- Cuban food is often very heavy as it is cooked with a lot of oil.
- Limited number of foods, so dishes are often simple.
- Black beans, root vegetables, yuca and malanga are popular.
- Other side dishes: fresh vegetables, white rice, plantains.
- Strong coffee with lots of warm milk is often served for breakfast.
- A warm meal both at lunchtime and in the evening.
- Soups are part of traditional Cuban cuisine.
- It is usually seasoned extremely sparingly.
- Hardly any vegetarian dishes, meat popular and present in almost every dish.
- Almost total absence of beef (cows used for milk production).
- Often also fish or seafood served.
- International cuisine is not very common in Cuba.
- Breakfast and food in casa particulares mostly very good.
- Popular drinks: heavily sweetened, very strong coffee, guarapo (sugar cane juice), batida de fruta, rum, fresh juices.
- Typical dishes:
- National dish: Congrí (rice with black beans).
- Ajiaco bayamés (Bayamo stew with pork, cornballs, cumin, tomatoes, onions, garlic, chili, green bananas).
- Arroz congrí (rice with beans, garlic and bacon).
- Arroz con pescado al ron (rice with fish soaked in rum).
- Bacalao con plátano (cod with cooked green banana).
- Coquito blanco (sweet dessert made from coconut meat).
- Fufu (mashed plantain mixed with roasted pork rind).
- Guava with cheese (Guavenmarmelade mit Käse).
- Natilla (Süßer Vanillepudding).
- Parrillada de pescado/carne (grilled platter of different types of fish or meat).
- Picadillo habanero (ground beef with tomatoes and olives, topped with fried eggs, white rice).
- Potaje de frijoles negros (black bean stew with bacon, chorizo and potato pieces, garlic, tomato paste, onions).
- Stewed duck (Ente geschmorte).
- Tamales (corn dough mixed with meat or vegetables and then steamed in banana leaf).
- Coral reefs off the islands of Cayo Largo, Cayo Coco and Cayo Guillermo.
- Such “Viñales Valley”.
- National Park “Alejandro de Humboldt”.
- Great Sierra Maestra National Park.
- Dream beach Cayo Levisa.
- Collantes tops.