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.

Capital City Havanna
Size 109.884 km²
Resident 11.200.000
Official Language Spanish
Currency Cuban Peso, Convertible Peso
Time Zone UTC-5/-4
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

  • Havanna
  • Trinidad
  • Santiago de Cuba
  • Saint Clare
  • Matanzas
  • 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).

Particularly scenic

  • 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.

Cuba Fast Facts

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