About Cuba

The Republic of Cuba is an archipelago with a total area of nearly 111 000 km2, located in the Caribbean Sea, also known as the Sea of the Antilles.

The island of Cuba, the main and largest Cuban island, is a long narrow strip just under 107 500 km2, whose widest part is 191 km and the closest just 31 km. It has about 5700 kilometers of coastline, over 200 bays and 289 beaches. The archipelago also belong the Isle of Youth and other 4195 cays and islets.

Cuba is known since the days when it was a Spanish colony as “The Key to the Gulf” because of its geographical position at the entrance of the Gulf of Mexico. The nearest countries are Haiti, United States, Jamaica and Mexico. The official language is Spanish.

Political-Administrative Division

The Republic of Cuba is composed of 15 provinces and the special municipality of Isla de la Juventud. From west to east, these provinces are: Pinar del Río, Artemisa, Havana, Mayabeque, Matanzas, Cienfuegos, Villa Clara, Sancti Spiritus, Ciego de Avila, Camaguey, Las Tunas, Holguin, Granma, Santiago de Cuba and Guantanamo.

Capital

Havana, with about 3 million inhabitants.

Climate

The climate in Cuba is warm tropical, seasonally wet, cooled by winds and sea breezes. On the island generally good weather, with an average annual temperature of 25 degrees Celsius. Stockings in summer are 27 degrees Celsius, and in winter of 21. The coolest months are December, January and February, and the warmest July and August. There are only two seasons: the dry season from November to April, and the rainy season from May to October.

Flora and Fauna

Cuban fauna is very attractive and has no harmful species to man. Keep some rarities like zunzuncito titmouse, the world’s smallest bird, the smallest frog, a tiny butterfly and a bat named scorpion does not exceed 14 mm. Endemism is equally noticeable in amphibians and reptiles. The crocodile, named on farms, is another characteristic species of Cuba. There are reported about 400 species of birds.

The Cuban seabed house innumerable species of crustaceans and molluscs, over 700 fish, 300 of sponges and a larger number of starfish, sea cucumbers and sea urchins, as well as 5 species of sea turtles and mammals such as dolphins or manatees enigmatic, sirenian endangered. All this is a real privilege for scuba divers and recreational diving.

The flora is characterized by an extraordinary wealth of species and endemism considerable mainly in mountainous areas, over 50 percent of the flora is endemic. In paise over 300 protected areas that cover approximately 22 percent of the national territory. Cuba treasures six areas declared by UNESCO as a Biosphere Reserve: Guanahacabibes Peninsula, Sierra del Rosario and the Zapata Swamp National Park in the west; Caguanes National Park, in the center, and Baconoa Park and Blades of Toa (Cuchillas del Toa) in the east.

In most represented plant groups and are most attractive orchids, cacti and palms.

Culture

Cuba is a country of rich cultural traditions and contributed to world culture with leading musicians, singers, dancers, writers, painters and thinkers. Important international events are based on the island, including: The International Ballet Festival, The International Festival of New Latin American Cinema Festival Jazz Plaza, Havana Biennial Book Fair, among others. The cultural and educational level of the Cubans is the highest in Latin America and is on par with first world countries.

Currency and Payment Methods

The official currency is the Cuban Peso plus with Convertible Peso (CUC). Prices in all tourist services are fixed at CUC, so that upon arrival at the airport to make the change, or you can change money in banks or exchange houses (CADECAs). Travelers checks accepted and credit cards Cabal, Transcard, Visa and MasterCard, who have not been issued by U.S. banks or their subsidiaries. For more information visit the Central Bank of Cuba website.

Visitors Care

The Cuban care health system is considered unique in Latin America, with total population coverage and epidemiological permanent remediation work.

Over 95% of the hotels have a doctor that guarantees patient’s primary care. There are also international clinical treatments of greater care in: Havana Pinar del Rio, Havana, Cienfuegos, Trinidad, Cayo Coco, Santa Lucia, Guardalavaca and Santiago de Cuba

Health Regulations

Only required to present the International Certificate of Vaccination for travelers from countries where yellow fever and cholera endemic or have been declared infected areas by WHO. There are restrictions on products of animal or vegetable origin.

Immigration Regulations

All visitors must have a valid passport in your name and the corresponding visa or tourist card, except in the case of countries with which Cuba has visa exemption agreements. The Tourist Card, both individually and for groups, can be requested at the Cuban consular offices, travel agencies and airline offices.

Airport tax

Departure tax of airports in Cuba is 25.00 Cuban Convertible Pesos (CUC).

Customs Regulations

They are tax exempt personal items, 2 bottles of liquor, one carton of cigarettes and up to 10 kg of medicines. You can import items worth up to 250.00 USD, of this amount, 50.00 USD are exempt from payment and the remaining 200.00 USD to be paid a tariff of 100%. Payment for excess baggage at the point of origin does not exempt the traveler to pay, upon his arrival in Cuba, the appropriate fee based on value of the items.

The entry of cash is unlimited. Reexport an amount equal to or greater than 5 000.00 USD is required to submit the corresponding customs declaration.

Customs laws prohibiting pornography revenues. It also banned the possession, trafficking, consumption and sale of drugs and narcotics, live animals and firearms. If the latter are intended for hunting, importation can be authorized by the entity responsible for this form of tourism.

It allows the export of works of art, antiques, species of Cuban flora and fauna and other legally protected cultural property, with proper documentation of relevant institutions. The maximum value of export of other items is a thousand dollars.

The craft does not require documents for export. It allows free export of 23 cigars and loose or in packages. For more quantity, the traveler must submit to Customs a copy of the invoice for the purchase. The cigars must be in original packaging, with the official.

For more information visit the website of the General Customs of the Republic of Cuba .

Electric current

110V., 60 Hz. Plugs with flat prongs. In some hotels and facilities can use 220V. Adapters are advised to bring a flat round dowels.

Clothing to use

Usually used light and fresh clothes. In the day is mostly informal clothes and evening activities, light clothes but more elegant. Although to attend solemn ceremonies, business meetings, dinners, diplomatic appointments or visits to clubs is more appropriate formal attire. It is always recommended to wear light, preferably cotton for day to night.

During the months of winter short Cuban (December to March) is sufficient light sweater, especially, to travel in air-conditioned coach

If you would like information about diving in the Islan can visit the Diving in Cuba section.

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