Cuba – Facts & Figures

Area: 110,860 sq km

Population: 11 million

Capital city: Havana (pop 2,200,000)

People: 60% Spanish descent, 22% mulatto, 11% African descent, 1% Chinese

Language: Spanish

Religion: 47% Catholic, 4% Protestant, 2% SanterĂ­a, many Catholics also practice SanterĂ­a

Government: Communist republic

Head of State: Fidel Castro

Currency: 3 different sets:

  1. Peso: for Cubans
  2. Divisa: US dollars
  3. Moneda Nacional: tourist coins equivalent to US dollars

Major industries: Sugar, minerals, tobacco, agricultural, medicine & tourism

Major trading partners: Western Europe, Latin America, Russia, China, Iran & North Korea

Visas: Virtually all visitors require a Cuban visa or Tourist Card, available from travel agencies, tour operators or a Cuban consulate for a stay of one month. The USA officially prohibits its citizens from traveling to Cuba unless they obtain a special license; travel restrictions are relaxing, however.

Health risks: Cuba is a very healthy country. Hepatitis A is a common problem among travelers drinking tap water in areas with poor sanitation.

Time: USA Eastern Standard Time

Electricity: 110-230V, three phase 60 Hz

Weights & measures: Metric with US and Spanish variations

When to Go There: there isn’t a bad time to visit Cuba by land. The hot, rainy season runs from May to October but winter (December to April) is the island’s peak tourist season, when planeloads of Canadians and Europeans arrive in pursuit of the southern sun. Cubans take their vacation in July and August, so this is when the local beaches are most crowded. Christmas, Easter and the period around 26 July, when Cubans celebrate the anniversary of the revolution, are also very busy. For sailing, hurricane season is from July – November. The summer brings heavy afternoon thunderstorms.

Public Holidays
1 January – Liberation Day
1 May – Labor Day
25-27 July – Celebration of the National Rebellion
10 October – Day of Cuban
Culture Note that Christmas Day has been observed as a public holiday since the Pope’s visit in 1997

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