Cuba

This beautiful caribbean island is known for it’s stunning white-sand beaches, mountain terrain, tasty cigars and rum. Havana, the capital of Cuba, features historical Spanish architecture dating all the way back to the 16th century. Cuba will not disappoint anyone!

Cuba is the most exciting island in the caribbean. Whereas other islands have one or two major attractions, Cuba has it all. There are dramatic landscapes with wild and unspoilt valleys, an amazing variety of flora and fauna, beautiful beaches. The best however, the people: welcoming, enthusiastic, polite and a lot of fun.
Come and see for yourselves…

Maricela Moreno Ortiz

Pink Elephant Int'l - Cuba

Havana

Havana
Havana, Cuba
Direction

“For centuries, Cuba’s greatest resource has been its people”

Pico Iyer

Havana

You can spend an hour of your time watching workers skillfully hand-rolling cigars at a cigar factory such as Francisco Donation. Guayabita del Pinar is a great-tasting guava liqueur thus should not be missed.

Pinar del Río

Cuban cigar is reputedly the best in the world. The tobacco plantation in Pinar del Rio, in the western part of Cuba, cultivates the finest tobacco in Cuba. Tobacco plantations in Pinar del Rio are not its only attractions as peppering its flat plains are mogotes or rounded limestone mountains.

Varadero

Varadero, with the blue, serene Atlantic waters lapping on the glistening white sands while the cool tropical breeze gently wafts on its shore, is deemed the world’s greatest beach. The site presents a picture-perfect backdrop for resorts of all kinds, ranging from family-friendly to exclusive, all-inclusive and more.

Cienfuegos

Diving buffs are pulled to explore Notre Dame, a unique formation of coral columns that provides a wonderful opportunity to explore an undersea labyrinth. The tranquil waters of the Atlantic are perfect for boat activities such as boating, sailing and kayaking.

Trinidad

Located between the Caribbean coastline and verdant mountains, Trinidad has much to offer in terms of natural attractions. A wonderful way to start the day is a morning hike at Sierra del Escambray after which a dip in the cool, calm waters off Ancón Beach is a great day-ender.

Jardines del Rey

Next to Varadero, Cayo Coco is one of the most popular beach destinations in Cuba. Linked to mainland Cuba by a causeway, a 22 km stretch of white sand beaches line the cay. Water sports buffs troop to this area for it affords the perfect spot for sailing, windsurfing, fishing and snorkeling.

Holguin

In the city proper are points of interest such as the museum housed in an antiquated colonial barracks located at the provincial capital. Galleries and monuments are situated in public squares for all to see.

Santiago de Cuba

If a city has a soul, that city would be Santiago de Cuba. As the second’s largest municipality in Cuba, Santiago de Cuba has its fill of revered heroes, vivacious musical traditions and beautiful plazas

Baracoa

Baracao is bounded on its northern side by the Atlantic, while mountains, rivers and forests bound the city in all other directions. It is quite isolated which makes it all the more attractive to tourists. Baracao is considered one of Cuba’s fascinating destinations.

Cayo Largo

Cayo Largo is one of Cuba’s most famous travel destinations. The fantastic view of the ocean and the powdery sugar-white beaches it affords guests are sought-after. The calm, Caribbean Sea nestles the key at the easternmost part of the Archipélago de los Canarreos off the southern coast of Cuba.

Villa Clara

Villa Clara’s landscape is an unlikely combination of sparkling beaches, lakes teeming with varieties of fish and fertile tobacco fields. It is where Buenavista Biosphere Reserve is situated, a preserved ecosystem of coral reefs, mangroves, keys and reproductive zones for water birds, and active dune zones.

Península de Zapata

The Zapata Peninsula is a known destination for scuba divers and ecotourists. Situated south of the province of Matanzas this area juts out into the Caribbean Sea. The population is comparatively sparse: the area intensely protected by the locals as the greater part of the region is included in the Ciénaga de Zapata Biosphere Reserve or the Gran Parque Natural Montemar

Santa Lucía

Located on the Camagüey Province’s northern coast is Santa Lucia, a 21 km long, wide beach that boasts of powdery golden-white sand kissed by the calm and warm, turquoise blue waters. The beach front is protected by a coral reef some 2 km from shore

Camagüey

Camagüey is situated in the center of the island between Las Tunas and Ciego de Avila. As the largest province of Cuba, the location is mostly rural. Sabana-Camagüey archipelago and Santa Lucia beach lie on the northern part

Las Tunas

Located between Holguin, Camagüey and Granma, Las Tunas province is made famous by its pristine beaches, rustic “cowboy” culture and its many events such as Latin America’s lone magic conference, the largest campesino music festival in Cuba and the creative month-long sculpture exhibit.

Granma

Granma is a Cuban province known for its rich history and incredible natural beauty. The long stretch of the Sierra Maestra Mountains as well as the longest river in the country, Rio Cauto, are found in Granma. There are two national parks in Granma, the Parque Nacional Desembarco del Granma and the Gran Parque Nacional Sierra Maestra.

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

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

Entry Requirements

Tourist visiting Cuba require a Tourist Card valid for one trip of up to 30 days, which must be obtained before departure. Full valid passport and a photocopy of its main page, return ticket and accommodation are required. Tourist card must be obtained. 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).

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

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

Cuba has a hot and sunny tropical climate with an average temperature of 24°C, but in the winter months of January and February the mercury can drop as low as 15°C, and even lower at night, worth considering when thinking about the best time to visit. This is during the dry season, which runs roughly from November to April, when if you intend to go into the mountains it’s advisable to pack something warmer than a T-shirt.

If you visit in the summer, and more broadly between May and October, considered the wet season, expect it to rain on at least a couple of days over a fortnight. Don’t let this put you off, though; although it comes down hard and fast, rain rarely stays for very long in Cuba, and the clouds soon break to allow sunshine through to dry everything out. Eastern Cuba tends to be hotter and more humid during this part of the year, while the temperature in the area around Trinidad and Sancti Spíritus also creeps above the national average. September and October are the most threatening months of the annual hurricane season that runs from June to November. Compared to other Caribbean islands and some Central American countries, however, Cuba has so far held up relatively well even in the fiercest of hurricanes, though rural areas are more vulnerable.

The peak tourist season

Runs roughly from mid-December to mid-March, and all of July and August. Prices are highest and crowds thickest in high summer, when the holiday season for Cubans gets underway. As much of the atmosphere of the smaller resorts is generated by tourists, Cuban and foreign, out of season they can seem somewhat dull – although you’ll benefit from lower prices. The cities, particularly Havana and Santiago, are always buzzing and offer good value for money throughout the year. Compared to the all-out celebrations in other countries, Christmas is a low-key affair in Cuba, with the emphasis on private family celebration. New Year’s Eve, also the eve of the anniversary of the Revolution, is much more fervently celebrated. For festivals, July and August are the best times to be in Havana and Santiago, while the capital is also enlivened in November by the Latin American International Film Festival.