Explore Cuba in North America

Cuba
Country Guide

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Cuba with its capital Havana is located in North America (Caribbean, island between the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean). It covers some 110,861 square kilometres (slightly smaller than Pennsylvania) with 11,423,000 citizens. Spanish is the language commonly used by the people in Cuba. United States is a bordering country.

Cuba is the largest Caribbean island, between the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean. Walk along the Malécon during the early evening and take in some of Havana's culture. A popular saying goes that the best Cuban food can be found in the United States. Within Cuba, the best food will generally be found in your casa particular or in paladares (locally owned restaurants in private homes). Cuban national cocktails include the Cuba Libre (rum and cola) and the Mojito (rum, lime, sugar, mint leaves, club soda and ice). Cuba is generally a very safe country; strict and prominent policing, combined with neighborhood-watch-style programs keep the streets safe from violent crime. Cuba is considered very healthy except for the water; even many Cubans boil their water. That said, some travelers drink untreated water without ill effect. The best solution is bottled water and lots of it, especially for visitors who are not used to the 30+°C/85+°F temperatures. Cubans are generally friendly and helpful people. If you're staying at a hotel or casa particular, it's likely there will be a television, and watching Cuban television is a good place to observe Cuba's unique mix of vibrant culture, sports and controversial politics.

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Pictures from the Cuban capital

Have a look at our dedicated photo collection to get a view of what Havana is like. We have selected more pictures from Havana on our dedicated gallery page.

Awesome photos provided by Panoramio are under the copyright of their owners.

Landscape, climate and basic hints for travelling

The landscape features mostly flat to rolling plains, with rugged hills and mountains in the southeast. The average density of population is about 103 per km². The climate in Cuba can be described as tropical with moderated by trade winds, dry season (November to April), rainy season (May to October). Potential threats by nature are the east coast being subject to hurricanes from August to November (in general, the country averages about one hurricane every other year) or droughts are common.

To reach someone in Cuba dial +53 prior to a number. There are 1,168,000 installed telephones. And there are 443,000 registered mobile phones. The cellular networks operate on frequencies of 900 Mhz. Websites typically end with the top level domain ".cu". If you want to bring electric appliances (e.g. battery charger), keep in mind the local 110/220V - 60Hz.

Learn more on our Cuban Facts page.

Description of the flag of Cuba

Five equal horizontal bands of blue (top, center, and bottom) alternating with white; a red equilateral triangle based on the hoist side bears a white, five-pointed star in the center; the blue bands refer to the three old divisions of the island: central, occidental, and oriental; the white bands describe the purity of the independence ideal; the triangle symbolizes liberty, equality, and fraternity, while the red color stands for the blood shed in the independence struggle; the white star, called La Estrella Solitaria (the Lone Star) lights the way to freedom and was taken from the flag of Texas
note: design similar to the Puerto Rican flag, with the colors of the bands and triangle reversed.

National administrative regions of Cuba

Historical background information

The native Amerindian population of Cuba began to decline after the European discovery of the island by Christopher COLUMBUS in 1492 and following its development as a Spanish colony during the next several centuries. Large numbers of African slaves were imported to work the coffee and sugar plantations, and Havana became the launching point for the annual treasure fleets bound for Spain from Mexico and Peru. Spanish rule eventually provoked an independence movement and occasional rebellions that were harshly suppressed. US intervention during the Spanish-American War in 1898 assisted the Cubans in overthrowing Spanish rule. The Treaty of Paris established Cuban independence from the US in 1902 after which the island experienced a string of governments mostly dominated by the military and corrupt politicians. Fidel CASTRO led a rebel army to victory in 1959; his iron rule held the subsequent regime together for nearly five decades. He stepped down as president in February 2008 in favor of his younger brother Raul CASTRO. Cuba's Communist revolution, with Soviet support, was exported throughout Latin America and Africa during the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s. The country faced a severe economic downturn in 1990 following the withdrawal of former Soviet subsidies worth $4 billion to $6 billion annually. Cuba at times portrays the US embargo, in place since 1961, as the source if its difficulties. Illicit migration to the US - using homemade rafts, alien smugglers, air flights, or via the US''s southwest border - is a continuing problem. The US Coast Guard interdicted 1,275 Cuban nationals attempting to cross the Straits of Florida in 2012.

Learn more on our Cuban Facts page.

Based on the content from wikitravel.org. The original article can be found here based on the work of these users. Geography information is based on the data provided by geonames.org, CIA world facts book Edition 2010 and 2013, Unesco, DBpedia, wikipedia and others.