Cuba is the largest, most intriguing of all the Caribbean islands. The fascinating history, spectacular scenery, vibrant nightlife and fabulous beaches combine to give the island its unique quality and make it an exciting holiday destination. Cuba has something for everyone offering everything from excellent family friendly hotels or exclusive retreats for adults. Welcome to Cuba: the 'Pearl at the heart of the Caribbean'.
These are only some of the reasons that will attract you to Cuba:
1. The Music
Cuba is a country that appeases your senses without trying. There’s always something to see, the smell of cigars and the taste of rum, but overall it’s the music creating a continuous backing soundtrack that really sets the scene. Almost everywhere you go, any time of day, there is music – and with music comes dancing!
2. Beaches and nature
Cuba has more than 300 beaches spread out across its northern Atlantic Ocean and its southern Caribbean coastlines. With their dramatic backdrops and crystal clear warm waters, Cuba's beaches are truly a sight to behold. Varadero - The inviting sea of the Caribbean, known for its transparent waters and unspoiled white sands, has become Cuba's idyllic holiday playground. A trip to one of the outlying cays is a must to snorkel amongst the amazing underwater scenery, as well as the chance to swim with the dolphins.
Cuba’s capital city is a cultural playground. Wander around the ‘Old Town’ and admire the 18th and 19th century Spanish architecture. Pay a visit to the Plaza de Armas (Havana’s oldest square and site of the city’s foundation), dating back to the early 1520’s. Visit El Templete, (the oldest neo-classical building in Havana), and Casa de la Obra Pia (notable for its curvaceous baroque portico, which was carved in Cadiz in 1686). Rising above the city on Catalanes Hill, the Plaza de la Revolución is Cuba’s political centre. Given its political importance – a key location for May Day marches and other festivities – it’s an essential stop on any itinerary.
A UNESCO world heritage site, Trinidad is known for its colourful architecture, buzzing nightlife, friendly people and great food. Get lost wandering through the narrow streets and twisting alleyways of this colonial town.
Cuba's culture is very prestigious with its unique, fascinating history, culture and captivating people. Cuba's most popular cultural attractions are Havana and Trinidad. Havana, Cuba's capital is a place of beautiful colonial buildings romantically faded. Here you'll find some of the best Spanish colonial architecture in The Americas, much of it untouched from when it was built. Shop in the bustling market or go to see Cuban cigars being made. Visit Cuba's oldest building - Castillo de la Punta. Traditional and charming, the wonderful colonial old town of Trinidad has an unrivalled ambiance offering visitors the chance to see the diversity of the culture unique to Cuba.
Cuba has a wonderfully warm tropical climate, with an average of 330 sunny days a year, the high season is mid-Dec to mid-Apr. Most rain falls during May - Oct when you may experience some breaks in the sunshine. With an average temperature of 24 degrees, lightweight cotton and linen clothing are highly recommended.
Dance to the sexy salsa pulse, enjoy a Cuban Litre or a Mojito, Cuba is an island that oozes with passion and invites you to have fun. With shows and music for every taste, Cuba features unique, exciting nightlife in Havana whilst the hotels in Varadero Beach have fantastic entertainment. Join in with the friendly locals and lose yourself in the funky Latin sounds. Whilst in Havana, don't miss Tropicana, the world classic Cabaret, open to the sky with fabulous combination of lights as well as a spectacular show
8. Che Guevara’s Mausoleum
No trip to Cuba is complete without a visit to Santa Clara – the final resting place of Cuba’s hero. It houses the remains of the revolutionary Emesto Che Guevara and twenty-nine of his fellow combatants killed in 1967. At the site, there is also a museum dedicated to Guevara's life and an eternal flame lit by Fidel Castro in Che's memory.
9. Enjoy a mojito at the National Hotel
A national monument, this is Havana’s most famous hotel. It first opened its doors in 1930 and has been frequented by the rich and famous ever since – from Winston Churchill to Al Capone. Head up to the hotel bar La Terraza for a cocktail and a magnificent view of the Malecón.
10. Cruise in a 1950’s classic American car
The best way to see the city sights is surely from the seat of 1950’s vintage car. Book yourself a driver and ask to cruise along the Malecón, the atmospheric ocean road peering out to sea, set against a backdrop of a long parade of coloured colonial and art deco buildings.
11. Bay of Pigs
Pay a visit to the historic site of the failed 1961 US invasion of Cuba and see the commemorative museum at Playa Giron. The area is also well-known for its picturesque beaches, snorkelling and scuba diving, as well as rich and varied birdlife.
Havana, a city full of colors and history
- Santiago de Cuba, a fusion of Caribbean traditions
- Veradero with its beautiful resorts and breathtaking beaches
The largest island of the West Indies group (equal in area to Pennsylvania), Cuba is also the westernmost—just west of Hispaniola (Haiti and the Dominican Republic), and 90 mi (145 km) south of Key West, Fla., at the entrance to the Gulf of Mexico. The island is mountainous in the southeast and south-central area (Sierra Maestra). It is flat or rolling elsewhere. Cuba also includes numerous smaller islands, islets, and cays.
Spanish is the official language of Cuba and is spoken throughout the island. English is spoken by Cubans in many of the tourist areas such as Varadero, and in the more prestigious hotels in Havana and other large cities. However, once away from the tourist areas it is hard to function without some knowledge of Spanish.Many Cuban business people understand and speak English, but in most cases foreigners make a greater impact and find more acceptability if they address themselves in Spanish to their Cuban interlocutors.
The official currency of Cuba is the Convertible Peso (CUC; symbol CUC$). Notes come in denominations of CUC$100, 50, 20, 10 and 5. Coins are in denominations of CUC$1, and 20, 5, 2 and 1 centavos.1 USD is worth 1 CUC.
Except in the mountains, the climate of Cuba is semitropical or temperate. The average minimum temperature is 21°C (70° F), the average maximum 27°C (81° F). The mean temperature at Havana is about 25°C (77°F). The trade winds and sea breezes make coastal areas more habitable than temperature alone would indicate. Cuba has a rainy season from May to October. The mountain areas have an average precipitation of more than 180 cm (70 in); most of the lowland area from 90 to 140 cm (35–55 in) annually; and the area around Guantánamo Bay has less than 65 cm (26 in). Droughts are common. Cuba's eastern coast is often hit by hurricanes from August to October, resulting in great economic loss.
The continental or cuban kitchen is different from its seafood.Some traditional dishes: Twisted, often with meat and/or cheese; a thick soup containing chicken and black beans; roasted pig; chicken with rice; bananas (green) fried or roasted; and cuban ice. The kitchen suggested in the hotels is not very varied but there are chicken, fish, ham, cheese, papaws, melons, pineapples, mangos, bananas, fresh vegetables and salads. The desserts and the sugar refineries are sweetened rolls, blanks, vanilla English creams, desserts containing guava and cheeses.Drinks: The cuban coffee is stronger than the American coffee but one cannot order the coffee with the taste of the customer. The cuban beer is soft and delicious. The price of liquors is rather reasonable.Rum is very good and is used in the delicious cocktails like the daiquri and the mojito.
Cuba, the largest of the Caribbean islands, was first inhabited by Indigenous peoples known as the Taíno and Ciboney. On October 27, 1492, Christopher Columbus sighted the island during his first voyage of discovery and claimed it for Spain. Cuba subsequently became a Spanish colony to be ruled by the Spanish governor in Havana, though in 1762 this city was briefly held by Britain before being returned in exchange for West Virginia. A series of rebellions during the 19th century failed to end the Spanish rule, but increased tensions between Spain and the United States, resulting in the Spanish-American War, led finally to Spanish withdrawal, and in 1902, Cuba gained formal independence.American trade dominated Cuba during the first half of the 20th century, aided by US government policy measures assuring influence over the island. This continued until 1959, when dictator Fulgencio Batista was ousted by revolutionaries (the major group was led by Fidel Castro). The banishing of American corporate holdings led to breaking of relations with Castro's government by the US. This position on Cuba was heavily reinforced by Castro's Soviet support and his loud anti-Americanism. Cuba has since been an isolated island dominated by Castro's dictatorship. Castro remained in power from 1959 to 2008, first as Prime Minister then from 1976 as President of Cuba. On February 18, 2008 Castro announced he would not accept the nomination of president and would resign from power. Raúl Castro was elected President at the 2008 National Assembly session on February 24.
Religion in Cuba reflects the island’s diverse cultural elements. Cuba is traditionally a Catholic country. In some instances Catholicism is much modified and influenced through syncretism. A common syncretic belief is Santería, which originated in Cuba and spread to neighboring islands. It shows similarities to Brazilian Umbanda and has been receiving a degree of official support.
The culture of Cuba is a complex mixture of different, often contrasting factors and influences. Traditionally, Cuba is a meeting point of European, African, Amerindian and continental North American cultures. Since 1959, the Cuban Revolution has also greatly affected Cuban culture, down to the most basic levels of daily life. Much of Cuban culture, especially Cuban music, is instantly recognized throughout the world.
Cuban music has its principal roots in Spain and West Africa, but over time has been influenced by diverse genres from different countries. Most important among these are France, the United States, and Jamaica. Reciprocally, Cuban music has been immensely influential in other countries, contributing not only to the development of jazz and salsa, but also to Argentinian tango, Ghanaian high-life, West African Afrobeat, and Spanish Nuevo flamenco. Cuban music of high quality includes classical music, some with predominantly European influences, and much of it inspired by both Afro-Cuban and Spanish music. Several Cuban-born composers of "serious" music (as opposed to popular music) have recently received a much-deserved revival. Within Cuba, there are many popular musicians working in the rock and reggaeton idioms, not to mention the never ending list of salsa bands.The roots of most Cuban musical forms lie in the cabildos, a form of social club among African slaves brought to the island. The cabildos were formed from the Igbos, Araras, Bantu, Carabalies, Yorubas, and other civilizations/tribes. Cabildos preserved African cultural traditions, even after the Emancipation in 1886 forced them to unite with the Roman Catholic church. At the same time, a religion called Santería was developing and had soon spread throughout Cuba, Haiti and other nearby islands. Santería influenced Cuba's music, as percussion is an inherent part of the religion. Each orisha, or deity, is associated with colors, emotions, Roman Catholic saints and drum patterns called toques. By the 20th century, elements of Santería music had appeared in popular and folk forms.
There are nearly 7000 species of plants, that are found in Cuba, out of which some 50% are native to the island. The flora is varied, out of which orchids assume a high position. The orchids have outstanding colors, flawless shapes and exist in more than 300 species. The national flower of Cuba is butterfly jasmine, which is a tiny orchid with white petals. The national tree is the Royal Palm. Among the rich vegetation of Cuba, the other known varieties are: Cactus, Cork palm, Coconut palm, Dinner palm, Mango, Guava, Pomegranate, Soursop, Avocado, Banana. The Fauna in Cuba is chracterized by rich wildlife and plentiful birds. There are many native birds in this island. Some common species are: Cuban woodpecker, Emerald Hummingbird, Greater Antillean Oriole, Belted Kingfisher, Blackbird The forests and hilly areas of Cuba are the home of diverse species of wildlife. The important ones are: White-tail deer, Jutia, (a rodent). It is also known as “Banana Rat”, Snakes like the Boa Constrictor, Different kinds of fish. The Flora and Fauna Cuba forms an exuberant and striking picture of the landscapes of Cuba. It can be said, that the Flora and Fauna Cuba is one of the primary attractions of this Caribbean Isle.