Revolutionised, somewhat ravaged, part good, part ugly, totally rummy, here’s a country that loves the traveller as much as the traveller is going to love it. Stung sharp by the collapse of the Soviet Union that used to subsidise the Cuban economy, Cuba went into a severe and protracted economic recession. Ten years hence, however, Cuba managed to recover somewhat and is courting you, the tourist, carrier of valuable foreign exchange, with customary Cuban gusto.
Beaches, sunshine, the throb and shake of salsa and son and rumba, the rum, mellow Habanos, rich coffee, angst and enthusiasm fill your every cup to the brim.
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CUBA QUICK FACTS
Currency: Cuban peso (CUP), Cuban convertible peso (CUC)
Area: 110,860 km²
Population: 11,34 million (2018)
Language: Spanish, Castilian
Religion: Nominally 85% Roman Catholic prior to revolution; Protestants, Jehovah's Witnesses, Jews, Muslims, and Santería are also represented. Cuba is officially a secular state.
Electricity: 110V, 60Hz or 220V, 60Hz (North American, European, or Italian plug)
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CUBA PUBLIC HOLIDAYS
- 1 Jan Liberation Day.
- 2 Jan Victory of Armed Forces.
- 1 May Labor Day.
- 20 May Independence Day.
- 25 Jul -27 Days of Rebelliousness.
- 10 Oct Anniversary of the beginning of the War of Independence in 1868.
- 25 Dec Christmas Day.
CUBA WEATHER SYNOPSIS
Most of the territory of Cuba has a tropical climate with a rainy season in summer. Dry Season (November To April); Rainy Season (May To October)
SPORT & ACTIVITIES
HIKING & CYCLING IN CUBA
The best time for outdoor activities in Cuba is during the dry season from November to April, although May and October can also be feasible. Durign the wet season, paths can become very slippery and dangerous.
BEACH OPTIONS IN CUBA
Although you can visit the stunning beaches of Cuba at any time of the year, the dry season from November to April is by far better. March and April are probably the best months, although July and August can be the busiest.
SURFING IN CUBA
Cuba has some great surf from November to April, which is also the dry season. Note that from June to November there are plenty of hurricane warnings so it is really not advisable to be on the water.
KITESURF IN CUBA
The windy kitesurfing season in Cuba starts late in October and lasts until May. The best months are from November / December to March / April.
For more details on kite surfing in Cuba expand this section!
HEALTH RISKS IN CUBA
Be aware of possible health risks in
Zika Virus - Zika is spread mostly by the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito. These mosquitoes bite during the day and night. Zika can be passed from a pregnant woman to her fetus. Infection during pregnancy can cause certain birth defects. There is no vaccine or medicine for Zika.
Dengue - Dengue is spread mostly by the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito. These mosquitoes bite during the day and night. About one in four people infected with dengue will get sick. For people who get sick with dengue, symptoms can be mild or severe.
WHAT TO EAT IN CUBA
These dishes can be found across the Caribbean:
Callaloo - A creamy thick soup or stew blending a variety of vegetables (eg spinach, kale, onions, carrots, eggplant, garlic, okra) with coconut milk and sometimes crab or ham. The base can be spinach-like.
Roti - Fiery chutney sets off the curried chicken, beef, conch or vegetable fillings in these burrito-like flat-bread wraps.
Conch - Look for farm-raised versions as conch in the wild are endangered. This large pink mollusk is cooked with onion and spices in a stew, fried up as fritters, or sliced raw and served with a lime marinade.
Take time to meet the locals by doing what they do – you’ll enjoy a more affordable and authentic experience.
Eat at lunch wagons or stalls. The local fare is cheap and often incredibly good.
Drop by a local bar – often the de facto community center. Besides a drink, you’ll get all sorts of useful – or wonderfully frivolous – advice.
Look for community fish fries or barbecues in the Eastern Caribbean.
LGBTQ IN CUBA
Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people in Cuba may face legal challenges not experienced by non-LGBT residents. Cuba does not currently recognise same-sex marriage, civil unions, or any other form of same-sex unions. In May 2019, the Government announced that the Union of Jurists of Cuba is working on a new family code, which would address same-sex marriage, however, the code will take at least two years to be finalised.
Attitudes and acceptance towards LGBT people have evolved in recent years to be more tolerant. In 2019, just over 60% of Cubans were in favour of legalising same-sex marriage. The level of tolerance will depend on where in Cuba you find yourself.