Cuba is simply one of the most unique and exciting places in the world, it is the largest of the Caribbean islands and the most ethnically diverse.
Its relative political isolation from the rest of the world and the absence of western commercialisation has the effect of pressing the “pause” button on Cuba. Old fashioned billboards with political images and messages are widespread. There is a wonderful assemblage of colonial buildings; the streets are full of classic 1950s grandiose, octane guzzling automobiles imported prior to the revolution.
The people are Cuba’s greatest asset; they are friendly, incredibly patriotic, and resourceful and have a joie de vivre the envy of many. Conversation, coffee drinking and cigar smoking are cherished pastimes. The pace of life is relaxed.
Music is synonymous with the island; Cubans seem to be born with perfect rhythm and ability to dance. Its music is representative of the country’s mixed African and Spanish heritage.
An island of natural beauty, offering classic Caribbean landscapes of palms and beaches, Cuba is also renowned for its vast array of plants and animal species. The country’s elongated and narrow shape facilitates the circulation of trade winds from the Atlantic, which cool its tropical, humid climate. Flat low lying plains account for approximately two thirds of the country and are primarily covered by sugar cane and tobacco plantations. The remaining one third of the land is mountainous; the most dramatic range the Sierra Maestra Mountains is home to the world’s finest coffee plantations.
Cuban life has its own tempo and character, there is no place like it, until you get the chance to experience if for yourself, why not taste the excitement and treat yourself to Cuban coffee!
Full country name: Republic of Cuba.
Flag Description: Five equal horizontal brands of blue (top and bottom) alternating with white; a red equilateral triangle based on the hoist side bears a white, five pointed star in the center; design influenced by the the US Flag.
Location: Caribbean, island between the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, 150kms south of Florida, USA.
Area: 110, 860 Sq Kms.
Coastline: 3,735 kms.
Population: 11 million.
Capital City: Havana (population 2,200,000).
Ethnic Groups: Mulatto 51%, White 37% Black 11%, Chinese 1%.
Religions: Majority are Roman Catholic, however Protestants, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Jews, and Santeria (a hybrid religion that mixes Catholicism with African beliefs) are also represented.
Currency: Cuban Peso / Euro.
(Ceased trading in US Dollar in 2006)
Government: Communist Republic.
Head of State: President of the Council of State. Raúl Castro, took over this role from his brother Fidel Castro on 28 March 2008. Fidel Castro was the longest ruling head of state in the world (barring monarchs).
National Holidays: Independence Day - 10 December (Note 10 Dec is 1898 is the date of independence from Spain, 20 May 1902 is the date of independence from US administration).
Natural Resources: Cobalt, nickel, iron ore, copper, manganese, salt, timber, petroleum.
Agriculture products: Sugar, tobacco, coffee, citrus, rice, potatoes, beans, livestock.
Export commodities: Sugar, nickel, tobacco, fish, medical products, citrus, coffee.
Education: Free - three million students and 300,000 teachers in an educational system that includes 40 universities.
Health system: Cuba has the highest proportion of doctors per head of population in Latin America.
Sport: National sport is Baseball with some of its players amongst the world's best.
Time: Cuban Time is on Eastern Standard Time. GMT minus 5 hours.
Climate: Tropical; moderated by trade winds; dry season (November to April) rainy season (May to October).
Entertainment: First Latin American country to have Television.