General travel information for Cuba
Continent: Central America
Geographical location: Island state in the Caribbean, bordering the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea
Highest elevation: Pico Turquino (1974 m above sea level)
Longest river: Río Cauto (343 km)
Form of government: Republic System of
Government: Socialist, authoritarian one-party system
Neighboring countries: Archipelago, neighboring islands of Haiti, Jamaica, Bahamas
Area: Approx. 110,000 km²
Residents: Approx. 11,240,000 people (2016)
Population density: 102 residents per km²
Religions: Approx. 60% Catholics and Santería (mixed religion)
Currency: Cuban Peso (CUP), Convertible Peso (CUC); 1 euro is about 27 CUP or 1 CUC. Travel
Time zone: UTC -5 / -4 (summer time)
Area code: +53
Country code: CU, CUB, 192
Electricity: In Cuba, the type A, B, C and L sockets are used. The mains voltage is 110 V with a 60 Hz change interval. In many areas (e.g. hospitals, tourist hotels), 220 V alternating voltage is also offered. A travel plug adapter is an advantage.
Culture and sights in Cuba
Graceful, dilapidated colonial buildings and American classic cars on the streets. The heart of the old town around the Parque Central with its José Martí monument, the Plaza de Armas and the graceful Plaza Vieja is like a large open-air museum. The fact that the government has invested a lot of money in the restoration of the building fabric over the past few decades is particularly evident in these places – but it was worth it. There is also the Capitol in the old town to visit and some fortresses from the time of Spanish colonial rule, such as San Salvador de la Punta. The Museo de la Revolución is now housed in the equally magnificent former presidential palace. The boulevard Prado with its stone benches connects the old town with the Malecón. For several kilometers, the sea lashes against the walls of the promenade that stretches to the west of Havana. You can’t get more Cuba than here.
A visit to the small town in the south of Cuba feels a bit like a trip back in time. Donkeys and horses still pull carts along the cobblestone streets of the main streets. Cars are mainly found in the newly built apartment blocks outside the city center. The picturesque place is one of the oldest settlements in Cuba and was founded in the 16th century. Through the trade in slaves and sugar, Trinidad became rich and also developed into a cultural center. The splendid colonial buildings and beautifully decorated houses along the streets bear witness to the city’s former prosperity.
Cayo Santa Maria Island
The island is one of the most beautiful of the numerous small cayos off the coast of the Cuban main island. Cayo Santa Maria is connected to the mainland by a 48-kilometer dam. The small islet itself is becoming increasingly touristy. Nevertheless, there is still enough untouched nature or good opportunities to quietly watch the surging sea. The side islands of Cayo Las Brujas and Cayo Ensenachos are still largely untouched. Their beaches are nesting places for the numerous sea turtles.
The Viñales Valley
It is not for nothing that the landscape in western Cuba is considered to be one of the most spectacular natural spectacles in the Caribbean. The Viñales Valley (Valle de Viñales) is located in the Pinar del Rio province, which is known for its excellent tobacco. But the reason why the Viñales Valley has had the UNESCO title “Cultural Landscape of Mankind” since 1999 is the famous limestone cliffs (mogotes). The Sierra de los Órganos, in which the valley lies, was formed over 170 million years ago. Through erosion and karstification, the rock formations were formed, which today rise between the tobacco fields and offer the viewer a magical picture. In addition, extensive cave systems were created within the rocks. The cave that is best developed for tourists is called Cueva del Indio and can be crossed by motorboat.
The provincial capital on Jagua Bay is often called the “Pearl of the South”, and rightly so. Cienfuegos has a picturesque old town center and many magnificent buildings from the Spanish colonial era – for example the Teatro Tomas Terry at the central Parque Martí. The huge statue of the Cuban national hero and the triumphal arch in the beautiful park testify to the enormous self-confidence of the city. In 2005 the old town of Cienfuegos was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site. A stroll along the sea promenade makes it clear how nicely the city hugs the bay.
Santiago de Cuba
The second largest city in Cuba is located in the very east of the island and is much more influenced by the African and Caribbean culture than Havana. Santiago de Cuba is also considered the birthplace of Son and Trova, Cuban “national music”. In the famous Casa de la Trova there are still thrilling concerts to be admired. In addition, the metropolis in the east also played an important role in Cuban history. For example, on January 1, 1959, Fidel Castro proclaimed the victory of the revolution from the blue balcony of the town hall in the central Parque Cespedes. Santiago also has the oldest preserved house in Cuba, the Casa de Diego Velázquez from the 16th century. Today the Museo de Ambiente Histórico Cubano is housed here.
Che Guevara Mausoleum in Santa Clara
Holidays in Cuba
|Liberation Day||January 1st|
|Armed Forces Day victory||January 2|
|May Day||1st of May|
|Independence day||May 20|
|National Uprising Day||July 25|
|Anniversary of the start of the 1868 War of Independence||July 25|