Liberty Island was discovered by Christopher Columbus on October 27, 1492. After that, the Spaniards tried to colonize it for four centuries and turn it into their overseas province. The British and Americans also wanted to succeed in this later. However, none of them managed to establish their own rules there. Therefore, even now they say about Cuba that it is the “Island of Freedom”. Cuba is famous all over the world for its carnivals, dances, songs, boxing, volleyball, Cuban cigars and Cuban rum, beautiful sea and magnificent beaches.
Geography of Cuba
The island nation of Cuba is located in the Caribbean Sea. It consists of the islands of Cuba, Youthud and several other archipelagos. The United States is located 180 kilometers north of Cuba, and Jamaica, Haiti and the Dominican Republic are located to the south and southeast. The total area of the country is 110,860 sq. km.
Cuba is the largest island in the entire Caribbean. Most of its territory is plains. Mountain systems can be found only in the west, in the center and in the southeast. The highest peak is Turquino Peak in the Sierra Maestra, whose height reaches 1,974 meters.
The coast of the island of Cuba is indented with picturesque bays and bays, and near the coast there are beautiful coral reefs. In general, there are about 4,000 thousand islands and reefs near Cuba.
According to simplyyellowpages.com, Havana is the capital of the state of Cuba. More than 2.3 million people now live in this city. Havana was founded by the Spaniards in 1515 on the site of an ancient Indian settlement.
Official language of Cuba
The official language is Spanish.
More than 60% of the population identify themselves as Catholics, but only about 5% of them attend church regularly.
According to diseaseslearning.com, Cuba is a socialist republic in which the “leading force of society and state” is the Communist Party. The First Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba also acts as the President of this state.
The local parliament is called the National Assembly, it consists of 609 deputies elected for a 5-year term. Executive power is vested in the Council of State and the Council of Ministers, which consists of 31 ministers.
Administratively, the country is divided into 15 provinces, which in turn are divided into 168 municipalities, and one special municipality (Khuventud).
Climate and weather
The climate is subtropical, the average annual air temperature is about +27C. The hurricane season lasts from July to mid-November. Most often, hurricanes and tropical storms occur in September and October.
You can relax in Cuba almost all year round, but the best time is the winter months, when there is no rain.
Average air temperature in Cuba:
- January – +26С
- February – +27С
- March – +28C
- April – +29C
- May – +31C
- June – +30С
- July – +30C
- August – +32C
- september – +31C
- october – +29C
- November – +27C
- december – +26С
Sea in Cuba
The island of Cuba is surrounded on all sides by the Caribbean Sea. Off the coast there are beautiful coral reefs.
The average temperature of the Caribbean Sea off the coast of Cuba:
- January – +25С
- February – +24С
- March – +24С
- April – +26C
- May – +27C
- June – +27C
- July – +28C
- August – +28C
- september – +28C
- october – +28С
- November – +27C
- december – +27С
Rivers and lakes
Several rivers flow through Cuba. The largest of them is the Cauto River, which begins in the Sierra Maestra mountains in the province of Santiago (its length is 370 km). The Almendares River flows through Havana, providing drinking water to the capital. In general, there are several hundred rivers and small streams on this island.
History of Cuba
On October 27, 1492, Christopher Columbus landed in Cuba, and since then the modern history of this island, and then the state, begins. At the beginning of the 17th century, Diego Velasquez founded the first seven settlement cities on the island – Baracoa, Bayamo, Santiago de Cuba, Trinidad, Sancti Spiritus, Camaguey and Havana. In the process of colonization, the Spaniards almost completely destroyed the indigenous population. During the 4 centuries of Spanish domination, tens of thousands of slaves from Africa were imported to Cuba.
The Spanish occupation of Cuba ended only at the end of the 19th century, but the country became politically dependent on the United States.
On January 1, 1959, the Revolution won in Cuba, and the country embarked on the path of building socialism. One of the leaders of the Revolution, along with Camilo Cienfuegos and Ernesto Che Guevara, was Fidel Castro.
In April 1961, the Americans attempted to overthrow the Cuban government led by Fidel Castro, but their mercenaries were defeated in the Bay of Pigs.
Some capitalist countries, including the United States, have not yet lifted economic sanctions against Cuba, which hinders the development of this amazing country.
Cuban culture has been shaped by Spanish, African, French and Asian influences and is therefore known for its diversity. This country has become the birthplace of many musical styles and dances, among them the most popular are mambo and cha-cha-cha.
However, Cuba is known in the world not only for music and dancing, but also for sports achievements in boxing and volleyball. Sports can also be considered a reflection of cultural traditions.
Cuba cannot be imagined without festivals. For example, every summer Havana hosts the famous Chariot Carnival, during which special stages with music and dance groups drive through the streets of the Cuban capital for three days, and street processions of musicians are also held. In general, the Carnival in Havana lasts, as a rule, 12 days, and the legendary cabaret Tropicana, founded in 1939, takes part in it.
Also in Havana, fairs of folk crafts are regularly held in the summer, in which various musical, dance and theater groups participate.
Every September, the festival of traditional Cuban music Festival del Son takes place in Santiago de Cuba. This holiday lasts for four days.
Cuisine of Cuba
Cuban cuisine has been heavily influenced by Spanish culinary traditions. Many Cuban dishes are very similar to those served in Andalusia (southern Spain). However, African, Portuguese, French, Arabic and even Chinese culinary traditions have also influenced Cuban cuisine.
The main food products are potatoes, malanga, yucca, wheat, fish and seafood (especially lobster), meat (chicken and pork), rice, bananas, vegetables, beans. Hot spices are rarely used.
Tourists are advised to try “Moros y Cristianos” (black beans with rice), “Arroz con Pollo” (yellow rice with chicken), “Ropa Vieja” (beef fillet pieces), “Ajiaco” (vegetable stew with meat and garlic), ” Fufú” (mashed boiled green bananas, often served with meat), “Piccadillo” (spiced beef with tomatoes and onions). Popular desserts are Helado (ice cream) and Galletas (sweet biscuits).
The traditional soft drink is coffee. The best Cuban coffee comes from the Sierra Maestra.
Traditional alcoholic drinks are rum and rum cocktails. Every self-respecting Cuban bartender should know at least 100 cocktail recipes with rum or other alcoholic drinks.
Sights of Cuba
Most of the monuments of Cuban culture belong to the colonial era. Several monuments are considered UNESCO World Heritage Sites:
- Historic Center of Havana Vieja and Fort (Havana)
- Old City of Trinidad (Sancti Spiritus)
- Sugar mills around Trinidad (Sancti Spiritus)
- Fortifications of San Pedro de la Roca del Morro (Santiago de Cuba)
- Ruins of the French coffee plantation La Gran Piedra (Santiago de Cuba)
- Desembarco del Granma National Park
In Havana, we recommend visiting the Museum of Ancient Weapons, the City Museum, the Ernest Hemingway House Museum, the National Museum, the Colonial Museum and the Historical Museum of Guanabocoa.
Of great interest to tourists are the national parks “Alexander Humboldt”, Almendares and Sierra Maestra, the Los Indios Reserve and the Punta Frances Marine Park.
Cities and resorts
The largest cities are Santiago de Cuba, Camaguey, Santa Clara, Holguin, Bayamo, Cienfuegos, Guantanamo, Holguin, and, of course, Havana.
Cuba is world famous for its beach resorts, which are visited by residents of Europe and North America. The most popular of them are Varadero, Cayo Guillermo, Cayo Coco, Cayo Largo and Holguin. Every year in Varadero, for example, more than 1 million tourists rest (about 45% of them are foreigners).
Most local resorts offer tourists a well-developed recreation infrastructure, with restaurants, discos, nightclubs and entertainment shows in hotels. All resorts have excellent opportunities for a beach holiday, including diving, boat trips and yacht trips.
The most popular souvenirs from Cuba are any items depicting Che Guevara and Fidel Castro, folk art, ceramics, Cuban coffee, coffee cups, Cuban cigars and rum.
Ukrainians need a visa to visit Cuba.
There are two currencies in circulation in Cuba – the Cuban peso (CUP) and the convertible peso (CUC). Tourists must exchange dollars for convertible pesos. $100 = 87 CUC. In turn, 1 dollar = approximately 24 Cuban pesos. Credit cards are not widely accepted.
You can import and export foreign currency without restrictions, but the amount of $5,000 must be declared. You can take out no more than 100 CUP and 200 CUC.
Animals, plants, products of animal or plant origin are subject to inspection upon importation and must obtain permission from the veterinary and phytosanitary services.
It is forbidden to export objects of history and culture that are more than 50 years old. Coins and collections of coins of numismatic value can only be exported if there is permission from the Numismatic Museum or the Central Bank of Cuba.
There are strict export regulations for Cuban cigars. They must be bought in a store, and customs will need to show a receipt.
Exotic animals and rare plants cannot be exported.
Useful phone numbers and addresses
Address of the Cuban embassy in Ukraine:
Index: 04053, Kiev, Bekhterevsky lane, 5 T:
mail: [email protected]
Address Embassy of Ukraine in Cuba:
5-a Ave., No. 4405, e/44 y 46 Miramar, La Habana Republica de Cuba Т:
(8 10 537) 204-25-86
mail: [email protected]
106 – All emergencies
Behind Kyiv for 7 hours. Those. if, for example, in Kyiv it is 13:00, then in Havana it is only 06:00.
In some hotels and restaurants, a service charge of 5% is automatically included in the bill (in restaurants, for example, this is always indicated on the menu). I usually leave 1 dollar a day for the maid at the hotel, the same amount is given to the taxi driver for a short trip.
Mandatory vaccinations are not required. However, doctors still recommend a few vaccinations for prevention (for example, against malaria, typhoid and rabies).
Socialist Cuba is a very safe country for tourists, unlike capitalist countries. Even single women can quite easily travel through the Cuban cities and countryside without fear of being attacked.
However, do not forget all the same about reasonable precautions – do not leave, for example, valuables unattended in public places.