Cuba

Category: Resorts » International » North America » Cuba | Author: biker | Views: 4078 | 14-09-2011, 01:59
Cuba

Official name: Republic of Cuba;

Capital of Cuba: Havana;

Official language: Spanish;

Area: 110 860 square km.;

Population: 11.2 million;

Ethnic groups:  Spain descendants (60%), mulatto and mixed (22%), African descendants (11%);

Religion: Catholics (47%), Protestants (4%);

Political regime: the Socialist Republic;

Climate: subtropical;

Currency: Cuban peso;

Internet domain: .cu ;

Telephone code: +53;

Time zone: UTC -5 (from March 11 to november 4 - UTC -4).



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Cuba

Flag of Cuba

Cuba

Map of Cuba

Cuba

Coat of arms of Cuba

 

Information about Cuba

 

Cuba is an exotic island in the Caribbean Sea. Bright sun, clear sea, white beaches, coral reefs, colorful plains, mountains and tropical forests provide paradise for tourists. Visiting the Island of Cuba you have a great opportunity to combine several types of trips in one travelling: visiting architectural monuments, walking in nature reservations, swimming in warm waters of the Caribbean Sea, and dancing in the nightclubs to the exotical Caribbean rhythms.

Cuba Cuba Cuba

 

The geographical position of Cuba

 

Cuba is the largest Caribbean island. It is located between Bahamas and Jamaica in the Caribbean Sea. It is washed by the Florida Strait in the North, by the Yucatan Channel in the South, by the Windward Passage in the East, and by the Caribbean Sea in the South. The relief of the island is mainly flat, hills and mountains cover about 30% of the territory country. The highest mountain range is Sierra Maestra. The coastline is about 5746 km and has 200 bays and 289 beaches. There are also many inland rivers and lakes in Cuba. 

 

Cuba Cuba Cuba

 

History of Cuba

 

The population of the island of Cuba began about four thousand years ago. The first settlers were Indians who had primitive way of life. In October 1492, Christopher Columbus landed on the shores of Cuba. In 1510 the Spanish army conquered Cuba; as a result nearly all the island's native population was killed. The Spanish colonialists began to import slaves from Africa for working in plantations of sugar cane. By the end of XVIII century, Cuba had already traded with France and the United States and it contributed to the rising of tobacco and sugar industries.

 

Because of ten-years war for Independence, Spain was forced to make some concessions. In 1886 slavery was abolished on the island and in 1897 Cuba achieved the status of autonomy.  Later according to the Paris Agreements, Cuba was formally declared as independent state, but, in reality, it was occupied by American troops. In May 1902, Cuba had been officially declared as a republic and USA troops left the island. Political and economic dependence from the U.S.A. caused a lot of protests and USA was forced to cancel their rights for the island of "Freedom". In the 1940s a dictatorial regime was declared in the country. In spite of the unsuccessful attempts in 1953 and 1956 against the dictionarship, the struggle of freedom-loving people had never stopped. In 1959 rebels led by Fidel Castro, seized the entire territory, and gradually established socialist system.

 

Flora and Fauna of Cuba

Flora and fauna of Cuba is rich and unique. There are about 7,000 species of plants (among them 300 species of orchids) on the island. Cactus, coconut palms, mango, guava, pomegranate, avocado and banana are spreading everywhere. Tropical forests dominate on wet soils and pine forests - on dry soil in the western and eastern parts. Mangroves are typical for coastline. There are cactus and agaves in the South-East of the island.

Fauna of Cuba is characterized by rich wildlife and abundance of birds. There are about 300 species of birds (among them the smallest bird in the world - bee hummingbird, weighing only 2 grams) on the island. Twenty species of birds are unique for the island, for example bee hummingbird, Cuban trogon (the national bird of Cuba) and the Cuban tody. In eastern Cuba was discovered a population of one of the rarest mammals – the Jutia, (a rodent). It is also known as “Banana Rat”. There are 23 species of bats in Cuba. Termites and fireflies Kokui are the most common representatives of insect world. American manatee lives in the lakes and rivers. Reptiles are represented by crocodiles, iguanas and other lizards, and several species of nonpoisonous snakes. It should be noted that the island has no poisonous snakes at all.
Cuba Cuba Cuba
Cuba Cuba Cuba

 

Climate of Cuba

Subtropical and humid with two seasons: dry season-winter (November-April) and wet season-summer (May - October). The average winter temperature is about 20 C and in summer - 26.. 27 C. Humidity is relatively high (70-75%) during the year, so the summer heat is especially hard. Strong storms begin in the period from August to November. The Peak of travelling comes in July - August and at Christmas and Easter. The prices at these periods are rising. January - May - is also an ideal time for visiting the island.


Where to go in Cuba

  • Havana - the main tourist center. City of ancient architecture, the warm sea, sandy beaches, expensive cigars and cars of 50s. Visit the Spanish Fortress Castillo de la Punta and the Castillo del Moro, the Havana lighthouse and the ancient forts of La Real-Fuensa and La Cabaña, the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception and Convent of Santa Clara, Town Hall, Cathedral Square, with Cathedral of the XVIII century. Take a walk along the boulevard and admire the old buildings in the Spanish colonial style, and the former Presidential Palace, the National Capitol and the Governor's Palace, which is used now as a museum. Generally you can find museums in Havana to all tastes: the Colonial Museum, National Museum, the Museum of Anthropology, Ethnological Museum, the Museum of Decorative Arts and the Museum of the Revolution in the Presidential Palace. To the most unusual museums belong: Ceramics Museum at the Castle Castillo de la Real Fuersa, Museum of Ernest Hemingway and exotical Museum of Santarem - Afro-Cuban religion. Havana also attracts beach lovers and divers. In clear waters, you can admire various species of corals and bright colorful fish. In depth of the sea you can see turtles, sharks, blue marlin, swordfish, and explore the wrecks.
  • Varadero - a peninsula on the northern coast of Cuba, is the most famous beach resort on the island. It is famous for its 20 km beach line of fine white sand. Varadero has not only beautiful scenery, but also has many opportunities for activities: diving centers, golf, helicopter tours, and safaris, swimming with dolphins, caves and horseback riding.
  • Santa Clara - a city which is associated with the revolution and its hero Che Guevara. Che Memorial is located on the Avenida de Los Desfiles. There is the Museum of the Revolution at the base of the monument. It has interesting exhibits which tell about the life of Che and his revolutionary activities. Visit the famous palace in the park Leoncio Vidal. In the halls of the palace you will see the fans, porcelain, lamps, textiles, paintings and sculptures that represent the cultural history in Cuba. Take a tour to a tobacco factory, which produces high-quality tobacco "Montecristo", "Partagas", "Romeo and Julieta", and cigars "Robaina". 
  • Trinidad - a former center of the slave trade. There are many cultural and historical sights in Trinidad. Visit architectural museum, the church of St. Anne, the Municipal Museum of Trinidad, the Museum of the fight with the criminals and romantic museum.
  • Cayo Guillermo - a small tropical island which is famous for its beaches and a large population of flamingos. Almost 90% of the island is occupied by palm groves and mangroves with its unique wildlife. The island also has a rich underwater world, because it is surrounded by a coral reef. It is strongly recommended to visit the show of sharks. The island has excellent conditions for fishing, even Ernest Hemingway chose this place for fishing and his boat has been still standing near the beach, Pilar. It is worth noting that the prices on this island are cheaper than in other tourist places of Cuba.
  • Holguin - Christopher Columbus landed at this place. Nowadays there is a large monument here. It is an agricultural area for growing sugar cane and coffee. There are two national parks in Holgium.
  • Santiago de Cuba - the second largest city, was the first capital of the island. Famous for its hot climate, music and charming girls. Each July the city hosts a spectacular carnival.
  • Pinar del Rio - a picturesque province of Cuba. It is worth visiting the cave Cueva del Indio with magnificent stalactites, stalagmites and underground rivers. From December to April is  the best time for visiting tobacco plantations in Vuelta Abajo.
  • Island la Juventud (Island of Youth) - once the island was settled by pirates, including the famous Captain Henry Morgan. It is believed that this island inspired Robert Louis Stevenson to write "Treasure Island".
Cuba Cuba Cuba
Cuba Cuba Cuba

 

What to do in Cuba

 

  1. Going to the beach. Cuba has more than 3,000 miles of coastline with numerous coral reefs. The island attracts many tourists. It has many hotels where you can enjoy the comfort and service at a high level. The best conditions for beach holidays are in Varadero, Cayo Coco and Cayo Largo.
  2. Diving - offers excellent opportunities for experienced and amateur divers. Explore wrecks and enjoy the beauty of coral reefs. In the crystal clear waters you can see hundreds colorful fish and other inhabitants of the deep sea. Cayo Largo, Holguin and Cayo Coco offer opportunities for scuba diving of the world class.
  3. Fishing - thanks to its geographical location, Cuba is a paradise for fishers. The best places for fishing are in the mangroves and shallow lagoons. You can catch a tarpon, Bonefish, tuna and dorado in the deep sea and trout in the inland lakes.
  4. Visiting the cigar factories. Even non-smokers have to agree that a trip to Cuba would not be completed without visiting the factories where world famous cigars are made. Take a tour to a tobacco factory, which produces high-quality tobacco "Montecristo", "Partagas", "Romeo and Julieta", and cigars "Robaina", and watch this fascinating process with your own eyes.
  5. Take part in the carnival. Famous Havana carnivals are held in the city during the summer. Cuban carnivals are held in every big city and last from 5 to 7 days. According to the beauty and popularity they are not inferior to the famous carnival in Rio. On the central streets and you can see karrosy (open platforms with a variety of mythical heroes, animals or dragons, which are made by each city quarter). Don’t be afraid, relax and dance to the exotical rhythms of the music. Remember, that the language of dance is the style of communication and way of life for Cubinians. Accept it and dance every day! Fortunately, there is always music and performances in the streets and squares of the country.
  6. Visiting the world famous show "Tropicana". Show "Tropicana"is a legend of Cuban nightlife. It is a colorful show in the style of the 50s, which is performed by over 200 artists (dancers, singers, musicians). Restaurant Cabaret offers a national Cuban dishes and international cuisine. Here you can taste the Cuban rum, exotic cocktails and dance until the morning. There is a dress code in the cabaret: no jeans, sneakers, shirts without sleeves.
Cuba Cuba Cuba

 

Some prices in Cuba (for 2010 and 2011)

  • bottle of water - $ 0.6  - $ 1;
  • Beer – $ 1;
  • cocktail at the bar – $ 2;
  • A piece of pizza – $ 0.2 - $ 0.4;
  • Gas (1 liter) – $ 1;
  • Internet - $ 6 / hour;
  • Bicycle - $ 4 / day;
  • A room in the house - $ 20 / night.

 

Cuban cuisine

 

Cuban cuisine is a mixture of Spanish, Aboriginal, African and Caribbean cooking traditions. The main ingredients of Cuban cuisine are black beans, bracken, rice, chicken and pork. Roasted bananas and mangoes are also often used in the traditional cuisine. You can enjoy the traditional food not only in restaurants, but also in small family cafes, where the meal costs you about $ 5. National dish is "ahiako cryolite" - chowder with a mixture of various vegetables and fruits which are cooked with different kinds of meat. Congreve - white rice with beans, Arros Moro, also known as "Moors and Christians" - rice with black beans. 

 

Also try:

 

  • hatinos, tachinos or tostones: fried green bananas;
  • Lechon: roast pork;
  • Roast chicken with sauce from bitter orange;
  • Fish Grill, roasted over coals;
  • Salmon salad with avocado and mango and pineapple;
  • For dessert order the ice cream Kopel (Coppelia), or cakes with guava, with coconut, pumpkin or orange;

Cuba Cuba Cuba

 

What to buy in Cuba

 

  • RUM. There are a lot of kinds of rums, they are sold at different prices, depending on the age and quality. The most common is the young, light rum. Other marks are kept for seven years or more and are sold at higher prices;
  • Cigars. Cuba is famous for its cigars in the world. Remember that the best tobacco leaves go into the cigar, not into the cigarettes;
  • Local souvenirs - carved wood boxes for cigars, jewelry, key chains, model ships, clothing, ceramics;
  • Coffee.

 

Important: if you want to take a souvenir from the country, you need to keep an official receipt (check) for customs. It is not recommend buying jewelry from black coral and tortoise shell - these animals are under governmental protection.

 

Interesting facts about Cuba:

 

  • Currently, the Cuban health system is one of the best in the world.
  • In Cuba, there are more than 170 scientific research institutes.
  • Average life expectancy in Cuba is 77, 45. This is the longest among the countries with a totalitarian regime.
  • The average monthly salary in Cuba is $ 12, but there are many government benefits. For example, giving free clothing workers or milk for children up to six years.
  • The main branch of the Cuban economy is the sugar industry. Sugar factories are processed per day 670 thousand tons of sugar cane and produce up to 10 million tons of sugar per year.
  • In Cuba, there is a card system for food.
  • Illiteracy was finished in Cuba in 1961.
  • One out of every seven Cuban workers has a university degree.
  • Cuba has about 100 thousand cars, of which 60 thousand - the old American cars that have been using on the island since the revolution.
  • In 2008, finally, the people of Cuba have been allowed to buy cell phones, computers and DVD-players, and TVs 19 to 24 inches, electric cookers, car alarms and microwave ovens.
  • Electricity. Voltage is 110/120 V, frequency 60 Hz. An adapter is needed for flat rosettes. In the major hotels have outlets for 220 volts.

 

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