The archipelago of Cuba is made up of 4,195 islands and islets (called "keys"), which occupy 50% of the total of the Caribbean area. The clearly tropical climate includes average annual temperatures of around 25°C, with 330 days of sunshine, a humidity of 77% and 1,500 mm of rainfall. There are numerous international airports located in the territory of Cuba, we remember, Havana "Josè Marti", Cayo Largo del Sur "Vilo Acuña", Varadero "Juan Gualberto Gomez", Villa Clara "Abel Santamaria", Cayo Coco "Jardines del Rey", Camaguey "Ignazio Agramonte", Holguin "Frank Pais" and Santiago de Cuba "Antonio Maceo".
There are six Biosphere Reserves declared by Unesco: Peninsula de Guanahacabibes; Sierra del Rosario; Cienaga de Zapata; Caguanes; Baconao; Cuchillas del Toa. The highest peak is Pico Turquino 1,974 m., while the longest river is the Cauto with 240 km. of length.
Overall, the island offers splendid beaches and a wonderful sea combined with a truly enviable climate. In tourist resorts, the hotel facilities are well equipped for vacationers. Recommended excursions at sea and inland to visit the fantastic natural environments and cultural excursions to appreciate the history and monuments of the country.
The island of Cuba boasts at least 300 beaches spread along 5,700 km of coastline. From Varadero to Playa del Este le long and very white beaches alternate with luxuriant vegetation. Some are located near cities such as Santa María del Mar and the western beaches of Havana. The majority are made up of white sand and are in a good state of conservation. Cuba offers wonderful beaches, beautiful coral reefs, splendid paradisiacal landscapes, welcoming colonial cities with magnificent facades and interesting museums, subtropical climate and above all a friendly and open people. Visiting Cuba you can immediately discover the beauties and its contrasts, from the luxury exhibited in the tourist centers contrasts with the poverty in which most of the population lives.
Cooled by the northeastern trade winds, the climate in Cuba is subtropical, with dry winters and summers quite humid. There are no significant differences in temperature between the various seasons. The summer season included between the months of May and October it shows a higher level of humidity, while the driest period usually lasts from November to April. The period relating to the rainy season is between May and October, however the atmospheric phenomena are short-lived and present themselves with violent downpours. Temperatures vary throughout the year depending on the period between 23° and 30°, with averages around 27°C in July and August and 22°C in February. The sultry heat appears during the wet season, the annual humidity rate is on average 80%. The sun shines on average about 330 days during the year.
Although the climate in Cuba is one of the best in the world, the possible possibility of violent hurricanes must be taken into consideration. Normally the cyclone season is included in the months of July, August, September and October, the atmospheric events can cause flooding temporary inconvenience in transport and damage to hotel facilities. We therefore recommend that you inquire in advance with your travel agency before departure and lend pay attention to the weather forecasts and to the communiqués and warnings of the Cuban authorities.
The high tourist season corresponds to the European winter from December to April. Local beaches are crowded in July and August when Cubans are usually on vacation, or at Christmas, Easter and around July 26 to celebrate the anniversary of the revolution. To travel to Cuba you must have a passport with a minimum validity of 6 months from the date of entry into the country. Havana city cuba escorts. The person who travels to the site individually must obtain a visa at the competent Consulate, while those traveling through a tour operator with the purchase of the tourist package normally also obtain a visa. An entry visa is generally granted for a maximum period of thirty days, renewable for a further 60 days. To get the renewal a state fee must be paid at the local offices of the immigration authorities.
The Republic of Cuba covers an area of about 110,860 sq km with a population of about 11,346,670 inhabitants made up of 51% mulattoes, 37% of Spanish descent, 11% of African origin, 1% Chinese. The capital is Havana with 2,343,700 inhabitants, the spoken language is Spanish, the state system consists of a socialist republic. The currency in use is the Cuban peso divided into cents. Electricity uses 110-230V, three-phase at 60Hz, while weights and measures use the metric system decimal with US and Spanish variations.
During your stay in Cuba we recommend sporty and informal clothing with sunglasses, sunscreen, insect repellent, a pullover for the cooler evenings and a k-way for any downpours.
Time zone and temperatures
Compared to Italy, the time zone is 6 hours less. On the islands, temperatures vary between 23° and 30° depending on the season. The dry season is between November and April, while the rainy season usually runs between May and October. The climate is subtropical, with dry winters and rather humid summers.
Medical and health assistance falls within European parameters only in the capital Havana. It is necessary to provide for a sufficient stock of the medicines that a person needs, remembering that in this country there are special prescriptions on the importation of medicines, it is advisable to inquire before traveling at the Embassy or Consulate. No special vaccinations are required to enter the country. In recent years there have been periodic recurrences of some epidemic diseases, such as dengue and haemorrhagic conjunctivitis, which require particular care in following the usual hygienic precautions. It is advisable to take out health insurance which also covers repatriation in case of need. However, it is recommended to eat only freshly cooked foods, and to drink sealed or canned drinks, foods or drinks bought from street vendors are not recommended, avoid ice, only eat raw fruit that can be peeled and always wash your hands very well. Insect bites should be avoided with skin repellents and insecticides in rooms without air conditioning. Overall, among the health risks we list dengue, hepatitis A, typhoid.
Gastronomy and typical dishes.
Generally the cuisine and gastronomy in the hotels is of an international nature, supported in any case by typical specialties of the island. Among the drinks, the famous cocktails called the daiquiri, the monito and the cuba libre deserve to be tasted, as well as the tropical fruit juices and beer. Traditionally, Cuban cuisine is simple based on local products such as rice, black beans, pork and fish. The specialty and typical national dish is ajiaco, a soup made from corn, potatoes, beef, chicken and beef jerky.
Among the specialties of Cuban gastronomy we remember the rice with black beans called moros y cristianos, the seafood, the large plantains to cook called platani, the dish of pork and beans called congrì, the puree of bananas with garlic and oil called fufu, usually eaten with machuquillo, pork or fried eggs, while the soup of African origin made up of beef, chicken, dried meat and vegetables, called ajiaco is the national dish. Pork, preferred by Cubans, is cooked in different ways, fried, roasted or stewed. The fatty parts of the pig are used to make chicharrones, ideal pretzels to accompany rum or beer. Different species of tubers are also cooked such as yucca, malanga and boniato, while boiled rice is used as a side dish. Local salads consist of avocados, lettuce, tomatoes and cucumbers. Among the sweets we mention those based on coconut, tropical fruit, with orange peel, sugar cane syrup, cinnamon, while the cheeses are creamy. In restaurants outside the tourist areas, the choice of gastronomy is scarce and hygiene often leaves something to be desired. If you want to eat Cuban specialties in Havana, you have to choose the paladares, the small family-run restaurants located in the different streets of the city. Due to the conditions of extreme poverty in which most of the population lives, it is customary to always leave a tip in US dollars, even gifts of perfume, clothing and other luxury items are particularly welcome. Finally, the wonderful rum-based cocktails such as mojito, daiquiri, cuba libre, cubanito, Isla de Pinos, Presidente, saoco and cuba bella should be mentioned. Symbol of Cuban hospitality is strong and sweet coffee from consume after a meal.
The political situation can be considered stable. Cuba does not present particularly dangerous conditions for travellers, however episodes of common crime against tourists have increased in recent months, recorded in particular in the city of Santiago and in the capital with thefts, muggings and some cases of aggression. Due to the economic crisis, petty crime has increased in recent years. In particular, it warns against muggings, also perpetrated at gunpoint. Break-ins in private homes are also frequent. The usual preventive measures are recommended: do not wear valuables and carry only a small amount of money. In general, show no signs of affluence with respect to the local condition. deposit important documents such as passport, airline ticket, checks etc. in the appropriate hotel safety deposit boxes; always carry a photocopy of your passport with you. As for the "casas particulares", it is recommended to make sure that they are officially recognized accommodations with the blue triangle affixed to the door, avoid hitchhiking or picking up hitchhikers. Do not resist in case of aggression. Avoid taking unauthorized taxis. It is also strongly advised to exercise caution especially on the beaches, especially in the area of S.Maria Playas del Est, where this year there have been many thefts of bags left unattended. During the night it is advisable to exercise caution in movements, avoiding passing through unlit streets due to blackouts due to energy savings, even in the city center as well as in those outside the center of Havana and in some localities tourist attractions on the outskirts of the capital.
They are those of the residential districts of the capital and the tourist areas. When visiting the centers urban traffic, however, it is advisable to observe the normal safety precautions, avoiding flaunting jewellery, money and photographic equipment. It is suggested to place valuables only in hand luggage during air travel and to keep travel documents, money and valuables in a safe place, carrying a copy of the identification document and the necessary money for the day.
As far as safety and country regulations are concerned, it should be remembered that in Cuba it is forbidden to photograph people in uniform, military establishments and public buildings such as airports and bridges. Disrespectful behavior towards policemen and negative remarks about the country or the President are considered insults to public officials, respectively insult of honor, and can lead to a criminal prosecution. Violations of the drug laws are punished very severely even with small quantities of any type of drug, capital punishment may in some cases be imposed. The conditions of detention are not comparable to those of European countries. In view of the economic crisis, medical assistance and food in prisons are lacking. We believe it is important to remember that foreigners involved in road accidents with injuries or deaths cannot leave the country during the entire duration of the investigation and trial, which can last for months.
The souvenir shops in cuba are called tiendas, they offer numerous items and local products for shopping. Cigars called puros and the local rum called ron are the items most tourists purchase. CubaEven the local markets offer opportunities to purchase characteristic and curious objects. In Havana, in the areas of the Cathedral square, in Calle Obispo and in Calle Empedrado, of the old city, there are some artists who exhibit and sell their works in precious wood, such as ebony, oak and cedar, and some souvenirs and coral objects. It is possible to export works of art, antiquities and some animal species with the prior authorization of the government authorities and vegetables.
Visit of Cuban cities.
Tours and excursions to the main Cuban locations: Havana with its five centuries of history to be discovered and admired. Cienfuegos, known as the pearl of the South, is Cuba's third largest port. Trinidad, an authentic colonial jewel of the island, declared a World Heritage Site by Unesco. Santiago de Cuba second city in importance, also considered the most Caribbean. Varadero, the favorite destination of Europeans for the beauty of its sea and its beaches. Isola de la Juventud, a favorite destination for divers from all over the world for their natural environments.
Guama Caleta Buena.
visit the crocodile farm and the monument to the Tainos, the first inhabitants of the island. Stop in the splendid bay of Caleta Buena for those who want to bathe in the sun.
After crossing the Escambray mountain group we arrive in Trinidad, visit the Che Guevara monument of Santa Clara, a walk through the city, declared a World Heritage Site by Unesco. Chance to see the city of Cienfuegos during the return to the place of stay.
Another place considered by Unesco Cultural Heritage visit the old part of the city, visit the modern part, then the Revolution Square. Special Havana the excursion is characterized by the visit of the modern part, but above all by the visit to Colonial Havana. During the evening, participation in the famous Tropicana show, with dancing and music Latin American and Afro-Cuban.
Travel by plane to the island of Cayo Largo, a land immersed in the nature of the tropics. Sailing or catamaran excursions to visit the coral reef. Stroll along the beautiful Sirena beach, for sunbathing and sightseeing to iguana island.
Varadero + Havana tour.
complete program recommended for tourists who do not want to give up the beaches and the sea, without losing the opportunity to visit the capital of the island. The tour includes a visit to both location: Varadero / Havana.
To get to the island of Cuba the most comfortable way is the plane, the international airports are: in Havana the "Josè Marti" airport, in Cayo Largo del Sur the "Vilo" airport Acuña", the "Juan Gualberto Gomez" airport in Varadero, the "Abel Santamaria" airport in Villa Clara, the "Jardines del Rey" airport in Cayo Coco, the "Ignazio Agramonte" airport in Camaguey, the Holguin airport the "Frank Pais" airport and finally in Santiago de Cuba the "Antonio Maceo" airport. The main airlines operating flights from Milan, Bologna and Rome are LAUDA-AIR, BLUE PANORAMA, CUBANA DE AVIACION and NEOS.
The road network for transport and communications includes a total length of about 60,000 km., the railway covers 4,400 km. and the major seaports are in Havana, Santiago de Cuba, Cienfuegos. Due to the country's economic crisis, public transport does not offer a good service. City buses are crowded and rides are infrequent. To take advantage of the connections between the Cuban provinces, you need to book your seat in advance. We recommend the services offered by the Viazul lines reserved for tourists. To travel freely in the main cities and tourist centers you can rent cars and motorbikes or use a taxi. Numerous companies operate in the car rental sector, it is advisable to check the state of wear of the tires before renting a car. The Island of Cuba has the most extensive road network of any Latin American country and renting a car is the easiest way to get around even if the roads are run down. To drive in the country, an Italian driving license is sufficient, car traffic, especially outside the city, is quite messy, with frequent non-compliance with the rules of the road code. It is advisable to pay the utmost attention when driving vehicles or motorcycles, because the Cuban legislation provides for in the event of accidents, fatal or with serious injuries to the person, the foreign citizen can be subjected to lengthy measures restricting freedom with arrest and detention, in pending trial he is not allowed to leave Cuban territory. The rules include driving on the right and overtaking on the left. Generally the speed limits are: in urban centres: 50 km/h, on main roads: 90 km/h and 100 km/h on motorways. There is no insurance obligation for private vehicles, but cars regularly rented are covered by insurance provided that the contract holder or other expressly indicated person is driving. Poorly maintained roads and vehicles pose an additional risk of an accident. It is recommended to avoid overnight trips across the country. Trains offer reduced service and are insufficient to meet demand. The Cubana de Aviaciòn airline carries out flights to different cities of the country.
Called by its inhabitants La Habana, the city of Havana is the capital of the island of Cuba and the major center of Cuban economic, political and cultural life in the country. The historic center still represents Spanish colonial architecture today, American cars from the 50s and 60s circulate in the streets on the very wide avenidas alternating with now decadent buildings and verdant parks. Havana with its centuries of history is the largest city in the Caribbean with more than 2 million inhabitants. To visit during your stay the modern district of Vedado where the major hotels and restaurants are located, La Habana Vieja the port area where the greatest social life and entertainment of the city takes place, the walls of the Castillo del Morro located on the side of the bay opposite the city . In the historic centre: the Plaza de Armas bordered by the 18th century Palacio de los Capitanes Generales and the Castillo de la Fuerza where the main tower called the Giraldilla represents the symbol of the city; the Plaza de la Catedral where the Gran Templo de La Habana dating back to the 18th century stands with one of the most characteristic baroque facades in America, and the Museo de Arte Colonial. There are also numerous museums including the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, the Museo de Artes Decorativas and the museum dedicated to the independence hero Josè Martì, the Casa Natal. Various venues such as cabarets, cinemas, historic theaters, nightclubs, offer Havana a lively nightlife for the entertainment and leisure for the tourist.
Santiago de Cuba.
Among the other urban centers of the Cuban archipelago we must remember Santiago de Cuba, the second city by extension and importance, symbol of the revolution for its decisive role in overthrowing the Batista regime. The city overlooks the Bahía de Santiago de Cuba, enjoys a typical and characteristic Caribbean atmosphere. To visit during the holiday the Parque Céspedes and the Heredia, Aguilera and Enramada streets, where the most picturesque places are located. The Casa de la Trova, the Museo de Carnaval and the Bacardí Museum. In the locality there are the oldest palaces and museums of the island, among which we mention the House of Diego Velázquez.
Other localities and tourist places.
Located near the easternmost point of Cuba, Baracoa is a very quiet city with numerous palm trees along the coast. The city was founded in 1512 by Diego Velázquez. To visit the Fuerte Matachín with its Municipal Museum, Fuerte de la Punta, El Castillo de Seboruco, now home to a fine hotel. Founded in 1514, Trinidad offers tourists some of the most beautiful beaches in Cuba, the towers of the city's baroque churches, with Carrara marble floors, the Municipal Histórico Museum and the large ceramic workshop where traditional manufacturing techniques are still used. the Taller Alfarero. Third port of Cuba Cienfuegos is known as the pearl of the South. Noteworthy for tourism the Paseo del Prado, the Martí Park, the Cathedral of the Purísima Concepción and the Tomás Terry Theater. The favorite destination of European tourists for the beauty of the sea and beaches is the town of Varadero served by many clubs, discos, shops, hotels and restaurants. At the southernmost point of the island stands the capital of the province of Granma, Bayamo, an area little frequented by tourists but important for the Cuban revolution and independence. Isla de la Juventud, on the other hand, is frequented by divers for its wonderful natural environments. The Jardín Botánico Soledad on the island is one of the three most beautiful tropical gardens in the world. The Province of Pinar del Río is located at the western end of the island. with beautiful clear waters, wonderful corals and immense expanses of white sand.
The famous Cuban music originates from the rhythms and dances of African slaves, combined with Spanish melodies reworked and exported all over America. The son is the most widespread musical form in Cuba, from which derive the mambo, the bolero, the salsa and the chachacha. Notable musicians include Pérez Prado and Benny Moré. José Martí, a national hero, is the most important literary figure in the country. Among the painters we should mention Wilfredo Lam , Marianao Rodríguez and Manuel Mendive Catholicism is the dominant religion in Cuba, with about 40% of the population. Approximately 4% of the population is Protestant and 2% Afro-Cuban spiritualist Cuban cuisine has joined Spanish and African cuisine over time, giving rise to a characteristic gastronomy with local products of the country.
In their culture, Cubans have chosen as their National Flower, the Butterfly, a kind of endemic jasmine. The National Bird is the Tocororo, for its red, white and blue feathers the colors of the Cuban flag, while for its resistance to the most violent hurricanes it represents the strong character of the Cubans, The Royal Palm is the National Tree.
Havana has a vibrant nightlife, with cinemas, historic theatres, nightclubs, cabarets and live music venues catering to all tourists. After 1990, due to economic difficulties, the Carnival parties, which were held in Havana, Santiago de Cuba and Varadero, were suspended but currently, with tourism, attempts are being made to bring them back into consideration. The Jornadas de la Cultura Camagneyana take place in the first two weeks of February, and the Havana International Jazz Festival takes place every two years always in February. demonstrations and parties in Havana - cubaIn April, the Semana de la Cultura takes place in Baracoa and the Electroacoustic Music Festival in Varadeao. During the first week of May the Romería de Mayo is celebrated in Holguin, during the end of June Trinidad hosts the Fiestas Sanjuaneras. Also noteworthy is the Caribbean Culture Festival in July or June, the Havana Contemporary Music Festival in October, the Semana de la Cultura Trinitaria in Trinidad in late November and the International Latin American Film Festival in Havana in December . Public Holidays are January 1 - Liberation Day May 1 - Labor Day July 25-27 - Celebration of the National Uprising October 10 - Cuban Culture Day. Recall that on Christmas day it is not considered a holiday. Among the anniversaries and holidays that are celebrated in Cuba we mention: Anniversary of the Revolution, January 1st. Labor Day, May 1st. Days of the National Uprising, 25, 26 and 27 July. Anniversary of the beginning of the war of independence of 1868, 10 October. Anniversary of the birth of Josè Monrif, 28 January. Anniversary of the 1895 revolution, February 24. Women's Day, March 8. Anniversary of the attack on the Presidential Palace of Havana in 1957 against the dictator Fulgencio Batista, March 13. Anniversary of the Bay of Pigs Victory in 1961, April 19 Revolution Martyrs Day July 30. Anniversary of Che Guevara's death in 1967, October 8. Anniversary of the death of Camilo Cienfuegos, October 28. Anniversary of the shooting of the students of Medicine in 1871, 27 November.
Geography, fauna and flora.
The Cuban Archipelago is made up of about 4,195 islands and islets occupying an area equal to 50% of the Caribbean area. The main island of Cuba is the fifteenth largest in the world with an area of 104,945 km2, a length of 1250 km and a width ranging from 210 km to 32 km at its narrowest point. The island belongs to the West Indies and is located within the Greater Antilles archipelago, between the Atlantic Ocean, the Antilles sea and the Gulf of Mexico. The geography of the territory is formed by a limited limestone plain, in the direction of the gulf of Mexico, by some reliefs of the central region which cover 25% of the territory. To the southeast the plain is dominated by the Sierra Maestra which reaches the highest elevation in the country with Pico Turquino, with an altitude of 1,972m. The Río Cauto is the longest river with its 343 km, its natural characteristics allow navigation only to small boats. The Cuban territory is occupied by fertile plains, where cattle are raised and sugar cane, coffee and tobacco are grown. The coast is mostly marshy with numerous coral reefs and inlets. The coasts are fronted by over 1,600 islands and a large number of islets and reefs called cayos. The Isla de la Juventud also belongs to Cuba, for an extension of the territory of about 220 sq km, with numerous islands and low coral reefs in most cases completely uninhabited. Havana is just 170 km to the north from Key West, Florida, Jamaica is 140 km to the south, the Bahamas and Haiti are 77 km to the east, and the province of Pinar del Río is 210 km to the west from the Mexican peninsula Yucatán. The political geography includes Havana as the capital with about 2 million inhabitants, the subdivision of the country into 14 provinces and 169 municipalities.
As far as environmental geography is concerned, there are about 6,000 plant species in Cuba. The northern coast is rough while the southern one enjoys thick vegetation favoring the development of small fish and seabirds. Among the main plants we mention the Royal Palm, the jagüey, a kind of fig tree with superficial roots, the plama barrigona, the ceiba, the sacred cotton tree and the mariposa, the classic national white flower. The fauna includes about 900 varieties of fish, 4,000 of molluscs and 300 of birds, you can find crocodiles, iguanas, lizards, salamanders, turtles and non-venomous snakes. Cuba's national bird is the Torocoro because it has red, white and blue feathers like the colors of the Cuban flag. The territory includes five nature reserves and four biosphere reserves, the Reserva Sierra del Rosario, the Reserva de la Penìnsula de Guanahacabibes, the Parque Baconao and the Reserva Cuchillas de Tos, as well as a national park, the Guira National Park.
History of Cuba.
Originally the island was inhabited by aboriginal tribes of the Tainos and Siboney who called the territory Cuba. On October 28, 1492, during his explorations Christopher Columbus landed for the first time on its surface calling it in turn Juana, the same name was maintained by the conquistadors who arrived on the site after the admiral. The Spanish conquered the archipelago creating the first seven Cuban urban centers. From the seventeenth century, African slaves were used to cultivate the sugar cane, coffee and tobacco plantations. In the second half of the 1800s, the first foci for the independence of the country began thanks to some Cuban patriots. Slavery was officially abolished in 1886. With the help of the insurgents in 1898 Cuba became a US colony with a new constitution. During 1952, various student and worker demonstrations against the government took place in all Cuban cities, in Santiago de Cuba the young Fidel Castro was the leader. During the Christmas week of 1958 in Santa Clara, with the newborn Rebelde Army formed by Cuban students and workers, Fidel Castro and Che Guevara win the battle forcing the coup plotter Batista to flee. As a result, on January 1, 1960, the US government initiated an initial economic blockade against Cuba to counter its revolutionary regime. In 1990, the former Soviet Union, which had been an ally up until then, also blocked supplies of food and oil to the country. At this point the history of Fidel Castro's revolutionary government for the first time gave rise to a tourist plan to solve internal economic problems. The birth of mixed European, Canadian and Mexican tourism enterprises, together with a policy of liberalization of the dollar, have contributed to the partial economic recovery of the country.
Among the main tour operators present in Cuba we mention, ALPITOUR ITALIA SPA , FRANCOROSSO I VIAGGI DEL VENTAGLIO , COLUMBUS TRAVELS, THEOREMA TOURS, HAVANATUR ITALY.