Official Name: Republic of Cuba
Capital: Havana City
Official language: Spanish
Geography: The Cuban archipelago is formed by the Isle of Cuba, the Isle of Youth and over 4195 mostly uninhabited keys and islets.Cuba has 110 922 sq km , it’s 1250 km long and between 31 and 91 km wide.It’s located in the Caribbean sea to the South of the Tropic of Cancer at the mouth of the Gulf of Mexico.Right between North America and South America.Havana is 180 km southwest of Key West, Florida.Cuba is also 140 km from Bahamas, 146 km from Jamaica and 210 km from Cancun.Its diverse nature shows a wide variety of animals and plants, more than 280 beaches, virginislands, caves,caverns,mountains,forrests,grasslands and swamps.
Population: Approximately 11 217 000 people, from which 75% live in urban areas.The population density is of about 100,3 inhabitants per sq km.The most populated provinces are Havana ( 2 198 000), Santiago de Cuba(1 023 000) and Holguin.
Climate: : Moderate subtropical.Due to its long tapered shape the island is strongly influenced by Norhteast Tradewinds that shift slightly to the east in the summer.During the winter the island is influenced by the mass of cold air coming from the north.These cold fronts only last for a short period of time.The mean annual temperature is 25.5°C:Differences in temperature daytime and night time are less significant in the areas closer to the shore,not in the inland areas.The western part of the country features a warmer climate than the eastern part.
Flora and Fauna: . Royal plams,coconut trees, sugar cane and tropical fruit characterize our island.Cuba features one of the richiest natural resources in the whole world.More than 50% of its flora is endemic.There are no animals in Cuba that pose a threat to man.There are mainly medium or small sized.Cuba also has the smallest kind of frog in the world, the so-called sapito (sminthilus limbatus) and the smallest bird in the world, the hummingbird( zunzuncito( mellisuga helenae).More than 16500 species are known in the Cuban fauna.There are 42 species of mammals, 350 species of bird, 121 reptiles,46 amphibians,7493 insects ,1300 species of spiders and 2900 mollusks.The four main forested mountains in the country constitute the most important places for the diversification of the cuban fauna.
Time Zone: : Cuba is on daylight-saving time from April to September..In other words, clocks are turned an hour back at the beginning of October and an hour forward in late March.
The special municipality of the Isle of Youth, south of Havana and City of Havana provinces, is the second largest island in the Cuban archipelago.
Government: The highest-ranking governmental body is the National Assembly of People’s Power, with constituent and legislative powers. The voters choose its members in free elections by means of a direct and secret vote. It holds regular sessions—and special sessions when so requested by more than half of the deputies.
The National Assembly of People’s Power appoints the members of the Council of State, which represents it between sessions. The Council acts as a single unit and represents the Government for both national and international purposes. The Chairman of the Council of State is, at the same time, President of the Republic.
The Council of Ministers exercises the executive function. It is the highest-ranking executive and administrative body and constitutes the Government of the Republic. Its members are proposed by the Council of State and appointed by the National Assembly.
The People’s Supreme Court and other courts exercise the judicial function. The courts form a system of government bodies that is subordinated to the National Assembly of People’s Power and to the Council of State and is structured with functional independence from any other body.
Education: Education is free at all levels.There is no illiteracy.There are universities and similar education centers including politecnical schools,high schools, art schools in every province.The academic courses start in September and end late June.
Culture: All cultural manifestations are widely developed in Cuba.From Literature and Fine Arts to the Movies, theater,ballet and music.The Cuban cultural infraestructure presents Theater rooms,museums and art galleries,in which you can enjoy not only national contemporary presentations but also international ones.Among the most important events that take place on the island and that have a global reach are the International Ballet Festival., The Arts Biennial,The Latinamerican Movie Festival,and other important traditional music festivals.
Sports: Cuba shows outstanding olympic results and has a top ranking place in international sports and competitions.Massive and free participation is cuba”s biggest pride and one of its greater achievements in the last 45 years.
Religion: everyone is aloud to practice his or her religion freely .The predominant religions are catholic and afrocuban but there are also other tendencies.
Health: Cuba is undoubtedly the leading country in latin america regarding health.It reaches all corners of the country and it’s totally free.Cuba features the lowest infant mortality rate in latin america and one of the lowest of the world :7.2 per every 1000 born.The life expectancy is 75.2 years.
The Economy: : Tourism is Cuba`s main economy sector.Other key sectors include: the sugar industry, tobacco,rum , coffee and, in the last few years, biotechnological and pharmaceutical sectors.Cuba experienced a process of transformation in the 90’s allowing the island to reinsert its economy in the international market.Important changes have taken place such as the opening to foreign investment and other types of economic association, the disappereance of the state’s monopoly on foreign trade, diversification and organization of the forms of property, the possibility to open joint ventures or full foreign investment.Institutional transformations include the organization, management and planning of the economy .Putting this measures into practice stopped the crash of the cuban economy in 1994.A year later experienced a recovery process that has been stable up to date.
Currency: The national currency is the cuban peso( mn).Possession and circulation of other foreign currencies is possible since 1993.
Forms of Payment: in the different facilities for international tourism only CUC are accepted, also EUROS but its use it’s restricted to areas such as Varadero.All prices are set in convertible pesos(cuc) and it’s recommeded to use them to make things faster.
Tourists and other visitors are free to import any currency in circulation to the island.
You can exchange cuc at any bank or any of its branches at the international ports and airports before departure.
Only the following credit cards are accepted: -mastercard,visa international,cabal,bfi -those not registered directly through an U:S bank or any of its branches in another country. -we do not admit traveler checks.
Health Regulations: There are restricted regulations only applied to visitors coming from countries where yellow fever and collera are common or to countries declared infected areas by the world health organization.In such cases an international vaccine certificate is required. It’s restricted the entry of products of animal or vegetal origin.You can import animals with a previous notice and with an appropiate certificate.
The entry of natural products of animal and vegetable origin is restricted. Animals may be brought into the country only after the corresponding certificate has been presented.
Airlines: Over 40 foreign airlines from three continents and 26 countries bring visitors to Cuba. Europe: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, England, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the Ukraine. North America: Canada. Central and South America: Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Guatemala, Jamaica, Mexico, the Netherlands Antilles and Panama. Africa: Angola.
Ports and Port Services: The main ports in the country are Havana, Mariel, Matanzas, Cienfuegos, Isabela, Nuevitas, Santiago de Cuba, Antilla, Felton, Manzanillo and Nueva Gerona.
Havana, Cienfuegos, Santiago de Cuba and Antilla have specialized installations for the bulk unloading of cereals. The ports of Mariel, Matanzas, Cienfuegos, Palo Alto, Guayabal, Carúpano, Ceiba Hueca and Boquerón are equipped for the bulk loading of sugar.
Port services include a pilot, loading and unloading, hoisting facilities, drinking water, fuel, health inspectors and immigration. Customs procedures may not be carried out directly by importers, who should use a specialized agency or a representative of the company who has been trained and registered at Cuban Customs. A small fee is charged for these services.
Public telephones are widely available, and large numbers of public telephones have been installed that use prepaid debit cards, also widely available at USD 10 and 20.
To make international calls from Cuba: Mark 119, followed by the country and area codes and then the number you want. The rates (per minutes) now in effect are listed below:
• North America US $2.45
• Central America, Mexico and the Caribbean US $3.40
• South America US $4.45
• The rest of the world US $5.85
To make calls directly to Cuba: Mark your country outgoing prefix, followed by the 53 (Cuba code) and province code and then the number you want. The province codes are listed below:
• Pinar del Río, province capital: 82
• Valle de Viñales: 8
• La Habana, cuban capital: 7
• Matanzas, province capital: 45
• Varadero: 45
• Playa Girón y Playa Larga: 45
• Santa Clara, province capital: 42
• Remedios: 42
• Caibarién: 42
• Cienfuegos, province capital: 432
• Cayo Largo del Sur: 45
• Sancti Spíritus, province capital: 41
• Trinidad: 419
• Topes de Collantes: 42
• Ancón: 419
• Ciego de Ávila, province capital: 33
• Cayo Coco: 33
• Morón: 335
• Camagüey, province capital: 32
• Playa Santa Lucía: 32
• Florida: 32
• Playa Covarrubias: 31
• Las Tunas, province capital: 31
• Holguín, all province: 24
• Granma, all province: 23
• Santiago de Cuba, province capital: 22
• Baracoa: 21
Cell phones: Cuba use the technology TDMA and GSM, but not in all areas. TDMA is the standard US frequency used in Cuba and, is nationwide.