Eternal summers, nostalgic bays, endless white sandy beaches, turquoise colored waters, salsa rhythms, and memories of Buena Vista Social Club – welcome to the beautiful island of Cuba!
Located between the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean, Cuba is the largest insular state of the Greater Antilles encompassing 69,202 square kilometers. The United States lies to the north-west, Bahamas to the north, Haiti to the east, Jamaica and the Cayman Islands to the south and Mexico to the west.
Cuba is home to over 11 million people and is the most populated insular nation in the Caribbean. Havana, the capital of Cuba, is the largest city in the Caribbean region counting upwards of 2.5 million inhabitants directly in the city and 4 million people residing in surroundings suburbs. The second largest city in Cuba, home to half a million inhabitants, is Santiago de Cuba.
The island of Cuba entails bountiful rolling hills in its foreground, with mountain ranges in the southeast and central coast. Additionally, in the west coast of Cuba resides the country’s highest mountain of Pico Turquino standing at 1,947 meters. Looking through the endless cactus and thorn bushes, a typical natural feature of this year-round tropical paradise is the giant Cuban King Palm that can grow up to nearly 40 meters tall. Moreover, Cuba is home to approximately 340 kinds of birds, 700 different kinds of fish, and numerous other rare species like the Red Flame Tree.
After the economic crisis and political collapse of the early 1990’s, resulting from the loss of important business partners from Eastern Europe and the WTO, the entire country began a transformation. Today, the country independently runs a socialist system with a largely state-controlled planned economy. The government owns most current means of production, while the labor force is employed by the state. However, movements towards an increased private sector with respect to employment are beginning to surface.
The most important mineral resource is nickel, of which Cuba has the world's second largest reserves after Russia. Recent oil exploration has revealed that in the near future, Cuba could produce huge amounts of oil as well. If this oil rumor proves to be true, what an interesting spin that would throw into world politics!
Similar to most Central American countries, the tropical climate of Cuba allows delightful travel year-round. Though both dry and wet seasons have their advantage, it’s good to know what you’re getting into. Generally, there is a drier season from November to April, and a rainy season from May to October. The average temperature is 21° Celsius (70° F) in January and 27° Celsius (81° F) in July.
Cuban people, culture, traditions, and cuisine are very much influenced by their history. The official language of Cuba is Spanish, but throughout the island it is very common to hear numerous other dialects originating from their past as a slave port. After spending only a couple of hours in this unique country, the enthusiasm and vitality of the Cubans will be passed on to you, and making new friendships will come easy. Cubans are very happy people and warmly welcome every visitor.