Cuba Country Information
The Republic of Cuba is located in the Caribbean Sea between North and South America and is the gateway to the Gulf of Mexico. Cuba has always attracted foreign tourists not only with its tropical exoticism, but also with the special flavor of island life. The Cuban archipelago includes the island of Cuba – the largest in the Antilles, the island of Youth (the island of Youth, the former island of Pinos) and 4195 small islands and islets. With such a long coastline, Cuba has 289 natural beaches bestowed by nature. According to simplyyellowpages.com, Havana is the capital city of Cuba.
The capital of the Republic of Cuba with a population of about 1 million people is located in the northwest of the island of Cuba on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico. The city was founded by the Spanish conquistador Velasquez in 1519-1521. Since the end of the 16th century, it has been the main Spanish port in the Antilles and a transshipment base for sending gold and silver stolen in America to Spain. In subsequent years, until the middle of the 20th century, Cuba experienced a huge influence from the United States. And only since January 1959, with the victory of the people’s revolution, did the national independence of the republic become possible. Havana is one of the most beautiful cities in the Western Hemisphere. To the west of the bay is Old Havana, which has preserved the picturesque appearance of the colonial period. In the XVI-XVIII centuries, ensembles of rectangular squares were built – Plaza de Armas, Plaza de la Catedral, numerous churches and baroque houses. Defensive fortresses stood at the entrance to the bay: on the east coast – El Moro and La Cabaña, on the west – La Punta and La Fuerza. In Havana, the skyscrapers of the Havana Libre, National, Melia Coiba and Riviera hotels, large buildings of the National Capitol, the Medical Center and the Ministry of the Interior stand out.
The main tourist center of Cuba is the resort of Varadero, located 135 km from Havana. This is twenty kilometers of the finest white sand and azure blue ocean waters. The beaches of Varadero are recognized as one of the top three beaches in the world. Today, tourists from around the world rest here, but most of all Canadians, French, Germans, Italians and Spaniards. About 10,000 Americans come here illegally every year. In addition to beautiful beaches with numerous hotels and entertainment, Varadero has a lot of natural wealth, such as fabulous sea depths and reefs with its inhabitants, Ambrosio Cave with rock paintings, Varadero National Park. There are many ways to get to know Varadero: at your service cars, bicycles, mopeds, boats and boats, windsurfers, helicopter or light aircraft, all the necessary diving equipment. There are 23 diving centers on the territory of Varadero, where for a relatively small amount of money, experienced instructors will teach you all the necessary skills for scuba diving.
About 10 million people live on the island.
The official language is Spanish. Some Cubans in the cities speak Russian, English and French.
Cuba’s primary religion is Roman Catholicism.
In Cuba for foreign tourists (one might say) only dollars go. No one pays attention to the dilapidation of banknotes. Particular attention should be paid to the fact that when you change, you may be given a so-called convertible peso. This type of peso is equal to the dollar 1:1. This is a new Cuban banknote that has nothing to do with the old Cuban peso. In order not to get into trouble – the convertible peso should be written “convertible” (convertible). As a rule, they are given in small denominations of 1, 5, 10 pesos. A convertible Cuban metal coin circulates on a par with American cents. Often they give change to both. Credit cards VISA, EUROCARD, MASTERCARD, etc. are in use, except for “American Express”.
Time is 8 hours behind Moscow time.
average annual temperature in Cuba is +29 oС. There are practically only two seasons on the island: the rainy season (from May to August) and the dry season (from September to April). The average annual water temperature is +26 oС.
Citizens of Russia do not need a visa to visit the country for up to 1 month. You must have a tourist voucher, a passport valid for at least 1 month from the date of entry into Cuba, and a round-trip air ticket.
It is forbidden to import cars, motorcycles and spare parts for them, pornographic products, medicines without indicating the brand of the manufacturer. The export of singing and exotic birds and animals, cultural values is prohibited.
When leaving the country, an airport tax of 20 U$D is payable at the airport.
In Cuba, the mains voltage is 110 volts. Plugs and sockets do not meet European standards – an adapter is required, which is better to bring with you. Many modern hotels have 220 volts.
We recommend that you take with you the most necessary medicines from Russia. In extreme cases, medical care will be provided in a special hospital in Varadero, intended only for tourists. Urgent care, first aid and the first visit to the clinic are free. The polyclinic for foreign tourists is open 24 hours a day – tel: 6-21-22. Pharmacy – tel: 6-27-72, 6-26-36. Dental clinic – tel: 6-27-67.
Tap water is not drinkable unless specifically directed by the hotel.
As souvenirs and gifts, it is undoubtedly better to buy black coral and various decorations from it. In combination with silver, it looks much better. Also good products made from tortoise shell, especially bracelets and hairpins. Almost no one leaves without buying a bottle or two of Cuban rum and real Cuban cigars. When buying products made of crocodile skin, ask the seller for an export license, otherwise this souvenir will be confiscated during customs control. These licenses are issued, as a rule, only in stores, in the markets crocodile skin products cost 3-5 times cheaper, but export licenses are not issued. We recommend buying food in stores, and even better in supermarkets.
In many places you can rent a car from an “olds-mobile” to an open jeep, a moped or a bicycle. The cost of rental is on average from 45 U$D per day, but the cost of gasoline is almost twice as high as the European level. This is due to the trade embargo imposed by the US. The attitude of the police towards tourists is very friendly, because they are the main and only inflow of cash into the republic. There are taxis at the resort, both foreign cars (2 U$D for 1.5 – 2 km.), and our native “Zhiguli” and “Muscovites” (the cost of services is about 2 times lower).
The basis of the Cuban cuisine is pork, chicken, various spices. Seafood products such as lobsters and shrimp – Camaron are popular.
It is customary to leave 10% of the total cost of services.
HOLIDAYS AND NON-WORKING DAYS
January 1, May 1, July 25 and 27, October 10
For an international call, you need to buy a card from the administrator at the hotel for 10 – 25 U$D and use a special telephone set that is available in every hotel.
Many entertainment centers are located in hotels. Every evening from 21.30 to 22.45 almost every hotel hosts an evening entertainment program. There are many discos on the coast, but we recommend using the services of four:
- The most popular among tourists is at the Bellamar Hotel (the highest point of Varadero);
- At the “Tuxpan” hotel (entry 10 U$D, beginning at 22.30);
- At the hotel “Cuatro Palmas” (entrance 5 U$D, beginning at 22.00);
- At the hotel “Riu de las Morlas” (free entry, starting at 22.00).