Travel Guide to Cuba

Cuba quick facts

  • Capital: Havana
  • Form of government: Republic
  • Population: 11,238,317
  • Police emergency number: 106
  • Emergency fire brigade: 105
  • Country code: +53
  • Electric voltage: 110 or 220 volts

Cuba is not only the largest island in the Caribbean in terms of area , but also the one with the most inhabitants. The population consists of the ancestors of the indigenous people as well as Spanish and African immigrants .

The Caribbean island therefore offers a variety of culture. Music and dance are important parts of Cuban life. Big well-known dances like the Son, the Mambo, the Salsa, the Cha Cha Cha or the Rumba have their origin here. In addition to music, literature is also of great importance in Cuba. Literature enthusiasts of the Cuban people therefore meet regularly in the local culture houses to present their works and poems to each other. One of the most famous writers is Ernest Hemingway. The American lived in Cuba for over 20 years.

The largest city in Cuba and in the entire Caribbean is (by far) Havana . A quarter of the population is concentrated in the capital. The next larger cities are Santiago de Cuba, Camagüey, Holguín and Guantánamo.

General information about Cuba

Geography

Cuba is an archipelago consisting of the main island of the same name, Isla de la Juventud and around 4195 smaller islands. The archipelago belongs to the Greater Antilles. In the northwest, Cuba is bordered by the Gulf of Mexico, in the north by the Atlantic Ocean and in the south by the Caribbean Sea. The distance to the American mainland is 180 km. The Yucatán Peninsula, which belongs to Mexico, is 210 km from Cuba.

Time shift

The time difference is -6 hours.

Climate and travel times

The climate in Cuba is tropical, it is determined by the northeast trade wind. The dry season is from November to April and the rainy season from May to October. Tropical cyclones can be expected from June to November, and the economically weak Cuba is often hard hit. In the meantime, however, Cuba has a very well functioning civil protection system.
The whole year round there are summer temperatures of around 25 to 30 degrees Celsius average temperature. With around 200 days of sunshine a year, Cuba is a year-round travel destination. Nevertheless, the drier months November to April are preferred.

Climate table (Havana)

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Maximum temperature 26 ° 27 ° 28 ° 29 ° 30 ° 31 ° 31 ° 32 ° 31 ° 29 ° 27 ° 27 °
Minimum temperature 18 ° 19 ° 19 ° 21 ° 22 ° 23 ° 24 ° 24 ° 24 ° 23 ° 21 ° 20 °
Hours of sunshine 6h 7h 8h 9h 9h 8h 9h 8h 7h 6h 5h 5h
Water temperature 25 ° 24 ° 25 ° 26 ° 27 ° 27 ° 28 ° 28 ° 28 ° 27 ° 27 ° 27 °
Rainydays 6 5 4 5 7 10 9 10 11 11 7 6

Travel preparations for Cuba

Entry requirements

For a stay of a maximum of 30 days you need a tourist card (this can be extended once for 30 days). The tourist card must be purchased before entry and is available from the Cuban embassy in Berlin and from some airlines at the airport.
For a longer stay you need a visa, which is also issued by the Cuban embassy. An invitation may be required for this. The processing time can take several weeks, so we recommend that you take care of it in good time.

Currency

There are two currencies in Cuba. The original Peso Cubano (CUP, symbol: Cub $) and the Peso Convertible (CUC, symbol: $), which has existed since 1994. US dollars have not been accepted as a form of payment since 2004. As a tourist you pay with the peso convertible, which is divided into 100 centavos. There are notes to the value of 1, 3, 5, 10, 50 and 100 pesos. There are also coins in 1, 5 and 10 centavos and 1 and 3 pesos.

Health care

Medical care in Cuba cannot be equated with the standard in Western European countries, as the technical equipment in terms of medical devices, hygiene and the supply of medicines are insufficient. In addition, tourists are only treated in certain foreign hospitals in Cuba. These are also poorly hygienic and can require high treatment costs

You can only enter Cuba if you have health insurance. Only private travel health insurances are accepted! An insurance policy or an insurance card from the respective travel health insurance company should suffice as proof. If the insurance contract has been in existence for a longer period of time, you should bring an additional current confirmation from the insurance company, preferably in Spanish. A travel insurance is also available on Sprachcaffe.

In addition, the usual vaccinations such as tetanus, diphtheria and hepatitis A should be available. In the case of a longer stay over four weeks, vaccination protection for hepatitis B, rabies and typhoid is also recommended.

Tap water is not suitable for drinking in Cuba. Filled bottles of drinking water are available in stores. Furthermore, fruits and vegetables should also be peeled or cooked before consumption in order to avoid any diarrheal diseases caused by poor hygiene.

Travel preparations for Cuba

Interesting facts about Cuba

Tourist mistake

Unlike their neighbors in Latin America, Cubans adhere to laws and regulations very strictly for fear of sanctions, which tourists should do too.

Lying “topless” on the beach is not welcomed by the Cubans and should only be done on the beaches of the all-inclusive resorts.

Children are prohibited from begging in Cuba. However, many children like to keep their hands open when they see tourists. Avoid giving them money. Parents are responsible for begging children.

Say goodbye to the idea that the Internet works the same way in Cuba as it does in Europe. There is hardly any WiFi in Cuba and to use it you need an internet card .

Tips + tricks

Service staff are paid very poorly in Cuba. They often receive their salary in peso cubano, which is not worth much, but they get tips in peso convertible. As a result, the tip has become an unofficial salary. Please remember this when paying! In the restaurant, 10% is usual (this is sometimes already included, you can give the tour guide 5 CUC a day and your driver 3 CUC / day.

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