Cuba is a country located in Central America with name that begins with letter C. The Republic of Cuba is an island nation in the Caribbean. The paradisiacal archipelago belongs to the Greater Antilles, the main island is Cuba, which is bigger than Hungary with an area of over 104,000 km². More than 11 million people live in Cuba – most of them in the capital Havana with approx. 2.1 million residents. The official language is Spanish.
The island stretches for 1,200 kilometers from east to west; in the north-south extension, the narrowest point is just 31 kilometers wide. The highest mountain in the country is the Pico Turquino (1,974 m) in the southeast. According to AbbreviationFinder, Cuba is abbreviated as CU.
Tourists need a valid passport and a visa, which is also valid for the tourist card available in European travel agencies.
The climate on the island is tropical and subject to the influence of the northeast trade winds. The average maximum temperatures fluctuate between 26 °C in January and 32 °C in the summer months. The drier season extends from November to April, the rainy from May to October. From June to November, cyclones form over the Caribbean and the Atlantic, which can hit the Cuban mainland. However, civil protection in the country is well developed.
Food and drink
Spanish, African and Caribbean influences merge in Cuba’s cuisine: bean stews, meat, plantains and especially spices play the main roles, for example in the dish “Ropa vieja” (old clothes), the main component of which is overcooked beef. But dishes such as dulce de leche, empanadas and tortillas, which are popular throughout Latin America, can also be found in Cuban restaurants. The national drink is rum, which forms the basis of fine cocktails, to which a Havana cigar is recommended.
The name for the dance rumba goes back to the word “rumbear”, which means “party, have a good time” – and in this the Cubans are top class in connection with dance and music. Rumba, Son and Salsa are Cuba’s musical hits that appeal directly to the dance floor and have started their triumphal march around the world, not least since “Buena Vista Social Club”.
No special vaccinations are required to enter Cuba. While the Cuban state regards its medical care as very good, European authorities point out that the rescue service does not meet European standards.
The good news: There is no malaria in Cuba. The not so good ones: Mosquitoes can transmit dengue fever, so protective measures against mosquito bites are just as recommended as adequate protection from the intense sun.
Tap water should not be drunk. As always, it is advisable to take a personal travel pharmacy with you.
The risk of terrorist attacks in Cuba is rated as very low.
Compared to many other long-distance travel destinations, tourism in Cuba is safe. However, tourists can also be victims of property crimes in Cuba.
Even if small amounts of drugs are found, drastic penalties can be expected. We urgently advise against any political activity in the country or even criticism of the political system. Military and strategic installations may not be photographed.
Climate and travel time
Cuba can be traveled all year round. The climate is subtropical, with an average annual temperature of 29 degrees. There is high humidity in Cuba.
There are two seasons in Cuba: the dry season and the rainy season. In the dry season (November to April) the temperatures are between 24 and 27 degrees and the sun shines for up to 10 hours a day. In January and February it can cool down to around 17 degrees at night. In the rainy season (May to October) it is a little hotter, the daytime temperatures rise to around 32 degrees. These months also have hurricane and cyclone seasons.
All about money
The currency used by tourists is the Cuban Convertible Peso (CUC)
€ 1 = 1.15 Cuban convertible peso (as of 11/07/2018)
We recommend euros to take with you. These can be exchanged for CUC at the airport. Please make sure that you carry small bills with you, as some exchange offices only change small amounts (especially in more rural areas). It is not advisable to carry US dollars with you, as there is a 10 percent fee when changing. It is also advisable to take your credit card with you. You can use it to withdraw money in banks on presentation of your passport; the corresponding PIN is required at ATMs. Debit cards and credit cards (e.g. American Express) from US institutions are not accepted in Cuba.
The travel budget should consist of cash (approx. 300 – 500 euros) and a credit card.
For Cubans involved in tourism, tipping is an important part of their income. In the restaurant, a tip of 10-15% is customary. You should look on your invoice to see whether this is already written out on the invoice.
Please decide for yourself the amount of the tip that you consider appropriate. As a guideline: the tip for a driver is approx. 1 euro per day, for the tour guide it is approx. 2 euros per day, this corresponds to the average value.
Other essential information
Time difference to CET is -6h in Cuba
Electricity in Cuba
An adapter is required for sockets; this is available in well-stocked electrical shops or online. Adapters are rarely available on site. The voltage is 110 volts (alternating current 60 Hz). If you want to operate electrical devices, please check in advance whether these devices can also be operated with 110 volts and determine how the conversion can be carried out if necessary. If this information is not on your power supply unit, you need an adapter for plug type A, B and possibly also L.