All facilitates an efficient and secure confirmed booking service for hostels, homestay, private homes, guesthouses, Bed and Breakfast rentals, casas particulares, vacation rentals (all terms to say private houses)... across Cuba. Go there and fell this country! Do Cuba on your own, it's easy! Have dinner in the casas, talk to the Cuban people, mingle with the locals and feel ... La Vida Cubana. Round your trip with us!
Our service is reliable and personal. Online reservations are not common in Cuba, that is why we guarantee a fast reply within 24 hours of your request. We have direct contact with our Casa Particular owners who will honor your reservation if it has been confirmed. You will never feel loss with our services; once you have reserved a room, we will give you all the information needed and will be ready to answer any questions.
In recent years, the trade in casas particulares has become increasingly professional, so you are less likely to stay in a quaint family home than a few years ago. Today, casas particulares can be the equivalent of Cuban youth hostels, large boardinghouses with a common area. Recent laws have sought to limit the casas particulares to just five rooms. In any case, increased competition has made some casas on par with the best Cuban hotels (in features and in price). Nevertheless, they remain the best places to stay to experience a true taste of Cuban life..
Away from Cuba's dated resorts, the archipelago is a destination for travellers not tourists.
Walking through the streets of Old Havana, you'll hear music and laughter, as much as you will hear no es facil (it ain't easy). Traveling through Cuba is not for everyone, but those who do make the trip, most often fall in love with the country and its people. It's a destination for those with a sense of adventure, who want to immerse themselves in culture and experience a unique way of life. Cuba, a place unlike any other, continues to captivate the senses on a day by day basis. Outside of visiting Cuba's resorts, Cuba is a destination for travellers, not tourists. Travellers should have some empathy with the demands that come with experiencing a country that has a very different way of life. A good sense of humour, plenty of patience (you will be in the 'go slow' Caribbean remember!), a willingness to learn and most importantly a readiness to enjoy your adventure are all key ingredients in deciding if Cuba is for you! As you will have noted in this Cuba Travel Guide, some things in Cuba might take a little getting used to, but other thing operate as they would anywhere else in the world.
Havana is a stunning and unforgetable city, with colonial mansions, museums, art deco architecture,cigar factories, old American cars on the streets, and a welcoming and kind population.
Old Havana Habana Vieja, the Old City is the center of the tourist activity, the colonial heart, with the harbour, city walls, castles, the cathedral. Old Havana is declared Unesco World Heritage.
Central Havana The Centro Habana district starting from the Paseo del Prado and Parque Central has a lot of crumbling buildings and is less interesting for tourists.
Vedado The Vedado district is the cultural and political heart of the city, with big hotels and wide avenues. The center of the district is La Rampa, the 23th street with the ice-cream parlour Coppelia, cinema Yara, hotel Habana Libre and hotel Nacional de Cuba. Nearby are the Havana University, Plaza de la Revolucion, José Marti Memorial and Cementerio de Colon.
Miramar Beyond the Rio Almedares, west of Vedado is the residential Miramar district with wide avenues and luxury mansions situated. In this area live diplomats, expats and businessmen. Most embassies, shopping malls and luxury restaurants are situated in this area.
Viñales Valley The Viñales valley is the pearl and most visited part of the Pinar del Rio province. The unique "Mogotes", lime stone hill formations, caused by erosion and covered with vegatation create a unique view. The Viñales landscape is added to the Unesco World Heritage list. The most photographed scène is the Dos Hermanas mogote. (Two Sisters Mogote)
Pinar del Rio The Pinar del Rio province West of Havana is known for the cultivation of high quality tobacco. Visit the Fabrica de Tobaco Fransisco Donatién and the Cueva de Santo Tomás an extensive underground cave system in the Viñales valley. Also worth a visit is Maria La Gorda, a beach resort and a paradise for fishing, snorkeling and scuba diving.
Varadero Varadero in the Matanzas province is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Cuba. The white sand beaches are considered as the best of the island. A large number of tourist hotels is situated on the peninsula, most of them all-inclusives for the sun and fun tourists. Before the revolution Varadero was already an exclusive beach resort for the happy few. The famous Xanadu Mansion in Varadero, former property of the billionaire Irenee Dupont de Nemours is now operated as the Varadero Golf Club.
Cayo Coco Cayo Coco (Coco key) is a small island situated in the Ciego de Avila province and is part of the islands group named Jardines del Rey. With more than 20 km of white sands, coral reefs and beautiful wildlife (Flamencos and Iguanas) the island has become an emerging tourist destination.
Santiago de Cuba Santiago de Cuba is the second largest city in the country with a unique Caribbean culture due to African, Spanish and French influences. Among the tourist attractions in Cuba, Santigo offers the museum of Emilio Bacardi, the museo del Ron and the Santigo Carnival held in July. The city of Santiago is listed as an Unesco World Heritage site because of the San Pedro castle.
Trinidad Trinidad city in Cuba was founded by the Spanish conqueror Velázquez. Trinidad Cuba is one of the famous tourist attractions on the island, because of its marvellous colonial architecture and its unspoiled status due to a listing as Unesco World Heritage site.
We offer up-to-date basic information about the best houses and what you can see and do in Cuba. (Bed and Breakfast options) We offer a free reservation service for the best casas particulares with a guarantee of confirmation in less than 12 hours. We live and we work in Cuba, we know and we visit each casa particular, we confirm your reservation personally in a direct contact with the owner. We have 500+ in all Cuba. You can see ours Websites: http://www.casasdealquilerencuba.com (Spanish)/ http://www.tour4cuba.com (English-Spanish) / http://www.alquilerencuba.com (English)
Information: We provide succinct and up to date information on all there is to see in Cuba.
Bookings: We have a free booking service for some of the best B+Bs in Cuba with a guaranteed 12 hour confirmation. Realtime booking is not available yet.
Direct contact: We live and work in Cuba, we know and visit the B+Bs, confirm your bookings in a direct contact with the owners.
Customer reviews: Our wish is that all customers will review our casas and his experience in Cuba.
Destinations: We conect you with the principals destinations in Cuba.
1) ¿Por qué escoger una Casa Particular en Cuba? This information is in spanish, our language, beacause it's from our heart...
De seguro usted como la mayoría de aquellos que nos visitan en Cuba están buscando un contacto más íntimo con nuestra bella naturaleza, nuestras playas, nuestra cultura, nuestra música, y lo más importante:nuestra gente. Así que la mejor manera de estar en contacto directo con los cubanos, nuestra hospitalidad, saber como vivimos, como somos, la manera nuestra de enfrentar nuestros problemas con una sonrisa, es viviendo entre nosotros. Esto aplica para aquéllos interesados en alquilar un alojamiento compartiendo las áreas comunes con las familias cubanas. Otra gran ventaja es que usted puede ahorrar algún dinero si escoge nuestros alojamientos privados en casas de particulares. El promedio es muy barato y le aseguramos que su visita será diferente, entretenida y llena de nuevas experiencias.
2) The houses are legal?
All homes listed on our site are registered by the Ministry of Tourism of Cuba. It is a 100% legal business for which tenants pay taxes Cubans. You can give the home address to the officers of the customs smoothly.
3) How can I pay?
Payment is in cash, directly to the owner of booked house in Cuban Convertible Pesos CUC. No extra payment will pay for our reservation service. Once in Cuba, you can pay cash only, not allowed to pay with credit cards and will not receive any receipt.
4) You are allowed Cubans to stay with you for one night in a Casa Particular?
Yes, in the private accommodation allow you to bring Cuban guests and friends and even allow them to stay for one night. Please note that they can not be minors and must provide the landlord's full name and ID number.
5) I will share the house with other tourists?
In some homes where more than one bedroom is available may share common areas with the Cuban family or guests. If this is inconvenient for you, please look in the directory accommodation with private entrance. If you do not find accommodation with private entrance to the conditions you want, please contact us and tell us what you need us to be happy.
6) How have I can guarantee the reservation to my arrival?
The reservation made on our site is a compromise between two parties, even if no advance pre-payment is required, in Cuba the word is stronger than a written contract. The Cuban family will be waiting for you upon arrival and has, therefore, if for any reason you do not go home you reserved, be polite and cancel your reservation. If, for any reason beyond the home you reserved it was not free, you will be offered another reservation in a house of the same standard, possibly in the same area at the same price.
7) How I can find the house safely booked on my arrival?
Once booked you will receive an email with a confirmation, including full address, home phone of the home you reserved. Remember to inspect the street name on arrival and ask the landlord the name of the person who was waiting for (his own name) you.
Old Havana with its main street (Calle Obisbo), the promenade and Moorish fort ("El Moro"), the party zone in Vedado, the beach district ("Playa" & "Miramar") and their elegant towns, the Chinese District, and the "Playas del Este" are just some of the outstanding attractions of this magical place. A visit to Havana is guaranteed to be an unforgettable experience and essential for any visitor to Cuba.
Dance, theatre, museums, history, architecture, nightlife, beaches - the Caribbean's largest and most cosmopolitan city really does have it all. Take in a dazzling floorshow at the famous Tropicana nightclub, cruise along the picturesque Malecón Seawall Drive for unrivalled views of the city and the sea, or stroll through the heart of Vieja Habana [Old Havana] to explore architectural and historic landmarks such as Cathedral Square and the Presidential Palace. Experience the magic that has inspired renowned writers from Ernest Hemingway to Federico Garcia Lorca, right here in Cuba's legendary capital.
Top attractions in Havana City.The friendly locals - 'Los Habaneros'
Old Havana - the historical district of Havana, where you find a lot of beautiful architecture & museums.
The Capitol 'Capitolio Nacional' in Centro Habana - must see!
The Cigar factories - for instance 'Partagas' - one of the most important cigar factories in Cuba - special atmosphere.
Ernest Hemingway Museum - have a look how this great man lived in Cuba.
Party in Vedado - visit the famous clubs in Vedado and feel like in the 50's!
The beaches - 'Playas del Este' - near the city center you find perfect beaches, hotels and great nightlife.
Home of the Salsa, Rumba and Cha Cha Cha, Cuba's musical tradition infiltrates every part of the island; across the fields and mountains and onto the Caribbean beaches and bars. Cuba plays host to many music events and festivals throughout the year including the Festival of the Caribbean, the Jazz Plaza and the Guitar Festival. Because Cuba is a multicultural society, there are many historic influences in the nightlife in Cuba is something special with plenty of live music pulsing in street corners and buildings. It is said that children in Cuba learn to dance before they can talk, but it is never too late for you to learn the moves and get the rhythm. Many of the resorts offer dance lessons and there is always the friendly local person to teach you. In most of our resorts, there is a selected on-site entertainment provided and you will also find recommendations of where to go and what to see elsewhere around the island. Cuba has a choice to suit everyone, from a glitzy Cabaret show to a Ballet performance or a baseball game in one of its stadiums for you to enjoy and make your stay a memorable one.
La Torre. Bar and Restaurant (Focsa Building, Calle 17 % M y N, Vedado) The best panoramic view of Havana bar-none. Have a drink here and take in the city and the Gulf Stream.
Roof Bar of Hotel Ambos Mundos (End of Obisbo at Plaza de Armas) Provides a great view of Habana Vieja. You can combine a drink on the roof bar with a visit to Hemingway's old room #511.
Roof Bar of Museum of Natural History (End of Obisbo at Plaza de Armas) Provides a great view of the Harbor and offers good Piña Coladas, Mojitos, and Daiquiris all at a fair price.
Casa de la Amistad (Paseo % 17 y 19, Vedado) Great live concerts are performed on Tuesday evenings starting at 9 pm. Part of the $5 per person cover can be applied to drinks. This place also has a great dance floor!!
Casa de la Trova (San Lazaro # 661; 879-3373) This place is the real McCoy. It has live Cuban folk music (son, trova, nueva trova, and feelin') from Thursday thru Sunday evenings beginning at 7 p.m. There is no bar or restaurant but drinks are welcome (BYOB). It is free, but performers appreciate tips. Hours & quality sporadic.
El Hurón Azul (UNEAC) (Calle 17 y H, Vedado; 832-4551) This is the UNEAC (Union of Cuban Writers and Artists) cultural center. It is housed in an old mansion and has a very attractive side patio where music is occasionally performed. Catch the Bolero show (ballads) on Saturday evenings from 9 pm on. Also be sure to catch the peña of Afro-Cuban dance and music on Wednesdays at 5 p.m. Admission is $5 for foreigners/tourists. In the back of the building there is also a "cinemateca / salon de video" where a variety of surprisingly recent films (many from the US) are shown. Lifetime membership in the video club is 10 pesos (.50¢) and movies cost 2 pesos each (.10¢, yes, ten cents!). Stop by to get a schedule of showings.
Callejón de Hamel (Off of San Lázaro % Animas y Soledad, Centro Habana; 878-1661) Catch the colorful murals and the Carnivalesque rumba dance-jam here on Saturdays & Sundays. Other activities during the week. Casa de la Cultura de la Habana Vieja (Aguiar #509; 863-4860) Often over-crowded with many eager jinetero/as, this open-air dance patio in Habana Vieja has live music on most nights from 7 p.m. on. The entrance fee is fairly cheap between $2-$3, and very cheap for Cubans since they pay just 2-3 pesos. Drinks are served from two bars in the patio but watch out for 'false friends'.
Casa de la Musica (Av 35 y Calle 20, Miramar; 204-0447) Run by Cuba's national recording company Egrem, this place has excellent but pricey concerts & free afternoon jam sessions. Also has a good selection of CDs for sale.
El Comodoro (Calle 1 y 84, Miramar; 204-5551) Fashionable dance club with pricey drinks & hordes of touts.
El Tunel (10 de Octubre) Ask around La Coppelia as to the location of this 'far out' dance club that was originally designed to be a fall-out bunker when the Yanquis attack again.
Papa's (Marina Hemingway Disco) (West of Havana near Santa Fe; 204-6336) A great disco with a live floorshow and open dance floor. The $10 per person cover includes all-you-can-drink!!
Piano Bar "Delirio Habanero" (Paseo y 39) On the third floor of the Teatro Nacional building on the Plaza de la Revolución, this place has live music and a variety show from Tuesday thru Saturday nights. The $5 cover can be applied to drinks from the bar. The live music is good and the dance floor is open following the show.
Jazz Café (in the shopping center across from Hotel Meliá Cohiba) This place has great live jazz music on weekends and some weeknights. It has good food and drinks and there's no cover except that you are required to spend $10 minimum per couple (consumo mínimo). Watch out for hustlers and jineteras.
Jazz Club La Zorra y El Cuervo (23rd y O, Vedado; 866-2402) Open nightly at 10 p.m. with a cover of $5-10. Check the board outside to see what the line up holds for that evening.
Amor's "Peña de Elda" (Calle 23 #759, 3rd floor, % B y C; 833-8150) This place is located on the azotea (roof). Hundreds of people jammed and jamming to good times, cheesy comedy routines, lounge singers, and Cuban son. This musical celebration only takes place on first Sunday of each month from 2-6 p.m. No alcohol.
El Gato Tuerto (Calle O % 17 y 19) Once a famous hang-out for Cuban poets and intellectuals, the 'one-eyed cat' is now a renovated bar-restaurant catering to the tourist clientele issuing from the nearby Hotel Nacional. Despite all this, it still has a great musical show that features some of Cuba's classic boleros and sones. Surprisingly, the drinks are not overpriced (not sure about the food).
Macumba Habana (Calle 222, esq. 37, La Coronela, La Lisa; 303-0568) Open every evening from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. The cover is normally $10 per person and on weekends this goes up to $15 per head. This has become THE place to go out lately in Havana (of course, if you have dollars). It can get a bit sticky with jineteras. Drinks are priced above average, but the place is one of a kind with a memorable floorshow, a great 'animador,' and dancing 'till the wee hours.
El Cañonazo (La Cabaña; across the bay from Habana Vieja) Each night at 9 p.m. Cuban soldiers reenact the colonial cannon firing that signaled the closing of the harbor. Take a cab (and a significant other) over and try to catch the ferryboat back across the harbor. $3-$5 fee.
Cuba is renowned for its spectacular beaches, which are kissed by the Atlantic Ocean on the north coast and the Caribbean Sea to the south. The country offers sun-seekers more than 300 beautifully clean natural beaches spread out along 588 km of its expansive 5,700 km coastline. Swimming and diving in the calm, clear waters can be enjoyed year-round thanks to a pleasant, subtropical climate. In fact, Cuba averages an enviable 330 days of sunshine a year.
Cuba's beaches are unique for the varied tones of their sand, from dazzling white at Varadero to glittering gold at Holguin's Guardalavaca, to distinctive black at the remote Playa Duaba near Baracoa. Stunning cliffs and limestone rock formations frame the beaches along the higher parts of Cuba's coastline, such as Playa Siboney near Santiago; while lush mangrove thickets line the lower-lying beaches, like Cayo Levisa in Pinar del Rio. At the sout of Matanza´s province you can find Playa Larga, in the Zapata Region.
Stretching for 1,200 kilometers, Cuba embraces the greatest diversity of landscapes and life in the West Indies. These habitats arose from soils born of various kinds of rocks pushed together as the Caribbean plate smashed against the North American plate, creating a submarine ridge that eventually gave rise to the Greater Antilles. It's a long, narrow patchwork of habitats, from fields and swamps to mountains and forests. About 20% of Cuba's territory is protected. South of Havana, the famed Zapata wetlands are home to more than 3000 Cuban Crocodiles, the largest remaining population of this endangered species. The east end of the island is a great place to see dozens of species of seabirds from pelicans to sharp-beaked terns as well as the Bee Hummingbird, the world's smallest bird. There are caves full of bats at the Baconao Biosphere Reserve. Further east at the Humedal Río Máximo-Cagüey, up to 75,000 flamingos can be seen feeding in the flats here, making it the largest colony of American Flamingos in the Caribbean.
Ciénaga de Zapata Biosphere Reserve. One of Cuba's six UNESCO biospheres, the Zapata reserve contains the largest wetlands in the Caribbean, and one of its most diverse ecosystems. Bring your binoculars: the world's smallest bird, the bee hummingbird, makes its home here. The Zapata Peninsula National Park contains the largest wetland in cuba; the most important preserve of Cuban flora and fauna; Treasure Lake; and the La Boca Crocodile-Breeding Center, one of the largest in Latin America. A biosphere preserve, the Zapata Peninsula also has vertical flooded coastal caves and two beautiful beaches Larga and Giron. This is an ideal natural environment for ecotourism.
Just walking or riding in the valley, talk to the farmers, look at the tobaco plants.
Botanical Garden. A lot of years ago two sisters began to collect a lot of plants and plant them arount there house. They cared all the plants in such a way that today around there house you will find a real botanical garden. Nowadays the family and friends of them will show you and explain you some of the plants. They don't ask for an entrance price but it's logical to give them a small gift, isn't it? You will find this botanical garden at the exit of Viñales in direction to Puerto de Esperanza - more or less opposite the building of the petrol station "Cupet")
Go for a ride with the bicycle. You can visit the small villages in the valley or just without destination getting to know the marvellous valley. There are various places in Viñales where you can hire a bike, for exemple at Casa don Tomas (beside the restaurant) or directly in Titos' casa particular. The price will depend of the time you want to rent the bicycle. You can rent it just a few hours or up to a week.
Visit the caves. There doesn't exist only the "Cueva del Indio" which the tourist mainly visit, there are also other famous caves near Viñales which are more or less untouristy (like "Paleolítico").
You can visit the famous "Aquáticos". For explaining in a short way, the aquáticos are a groupe of people living on a mogote in the valley of viñales who are sure, that their water source will help against every illness. You can visit them, reaching the hill by foot or by horse. When you're not so interested in the people believe you can also just enjoy the nice view from the hill to the valley.
Visit the north coast of Cuba, there you will find very nice beaches. Most of them are very quiet, there are only a few tourists. Specially recomendable are the excursions to the isle Cayo Jutías and to the isle Cayo Levisa. Last-mentioned is also very famous among divers. It's posibile to make a daily trip to this two places. If you like to go in the most agreeable way I recomend to organise the trip by a local tourist agency. Comparing the ofers in Viñales, Havanatur has the best (Their office is at the town centre of Viñales. They offer the trip to Cayo Jutías for 25 CUC (including Transfer, lunch, sunshade and tax for using the road to the isle). The trip to Cayo Levisa costs 40 CUC (including Transfer, lunch, snorkeling). Who want's to do this excursions by his own for exemple with a rented car or moto will be surprised about the price finally paid (Cayo Jutías: taxes for the road; Cayo Levisa: ship - and the high priced food at this places). If you like to go by public transport you need at least two days for this trips. The hotel at Cayo Levisa is not cheap and the last miles to Cayo Jutias are only posible to do by a hired transport!
Viñales BusTour. It's running a (Tourist)-bus, with a fixed timetable. The bus circuit give you the possibility to visit the most famous places in and around Viñales in a cheap way, specially if you're alone. You pay 5 CUC a day and can hop on and off as often you want to. Sometimes there's doing a bus with two floors the journey. Then you enjoy at the upper-deck a very nice view and get a lot of possibilitys to take good pictures. Please be aware, that this bus is running slower, so the timetable is not correct. Ask the bus driver when he will come back when you're leaving the bus
The fertile valleys of Pinar del Rio province are where some of the finest tobacco in the world comes from. Surrounded by its characteristic mountains, it's home to the spectacular Valley of Viñales, a wonderful place for nature lovers. María la Gorda beach (in the extreme west) is a Mecca for scuba diving and Las Terrazas a Cuban ecological village.
Home to a capital city that has maintained its stunning architectural inheritance (now recognized by UNESCO), Playa Rancho Luna with its endless diving opportunities and some very important sites of Cuban culture - whether it be religion (Santería) or music (Benny Moré). Cienfuegos offers a completely stress-free Cuban experience, devoid of mass tourism.
Discover the enchantment of the Cuba's colonial era in Trinidad & Sancti Spiritus, capital city! Along with the dream beach "Playa Ancón" (with its endless fine white sands) in the south of Trinidad, Sancti Spíritus offers both a beachside vacation and cultural experience. The mountains and natural protected areas are (still) the least explored part of Sancti Spíritus.
Camaguey province combines the best of Cuba - Santa Lucia Playa - the longest beach in Cuba with its fantastic reefs and idyllic shoreline - along with a capital city bursting with history and culture. In the south of the province you'll find a natural reserve area, home to some very colorful and exotic species. There are also some excellent bird watching opportunities here.
The landscape here is very impressive - Santiago of Cuba is home to the Sierra Maestra mountain range and one of the most spectacular coastlines you're ever likely to see. There's also the famous Santiago de Cuba Carnival. The lively and friendly personality of the local Santiagueros is more than enough reason to visit this old province of Cuba.
Welcome to Granma and Bayamo, capital city: Beautiful Caribbean beaches and the Sierra Maestra mountain range, with their lush vegetation - where many historical events have taken place, make Granma a very interesting tourist destination. Untouched and free of mass tourism, Granma is undoubtedly one of Cuba's best-kept secrets. Explore each corner of Granma!
Holguin is one of the more popular provinces with tourists, mainly because of the beautiful beaches and its capital city. Known as the "City of Parks", Holguín city is a very green and incredibly pleasant. In Manacas (Birán) you can visit the house where Fidel Castro spent his childhood. There's also a Natural Park located in the Mayarí the Mensura zone.
Baracoa, in the most eastern part of Cuba, province Guantanamo, is one of the most remote sites in Cuba - it's also one of the most beautiful. Hidden beaches, a unique landscape with an impressive range of flora and fauna that you can see in the National Park "Alexander de Humboldt" make this province the perfect destination for anyone who wants to discover Cuba in more depth.
Cuba is a big island -- the largest in the Caribbean -- and its attractions and charms run the gamut from the hustle and bustle of Havana, to the colonial grandeur of Trinidad and a host of other small and well-preserved old cities and towns, to the steamy, vibrant streets of Santiago, and the sparkling waters and white sands of a half-dozen or more top-notch beach destinations. So, you will need to plan well to make the most out of any trip here. Other options include specialized itineraries focused on a particular interest or activity. Bird-watchers could design an itinerary that visits a series of prime bird-watching sites. Latin dance or art enthusiasts could arrange a specialized trip to focus on these interests. And revolutionary history buffs could build a trip around visits to the Moncada barracks (Cuartel de Moncada) in Santiago, the Che Guevara Memorial (Monumento Ernesto Che Guevara) in Santa Clara, and the Bay of Pigs (Playa Larga, Ciénaga de Zapata). Feel free to pick and choose -- you can combine a bit of one, with a smidgen of another, or come up with something entirely on your own.
History: It was discovered by Christopher Columbus on October 27th, 1492. Conquest and colonization brought about the extermination of the aboriginal inhabitants, and then they brought blacks from Africa as slaves. This mixture defined Cuban population and culture. On October 10th, 1868 began the struggle for independence against Spain, whose domination was kept for four centuries. The United States intervened in the conflict and established a pseudo republic in 1902 until January 1st, 1959, when the Revolution led by Fidel Castro triumphed, bringing in essential transformations for the country.
State and Government: The National Assembly of People´s Power (Parliament) is the State's supreme power, represented by the Council of State, between session periods; and with representation at provincial, municipal and circumscription levels. The Council of Ministers is the supreme executive and administrative organ and constitutes the government of the Republic of Cuba.
Political-Administrative Division and Main cities: The country is divided into 14 provinces and a special municipality. The most important cities according to their economic development and population are: Havana, Santiago de Cuba, Santa Clara, Holguín, Camagüey, Cienfuegos, Matanzas, Pinar del Río, Ciego de Ávila, Bayamo and Guantánamo.
National Symbols: The Flag - It was first raised in the city of Cárdenas (Matanzas Province), when in 1850 a group of insurrectionist took up arms against the Spanish colonial power. The three blue stripes represent the departments that the Island was divided into at that time. The two white stripes evoke the purity in the intentions for independence of our people. The equilateral triangle stands for freedom, equality and fraternity. Its red colour is the announcement of the blood that would be necessary to shed in order to achieve our independence. The white and lone star is the symbol of absolute freedom. When the War of Independence started on October 10th, 1868, Carlos Manuel de Céspedes ordered another flag with a different design; that one now stands next to the national emblem during sessions of the Cuban Parliament. The Coat of Arms It is shaped like an oval shield. Its upper section portrays a golden key that symbolizes Cuba's key position between the two Americas, therefore the name "The Key to the Gulf". The rising sun stands for the emergence of a new nation. The three blue stripes, separated by two white ones, represent the departments that Cuba was divided into, during the colonial period. The Royal Palm that appears in the third space or quarter represents the noble and serene firmness of the Cuban people. National Anthem - It was the patriot Perucho Figueredo who composed, in 1867, the music of the Anthem. Later, in 1868, when the independence forces seized the city of Bayamo (Granma Province), Figueredo himself wrote the lyrics: People of Bayamo, up on arms to go into battle for the Homeland contemplates you with proud Fear not a glorious death, for dying for the Homeland is like living. To remain in chains is to live in dishonour and vile subjugation O, hark to the call of your nation take up arms, all ye brave sons, The National Flower The White Mariposa or Butterfly Lily (Hedychium Coronarium Koenig). An endemic jasmine species used by the Cuban women in the wars of independence to pass messages on to the battlefields. It symbolizes purity, rebelliousness and independence. It grows in humid places as river banks and lagoons, but it is also cultivated in yards and gardens of many Cuban houses. National Tree - It is the Royal Palm. Although it is not indigenous of Cuba, it is present in the country's whole landscape.
Cuban archipelago extends itself on the north of the central and west Caribbean Sea and closes the great Antilles arch. Due to its high biological diversity and endemic flora and fauna, besides its high historical and patrimonial values, 35 protected areas, seven national parks, six Ramsar wetland sites, six world Biosphere Reserves and nine sites that have been proclaimed World Heritage are worth mentioning.
Climate: In relation to its geographical position and location, in Cuba a tropical climate with humid maritime influence is predominant. Average annual temperature is 25,4º C and 26º C in the eastern region.
Flora and fauna: In the Cuban archipelago there are not dangerous animals or plants. It is considered a real habitat mosaic that allows the development of a great biodiversity, among the best varied, preserved and attractive in the Caribbean. Among the many species registered there are 963 fish, 1100 crustaceans, 350 birds and 1468 mollusks. Some species, very-well known for their small size are also registered; among them we have the Cuban little frog (eleutherodactylus iberia), the butterfly bat (Matalus lepidus) and the world´s smallest hummingbird (Mellisuga helenae). Cuban flora is considered one of the richest insular floras in the world, with 4% of all the species reported on the planet.
Population: More than eleven million inhabitants make up Cuban population, in a peculiar Spanish, African and Asian race mixture.
Language: Spanish is the official language.
Currency: Peso is the national currency, with the equivalence of 100 cents. There are 1, 3, 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100 pesos notes in circulation. There are 1 and 3 pesos coins and 1, 2, 5 and 20 cents coins. There is also the Peso Cubano Convertible (CUC) in circulation, which is exchanged for foreign currencies according to the officially established exchange rates.
Cuba is a land of taste and music; warmth and desire; goodness and aroma; palms and tobacco, rum and Guaracha; authenticity and friends; coffee and nobility; spontaneity and love. Enigmatic as back in the day, beautiful Cuba remains captivated Grand Admiral Christopher Columbus when he made landfall on the eastern shores of Bariay October 27, 1492 The attractive geographical figure sneaks into the beauty and serenity. Its green fields and blue beaches make it special in the eyes of those who have discovered each other end. The location of Cuba between the two Americas, at the entrance of the Gulf of Mexico, has the virtue of being the center of the Caribbean. Most land next to it are North Florida; East, Haiti; South, and West Jamaica, Mexico. Cuba is an island of well marked contrasts: nature of tropical, colonial cities, beautiful seabed, multifaceted culture and outstanding people. The whole charm of this extraordinary island made available to the avid traveler to discover that Cuba itself is an earthly paradise. The joy of the people, witty and expressive adds that note of warmth that identifies Cuba.
Old Cars and Cigars Perfect for a Caribbean holiday, Cuba has some of the best beaches in the world, the most fascinating history and is legendary in its own right. ...speak to locals about life there... how it has been and how it will be. Drink rum, smoke cigars and take a tour around Havana in an Old American car. Being one of the most reasonably priced of the Caribbean islands... there really is nowhere on earth quite like Cuba and the time to go is now. Havana Cuba's capital city, Havana, is charm personified...from the amazing colonial architecture to the classic American cars lining the streets. A designated UNESCO World Heritage Site, Havana is passionate, eclectic and makes you feel like a 50's icon!. Visit the Catedral de San Cristobal in beautiful Old Havana or go for a tour at the Havana Club Rum Factory!
Cuba is probably the most intensely diverse island destination in the Caribbean, with everything from standard fun-in-the-sun beach resort getaways to colonial city circuits, myriad land and sea adventure opportunities, tobacco and classic-car theme tours, and a wide array of cultural and artistic offerings. There's a lot to see and do in Cuba, and most travelers will have to carefully pick and choose. This section will provide you with descriptions of the country's regions, along with itineraries that will help you get the most from your visit. Cuba is the westernmost and largest of the entire chain of Caribbean islands, located at the convergence of the Caribbean Sea, the Gulf of Mexico, and the Atlantic Ocean just 145km (90 miles) south of Florida. They say that Cuba -- if you use your imagination -- looks something like a crocodile: The head is in the east, a line of small islands form the ridges along its back, the Sierra Maestra national park forms the front legs, the Zapata Peninsula forms the rear legs, and Pinar del Río province is the tail. Cuba is in fact a closely linked string of archipelagos, made up of more than 4,000 separate little islands and cays. Cuba's two major cities, Havana and Santiago de Cuba, are port cities with large protected harbors. Most of the island's other principal cities lie along its centerline, either right on or just off the Autopista Nacional (National Hwy.), the country's principal trade and transportation route.
Despite its youth as island-nation, Cuba boasts one of the richest cultures in the "new world". This cultural wealth, combined with its natural beauty, creates a truly varied setting that captivates visitors with the widest range of interests and holiday styles.
In a couple of centuries, Cuba has transitioned from aboriginal settlement, to Spanish colony receiving intense influence from Europe and Africa, to US-shadowed Republic, to Communist State.
The imprints of such hectic history will become apparent to you as soon as you arrive: in the eclectic architecture, the music and dancing, the food, the socio-economic dis-order, the character of its people.
There is enough in this island to fire up your imagination and inspire you. Now you only need to decide the style of holiday to pursue: the side of Cuba you would like to enjoy the most on this occasion - exploring the city, its people and culture; admiring the dramatic landscapes in Cuba's countryside; relaxing by the beach; a bit of everything maybe?
If undecided or overwhelmed by choice, take the easiest - and smartest - road. Speak us directly. We'll take care of the rest.
The Caribbean beach is expected to be heaven, and the same applies to local wildlife, the tropical forests, or the colourful colonial towns. Cuba's true allure is in its vibrant culture, the expression of that collective creativity that makes Cuban music, dance, literature, and many other cultural facets a product worth of world recognition.
Cuba is a wonderful place to go bird watching. The warm temperatures that Cuba enjoys, in conjunction with its exotic Caribbean location make Cuba one of the best places in the world to go bird watching. Cuba has a total of 350 different species of bird that are indigenous to Cuba, and keen bird watchers willing to be patient and put in the time are likely to see a great number of these birds while birding in Cuba. Cuba Direct's specialised birdwatching tours cover the best birdwatching areas in the country. Specialist guides take our clients through Cuba's valleys and mountains in these increasingly popular products. Highly recommended.
The west of Cuba offer some of the richest settings for all types of nature holidays. The Valley of Vinales, Soroa and the Rosario Mountains are perfect to enjoy the big outdoors and will surprise you with the most dramatic landscapes Cuba has to offer.
In central Cuba and close to the beautiful colonial town of Trinidad, the mountain trails across Topes de Collantes attract hundreds of nature enthusiasts each year. Further to the east, especially around the area of Baracoa, some of the most virginal forests in Cuba hide a wealth of Flora and Fauna that captivates the most demanding visitor.
We has a great deal of experience organising nature holidays. Tell us a call about your interests, and we will take care of the rest.
With 350 different species of birds and some of the most beautiful birding sites in the Caribbean, birdwatching enthusiasts are in for a treat.Nature Holidays Cuba: Birdwatching Tours
If you do decide to go bird watching in Cuba you can expect to see some wonderfully colourful, and in some cases, rare birds. People who have been bird watching in Cuba commonly report seeing varieties of birds as varied as parrots, fly catchers, king fishers, flamingos and hawks.
Low season: May 1-Jun 30 & Sept 1-Oct 31
High demand for Christmas and New Year at Nov-Dec
Camaguey Carnival (San Juan - Saint John festivities) June 23-29. Book a casa now
Santiago de Cuba Festival of Fire July 2-8 - Popular Carnival July 18-26. Book a casa now
Havana Carnival August 1-30. Book a casa now
Baracoa 500th Anniversary Party August 1- 7. Book a casa now
Cienfuegos Carnival August 1- 7. Book a casa now
Remedios Carnival (Famous Parrandas) December 19-24. Book a casa now
Hot, sub-tropical climate all year. Most rain falls between May and October and the hurricane season officially runs from July to November, with most storms historically occurring in October and November. Humidity varies between 75% and 95%. Cooler months are January to April when the least rain falls.
Required clothing: lightweight clothes most of the year; the high humidity makes it unwise to wear synthetics close to the skin. A light sweater is advisable even during the hottest months for installations with air conditioning (e.g. the Viazul bus which is always frigid) and a heavier sweater or jacket for December through March when cold fronts can drop the mercury to 10 degrees Celsius. Light waterproofs are advisable all year round.
Located at the entrance to the Gulf of Mexico in the middle of the Caribbean Sea, The Republic of Cuba is actually an archipelago comprised by the Isle of Youth (a special municipality) and 4 195 keys and islets for a total area of 110 860 Km2. Its neighboring countries are Haiti, United States, Jamaica and Mexico.
The weather is always mellow in Cuba. This hospitable and multi-ethnic country is blessed with a sunny tropical climate and a mean annual temperature of 25 degrees Celsius. The average temperature in summer is 27 degrees C and 21 degrees in winter. December, January and February are the coolest months while July and August are the warmest.
Official name: Republic of Cuba.
Capital: Havana City, with a population of 2´ 200, 000 inhabitants.
Official language: Spanish.
Area: 110,860 Km2 (42, 843 square miles)
Population: 11´ 200, 000 inhabitants. (Demographic density =101 inhabitants x Km2).
Ethnic Composition: 60% Spanish descendents, 22% mulattos and mixed, 11% African descendents and 1% Chinese descendents.
National Holiday: January 1st
National Anthem: Himno de Bayamo (Hymn of Bayamo) by Perucho Figueredo).
Religion: 47% Catholics, 4% Protestants, 2% Santeria and other African cults also practiced by many Catholics.
Political regimen: Socialist Republic.
Head of State and Government: Raúl Castro.
GDP: $ 20 billions USD.
PIB per capita: $USD 1.786
Annual growth: 2.5%.
Leading industries: Sugar, mining, tobacco, agriculture, pharmaceuticals and tourism.
Leading Trade Partners: Western Europe, Latin America, Russia, China.
Currency: Cuban peso (CUP) and the freely convertible Cuban peso (CUC).
Political-Administrative Division: Cuba is divided into 15 provinces and a special municipality Isle of Youth (formerly Isle of Pines).
Climate: Sub-tropical and humid, with two distinctive seasons: dry (winter) from November through April and rainy (summer) from May through October. The mean annual temperature is 25° C, with an average of 20º C in winter and 26-27º C in summer.
All visitors must show a valid passport in his/her name, stamped with a visa issued by a Cuban embassy or consulate abroad or a Tourist Card, except in the case of citizens from countries that have subscribed visa exemption agreements with Cuba.
When traveling by sea, crew members must notify Cuban authorities before entering national jurisdictional waters (12 nautical miles from the island shelf). Communications with the Cuban authorities can be established through channel HF (SSB) 2760 of the National Costal Network and 2790 of the Tourist Network or via VHF through channel 68 for the National Costal Network or Channel 16 for the Tourist Network.
Tourists are not required to fill-in the customs declaration. The import of narcotics, pornography or fire arms is prohibited, except in cases of duly authorized individuals traveling to Cuba for sport hunting.
Tourists may bring in personal effects, jewels, cameras, camcorders, sports and camping equipment, two bottles of alcoholic beverages, one carton of cigarettes and up to 22 pounds (10 kg) of medicine.
Articles up to a value of $250.00 USD can be imported, of which $50.00 are duty free and the remaining $200.00 will be levied a 100% tax.
The amount of money in cash that travelers may bring in is unlimited. However, travelers are advised to declare sums over $5,000 USD in order to be able to take out a similar or greater amount, since they will be required to present the relevant customs declaration form.
When leaving the country, travelers can export up to 23 Cuban cigars (Resolution No. 41-2003 in force since October 8, 2003). Purchases of more than 23 and less than 2,000 cigars must be accompanied by the relevant receipt. Purchases of more than 2,000 cigars must be carried out in stores designated by Habanos S.A. specifically for this purpose.
The export of Works of arts or antiques must be accompanied by a permit issued by the National Artworks Register under the Patrimony Division of the Ministry of Culture.
When leaving the country, travelers must pay an airport tax of 25.00 cuc (convertible Cuban pesos).
Sanitary regulations apply only in the case of visitors arriving from regions where yellow fever and cholera are endemic or have been declared infected areas by the World Health Organization, in which case they are required to show an International Vaccination Certificate.
The import of products produced from animals or plants is prohibited.
Domestic animals or pets entering Cuba require special arrangements such as the presentation of vaccination and health certificates
US citizens traveling to Cuba should be aware that: Like other visitors, US citizens require a passport valid for at least 6 months upon the date of entry to Cuba. The laws of the United States prohibit American citizens from traveling to Cuba without a license issued by the Department of Treasury. Those who nonetheless decide to travel to Cuba must do so through a third country, usually Canada, Mexico or Bahamas
US citizens do not require a visa. However they must present a document called Tourist Card which can be obtained in the Cuban Embassy in another country or through a travel agency when traveling via Canada, México o Bahamas, or at the airport in Cancun.
Your passport WILL NOT BE STAMPED by Cuban Immigration authorities, however, your tourist card will be stamped and therefore you are required to present it upon departure.
Persons traveling to Cuba should bear a valid passport with the relevant visa or tourist card issued by a travel agent or by the Cuban Consulate in the country of origin. Customs Offices at the 11 international airports in the country use the internationally renowned Red Channel and Green Channel system. Personal effects are allowed in the country duty-free. Tourists can also import new or used articles for a value up to $250.00 CUC. Articles under $50.00 CUC are allowed in duty-free. Travelers shall pay tax equal to 100% of the value of articles over %50.00 CUC. Although the amount of freely convertible currency that can be imported to the country either in cash, bank transfers, checks and in other forms of payment is unlimited, travelers who import -for the purpose of re-exporting- money or effects for a value of more than $5, 000 (five thousand) CUC, shall fill-in a Customs Declaration Form. The import-export and consumption of drugs and narcotics is prohibited. Import and export of explosives; objects, photos, literature and other forms of pornography; animals, plants (whole or parts) and species considered protected or endangered is prohibited. Persons who violate this regulation may be subject to criminal prosecution. The import and export of firearms without the expressed authorization of the Public Security Division of the Ministry of Interior is prohibited. Permits shall be obtained before arrival to the country.
You can find detailed information about forms of payment in Cuba here. El Cuban Peso(CUP) is the national currency. However, payments for goods and services can be made preferably in Convertible Peso (CUC). Payments can also be made in Euro in Varadero, Cayo Coco, Cayo Guillermo, Cayo Santa Maria, Cayo Largo del Sur, Santa Lucia, Playa Covarrubias and at the beaches on the northern coast of Holguín. Travelers can also pay for goods and services with VISA INTERNATIONAL, MASTERCARD, ACCESS, BANCOMER INTERNATIONAL, BANAMEX, DINNERS CLUB INTERNATIONAL, JCB and CARNET credit cards or with those issued in the country (BFI and RED). Credit cards issued by banks of the United States of America and their branches are not accepted.
In Cuba you can bring your phone there is a wide coverage to customers of any operator with which CUBACEL have roaming agreements, you will be automatically active service since arriving in Cuba, if the client is POSTPAID and is active with its attendant International Roaming service, and if the terminal you use is compatible with the characteristics of our network, ie that supports the 900 MHz band, upon arriving in Cuba and turn on your phone, this should be recorded in our network automatically and display at 368-01 display / CU-CCOM / CUBACEL, depending on your phone settings. But, in case of failure to achieve automatic registration, indicate the visitor to perform manual network selection through the phone menu options. For more information visit www.cubacel.cu
Travelers from countries where diseases such as Yellow Fever and Cholera are endemic or from areas that have been declared infected zones by the WHO must present a vaccination certificate issued at least 10 days before traveling and not more than 10 years after the date of entry to the island. Medical services are available in all the hotels. There are international clinics in all of the major tourist resorts in the country.
When leaving Cuba, you may carry with you up to 23 Habanos without having to show the official purchase receipt. If you exceed that amount, you will be obliged to claim the original purchase receipt and of it at the shop, and hand the copy in at the Customs Office at the exit point from where you'll be leaving with cigars, which must be contained in original cases with all official seals, including the new holographic seal. Any failure to abide by the basic requirement of a legal purchase, the product will be seized by Cuba's Customs Office. The export of goods not considered national heritage shall be permitted only after prior presentation of an expressed authorization by the National Register of Cultural Goods. Books or other publications more than 50 years old, books published by Ediciones R, Publishing House or others stamped by libraries or other entities shall not be exported.
Freedom of Religion is guaranteed by the Constitution of the Republic. Due to the country's climate , travelers are advised to wear clothes made of light fabrics preferably cotton. Don't forget to pack your bathing suit and sun blocker. A sweater or light jacket will come in handy when travelling in winter or to the mountain areas. Electricity: 110 volts, 60 cycles. Most hotels and Casa Particular also have 220 volt and sockets for flat plugs. Cuba is located on the 5th Greenwich Time Meridian (Eastern Standard Time in USA and Canada). Daylight Savings Time is from April to October (the clock is advanced one hour) in order to take advantage of daylight.
These are local "career criminals" who basically make their living on the streets scamming tourists. They are particularly prevalent in the larger cities of Cuba as that's where they'll likely find more victims (Havana and Santiago de Cuba).
These con artists will offer to sell just about anything, from cigars to drugs and sex. One of their more lucrative scams is selling discounted tickets for tourist activities, which in the end are not valid. They also might try and take you to a dance festival that doesn't exist, or ask for money so they can buy milk for their young children.
By the time the victim discovers they've been duped, the thief is long gone with their money. Solicitation of this sort is not legal and given Cuba's high police presence, it's advised that you do not interact with jineteros at all. If they do approach you, politely but firmly refuse and walk away.
Cuba is truly a lovely place to visit. But like any tourist destination, there will always be dishonest criminals who try to capitalize and scam, swindle or con their way to some extra cash. As long as you use your common sense and know what type of things to look out for, you'll be able to enjoy your trip without becoming a victim.
Other things to look out for:
Fake cigars: If you are offered cigars by a local on the street, they are most probably fake. remember if it is too good to be true, it most likely is.
Restaurant Bills: Always check your bill for any unwelcome surprises
Short changed: be very careful that when you pay for anything you receive all of your change back and make sure you are familiar with the two currencies in circulation and the difference in value.
Counterfeit money: don't exchange money on the streets. You are likely to receive counterfeit or outdated money that will be completely worthless.
Buying bottled water and rum: Both of these items are best brought in local stores and not from the street.