General Information

Geographic ubication

Cuba, the biggest island in the Caribbean, is located at the entrance to the Gulf of México. Cuba's nearest neighbors are: to the East, Haití (77 kilometers), to the West, the Yucatan Peninsula (210 kilometers), to the North, Florida Peninsula (180 kilometers) and to the South, Jamaica (140 kilometers). The Bahamas are very near, toward the Northwest of the eastern end of Cuba. Formed by around 4 195 smaller keys, cays and islets, it covers a surface of 110 922 square kilometers and1 200 kilometers of extension, on a mostly karstic and flat territory. Its nature, diverse and prodigal, shows wide variety of plants, animals and more than 280 beaches, virgin islands, grottos, caves, mountains, forests, savannas and marshes.

Population: 11,120,000

Number of Provinces: 15

Pinar del Río, Artemisa, Mayabeque, City of Havana, Matanzas, Cienfuegos, Villa Clara, Sancti Spíritus, Ciego de Ávila, Camagüey, Las Tunas, Granma, Santiago de Cuba, Holguín and Guantánamo. In addition, the special municipality of the Isla de la Juventud.

Climate

Moderate subtropical. The Cuban territory grazes the Tropic of Cancer, and due to its long and narrow configuration, on an east-west axis, it receives the refreshing action of the trade winds and the sea breezes. During the short winter, it is cooled by masses of cold air from the North; those cold fronts do not last long. The eastern part of the country has a warmer climate than the western part.

Temperature
Average temperature 24,6º C (76,3º F) Summer average 25º C (77º F) Winter average 22º C (71,6º F)

Seasons
There are two, clearly defined: the dry season, from November through April; and the rainy season, from May through October.

History
Cuba was discovered by Christopher Columbus, on October 27, 1492. The conquest and colonization caused the extermination of the aboriginal inhabitants, due to which they imported black people from Africa to enslave them. The resulting mixture defined Cuba's population and culture. On October 10, 1868, the Cuban people began their struggle for independence from Spain, whose colonial rule lasted 4 centuries. United States intervened in the warlike conflict and established a pseudorepublic in 1902 until the 1st. of January of 1959, when the Revolution commanded by Fidel Castro triumphed, bringing essential transformations for the life of the country.

Economy
The tourism is the main line. Other important industries are the sugar cane, tobacco, nickel, rum, coffee, and since a few years ago, the pharmaceutic and biotechnological lines.

Education
Education is free and obligatory until the ninth grade. In 1961, illiteracy was eradicated and today the population has a high instruction level. Cuba's national system of education comprehends from day care centers for working mothers' children to universities disseminated throughout the whole country.

Health
Cuba's health system is said to have one of the world's most complete programs of primary attention, the lowest of infantile mortality rate in Latin América and free services for all the people.

Sports

Excellent olympic results, a highlighted place in world sports and the massive and free practice in the country.

Migratory Regulations.

Visitors should possess an effective passport or a trip document stating their name and the corresponding visa or Tourist Card, excepting those countries that Cuba maintains Free Visa agreements with. Tourist Cards can be requested at the Cuban consular representations. Also, in travel agencies and airlines. They are of two types: for individual tourists or tourists that travel in groups. The businessmen, journalists at work and natural of Cuba, non-residents or with another nationality, should get a visa.

Telephone Communications:

To make an international call from Cuba you must dial:

  • 119 + country code + city code + telephone number.

Internet Access:

There is Internet access at most hotels and at important tourist facilities. At many cities and tourist destinations there are cybercafés. Conection is generally by modem (dial up) is not very fast.

Currency

The national currency is the Cuban Peso, which is equivalent to 100 centavos (cents). Notes can be of 1, 3, 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100 pesos. Coins can be of 1, 5 and 20 centavos, and there are others of 1 and 3 pesos. At the Bureaus of Exchange (CADECA) created to sell - buy Cuban Convertible Pesos, the exchange rate is $25.00 Cuban pesos to the Cuban Convertible Pesos (CUC). 

On leaving the country passengers may not take with them:

More than three units of a Cuban produced medical product, except those for continuing treatment, according to the duration of said treatment and supplied with q certificate of the health center, and in the case of non-permanent residents in Cuba, with an appropriate official invoice.

National heritage works or with museum value; books, brochures and serial publications dated more than 50 years ago, as well as Editorial “R” books, unless a passenger has the Export Certificate from the Cultural Works Registry

Cuban handmade cigars in an amount exceeding 50 units, unless a traveler has the official invoice from the store where they purchased.

Lobster in any quantity and form of packaging.

Cash in an amount exceeding $5,000 USD or its equivalent in other currencies that has not been declared on entering the country or without the bank´s appropriate authorization.

Manuscript books, incunabula (books published from 1440 to 1500); books, brochures and foreign serial publications printed from the 16th to the 18th centuries (1501-1800); books, brochures and serial publications published in Cuba in the 19th century; books and brochures that bear the seal of libraries belonging to the National System of Public Libraries or other information systems, as well as of Cuban organizations and institutions

Pieces and collections with numismatic value without the authorization of the Numismatic Museum of Cuba´s Central Bank are not exportable. Visitors that purchase new paintings and sculptures at authorized points of sale should make sure that they have the seal which authorizes their export or request the appropriate permit, an indispensable requirement for taking them out of the country.



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