Why Visit Cuba
HISTORY & ARCHITECTURE
Cuba has a tumultuous history, that unfortunately, is not over yet. On this island time seems to have stopped, thanks in its majority to its political issues, as the country has not undergone significant changes since the 1960s, which undoubtedly contributes to give that picturesque and colonial air to the whole island, the facades of the houses and buildings full of colors with balconies and patios surrounded by columns, especially in Havana.
There is no doubt that Cuban beaches are among the most beautiful in the Caribbean. Its 13 miles (22 Km) of white sand beaches and turquoise to emerald sea are difficult to resist. But there is more to that. Hidden caves, waterfalls, mountain ranges can be found in the beautiful island.
Cubans are party people, friendly, hospitable and happy. Foreigners who visit the island and have the opportunity to interact with the people realize this and generally say that what they liked best about Cuba was its people.
Whether on the beach, on the street or in the bar, salsa will follow everywhere in Cuba. Cubans come from a mix of Europeans and Africans, Spanish guitars and fused drums. Over the years, they have created a rich and vibrant mix that dances to the beat of rumba, salsa, mambo and chachachá.
Due to decades of political isolation, Cuba has remained undiscovered. Cuba is rarely the first destination when planning a getaway. Traveling to Cuba is a way to disconnect in every way, from the internet, from work, from routine and above all from the stress to which modern civilization is subjected, as there is an overall lack of technology in the country and WIFI is not precisely common.
What to expect
Spanish is the official language in Cuba. Due to the increase in the tourism industry, some cubans will speak English, but mostly in larger cities and tourist attractions. You are encouraged to learn simple words and basic phrases in Spanish, cuban will really appreciate it.
In Cuba the standard voltage is 110V and the frequency is 60 Hz. That’s the standard voltage in the american continent; If you are traveling from the EU you will need an adaptor.
The Cuban peso is the official currency in Cuba. However, the CUP (Cuban convertible peso) is another circulating currency of the country (is very confusing). Other foreign currencies, like dollars and euros, will gladly be accepted, as per the devaluation of their money. Credit cards are accepted in bigger establishments only, like hotels and restaurants. It is better to exchange your money through somebody instead of doing it through the exchange houses or banks, as the exchange rate will be better. ATM’s are not widely available. 1 USD equals 1 CUC, while 1 USD equals 25 CUP. CUC are more common than CUPs (as of 2020, official).
Cuba enjoys a sub-tropical weather with plenty of sunshine, heat and humidity. The average year-round temperature is approximately 79 °F (26 °C) in the north.
Cuba is a relatively safe country, with low crime rates (especially violent) due to the high presence of law enforcement everywhere. However, we need to remember that poverty rates in Cuba are high, and petty crime such as pickpocketing do happen, especially in crowded areas, tourist attractions or on parked vehicles. Be cautious and use your common sense like you would anywhere else.
Citizens of the following 19 countries can visit Cuba without a visa: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kenya, Malaysia, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Russia, Serbia, UAE, Grenada, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Antigua and Barbuda, Belarus, Mongolia, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Singapore, Barbados, Dominica, Namibia.
Nationals of the following countries are required to obtain a Cuban visa: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Cameroon, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guinea, India, Iran, Iraq, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Syria, Uzbekistan, Yemen.
Citizens of all other countries are required to purchase a Visa / Tourist Card (Visa – Tarjeta de Turista) prior to arrival, which can be acquired from Cuban missions, travel agencies, airlines, or licensed online retailers. A tourist card grants a maximum stay of 30 days (90 days for Canadian citizens).
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