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Official Name: The Republic of Cuba
Official Languages: Spanish
Spoken Languages: Spanish
Population: 11,238,317 (2014 est.)
Currency: Peso (CUP)
Time Zone: CST (UTC-5)
Cuba is a sovereign state south east of the US. Cuba also is linked to a group of islands called the islands of Cuba, Isla de la Juventud and several smaller islands join together to form this name. Cuba is the largest island in the Caribbean with over 11 million people residing there.
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Cuba is located southeast of the US, west of Haiti and north of Jamaica and the Cayman Islands. Cuba has a tropical climate due to where it is positioned. As Cuba is in the Caribbean Sea, warm waters are brought in. Cuba in the summer is mostly wet but considerably warm but in the winter, Cuba is much cooler and dry throughout. There can be temperatures as high as 32°C (90°F) or as low as 19°C (66°F).
Geographic data: 23°8 N 82°23 W
Natural hazards: Earthquakes, hurricanes and tropical storms are risks associated with Cuba.
Birth rate: 10 births/1000 people (2013 est.)
Death rate: 8 deaths/1000 people (2013 est.)
Life expectancy: 78.00 years (2013 est.)
You will need a valid UK driving license if you intend to drive in Cuba. Scooters and motorbikes are available to hire but it is advised to avoid these as there has been a number of serious accidents around the use of these involving tourists. Taxis are available as well, make sure that you use a registered taxi instead of a private hire.
Theft, muggings and car related crimes are a risk within Cuba. Lock all valuables away and make copies of your important documents in case you lose these. Keep an eye on your possessions and try not to wear expensive items that could attract thieves. Do not travel alone at night, take a taxi if your destination is a far walk. Let family and friends know where you intend to travel.
You will need to get the correct visa that your trip will require, every entry must have a visa before arriving to Cuba. If you are a tourist, you are required to obtain a tourist card before travelling. There is an airport tax that you will be required to pay, this will cost 25 pesos.
Your passport will need to be valid for the date of entry into Cuba. However, it is strongly advised that you make sure that your passport is valid for the entirety of your stay to avoid complications on departure.
Currency: Peso (CUP)
US dollars are not legally accepted and there will be a charge of 10% if you wish to buy something with them to cover the exchange. Debit and credit cards can work in some parts of Cuba but you will need to check with your bank before travelling if you intend to use a card. If you need to exchange money, make sure that you use an official exchange house or a bank, there has been numerous reports of counterfeit money being circulated.
Visit your health professional prior to travel. There have been cases of the Zika virus being transferred locally. There is many health facilities within the capital, Havana, but will be quite expensive if you need medical care. Make sure that you are fully covered with medical/travel insurance before travelling to avoid the expenses. There have been reports of Chikungunya virus and cholera so try to avoid being in contact with infected individuals and avoid getting bitten by mosquitoes. If you do require medical assistance, then dial 204 2811 (+Ext 445) and ask for an ambulance.
Currently, the FCDO have not advised to avoid travelling to Cuba. There is a low threat from terrorism within Cuba. It is advised that you check the FCDO website before you travel: www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice
Please be aware that Direct Travel Insurance cannot offer cover for any areas or countries to which the FCDO advise against travel.
Cuba has a very literature and unique culture boasting its free education scheme at every level/grade. Cuba is also extremely popular in sports and music, most of the sports are US based with the most popular sport being baseball. Cuba has a national team that has and continues to compete in the Olympic Games. The music culture is similar to Spanish music with salsa being one of the most played type of music throughout the country.