Where is Cuba located?

What countries border Cuba?

Cuba Weather

What is the current weather in Cuba?


Cuba Facts and Culture

What is Cuba famous for?

  • Family: Very little new homes have been built in Cuba since the early sixties, therefore it is not unusual for three... More
  • Fashion: Casual dress and lightweight slacks are the norm during the day with more formal wear in the evenings. Shorts are... More
  • Visiting: It is customary to bring either wine or a small gift for the hosts. More
  • Recreation: Baseball “pelota” is Cuba's favorite sport. Baseball was brought to Cuba in the 19th century by North Americans. Cubans also... More
  • Cultural Attributes: Cubans are a generous, resourceful and cheerful people. Daily life is challenged by economic and political problems. Nevertheless,... More
  • Diet: Traditional Cuban cuisine is called criollo. Traditional Cuban cooking uses hints and blends of Spanish, Afro-Caribbean, Portuguese, French, Arabic and... More

Cuba Facts

What is the capital of Cuba?

Capital Havana
Government Type communist state
Currency Cuban pesos (CUP)
Total Area 42,803 Square Miles
110,860 Square Kilometers
Location Caribbean, island between the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, 150 km south of Key West, Florida
Language Spanish (official)
GDP - real growth rate 1.3%
GDP - per capita (PPP) $11,600.00 (USD)

Cuba Demographics

What is the population of Cuba?

Ethnic Groups white 65.1%, mulatto and mestizo 24.8%, black 10.1%
Nationality Adjective Cuban
Nationality Noun Cuban(s)
Population 11,059,062
Population Growth Rate -0.13%
Population in Major Urban Areas HAVANA (capital) 2.116 million
Predominant Language Spanish (official)
Urban Population 75.2%

Cuba Government

What type of government does Cuba have?

  • Executive Branch: chief of state: President Miguel DIAZ-CANEL Bermudez (since 10 October 2019); Vice President Salvador Antonio VALDES Mesa (since 10 October... More
  • Suffrage: 16 years of age; universal More
  • Citizenship: citizenship by birth: yes citizenship by descent: yes dual citizenship recognized: no residency requirement for naturalization: unknown More
  • National Holiday: Triumph of the Revolution (Liberation Day), 1 January (1959) More
  • Constitution: several previous; latest adopted by referendum 15 February 1976, effective 24 February 1976; amended 1978, 1992, 2002; note - in... More
  • Independence: 20 May 1902 (from Spain 10 December 1898; administered by the US from 1898 to 1902); not acknowledged by the... More

Cuba Geography

What environmental issues does Cuba have?

  • Overview: With an area of more than 44,000 square miles (114,447 sq. km.), Cuba is the largest island in the West... More
  • Climate: Cuba is bordered on the south by the Caribbean Sea and on the north by the Gulf of Mexico and... More
  • Border Countries: US Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay 29 km note: Guantanamo Naval Base is leased by the US and remains part of... More
  • Environment - Current Issues: air and water pollution; biodiversity loss; deforestation More
  • Environment - International Agreements: party to: Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the... More
  • Terrain: mostly flat to rolling plains, with rugged hills and mountains in the southeast More

Cuba Economy

How big is the Cuba economy?

Cuba News & Current Events

What current events are happening in Cuba?
Source: Google News

Interesting Cuba Facts

What unique things can you discover about Cuba?

  • Food, music, pinatas and lots of people are all part of the birthday celebration. The celebrations are very similar to the United States; food, decorations, gifts, pinatas, cake, candles, “happy birthday” song and games. But a lot of people are invited including neighbors, friends, co-workers and family even if they don't have kids around the birthday child's age.
  • Every May since 1962, Ernest Hemingway is remembered in a Cuban competition called the Ernest Hemingway International Marlin Fishing Tournament. Fidel Castro once participated in this event.
  • About 150 million years ago, Cuba was part of a submerged North American mountain range. Movements of the earth's crust below the sea made the mountain tops appear above the surface of the water. These peaks became the Caribbean islands that we know today.
  • Ballet is very popular in Cuba. Prima ballerina Alicia Alonso founded the Ballet Nacional de Cuba in 1948. Later, her husband, Fernando Alonso, founded the Camagüey Ballet.
  • Cuba's best-known painter is the surrealist Wilfredo Lam (1902-82). He lived most of his life abroad.
  • Cuba has two national television stations, Cubavision and Tele Rebelde. They broadcast between 6 p.m. and midnight daily, except on weekends, when children's programs are aired during the day.
  • Cuban families may celebrate a daughter's fifteenth birthday by throwing a big party. Traditionally, this celebration announced her readiness for marriage.
  • During the 17th century, pirates buried stolen treasure on an island off Cuba called the Isle of Youth. According to legend, this was the famous Treasure Island described in Robert Louis Stevenson's novel.
  • Every morning, Cuban school children begin their day by singing the patriotic slogan, “ Pioneers for communism, we shall be like Che.” Ernesto (Che) Guevara was an Argentine-born revolutionary who influenced Castro and supported the revolution in Cuba. Guevara died in 1967 but is still considered a role model by socialists.
  • In the 1960s the largest government campaign in Cuba was a literacy campaign. More than 250,000 young volunteers, both teachers and students, went to rural areas to teach Cuban farmers and peasants to read and write.
  • In the Santería religion, each saint has a festival day. Followers come together to dance, sing, listen to the beat of the drums, and make offerings to the saint or orisha.
  • José Martí (1858-95) was a leading figure in Cuba's struggle for independence. He spent many years in exile, and wrote poems and essays about the need for Cubans to break free of Spanish and American domination. In 1895, he helped lead an army against the Spanish at Dos Rios. He was killed when he rode headlong into the enemy lines. Today, Cubans revere Martí as a hero.
  • José Martí (1858-95) was a leading figure in Cuba's struggle for independence. He spent many years in exile, and wrote poems and essays about the need for Cubans to break free of Spanish and American domination. In 1895, he helped lead an army against the Spanish at Dos Rios. He was killed when he rode headlong into the enemy lines. Today, Cubans revere Martí as a hero.
  • Many mountains, rivers and towns in Cuba retain the names given to them by the indigenous peoples. The name "Cuba" comes from a Taino word meaning a center or central place.
  • Men usually do two years of compulsory military service between the ages of 16 and 30. Recently, they have been given the option of doing agricultural service instead.
  • Small, family-run restaurants called paladares were legalized in 1993, although they were a tradition before that time. Most of these restaurants accept payment only in American dollars.
  • The number of people infected with AIDS and HIV in Cuba is low compared to other countries in Latin America and the Caribbean. In 1996, Cuba began testing an anti-AIDS vaccine. Cuba is one of only six countries in the world to perform clinical tests on humans. Cuba also has sanatoriums where anyone infected with the virus is isolated from the community.
  • The royal palm is the symbol of Cuba. It occupies the central position in Cuba's national coat of arms and symbolizes strength.
  • A Cuban called Kid Chocolate was the world boxing champion in the 1920s.
  • Sugar is harvested between November and June. Before mechanization, Cuba brought in temporary workers from Haiti and Jamaica to cut the stalks by hand with machetes. In the 1980s, huge harvesters that could cut a truckload of cane in 10 minutes worked around the clock, using floodlights during the night. Recent fuel shortages, however, have forced workers to return to more labor-intensive methods.

Watch video on Cuba

What can you learn about Cuba in this video?

Cuba, a Sea Paradise Rich in History and Culture YouTube: ClubTravelie

Cuba Travel Information

What makes Cuba a unique country to travel to?

Country Description

Cuba is an authoritarian state that routinely employs repressive methods against internal dissent and monitors and responds to perceived threats to its authority. These methods include intense physical and electronic surveillance, as well as detention and interrogation of both Cuban citizens and foreign visitors. U.S. citizens visiting Cuba should be aware that any on-island activities could be subject to surveillance, and their contacts with Cuban citizens monitored closely. Human rights conditions in Cuba remain poor, as the Cuban government limits fundamental freedoms, including freedom of expression and peaceful assembly. The United States does not have diplomatic relations with Cuba, but Cuba generally welcomes U.S. citizen travelers and U.S. citizens are generally well received. The United States Government provides consular and other services through the U.S. Interests Section in Havana (USINT), but U.S. diplomats are not allowed to travel freely outside the capital and may be prevented from providing assistance outside Havana. USINT operates under the legal protection of the Swiss government but is not co-located with the Swiss Embassy.

Crime

Official crime statistics are not published by the Cuban government, but reporting by U.S. citizens and other foreign travelers indicates that the majority of incidents are non-violent and theft-related – e.g., pick-pocketing, purse snatching, or the taking of unattended / valuable items. There is anecdotal evidence that violent crime has increased in Cuba and is generally associated with assaults committed during a burglary or robbery. The U.S. Government cannot confirm this information but rates the threat of crime in Cuba as medium. In the event of a confrontation, travelers should not resist as perpetrators may be armed. Thefts generally occur in crowded areas such as markets, beaches, and other gathering points, including Old Town Havana and the Prado neighborhood. Travelers should exercise basic situational awareness at all times and are advised not to leave belongings unattended, nor to carry purses and bags loosely over one shoulder.

Visitors should avoid wearing flashy jewelry or displaying large amounts of cash. When possible, visitors should carry a copy of their passport with them and leave the original at a secure location. U.S. visitors should also beware of Cuban "jineteros" (hustlers) who specialize in swindling tourists. While most jineteros speak English and go out of their way to appear friendly, e.g., by offering to serve as tour guides or to facilitate the purchase of cheap cigars, many are in fact professional criminals who may resort to violence in their efforts to acquire tourists' money and other valuables. When exchanging currency, use state-run offices to convert dollars and avoid independent/street vendors as we have seen a slight increase in the number of persons trying to pass counterfeit bills at the Interests Section.

All travelers should ensure that valuables remain under their personal control at all times and are never put into checked baggage.

Criminal Penalties

While in a foreign country, a U.S. citizen is subject to that country's laws and regulations, which sometimes differ significantly from those in the United States and may not afford the protections available to the individual under U.S. law. Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe than in the United States for similar offenses. Persons violating Cuba’s laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned. Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Cuba are severe, and convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines. Those accused of drug-related and other crimes face long legal proceedings and delayed due process. In one 2009 drug conviction, a U.S. citizen was sentenced to 18 years in prison. In some cases, the Cuban government has not permitted U.S. consular access to Cuban-American prisoners with dual nationality.

Criminal penalties are also harsh for foreigners or dual nationals suspected of assisting Cuban migrants who attempt to leave Cuba illegally. Average jail sentences for individuals charged with migrant smuggling range from 10 to 25 years. In a 2007 case, a U.S. citizen was arrested for attempting to facilitate the illegal departure of his Cuban family members via raft. He was charged with migrant smuggling and received a jail sentence of 16 years.

Traffic laws in Cuba differ greatly from those in the United States. U.S. citizen drivers involved in traffic accidents that result in the death or injury of any party may be held criminally liable, regardless of fault. Six U.S. citizens are currently serving prison terms in Cuba for vehicular homicide, including one for a single-car accident that resulted in the death of the driver’s family-member passenger. The U.S. Interests Section recommends extreme caution when driving in Cuba as hazardous road conditions, poor signage, and jaywalking pedestrians may result in accidents. See TRAFFIC SAFETY AND ROAD CONDITIONS for more information.

The Cuban government has strict laws prohibiting the importation of weapons. The Department of State warns all U.S. citizens against taking any type of firearm or ammunition into Cuba. Entering Cuba with a firearm or even a single round of ammunition is illegal, even if the weapon or ammunition is taken into Cuba unintentionally. The Cuban government strictly enforces laws restricting the entry of firearms and ammunition at airports and seaports, and routinely x-rays all incoming luggage. U.S. citizens entering Cuba with a weapon or ammunition (including even a small number of bullets), even accidentally, are subject to fines or possible imprisonment. Travelers are strongly advised to thoroughly inspect all belongings prior to travel to Cuba to avoid the accidental import of ammunition or firearms.

For more information, please contact the U.S. Interests Section's American Citizens Services Unit at:

U.S. Interests Section
American Citizen Services Unit
Calzada, entre L y M
Vedado, Havana, Cuba
Phone: 53-7-839-4100
Fax: 53-7-839-4247

Engaging in sexual conduct with children or using or disseminating child pornography in a foreign country is a crime, prosecutable in the United States.

Medical Facilities and Health Information

Medical care in Cuba does not meet U.S. standards. While medical professionals are generally competent, many health facilities face shortages of medical supplies and bed space. Many medications are unavailable, so travelers to Cuba should bring with them any prescribed medicine in its original container and in amounts commensurate with personal use. Travelers may also wish to consider bringing small additional amounts of prescribed medicines and over-the-counter remedies in the event that a return to the United States is delayed for unforeseen reasons. A copy of the prescription and a letter from the prescribing physician explaining the need for prescription drugs may facilitate their entry into the country.

Travelers to the Havana area should be aware that U.S. and other foreign visitors are generally referred to the “tourist” Cira Garcia Hospital located in the Miramar neighborhood of Havana. Treatment at Cira Garcia and any other medical consultation requires payment in cash (see section on Medical Insurance below), and the Cuban Government disallows the use of U.S. dollars.

Safety and Security

The security environment in Cuba is relatively stable and characterized by a strong military and police presence throughout the country. Demonstrations against the United States are less frequent and smaller than in past years, are always approved and monitored by the Cuban Government, and have been peaceful in nature. The same cannot be said about state-organized demonstrations against domestic opposition groups, which can be violent. American citizens should avoid all demonstrations. Hijackings of vessels to depart Cuba are much less common. The United States Government has publicly and repeatedly announced that any person who hijacks (or attempts to hijack) an aircraft or vessel (whether common carrier or other) will face the maximum penalties pursuant to U.S. law, regardless of that person's nationality.

In recent years, the Cuban government has detained U.S. citizens it suspects of engaging in activities perceived to undermine state security. In 2011, it sentenced one such U.S. citizen to a lengthy prison sentence on arbitrary charges after a two day show trial. U.S. citizens traveling to Cuba should be aware that the Cuban Government may detain anyone at anytime for any purpose and should not expect that Cuba’s state security or judicial systems will carry out their responsibilities according to international norms.

Cuban territorial waters are extremely dangerous and difficult to navigate, even for experienced mariners. The potential for running aground is very high and the bottom type is unforgiving. Search and rescue capability in Cuba is limited and running aground will often lead to the complete destruction and loss of the vessel. U.S. boaters who enter Cuban waters (legitimately or illegitimately) have encountered problems that required repairs and/or salvage; costs for both are significantly higher than comparable services in the United States or elsewhere in the Caribbean. In addition, the Government of Cuba does not allow the use of the U.S. dollar for transactions and U.S. credit cards are not accepted in Cuba. Cuban authorities typically hold boats as collateral payment. U.S.-registered/flagged vessels belonging to U.S. citizens have been permanently seized by Cuban authorities. Due to the lack of resources, the quality of repairs in Cuba is inconsistent. Repairs take significantly longer in Cuba than they would in the United States due to lack of the most basic materials and to bureaucratic impediments. Boaters are often confined to their boats while repairs are made. Boaters can be detained while Cuban authorities investigate the circumstances of their entry to Cuba, especially if their travel documents are not in order or they are suspected of illegal activities. Mariners and their passengers should not navigate close to Cuban territorial waters without possessing a valid passport, unless seeking a safe port due to emergencies. The ability of the U.S. Interests Section to assist mariners in distress is extremely limited due to Cuban restrictions on travel by U.S. personnel outside of Havana. Notifying the U.S. Interests Section, regardless of legitimately or illegitimately entering Cuban territorial seas is the most reliable way to obtain assistance.

The transfer of funds from the United States to Cuba to pay for boat repair and salvage is subject to restrictions relating to commercial transactions with the Government of Cuba. A Department of the Treasury license is required for such payments and applicants should be prepared to provide documentary evidence demonstrating the emergency nature of the repairs. U.S. credit or debit cards, personal checks, and travelers’ checks cannot be used in Cuba so boaters should be prepared to pay for all transactions in cash, keeping in mind that the Government of Cuba does not allow the use of the U.S. dollar. It is difficult to transfer money to Cuba and travelers have frequently been required to spend several hundred dollars for transportation to Havana to receive transferred funds.

For the latest security information, U.S. citizens traveling abroad should regularly monitor the Department of State, at the Bureau of Consular Affairs’ website, where the current Travel Warnings and Travel Alerts, as well as the Worldwide Caution, can be found.

Up-to-date information on safety and security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the U.S. and Canada, or for other callers, a regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).

The Department of State urges U.S. citizens to take responsibility for their own personal security while traveling overseas.

Traffic Safety and Road Conditions

While in a foreign country, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. The information below concerning Cuba is provided for general reference only, and may not be necessarily accurate in a particular location or circumstance.

Driving is on the right-hand side of the road, as in the United States; speed limits are sometimes posted and generally respected in urban areas. Passengers in automobiles are generally required to wear seatbelts, and all motorcyclists are required to wear helmets.

Unconfirmed reports suggest that accidents involving motor vehicles are now the leading cause of accidental death in Cuba. Many accidents involve motorists striking pedestrians or bicyclists. Drivers found responsible for accidents resulting in serious injury or death are subject to prison terms of up to 10 years, and Cuban authorities may prohibit drivers of rental cars who are involved in accidents from leaving the country until all claims associated with an accident are settled. Witnesses to vehicular accidents may not be permitted to leave Cuba until an investigation into the accident has been completed.

Taxis are available in busy commercial and tourist areas; radio-dispatched taxis are generally clean and reliable. Travelers should be cautious in sharing information with taxi drivers or other strangers. In addition, travelers should not accept rides in unlicensed taxis as they may be used by thieves to rob passengers. Buses designated for tourist travel, both between and within cities, generally meet international standards for both cleanliness and safety. Public buses used by Cubans, known as "guaguas," are crowded and unreliable and are havens for pickpockets. These public buses usually will not offer rides to foreign visitors.

Although popular with tourists, the three-wheeled, yellow-hooded “Co-Co” taxis are highly unsafe and should be avoided. “Co-Co” taxis are modified motorcycles that reach speeds of up to 40 mph, but have no seat belts or other safety features.

Drivers should exercise extreme care. Although the main arteries of Havana are generally well-maintained, secondary streets often are not. Many roads and city streets are unlit, making night driving dangerous, especially as some cars and most bicycles lack running lights or reflectors. Street signage tends to be insufficient and confusing. Many Cuban cars are old, in poor condition and lack turn signals and other standard safety equipment.

The principal Cuban east-west highway is in good condition, but it lacks lights and extends only part of the way from Havana to the eastern tip of the island. Road signage on highways may be lacking or confusing. Night driving should be strictly avoided outside urban areas. Secondary rural roads are narrow, and some are in such bad condition as to be impassable by cars. Due to the rarity of cars on rural roads, pedestrians, bicycles, horse-drawn carts, and farm equipment operators wander onto the roads without any regard to possible automobile traffic. Unfenced livestock constitute another serious road hazard.

Rental car agencies provide roadside assistance to their clients as a condition of the rental contract. Cuban authorities may prohibit drivers of rental cars who are involved in accidents from leaving the country, even if they are injured and require medical evacuation, until all claims associated with an accident are settled.

Travelers should not permit unauthorized persons to drive the rental vehicle. Automobile renters are provided telephone numbers to call in Havana or in other places where they might be motoring; agencies generally respond as needed with tow trucks and/or mechanics. A similar service is available to foreign residents of Cuba who insure cars with the National Insurance Company.

All Countries
Afghanistan Akrotiri Albania Algeria American Samoa Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory British Virgin Islands Brunei Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burma Burundi Cabo Verde Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Clipperton Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Republic of the Cook Islands Coral Sea Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curacao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Dhekelia Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Eswatini Ethiopia Falkland Islands Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia Gabon Gambia, The Gaza Strip Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guam Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Holy See Honduras Hong Kong Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Jan Mayen Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, North Korea, South Kosovo Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Laos Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macau Macedonia Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Marshall Islands Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Micronesia Moldova Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Northern Mariana Islands Norway Oman Pakistan Palau Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Islands Poland Portugal Puerto Rico Qatar Reunion Romania Russia Rwanda Saint Helena, Ascension, and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Sudan, South Suriname Svalbard Sweden Switzerland Syria Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States (US) Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela Vietnam Virgin Islands Wake Island Wallis and Futuna West Bank Western Sahara World Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe