Visit Cuba

Cuba

Cuba, officially the Republic of Cuba, is a country comprising the island of Cuba as well as Isla de la Juventud and several minor archipelagos. Cuba is located in the northern Caribbean where the Caribbean Sea, Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean meet. It is east of the Yucatán Peninsula (Mexico), south of both the U.S. state of Florida and the Bahamas, west of Haiti and north of both Jamaica and the Cayman Islands. Havana is the largest city and capital; other major cities include Santiago de Cuba and Camagüey. The area of the Republic of Cuba is 110,860 square kilometers (42,800 sq mi) (109,884 square kilometers (42,426 sq mi) without the territorial waters). The island of Cuba is the largest island in Cuba and in the Caribbean, with an area of 105,006 square kilometers (40,543 sq mi), and the second-most populous after Hispaniola, with over 11 million inhabitants.

Good to know

Languages
Spanish
Currencies
Peso, CUP
Population
11.193.470 million
Time Zone
UTC−5 to −4
Visitors / year
4,2 million
Capital
La Habana

More about Cuba

The territory that is now Cuba was inhabited by the Ciboney Taíno people from the 4th millennium BC until Spanish colonization in the 15th century. From the 15th century, it was a colony of Spain until the Spanish–American War of 1898, when Cuba was occupied by the United States and gained nominal independence as a de facto United States protectorate in 1902. As a fragile republic, in 1940 Cuba attempted to strengthen its democratic system, but mounting political radicalization and social strife culminated in a coup and subsequent dictatorship under Fulgencio Batista in 1952. Open corruption and oppression under Batista's rule led to his ousting in January 1959 by the 26th of July Movement, which afterwards established communist rule under the leadership of Fidel Castro. Since 1965, the state has been governed by the Communist Party of Cuba. The country was a point of contention during the Cold War between the Soviet Union and the United States, and a nuclear war nearly broke out during the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962. Cuba is one of a few extant Marxist–Leninist socialist states, where the role of the vanguard Communist Party is enshrined in the Constitution. Independent observers have accused the Cuban government of numerous human rights abuses, including short-term arbitrary imprisonment.

Massive Soviet military assistance enabled Cuba to project power abroad. During the Cold War, Cuba was involved in a broad range of military and humanitarian activities in Guinea-Bissau, Syria, Angola, Algeria, South Yemen, North Vietnam, Laos, Zaire, Iraq, Libya, Zanzibar, Ghana, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Somalia, Ethiopia, Congo-Brazzaville, Sierra Leone, Cape Verde, Nigeria, Benin, Cameroon, Zimbabwe and Mozambique. Cuba sent more than 400,000 of its citizens to fight in Angola (1975–91) and defeated South Africa's armed forces in conventional warfare involving tanks, planes, and artillery.Cuban intervention in Angola contributed to the downfall of the apartheid regime in South Africa. The presence of a substantial number of blacks and mulattos in the Cuban forces (40–50 percent in Angola) helped give teeth to Castro's campaign against racism and related prejudice like xenophobia.

Culturally, Cuba is considered part of Latin America. It is a multiethnic country whose people, culture and customs derive from diverse origins, including the aboriginal Taíno and Ciboney peoples, the long period of Spanish colonialism, the introduction of African slaves and a close relationship with the Soviet Union in the Cold War. The majority of the population of Cuba is 51% mulatto (of mixed European and African lineage), 37% white, 11% black and 1% Chinese.From 1962 until 1992, Cuba was officially an atheist Republic, openly and categorically hostile to religion.

Cuba is a sovereign state and a founding member of the United Nations, the G77, the Non-Aligned Movement, the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States, ALBA and Organization of American States. It has currently one of the world's only planned economies, and its economy is dominated by the tourism industry and the exports of skilled labor, sugar, tobacco, and coffee. According to the Human Development Index, Cuba has high human development and is ranked the eighth highest in North America, though 72nd in the world in 2019. It also ranks highly in some metrics of national performance, including health care and education. It is the only country in the world to meet the conditions of sustainable development put forth by the WWF.

VISA Requirements

The Tourist Card for Cuba is a travel authorization for foreigner with a passport of any of the selected countries. It was introduced by the Government of Cuba to reduce unnecessary time at the immigration offices and make it easier to cross the border.

The validity is 3 months since it is issued and it allows you to enter the country a single time for up to 30 consecutive days.

Start Visa Application

Requirements for the Tourist Card

Before applying, prepare the following information:

  • A passport valid for at least 6 months from the date of your arrival
  • An email address
  • A valid debit or credit card

Be aware that holding a Tourist Card does not guarantee you entry to the country. The immigration officers will review your request and they reserve the right to deny entering Cuba without any reason.

How to apply for the Tourist Card

Now that you have all the documents ready, you just need to follow these easy steps:

  • Complete the form with your details as they appear in your official documents
  • Introduce the details of your valid credit or debit card

Old Havana (Habana Vieja)

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Old Havana (Spanish: La Habana Vieja) is the city-center (downtown) and one of the 15 municipalities (or boroughs) forming Havana, Cuba. It has the second highest population density in the city and contains the core of the original city of Havana. The positions of the original Havana city walls are the modern boundaries of Old Havana.

Havana was founded by the Spanish in 1519 in the natural harbor of the Bay of Havana. It became a stopping point for the treasure laden Spanish galleons on the crossing between the New World and the Old World. In the 17th century, it was one of the main shipbuilding centers. The city was built in baroque and neoclassical styles. Many buildings have fallen into ruin in the latter half of the 20th century, but a number are being restored. The narrow streets of Old Havana contain many buildings, accounting for perhaps as many as one-third of the approximately 3,000 buildings found in Old Havana. It is the ancient city formed from the port, the official center and the Plaza de Armas.

Varadero

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Varadero (Spanish pronunciation: [baɾaˈðeɾo]), also referred to as Playa Azul (Blue Beach), is a resort town in the province of Matanzas, Cuba, and one of the largest resort areas in the Caribbean. Matanzas is named after the massacre (matanza) of Spaniards by Indians in 1510. Varadero Beach was rated one of the world's best beaches in TripAdvisor's Traveler's Choice Awards of 2019, ranking at number two. Common activities include fishing and excursions to Matanzas, Cárdenas, and the Península de Zapata.

Varadero is a two-hour drive east of central Havana. It is situated on the Hicacos Peninsula, between the Bay of Cárdenas and the Straits of Florida, some 140 km east of Havana, at the eastern end of the Via Blanca highway. The peninsula is only 1.2 km wide at its widest point and is separated from the island of Cuba by the Kawama Channel, separated from the mainland by the Laguna Paso Malo. This spit of land extends more than 20 kilometers from the mainland in a northeasterly direction and its tip, Punta Hicacos, is the northernmost point of the island of Cuba. Varadero's town has three longitudinal avenues, intersected by 69 cross streets. At the northeastern end of the peninsula there is a nature reserve with virgin forests and beaches. The Hicacos Point Natural Park is a 3.12 km2 (1.20 sq mi) ecological preserve established in 1974. It contains the 250 m (820 ft)-long Cave of Ambrosio, Mangón Lake (home to 31 species of birds and 24 species of reptiles) and the ruins of the La Calavera (The Skull) Salt Works (one of the first salt works to be constructed by the Spanish in the New World). The cays developed off shore, such as Cayo Piedras and Cayo Cruz del Padre are the westernmost part of the Sabana-Camaguey Archipelago.

Juan Gualberto Gómez Airport, located 16 kilometers west of Varadero and situated west of the peninsula, is Varadero's airport. It is the second-most important airport of the island after José Martí Airport in Havana, and serves international and domestic flights. It was finished in the 1990s and replaced the old Varadero airport.

Trinidad

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Trinidad was founded on December 23, 1514 by Diego Velázquez de Cuéllar under the name Villa de la Santísima Trinidad.

Hernán Cortés recruited men for his expedition from Juan de Grijalva's home in Trinidads, and Sancti Spíritus, at the start of his 1518 expedition. This included Pedro de Alvarado and his five brothers. After ten days, Cortes sailed, the alcayde Francisco Verdugo failing to prevent Cortes from leaving, despite orders from Diego Velázquez.

The Narvaez Expedition landed at Trinidad in 1527 en route to Florida. Caught in a hurricane, the expedition lost two ships, twenty horses and sixty men to the violent storm.

Francisco Iznaga, a Basque landowner in the southern portion of Cuba during the first 30 years of the colonization of Cuba, was elected Mayor of Bayamo in 1540. Iznaga was the originator of a powerful lineage which finally settled in Trinidad where the Torre Iznaga (Iznaga Tower) is. His descendants fought for the independence of Cuba and for annexation to the U.S., from 1820 to 1900.

Trinidad is one of the best-preserved cities in the Caribbean from the time when the sugar trade was the main industry in the region.

Guardalavaca

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Guardalavaca is a town in the Holguín Province of Cuba. It is a tourist location due to its white sandy beaches and warm waters. Guardalavaca beach is protected by a large coral reef and is visited by both local Cubans and tourists. Most Cuban workers in the all-inclusive hotels are transported daily in buses from neighbouring cities like Holguin, Banes, and Rafael Freyre, as only a few Cubans live in Guardalavaca due to the small size of the resort. Between Guardalavaca and Playa Esmeralda are dry tropical forest where endemic Cuban birdlife like hummingbirds Cuban emerald can be seen. Endemic Cuban Anole knight anole lizards are numerous in these forest.

A daily flea market is popular for handmade Cuban souvenirs and tourists from beaches further away from Guardalavaca centre like Playa Esmeralda and Playa Pesquero come here on excursion. A main tourist attraction is the Taino museum and museum village between Guardalavaca and Banes, and the wildlife trail at Bahia de Naranjo. Bahia de Naranjo also offers swimming with dolphins and a small zoo. Frank Pais Airport is situated approximately 1 hour drive south of the resort and is a reason this area was developed for beach-tourism. Ecotourism and Wildlife tourism trips to Baracoa Tropical Rainforest use the large mass-tourism all-inclusive resorts of the Guardalavaca area due to their convenient location near Frank Pais Airport.

Parque Nacional Viñales

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Viñales Valley (Spanish: Valle de Viñales) is a karstic depression in Cuba. The valley has an area of 132 km2 (51 sq mi) and is located in the Sierra de los Órganos mountains (part of Guaniguanico range), just north of Viñales in the Pinar del Río Province.

Tobacco and other crops are cultivated on the bottom of the valley, mostly by traditional agriculture techniques. Many caves dot the surrounding hillfaces (Cueva del Indio, Cueva de José Miguel).

The conspicuous limestone cliffs rising like islands from the bottom of the valley are called mogotes. They can be up to 300m tall.

Viñales is a major tourist destination offering mainly hiking and rock climbing. The local climbing scene has started to take off in the last few years with many new routes being discovered resulting in an increase in local tourism.