Cuba, briefly

Name: Republic of Cuba

Capital: City of Havana, with around 2 200 000 of inhabitants, located in the northwest coast of the island in front of the Strait of the Florida.

Official language: Spanish, it is spoken English quite widespreadly and in smaller measure French and Italian.

Geographical localization: Cuba is located in the entrance of the Gulf of Mexico, in the western par of Caribbean Sea (20 - 23 degrees north latitude and 74 - 85 degrees west longitude).

Closest lands are:

Total surface: 110 860 km² (42 830 mi²), in fact Cuba is an archipelago formed by the island of Cuba (104 945 km² - 40 520 mi²), Island of Pines (2 200 km² - 850 mi²) and around 4 195 keys and islands with 3 715 km² (1 435 mi²), of which the bigger are:

- Cayo Largo del Sur (36 km² - 14 mi²)
- Cayo Fragoso (101 km² - 39 mi²)
- Cayo Coco (369 km² - 143 mi²)
- Cayo Romano (759 km² - 293 mi²)
- Cayo Guayaba (100 km² - 39 mi²)

The island of Cuba has a longitude (east-west) of 1 250 km (780 miles) and a width average (north-south) between 32 and 210 km (20-131 miles) and it possesses 5 800 km of costs approximately (3 625 miles).

Population: The total population is approximately to 11 200 000 inhabitants, with 101 inhabitants per km² (261 inhabitant per mi²). The population's 75% resides in urban areas and only the 25% in rural areas.

The Cuban population is formed basically for descending of Spaniards and African and for the mixture of both racial groups, the presence of descending of Chinese and other European immigrants as French, Poles and other, are also appraisable.

Climate: The climate of Cuba is subtropical humid, with two clearly defined seasons, the dry one (winter) from November to April, and the rainy one (summer) from May to October. The annual average temperature is 25°C, average in winter is 20°C and that of summer is 26-27°C. During the winter season it is frequent the entrance of cold fronts with inferior minimum temperatures sometimes at 10°C. The minimum temperatures vary from 1°C to 8.5 °C in west part of the country and from 3°C to 12.5°C in the oriental part; the registered maximum temperatures are among 36°C- 38°C.

The rains have an annual average of 1 200 mm (48 inches) with around 30% of the precipitations in the winter period and the remaining 70% in the summer, and in general they are more abundant in the occident of the country that in the east.

Religion: The predominant religion is the Roman Catholic, Cubans are also practiced Protestant religions (Baptist, adventista of the seventh day, evangelists, etc) which have had certain growth in the last years, and they are also practiced religions and Afro-Cuban cults originated in the sincretismo of the Catholic religion and the African religions bring to Cuba for the black slaves in the time of the slavery.

National currency: There are two currencies used in Cuba: the Cuban Peso (CUP) and Cuban Convertible Peso (CUC), all purchases of goods and touristic services will have to be made in the Cuban Convertible Peso (1 CUC = 1.08 USD), also you could acquire some goods and services in Cuban Peso but it will be possible only on the street not at hotel, resort or other tourism facilities.

You can check exchange rates of CUC against others currencies at http://www.bc.gov.cu/English/exchange_rate.asp, the Cuban Central Bank web site.

US dollar no longer accepted in Cuba.

Beginning November 8, 2004, the US dollar will no longer be accepted to purchase goods or services in Cuba.

All purchases will have to be made in the Cuban Convertible Peso. It will be possible to exchange US currency, but a 10% fee will be charged to exchange US dollars in cash. It will also be possible to exchange Canadian currency, Sterling Pounds, Euros and Swiss Francs and traveller's cheques at major hotels and banks and at international airports for Cuban Convertible Pesos (CUC) without the 10% commission fee.

It will be possible to exchange Cuban Convertible Pesos (CUC) back to US dollars at the international airports before leaving the country or to Canadian dollars if available.

We recommend that you change your currency while in Cuba since it is not possible to exchange Cuban Convertible Pesos outside of Cuba.

Political-administrative division: Cuba is divided in 14 provinces and the special municipality of Island of the Youth (former Island of Pines).

Economy: The Cuban economy is based on the agricultural activity, the tourist activity, the mining and the industry; the main productions of the country are: raw sugar, tobacco in branch, tourist services, alcoholic drinks, tobaccos (cigars) and cigarettes, nickel, coffee, citric, perfumery and derived products of the fishing.

The gross internal product of the country is of approximately 16 600 million annual pesos with a stocking of 1 500 pesos for inhabitant. For their weight in the creation of the GDP the industry is the more important economic activity with 29%, social services activities with 23%, the trade and tourism with 22% and the agriculture with 8%.