LOCATION AND MASS
Cuba is Located 90 miles south of Key West, Florida, It is the largest Caribbean island nation often referred to as the Pearl of the Caribbean. Neighboring countries include Dominican Republic, The Cayman Islands, Jamaica and Haiti. Over 780 miles long and Spanning 44,200 square miles makes it just a bit smaller than Pennsylvania.
Its geography is varied and includes rugged mountains, farmland, urban metropolises, quaint Colonial villages and some of the most beautiful white-sandy beaches in the Caribbean. Cuba is divided into 15 provinces and one special municipality called Isla de la Juventud.
ROOTS & CULTURE
Cuba is well known for Tobacco Farming and Colorful Cities with Afro-Cuban Influence. Notably cities such as Santiago de Cuba and Trinidad, which has been designated as a UNESCO world heritage site. The population is richly diverse, with an approximate 11.2 million residents living on the Island. Despite the Native roots the most profound effect on Cuban culture is the result of African, European and even the North American influences.
Vibrant Art, music, tropical climate and the colonial charm of the cities, which include 9 UNESCO World Heritage site makes this destination one of the most Unique from around the world. Cuba has some of the most colorful Spanish-colonial cities and cobblestoned streets in all of the Caribbean. Its rich history goes back hundreds of years and its brightly painted buildings and bustling barrios with mambo rhythms make this a unique experience not to miss.
Cuba is truly a rhythm nation. The blare of trumpets and the fiery salsa rhythms that can be heard rippling through its city streets spring to life with warmth and it never stops taking you by surprise.
Visiting Cuba is like traveling back in time. Classic cars, weathered buildings, and unique history create an unforgettable experience in this enchantingly beautiful country. Changes are happening in front of our eyes so do not waste any time to go and come visit with us.
The Economic model of Cuba is a Socialist one. Most resources in Cuba are state controlled and the grand majority of Cubans work for the government. In recent years with new legislation the private employment sector has emerged. Currently private ownership of cars and homes is legal again allowing owners to sell, rent and purchase property. Today up to 25 percent of the cuban citizens work in the private sector. The new Entrepreneurs or “Cuenta Propistas” as they are known have evolved and now own restaurants and other service oriented businesses that have sprung up all over Cuba. Cuban Industry is mostly comprised of Industrial and food products. Exports include Tobacco, Rum, Seafood and Sugar to name a few.
Cuba was discovered by Christopher Columbus in 1492. Subsequently the Island was invaded and colonized by the Spaniards. Most aboriginal groups such as the Ciboney, Taino and Guanahatabey that inhabited the Island were eliminated or died of diseases brought by the Spaniards. For many centuries the Island was neglected and was basically a stopping point for the Spanish fleet in transit to Spain from visiting the New world.
Eventually Cuba became the major sugar producer in the world. With the slave trade sugar supplanted tobacco and prosperity soon would replace poverty. While most of Latin America would soon break away from Spain Cuba remained loyal.
Soon the US would claim Cuba during the Spanish-American War of 1898, Independence from the US was gained by 1902. During the years of 1953-1959 Cuba was governed by US backed Fulgencio Batista. In 1959 Fidel Castro lead the Revolution and subsequently declared Cuba a Socialist State in 1961 and remained in power until in 2008 when he relinquished power to Raul Castro who is still in command today.
The United Nations Educational, Scientific & Cultural Organizations Institute for Statistics states that Cuba has a literacy rate of 99.8% and this is the second highest in the World.
Cuba’s Highly regarded Education System was Nationalized during the Cuban Revolution and it is backed by 47 Universities and 22 Medical Schools. As of 2008 over 14% of Cuba’s GDP is spent on the subsidized Education System.
As the most populous Island in the Caribbean Cuba has 11.2 Million residents. Consisting of a multi-ethnic population with 65% white, 24% mixed, 10% black and 1% Chinese. Cuba is ranked as the 77th most populous country in the World.
Semi-Subtropical Climate with average temperatures of 77 F. During the year there is minimal variations in the weather although from July through August it will be hot and humid. During the Wet Season (May-October) some two thirds of the rainfall will occur. The Dry season is from November-April)
The official language of Cuba is Spanish. Although Russian was taught for many years during the Russia-Cuba era. Most Cubans do not speak any of it and only in the Touristy areas they speak English.
Cuban-Spanish is a bit different than Spanish as it contains many words uniquely Cuban. Although you are not required to know Spanish for your tour if you are adventurous we do suggest you grab a book or two of fraces so you can get acquainted with the language which will make your experience in Cuba that much more gratifying or at least more fun.
Cuba possesses 6 UNESCO biosphere reserves which range from tropical humid & dry to deciduous forests to mangroves. As a world leader in sustainable ecological practices Cuba has begun to transition from imports to sustainable farming.
The Island has 3570 miles of coastline and it’s home to the world’s smallest bird, the zunzuncito hummingbird.