Are you ready to uncover the captivating world of Cuban culture and history?
We’ve got a treat for you!
Cuba, often seen as a timeless island due to the nearly five-decade-long blockade and embargo imposed by the United States, holds a treasure trove of surprises. Even if you think you know Cuba, we bet there are some fascinating facts you’ve yet to discover. So, let’s dive into 25 captivating insights about this enigmatic country.
- Republic of Cuba: Officially, it’s known as the Republic of Cuba, a name that echoes through the vibrant streets and colorful history.
- Sun and Sand: With over 200 bays and 250 stunning beaches, Cuba is your paradise for endless sun and sand adventures.
- El Cocodrilo: Locals endearingly call their island ‘el Cocodrilo’ – the crocodile – a name that makes sense when you see Cuba’s shape from above.
- Feast Together: Forget courses; traditional Cuban food is served all at once. It’s a delicious communal experience.
- Dominoes Galore: Dominoes isn’t just a game; it’s the national game of Cuba, a testament to the Cuban love for social gatherings.
- UNESCO Heritage: Cuba’s rich cultural heritage shines on the global stage, with nine UNESCO World Heritage Sites, a blend of cultural and natural wonders.
- Mandatory Education: Education is a right, and in Cuba, it’s mandatory for children aged 6 to 16. Knowledge is the key to a brighter future.
- Literacy Champion: Cuba boasts one of the world’s highest literacy rates – an impressive 99 out of 100 Cubans can read and write.
- Healthcare Pinnacle: Cuban healthcare is renowned globally, offering some of the best services. The Latin America Medical School in Havana is the world’s largest.
- Dual Currency: Cuba operates with two currencies – CUC (for tourists) and CUP (for locals), each with its unique charm.
- Cuban Cuisine: Influenced by Spanish, Aboriginal, African, and Caribbean cuisines, Cuban dishes like ‘moros y cristianos’ and ‘ropa vieja’ are must-tries.
Travelers’ Note: Americans still need government permission to visit Cuba, but it’s a journey worth taking.
Unique Species: Cuba is home to unique species like the bee hummingbird and the Cuban gar, found nowhere else on Earth.
Coca-Cola Ban: In Cuba, Coca-Cola is as rare as a unicorn, making it one of two countries, the other being North Korea, where it’s forbidden.
Digital Transition: It wasn’t until 2008 that Cubans could buy their own computers. Change takes time.
- Earnings and Internet: The average Cuban monthly salary is around $29.60, equating to an hourly wage of approximately 18.5 cents. Internet access remains restricted for most, with only select professionals enjoying this privilege.
- Traveling in Style: Many Cubans don’t own cars. Instead, they opt for horse-carriages, bicycle taxis, or buses for transportation.
- The Bodega System: About half of Cuban food comes from government-subsidized ‘bodegas,’ where Cubans use ration books to access affordable daily staples.
- Cuban Cigars: Almost all tobacco plantations sell 90% of their harvest leaves to the government at prearranged rates, while the remaining 10% can be sold at their discretion.
- Casas Particulares: Since 1997, Cubans have been allowed to rent rooms in their homes to tourists, known as ‘Casas Particulares.’ It’s the most common accommodation for travelers.
- Free Essentials: Education and medical care are provided for free by the government. Properties, goods, and services are taxed at zero.
- Subsidized Bills: Monthly utility bills, such as electricity, gas, and phone services, are mostly subsidized by the government, with a total monthly cost averaging around $2.
Cuba is a land of surprises, blending a rich history with a unique contemporary tapestry. We invite you to explore this captivating island and experience its warmth, culture, and resilience firsthand. There’s more to Cuba than meets the eye, and each discovery is a step closer to unraveling its incredible story.