President Obama moved to restore American relations with Cuba in 2014, a beautiful island nation that had been subject to travel restrictions for US tourists for decades. While there were workarounds, most of which involved flying to Cuba from Mexico or Canada, it was significantly more difficult than it is today!
Yet to many Americans, Cuba is still something of an unknown. Most people are unaware of its history, culture, or people. In this compilation of Cuba facts, we’ll debunk some of the most frequent myths about the country and show you what it’s really like.
If you want to visit Cuba, this compilation of Cuban information and our travel guide is essential. It will assist you in planning a better, more engaging journey to this lovely country, making it truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Are you eager to learn more about this amazing island nation? Then continue reading!
Interesting Facts about Cuba
Cuba Is Bigger Than You Think
When we think of Caribbean islands, we typically think of archipelagos such as the Lesser Antilles, which are home to small islands such as Barbados, Grenada, St. Kitts, and Nevis. Cuba is significantly larger than these islands: it is by far the largest island in the Caribbean and, in terms of land area, is roughly the size of Pennsylvania. It’s also a lengthy island. It might reach all the way from South Carolina to Arkansas!
There’s more to Cuba than just the main island. To the south and north of the major island, there are four smaller groups of islands. In fact, Cuba is made up of about 4000 islands and cays. Cuba is over ten times the size of Jamaica, with an area of 40,852 miles / 105,806 km (4320 miles)
Cuba Is Very Diverse
One of the most fascinating facts about Cuba is that it has a very diverse culture, made up of many different peoples who have settled on the island.
Prior to the Spanish invasion of Cuba in the early 1500s, a local people known as the Taino resided there, and while they are now few in number, some of these people still call Cuba home. The Spaniards brought their culture and religion to Cuba, which was later joined by other Europeans, Africans, Jews, and a variety of other ethnic and cultural groups.
Today, the Cuban national culture incorporates elements from all of these groups, resulting in a dynamic, active, and inviting culture.
Cuba Is Full of World Heritage Sites
While other countries may have one or two UNESCO World Heritage sites, Cuba has nine! Viales Valley, located in the west of the country, is home to tobacco farms that still use traditional farming practices to produce some of the best tobacco in the world.
The World Heritage site of Old Havana, which dates back to the 1500s, is located in Havana’s capital. The San Pedro de la Roca castle, which dates back to 1648 and previously safeguarded the coast from pirate incursions, is another must-see in Santiago de Cuba for history buffs.
Cigars Are a Way of Life
Cuban cigars are famous all around the world, and they’re not just created for export. Cigars are extremely popular in Cuba across all social strata, unlike in many other nations where they are considered the exclusive realm of the wealthy.
But what is it about Cuban cigars that makes them so popular? Cuban cigars are constructed from a wonderful blend of tobacco leaves that have been cured twice, resulting in smooth and rich smoke.
How they’re made also plays a significant role in their global popularity. In Cuba, being a cigar roller takes months of training, and they’re still hand-rolled, resulting in a very high-quality cigar that’s not too tight, not too loose, but just right.
Cuba’s National Pastime Might Surprise You
Consider things that are uniquely American: apple pie, the Statue of Liberty, baseball. Baseball, on the other hand, is not exclusive to the United States! It’s also a hugely popular sport in Cuba!
Baseball was first played in Cuba in the 1860s, and it now has a thriving league. Over the years, a slew of MLB players from Cuba has gone to play in the United States, notably Rodrigo Alvarez, who defected in 1963.
Soccer, volleyball, and boxing are among the prominent sports in Cuba. Despite its great popularity in other Latin American countries, soccer trails considerably behind baseball in Cuba.
Old Cars Abound on Cuba’s Roads
One of the most interesting facts about Cuba is that it is one of the few places on the planet where old American cars can be found in large numbers on the highways. These date back to before the communist revolution and the subsequent American embargo, which restricted car exports to the island.
As a result, Cubans were forced to make do with what they had, depending on resourcefulness to repair these ancient cars and keep them running in the face of breakdowns and severe conditions.
As a result, looking at Cuba’s roadways, you could be forgiven for believing you’d stepped back in time. These incredible photographs feature vintage Fords, Chevrolets, and more. While there are many contemporary cars on the road these days, these vintage Yanqui tanks remain extremely popular.
You’ll Find the World’s Smallest Bird on Cuba’s Shores
If you enjoy birds, you’re in for a treat. The bee hummingbird, the world’s tiniest bird, lives in Cuba. This lovely creature weighs less than a tenth of an ounce and measures only two and a half inches long.
If you want to go birdwatching, there are lots of other species to be enthused about. The Cuban Amazon parrot and the Cuban parakeet are native parrot species, as are pygmy owls and the colorful Today!
Even if you’re not a birdwatcher, you owe it to yourself to see the flamingo flocks that call Cuba home! This is the best site in the Western Hemisphere to see flamingos.
Cuba Used to Have Two Currencies
Until recently, Cuba was one of the rare places where you could use two separate currencies. The Cuban Peso was the regular national money, whereas the Cuban Convertible Peso was the currency used by tourists. The Convertible Peso was taken out early this year, making purchasing souvenirs much easier!
It was indeed unlawful for tourists to use the Cuban Peso back then. However, this rule was also phased out, which meant that tourists may use any money for a time. They were also worth varying amounts, with the Convertible Peso being worth approximately 25 Cuban Pesos.
US dollars are also widely accepted in many stores, so you may wish to keep a few dollars on hand while on vacation.
Cuba Has an Impressive Literacy Rate and Life Expectancy
Despite being a relatively impoverished country by global standards, Cuba boasts an exceptional welfare state that, at least according to statistics, does an excellent job of caring for its residents. Cuba now has a literacy rate of 99.7 percent, which is significantly more than it was 65 years ago.
Cuban healthcare is likewise well respected worldwide, with an average life expectancy that is virtually similar to that of the United States.
Cuba Is the Home of Many Popular Cocktails
Cuba’s rum-rich culture has resulted in the development of numerous worldwide popular drinks that you may not have realised are Cuban! The modest rum and coke, often known as the Cuba Libre, for example, arose during the Spanish-American War, when Coca-Cola was first transported to Cuba.
The Mojito is also a Cuban recipe, so remember where it comes from the next time you enjoy the minty, refreshing taste of one! Another of the world’s most popular cocktails, the Daquiri, is said to have been invented in Cuba by an American engineer named Jennings Cox.
Wifi Is Hard to Come By
While Cuba is available to US travellers, it still has a fairly autocratic regime, which means that internet access is heavily monitored. You’ll need to go to some specified hotspots to get online, and you’ll have to pay for it as well.
Access to some websites is still prohibited, so if you want unrestricted internet access, you should sign up for a VPN before travelling to Cuba.
We hope you like these Cuba Facts. These Cuba facts should help throw some light on this frequently misunderstood country. It certainly is a fantastic place, and getting there is easier than ever. If you’re planning a trip to Cuba, read our travel guide to find out more.
You should also use our travel advice to make the most of your vacation!