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Most Interesting Facts about Cuba

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facts about cuba

There’s something about Cuba that makes your mind think of music, of vibrance, culture and natural beauty. Let’s learn a little more.

Interesting Facts:

1. Cuba is the largest of all islands in the Caribbean. In fact, it is home to 4000 islands!

2. The locals often call their country “El Caima” or “El Crocodrilo” because it resembles a crocodile when looked down from the sky.

3. It was one of the last countries to abolish slavery, having done so as late as the year 1886.

4. Home to the Guanajatabey, Taino and Ciboney tribes; it was only in 1492 when Columbus reached here that it was declared to be a Spanish territory. In 1898 it became a part of the United States but acquired independence in 1902.

5. The Cuban missile crisis is thus an important page from history which saw the animosity between Cuba and its former sovereign, the USA. With Fidel Castro’s entry, the communist influence spread and today Cuba is one of 4 self-declared communist states in the world.

6. Cuba is of course famous for its hand-crafted cigars and so the fact that it is a major producer and exporter of tobacco comes as no surprise. Second to its biggest export crop, sugarcane.

7. In fact, since we mentioned Castro before you should know that he too enjoyed the Cuban cigars. As multiple attempts were made to take down the communist leader, one even involved the CIA sending across a box of poisoned cigars. Phew!

8. More interestingly, Cuba is actually the only country in the world with a double currency system. Yes, even I thought “What?” when I read about that. Turns out Cubans had introduced a Cuban Convertible Pesos (CUC) in order to be used by tourists and to create a parallel economy while the locals would continue usage of the Cuban National Pesos. However, presently the two are actually used interchangeably which really brings the purpose of a double currency system into question.

9. While you may have heard about Cuban music, you’d be happy to know that one of the music styles from the country which involves upbeat rhythms and classical guitar is called Son. For live music enthusiasts this is a dream land because Havana has bands performing every single night. Music to Cubans is as much a part of their culture as anything else.

10. Further, in Cuba’s appreciation of art forms, is their love for ballerinas. They aren’t just popular; they can even go on to make more money than doctors!

11. And with that bag of talent, Cuba also has of the most literate populations in the world with a literacy rate of 99.8%. But this really should be no surprise because for children between the ages of 6 – 15 years attending school is mandatory and what’s even better is that education is free for Cubans. Go Cuban public policy!

12. Ernst Hemingway spent 20 years in this beautiful country, writing two of his most popular works, For Whom The Bell Tolls and The Old Man And The Sea. Well, with landscape such as that, I’m sure the creative juices come flowing!

13. Cuba prides itself for the possession of vintage American cars from the 40s and 50s which they call “almendrones” (meaning big almonds). These can be seen driven around by locals. However, the country has a law preventing their export outside the island country. There was also an import ban on cars until 2011.

almendrones
Source: https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/motoring/is-this-the-end-of-the-road-for-cubas-classic-cars-a7570636.html

14. Look at this adorable, adorable little birdie! At a total measurement of 5cms from beak to tail, this cutie right here, the Cuban hummingbird or “Zunzun” is the world’s smallest bird.

Zunzun
Source: https://in.pinterest.com/

15. Okay, call me a hypocrite, but I don’t find frogs cute. I mean, does anyone? But then you and I haven’t seen the world’s tiniest frog just yet, have we? This little guy is also found in Cuba and is just 10cms in size!

frogs in cuba
Source: https://globalknowable.com/legal-travel-to-cuba/smallest-frog-in-the-world-legal-travel-to-cuba/

16. In the Soviet era, Cuba owed Czech Republic a debt of US $270 million. They offered to pay this off in the form of equivalent amount of rum!

17. Until 2008, Cubans were not allowed to own cell phones or computers. Even today the government owns complete control over both television and radio broadcasts.

18. Government vehicles are legally required to pick up any hitchhikers that they may come across.

19. It is compulsory for all citizens to serve in the military between the ages of 17-28 years for at least a 2 years long tenure. This is uniformly applied to both men and women.

20. The country is known to have one of the best healthcare systems in the world. Guess what? It’s free. Well, obviously not for me but for the citizens, yay Cuba!

Author’s Recommendations:

1. I for one cannot get enough of the old-world charm retained by places that still maintain their heritage. With Baroque buildings, jazz, palazzos and cabaret, Old Havana will make you feel you entered a movie reel from some decades ago.

Havana
Source: https://www.freetour.com/havana/discover-old-havana-with-professor-julio

 2. Meanwhile, if you’re tempted to get a taste of nature you can go hiking in Sierra Maestra.

3. If the culture of Cuba, its arts and celebration of life piques your interest then make way to the town of Bayamo for Fiesta De La Cubania, a weekly affair and a chance to witness the extravaganza.

4. If you scream for green, then the laidback charm and more importantly panoramic views of Valle De Los Ingenios will please your traveller soul.

5. If you’re a water baby then I’m guessing you’re waiting to hear about the islands. You heard Cuba, you heard 4000 islands, so, of course there’ll be some that will pop up in this list. Cayo Coco is the destination you are looking for. Yes, it is very touristy but with its white sands, palm groves, deliciously blue waters and pink flamingos, the place is all but worth it.

Cayo Coco
Source: https://www.flightnetwork.com/blog/cayo-coco-beach/

6. Of course, the above doesn’t mean you shouldn’t head to some quieter less crowded beaches. Presenting two relatively off the beaten path beaches, Varadero and Playa Jibacoa for the break away from city life that you crave and for jumping into the bluest waters you dream of.

7. A visit to Trinidad is in order for the ones who relish UNESCO heritage sites and colonial towns. Trinidad is a colonial past painted mini Spain.

8. A cenote is a natural sinkhole or a pit and Cuba is one of the very few places across the entire globe where you can actually swim in one!

How to reach:

Air India had a few direct flights from Hyderabad to Havana, so, you could reach within a few hours! However, due to its limited availability you can also from Delhi, Mumbai or Chennai, in which case you may have 1-2 layovers in either Frankfurt, Munich or at times, London.

For Visa:

For the visa requirements, kindly refer to the following page on our website:

https://onhisowntrip.com/visa-cuba/

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