Cuba is the largest island and one of the most beautiful islands in the West Indies. Cuba is the only Communist state in the Americas and lies about 90 miles south of Key West, Florida. Towering mountains and rolling hills cover about a third of the island. The rest of Cuba consists mainly of gentle slopes and broad grasslands. Cuba has a magnificent coastline marked with deep bays and sandy beaches.

The many landscapes of Cuba lend themselves well to the adventurous. The fabulous coral reefs, among the largest in the world, are a magnet for snorkellers and divers. At the south end of the island, hikers flock to the spectacular Sierra Maestra, Cuba's highest mountain range.

Know before you go

CAPITAL: Havana

LANGUAGE: Spanish

COUNTRY CODE: CU

ELECTRICITY: 110/220V, 60Hz
To power any electrical item an international adapter or a two pin plug is required

POPULATION: 11.326 million

CURRENCY: Cuban Peso

DIALLING CODE: +53

TIME ZONE: GMT/UTC -5

Cuba Climate

Cuba lies within the northern tropics and has a semitropical climate. Cool ocean breezes during the summer and warm breezes in the winter give the island a mild climate throughout the year.

Average daily temperatures across the island range from about 70°F (21°C) in winter to about 80°F (27°C) in summer. The interior has a greater temperature range than the coastal regions.

Hurricanes frequently strike the island. Hurricane season lasts from June to November. Earthquakes also occasionally hit and they occur most frequently and most severely along the south-eastern coast.

Travel Warning

Most visits to the country are trouble-free. Beware of pickpockets and bag-snatchers, especially in Old Havana, on public transport, at major tourist sites and in nightclubs. Items such as phones and laptops are highly sought after in Cuba and are particularly attractive to thieves.

There are a small number of bogus tour agents and taxi drivers operating at the airports and around Old Havana. Don’t travel with anyone other than your tour operator. If you need to take a taxi, make sure it’s a registered one and not a private vehicle.

Car-related crime and muggings occur from time to time, not only in Havana but also in Santiago de Cuba and other areas. Take care in central Havana at night. Use a taxi rather than walk, even if you’re only a few blocks away from your destination. Don’t stop for hitch-hikers as they’ve also been known to carry out attacks.

Although there’s no recent history of terrorism, attacks can’t be ruled out.

Information provided by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in the UK www.fco.gov.uk

Cuba in depth

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