Trinidad with Sierra Escambray beyond

Cuba Travel Guide

Practical information

11:45:37
Language(s)
Spanish
Currency
Cuban Pesos
Time zone
GMT -5

Time Zone

The time zone in Cuba is GMT-5

Languages

Spanish

The official language of Cuba is Spanish.

Useful Phrases

  • Hola – Hello
  • Buenos días – Good morning
  • Buenas tardes – Good afternoon
  • Buenas noches – Good evening
  • Adiós – Goodbye
  • Hasta luego – See you later
  • Hasta mañana – See you tomorrow
  • Buenas noches – Good night
  • Qué tal? – How are you?
  • Estoy estupendo – I am great
  • Estoy mal – I feel unwell
  • Estoy un poco cansado – I am a little tired
  • Estoy exhausto – I am exhausted
  • Estoy enfermo – I am sick
  • Cuál es su nombre? – What is your name?
  • Mi nombre es… – My name is…

Currency

Cuban Pesos

Cuba has two main currencies, Cuban Pesos (CUP) and Cuban Convertible Pesos (CUC).

As a tourist you will mainly be using CUC, pronounced "Kook".  This is the currency that you can use to pay hotel and restaurant bills or buy souvenirs such as cigars and rum.  CUP also know as "Local Pesos" are accepted by street vendors, low budget restaurants, local markets etc.  1CUC is worth 25 CUP.

Cuba is a closed currency so you can only exchange money within the country. Banks and larger hotels will commonly provide an exchange service. Try to avoid exchanging US Dollars if possible as you will be charged a 10% penalty which does not apply to other currencies. 
USD
CUC

Electricity

110/220V 60Hz

Most of Cuba has a 110V electricity supply although the newer hotels will use 220V. You will need a Type C plug adapter, this is the one with two rounded pins commonly used in Europe. 

Weather

Cuba has a wet season from May to October and 75% of the islands annual rainfall will occur in this period. When it rains in Cuba, it really rains, except torrential downpours with strong winds and localised flooding. Contained within the wet season is the hurricane season in August and September, this should not be underestimated, the hurricanes that hit the island can be extremely destructive and dangerous.  During the wet season the temperature remains high and the humidity can be stifling for the unaccustomed. 

The dry season from November to April will still experience heavy rains but significantly less. Around 7 rainy days a month on average.  This is the most popular time to visit Cuba when the humidity and temperature dip down and conditions are more pleasant.  You can expect plenty of sunny days and average temperatures in the mid 20s (centigrade).
The Sierra Maestra

Geography

Cuba is part of the West Indies, a chain of islands stretching from the north coast of south America to Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula, a region also commonly referred to as the Caribbean, although this is a much wider area. Cuba is the largest of the Caribbean islands, stretching for 750 miles from east to west. Cuba has a population of 11.3 million people and around 2.1 million live in the nation's capital city, Havana. 

Mainly flat lowland plains, Cuba's mountains cover about one third of the island. The highest peak is just under 2000m above sea level and can be found in the Sierra Maestra range on the southern coast near Santiago de Cuba. The Sierra Maestra are steep mountains and an ascent of Pico Turquino is a challenging two day climb. In the middle of the island, north of Trinidad you can find the Sierra Escambray mountains and in the far west, in Pinar del Río Province, the Guaniguanico Mountain Range. 

Cuba is home to 20 endemic species most of which can be found on the Zapata Peninsula, the largest wetland environment in the Caribbean.  The Cuban Crocodile, Cuban ground Iguana and Cuban Tree Boa are all endangered species that can be found in Zapata and other wetland environments around the island. Endemic birds include the Cuban Parakeet and Cuban Kite which is now critically endangered due to loss of habitat.