Near the end of 2014, reports swirled that the long-time embargo and other restrictions placed on this massive island nation by the U.S. were finally being lifted. If that comes to pass, Cuba should start enjoying a massive influx of American visitors in the years to come. Despite the strained relations between the two nations, however, Cuba has long been a popular vacation spot.
Cuba holds the distinction of being the largest island in the Caribbean. It’s situated between the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, and it’s about 90 miles south of Key West, Florida. As far as its location in the Caribbean, it is east of Mexico, northwest of Jamaica, west of Haiti and between the Cayman Islands and the Bahamas. The capital is Havana, the official currency is the Cuban peso and the official language is Spanish.
In addition to Havana, major cities in Cuba include Baracoa, which is known for its amazing beaches; Trinidad, which is famous for its colonial architecture; Varadero, another beach resort area; Pinar del Rio, home to the country’s most prominent cigar manufacturing facilities; and Santiago de Cuba, a lovely town on the Caribbean coast.
Most people who come to Cuba arrive at Jose Marti International Airport in Havana. If you’re planning a trip here, the best time to visit is between December and April. Summertime tends to be oppressively hot and humid, and it is also when major storms and hurricanes tend to roll through.
While visiting Cuba, be sure to hit some of the most popular attractions. The Havana Malecon, or boardwalk, is a great place to stroll, sightsee and people-watch. Havana Viejo lets you catch a glimpse of Cuba as it was many years ago. Of course, the country is studded with incredible beaches, so there are plenty of opportunities for outdoor fun. In terms of cuisine, the government owns and operates all restaurants, so the food is disappointingly bland. However, be sure to sip on a mojito or Cuba Libre, which is essentially rum and Coke, and don’t leave before purchasing cigars, coffee and rum.
- Capital city - Havana
- Language - Spanish