Area of cuba in square miles: Cuba geography, maps, climate, environment and terrain from Cuba |
Cuba Geography & Regional Climate Zones
At 42,803 square miles (110,860 square km), Cuba is easily the largest island in the Caribbean. It’s about the same size as Virginia and is slightly larger than Guatemala. Cuba is set on the eastern edge of the Gulf of Mexico and is just south of the Tropic of Cancer. Incredibly, Cuba is only 93 miles (150 km) south of Key West, Florida.
Cuba’s main island is 778 miles (1,250 km) long. At its widest point, the island is 120 miles (193 km) across and at its narrowest point is just 19 miles (31 km) across. Technically, Cuba is an archipelago; there are around 4,000 smaller islands and cays surrounding the main island. The large Isla de la Juventud is set off the southern coast of Cuba. This island – 850 square miles (2,200 square km) – is part of the Canarreos Archipelago, a group of islands in western Cuba. East of the Canarreos Archipelago is the Garden of the Queens Archipelago (Archipiélago de los Jardines de la Reina), which is composed of beautiful coral cays and is one of the best scuba diving locations in all of Cuba. Along the northern coast of Cuba is the Gardens of the King (Jardines del Rey) islands, which are home to beautiful white-sand beaches and a concentration of all-inclusive resorts.
Cuba is one of the least mountainous islands in the Greater Antilles—around two-thirds of the island is plains, and the median elevation is about 300 feet (90 m) above sea level. Western Cuba is home to the Guaniguanico Mountain Range, which is made up of the Órganos Mountains and Rosario Mountains and cuts through the heart of the Pinar del Río Province. These mountains are beautiful, especially the limestone formations known as mogotes that are found around Viñales.
In eastern Cuba, the Maestra Mountains tower over the landscape and sea. This is the location of Cuba’s highest peak, Pico Turquino. Standing at 6,476 feet (1,974 m), Pico Turquino can be summited in two days and is a challenging hike. The surrounding mountains are filled with dense forests and are utterly beautiful. Central Cuba is home to the Escambray Mountains, which rise above Trinidad and host the Topes de Collantes Natural Park.
There are over 500 rivers in Cuba. The largest river is the Cauto River, which begins in the Sierra Maestra flows for some 230 miles (370 km). Most rivers in Cuba are shallow and unnavigable by boat.
Cuba is famous for its beaches, and for good reason—they are simply incredible. Get ready for powdery white sand and a turquoise-colored ocean. The northern coast is home to some of the best beaches, many of which are found on islands. Some of the best beaches are at Veradero, Cayo Coco, Cayo Levisa, Guardalavaca, and the Cayos de Villa Clara.
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Cuba: Physical Landscapes
Although we often speak of Cuba as one island, Cuba is actually an archipelago, or group of islands, whose total combined area is 42,803 square miles (110,860 square kilometers). Cuba is the largest island in this archipelago, making up 95 percent of the total land area of the island group. The second largest island, Isla de la Juventud (Island of Youth), is 864 square miles (2,230 square kilometers), which is about 2 percent of Cuba’s total land area. There are about 1,600 additional islands called islets (small rocky islands) and cays (low coral islands). Small archipelagos of cays make up most of the remaining 3 percent of Cuba’s territory.
The country’s total area is almost identical to that of Ohio. Cuba extends about 780 miles (1,250 km.) in a somewhat curved east-west direction. This is about the same distance as between New York City and Chicago. The narrow width varies from 25 to 120 miles (40 to 195 kilometers).
Cuba lays astride principal maritime approaches to the Atlantic Ocean, the Gulf of Mexico, and the Caribbean Sea. These approaches are the Straits of Florida to the north, the Windward Passage to the east, and the Yucatan Channel to the west. These narrow waterways (straits) have played key roles in the history of Cuba. For example, when Cuba was a Spanish colony, Spanish fleets carrying gold and other precious cargo were vulnerable to attack as they converged on the straits. As a result, in the late sixteenth century Spain built heavy fortifications around Cuba’s harbors, so that the fleets could seek protection as well as supplies. More recently, the narrowness of the Straits of Florida has encouraged an exodus of Cubans on rickety boats and rafts to the United States.
SUBMARINE PLATEAU AND ROCK TYPES
Geologically, most of Cuba is the exposed portion of an undersea plateau. A plateau is a mass of rock with an elevated tablelike surface. Limestone, or calcium carbonate, is the most common rock on the plateau. It is a sedimentary rock created from the cementing of shells of dead sea-dwelling organisms. Most of these organisms are tiny plankton, single-celled organisms that float near the surface of the ocean when they are alive. As they die, their remains (sediments) slowly settle to the bottom of the ocean where they harden into thick layers of limestone. In addition to limestone, Cuba has thin layers of other sedimentary rocks, including sandstone, shale, and mudstone. These rocks formed from hardened deposits of sand, silt, and clay sediments washed into the sea from continents.
Seafloor deposition created all of these sedimentary rocks between 15 million and 130 million years ago. The rocks rested as horizontal layers on the bottom of the sea. The sea was between the North American and Central American lithospheric plates. (Lithospheric plates are large sections of Earth’s rocky outer layer.) They have been converging for millions of years. Their collision forced rocks on the seafloor between them to rise gradually as a platform and to expose Cuba about 21 million years ago. Folding, faulting, volcanism, and earthquakes accompanied this uplift. Consequently, Cuba’s land surface does not have the flatness of an ancient seafloor. Geologists believe that plate convergence and uplift are still in progress, as occasionally the eastern end of the island experiences powerful earthquakes.
One of the extraordinary aspects of Cuba’s landforms is its karst topography. Karst is the Slavic name of limestone areas in Slovenia and Croatia. Geologists use this term to describe landforms of limestone areas’ peculiar surface features and where most or all water drainage occurs through underground channels. Cuba has some of the world’s most picturesque karst landscapes.
Karst topography forms wherever acid in surface streams or groundwater dissolves soft limestone. Sinkholes (hoyos) are saucer-shaped depressions where surface water collects, sinks, and disappears as groundwater. The acid water filters down from the sinkholes and dissolves the limestone beneath to create underground networks of streams. These streams dissolve more limestone to form cave systems.
Caverns are the largest caves. Sometimes roofs of caverns become fragile and collapse, leaving enclosed basins (poljes). When several caverns close to one another collapse, they create large, flat-bottomed depressions with only steep-sided, coneshaped hills (mogotes) left standing. Cotilla Caverns, about 15 miles (24 kilometers) southeast of Havana, are probably the most frequently visited caves in Cuba.
Caverns in Cuba are attractive to tourists because of their natural beauty. However, speleologists (people who study caves) have not adequately explored most of the island’s caves. Moreover, people have abused many of them. For example, Cuba’s military uses many of the largest caverns to store armaments, explosives, and chemical products. Additionally, agricultural and industrial enterprises discharge tons of wastewater into many caves and sinkholes. Ranchers even use some caves to dispose of dead cattie. These practices not only destroy the beauty of the caves, but they also threaten sensitive habitats of plants and animals and pollute the groundwater that travels through the caves.
Limestone forms a rolling lowland plain that covers about 60 percent of the island’s surface. The plain begins at the base of the Sierra Maestra (a mountain range on the east end of the island), narrows as it arcs north of the foothill town of Santa Clara, and ends at the base of the Sierra de los Organos (a mountain range on the west end of the island). The plain is not perfectly level. To the north, stepped limestone terraces descend quickly toward knife-edged sea cliffs. To the south, the plain slopes gently toward the soft contours of beaches and mangrove swamps.
Low hills of hard igneous and metamorphic rocks break up the plain in several places. Low, steep-sided hills of limestone also are present. The Zapata Peninsula, with its many lagoons, lakes, and swamps, is also a distinctive lowland feature.
About 25 percent of Cuba’s surface is mountainous. The island’s mountains were formed by the collision of tectonic plates. Compression causes two general types of mountains: folded and fault-block. Compression created folded mountains in Cuba when the horizontal layers of sedimentary rock on the bottom of the sea gave in to the pressure of converging plates: up-folds became ridges, down-folds valleys. Imagine hands moving together on a flat tablecloth; this movement creates compression and the tablecloth folds into “ridges” and “valleys.” Compression and folding of Earth’s surface occur in a similar manner.
Compression also caused huge blocks of rock on either side of faults (breaks in Earth’s crust along which movement occurs) to move up or down, creating fault-block mountains. Magma (molten rock formed deep inside Earth) moved into the faults and onto the surface and cooled to form various types of igneous (volcanic) rocks in the mountains.
There are three mountainous areas in Cuba. Eastern Cuba has the highest mountains, which include the Sierra Maestra and the Baracoa massif. (A massif is a very rugged elevated area composed of numerous mountain ranges.) The Sierra Maestra is a fault-block mountain range that rises steeply out of the sea. Many dark-colored volcanic rocks make up this range. The Sierra Maestra includes Cuba’s highest peak, Pico Turquino, which rises about 6,576 feet (2,005 meters) above sea level. This magnificent peak provides a view of the Caribbean Sea to the south and, on a clear night, lights glimmering across the Windward Passage in Haiti are visible.
At the very eastern end of the island is the Baracoa massif. The massif’s highest summits, which are in the impressive Sierra de Cristal mountain range, rise to about 4,000 feet (1,200 meters). Geologically, the Baracoa massif is a mixture of both folding and faulting. It is made mostly of igneous rock. A narrow valley separates Sierra Maestra and the Baracoa massif. This valley serves as a transportation corridor connecting agricultural towns in the broad Cuato River lowland with coastal ports situated on the eastern end of the island.
The second mountainous area is in central Cuba, south of the city of Santa Clara. Traveling south from Santa Clara, there are low, parallel limestone ridges in which many caves and other karst phenomena have developed. Still farther south, at the edge of Cuba’s south shore, is the Sierra del Escambray. This fault-block mountain range dominates the area. Its erosion-resistant summits rise to about 3,500 feet (1,100 meters).
The third mountainous area, Cordillera de Guaniguanico, which is in the western end of the island, includes two mountain ranges—Sierra del Rosario and Sierra de los Organos. The highest summit, which is in Sierra de los Organos, is Pico Grande at about 3,000 feet (900 meters) in elevation. However, most elevations in both mountain ranges are well below that height. Despite the lower elevations, the western mountains are very picturesque because of their highly developed karst features.
Throughout Cuba’s history, gold, manganese, nickel, chromium, and iron ore have been mined from its mountains. Because of their rugged terrain, these same mountains also have served as safe havens for the many peoples who arrived on Cuba’s shores seeking a new home. For example, before Europeans arrived, successive waves of Indians from other regions invaded Cuba. Each time a new group of invaders arrived on the island, some of the Indians who preceded the invaders managed to flee into the mountains. The same dispersal happened when the Spanish arrived. Additionally, when Fidel Castro began his successful revolt against the Cuban government, he used the Sierra Maestra as his main base of operations.
Cuba’s coastline has reefs, cays, and beaches. These three features come from remains of coral polyps (invertebrate animals). Coral polyps are tiny animals that live together in colonies in warm, shallow seawater. When they die, their lime skeletons stay behind to build reefs made of limestone. Coral reefs are hazardous to ships, because they lurk just beneath the ocean surface most of the time (some reefs are exposed at low tide). The remains of an immense number of coral polyps make up a single coral reef. Reefs fringe most of Cuba’s coastline, making it dangerous for unwary sailors.
Over time, coral reefs can grow so large that they become low islands or cays. People living in Florida call such islands “keys,” as in the Florida Keys. The Camaguey archipelago, which runs parallel to the main island’s north-central coastline, is Cuba’s largest cay. Other prominent archipelagos made of low coral islands include Sabana and Canarreos.
Sand grains from skeletons of dead coral polyps make up most of Cuba’s beaches. Ocean waves break up coral colonies growing on offshore reefs and wash grains of coral sand—and lesser amounts of broken clam and snail shells and sea urchin remains—onto the beaches. The sun bleaches the tiny pieces of coral and other organisms white, giving most of the island’s beaches a white powder texture. The only major exceptions to Cuba’s coral beaches are small black-sand beaches that hug the southern coastline of the Sierra Maestra. These beaches form from the weathering and erosion of igneous rocks that make up the mountain ranges.
Lagoons, sea cliffs, gulfs, and bays account for irregularities in Cuba’s coastline. A lagoon is a semi-enclosed, shallow body of water that lies between the mainland and offshore reefs and islands. The reefs and islands protect the lagoon from the ocean’s strong currents and large waves. Lagoons are unique ecosystems for several interrelated reasons. Lagoon waters are brackish or a mixture of freshwater from streams and salt water from the sea. Many plants and animals, such as coral and sea grass, flourish in quiet lagoon waters. The presence of these organisms feeds a complex food chain that supports different kinds of animals such as fish, crabs, sea urchins, snails, and clams. Some ocean fish use the semi-enclosed lagoon when they are very young for protection from predators in the open ocean.
Lagoons were important to the food supply of indigenous peoples and early Spanish settlers. They are also an important natural resource to Cubans. Unfortunately, due to over-exploitation, important sources of food—fish, turtles, and lobsters— are rare now in some lagoons. Additionally, the government does not have strict pollution laws. As a result, streams drain deadly chemicals from agricultural fields, industrial plants, and sewage into the lagoons.
Sea cliffs exist where the land rises steeply out of the ocean. Waves meet Cuba’s limestone shores head-on, where the force of their constant pounding makes indentations that eventually form steep rock pinnacles and sea caves. Sea cliffs make up most of the island’s rugged northern shore, usually dropping more than 100 feet (30 meters) to the sea. The southern coast-line has more lowland swamps and beaches than does the northern coastline. The only major exceptions are the southern edges of the Sierra del Escambray and the Sierra Maestra. These mountains have prominent sea cliffs and terraces because they rise out of the sea.
Gulfs are the largest coastal indentations. Gulfs do not make good harbors because their openings are too wide to protect ships from storms. Cuba has three main gulfs: Bataban, Ana Maria, and Guacanayabo. All three align along the island’s southern coast. Bays are smaller indentations than gulfs. Many of Cuba’s bays are pouch-shaped ports with very narrow openings that expand into spacious sheltered waters. They serve as safe harbors for ships because their bottleneck openings keep out the ocean’s storm waves. Many of Cuba’s quaint fishing villages, popularized by Ernest Hemingway’s book The Old Man and the Sea, are located around harbors. Most of the larger harbors are located on the northern coast, such as Mariel, Havana, Cardenas, Bahia Honda, Matanzas, and Neuvitas. Large harbors on the southern coast include Guantanamo, Santiago de Cuba, Cienfuegos, and Trinidad.
Climatologists (scientists who study climate) classify Cuba’s climate as tropical because it has year-round high temperatures. Nevertheless, the temperatures are mild considering the country’s closeness to the equator.
Cuba’s temperatures are mild because of the surrounding ocean’s influence. In summer, the ocean cools the island by absorbing and storing a lot of the energy it receives from the sun, rather than releasing it into the air. During Cuba’s warmest months, May through October, the average high temperature is 89°F (32°C)—moderately warm for tropical latitudes. In Cuba’s coolest months, November through April, the ocean warms the island by releasing solar heat it stored during the summer. As a result, the average low temperature is a pleasant 65°F (19°C).
However, in the winter, waves of cold air from North America, which Cubans called el nortes (the north winds), may lower individual thermometer readings around Havana to near 40°F (4°C). Occasionally, storms and heavy seas accompany the north winds along the island’s northwest coast.
Mean annual rainfall is 40-45 inches (102-114 centimeters). Cuba’s primary source of moisture is the trade winds. These winds pick up and bring moisture from the sea to the land. They blow across the island from the northeast and east. Cuba’s mountains block the winds and force them to rise, cool, and form clouds. As a result, mountain areas receive more rain than do areas downwind from them. “Rain shadow” is the name given to the drier downwind areas. For example, Guantanamo Bay receives an annual average 24 inches (61 centimeters) of rainfall, because it is in the rain shadow of the Baracoa massif, located north and east of the bay. The massif, facing the wind, receives more than 70 inches (179 centimeters).
The trade winds distribute rainfall unevenly through the year. Typically, 75 percent of the rain occurs during the warmer months (May through October), when the trade winds blow continually toward Cuba. During the “cool” season (November through March), they weaken and deliver less moisture to the island. The wet-summer trade winds are not always a dependable supplier of moisture. They weaken periodically and cause droughts that can last for several years. A ten-year drought, from 1995 through 2004, the longest in the island’s history, hit the island and caused dramatic declines in production of Cuba’s major agricultural products: sugar, tobacco, citrus, and coffee.
Tropical Storms and Hurricanes
Every two years, on average, tropical storms and hurricanes add to Cuba’s rainfall totals. A tropical storm is weaker than a hurricane. Wind speeds for tropical storms are between 35 and 73 miles per hour (56 and 118 kilometers per hour). When wind speeds are 74 miles per hour (118 kilometers per hour) or greater, the tropical storm becomes a hurricane. Only about 10 percent of tropical storms in the Atlantic and Caribbean region grow to become hurricanes.
Hurricane season runs from June through November, with the worst storms occurring in September and October. Most hurricanes originate south of Cuba in the Caribbean Sea or southeast of the island in the Atlantic Ocean. The island of Cuba sits in the paths of storms originating in both areas. Coastal cities, towns, and villages are most vulnerable. Because of its size and elongated east-west shape, Cuba is struck by hurricanes more often than any other island in the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico region. Hurricanes affect western Cuba more frequently than eastern Cuba. For example, hurricanes from 1870 to 2001 hit directly or brushed Havana in western Cuba 29 times and Manzanillo in eastern Cuba only 13 times.
Many hurricanes have caused serious damage and deaths in Cuba. The deadliest storm killed an estimated 3,000 people in western Cuba in June 1791. Another storm hit the island in October 1870, killing about 2,000 people. Despite their significance as Cuba’s two most deadly storms, they are unnamed, as hurricanes were not given names until 1950. In October 1963, Hurricane Flora, the island’s third most deadly storm, hit eastern Cuba with winds up to 120 miles per hour (190 kilometers per hour). This storm killed an estimated 1,000 people and destroyed the country’s entire sugar crop.
In recent years, early warnings based on satellite technology have prevented the high death tolls exacted by the storms mentioned previously. In 2008, three devastating hurricanes—Gustav, Ike, and Paloma—struck the island. Material destruction amounted to many billions of dollars in losses. The number of casualties, however, remained surprisingly low. Cuban authorities evacuated over a million residents from the storms’ paths. This is a major success considering the country’s physical geography.
PLANTS AND ANIMALS
Cuba has one of the world’s richest collections of flowering plants. Botanists estimate that more than 8,000 different species of plants and nearly 2,000 species of animals survive in the island’s forests, savannas (grasslands), and coastal waters. More than 3,000 plants and about 170 animals are endemic to the island, meaning they exist in Cuba and nowhere else. Endemic plants and wildlife came early to Cuba and lived there long enough to gradually change and become very different from their ancestors. Only two other islands have more endemic species of plants and animals than Cuba—New Guinea and Madagascar.
Forests cover 24 percent of the island, but they once covered 60 percent of its area. During the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, owners of large landholdings cut down most of the island’s tree cover to make room for crop cultivation and livestock grazing. The remaining forest tends to be in relatively remote areas. There are four major forest types in Cuba: semideciduous, mangrove, pine, and tropical rain forest.
Savannas are tropical grasslands. Rural Cubans use the name that the Arawak Indians gave to these areas, “sabana,” meaning “treeless land,” rather than “savanna” for these areas. Like Cuba’s forests, savannas were much more widespread before the arrival of Spaniards. Savannas accounted for about 26 percent of Cuba’s original vegetation cover, and savannas grasses now grow in many areas where poor agricultural practices have changed rich forest soils into hardpan soils. (Hardpan soils block roots of trees from penetrating into the ground.) Scattered in the savanna are various species of cacti and palms, including the royal palm. Cuba’s savanna grasses thrive in a climate with pronounced wet and dry seasons. The grasses also grow well in freshly burned areas. So for hundreds of years, people have used fire to burn areas where trees would ordinarily grow in order to feed grazing animals.
Palm trees are members of Cuba’s forests and savannas. They are intriguing plants. They can be either a tree or a shrub and usually have a single woody trunk and large, evergreen, featherlike or fan-shaped leaves growing in a bunch at the top. Cuba has 30 palm species. The palm trees that are associated with savanna soils include the medium-height cana palm and the tall barrigona palm. Cubans call the barrigona palm the big-belly palm because of its distinctive bulge about midway up its trunk.
The stately, fast-growing royal palm tree reaches about 130 feet (40 meters) and grows throughout the island’s limestone plain. It is easy to identify because of its slender, silver-gray trunk and crown of dark green fronds (leaves). The royal palm is the symbol of Cuba. It occupies the central position in Cuba’s national coat of arms and symbolizes strength. Peasant farmers use the bark of the royal palm to make the walls of their bohids, or dwellings, and they use the tree’s fronds as roof thatching.
Rural folk use fibers that encircle fruit pods of the majestic ceiba (silk-cotton tree) to stuff mattresses, life preservers, and sleeping bags. This huge tree is sacred to many tropical people. Although surrounding trees may be cut away, the mighty ceiba is almost always spared.
Xerophytes (from the Latin for “dry plants”) cover about one percent of Cuba’s landscape. These plants grow mainly in deserts. However, rain-shadow areas of mountains and dry savannas also have them. The coastal terraces in the rainshadow area of the Sierra Maestra and around Guantanamo Bay are the driest areas in Cuba. Various types of cacti and agaves are common there. The most notable cactus is the tree-sized Dendrocereus nudiflorus, the largest cactus in the world. Dry land soils in Las Villas Province and rain-shadow areas in eastern Cuba harbor this special cactus.
As with plants, a huge variety of species marks Cuba’s animal population. The island has 7,000 species of insects, 4,000 of mollusks, 500 of edible fish, and 300 of birds. Most of the wild land animals live in the least disturbed areas—in mangrove swamps of the Zapata Peninsula, in mountainous areas, and on offshore islands.
There are only a few native mammals in Cuba. The jutta, or cane rat, is an edible rodent that weighs as much as 10 pounds (4 kilograms). People have hunted it to near extinction. A small number of jutia hide out in forest preserves and mangrovecovered cays. The almiqui is also in danger of extinction. It is a cat-sized native mammal and resembles a mole. The few almiqui that remain survive in Cuba’s eastern mountains. Bats live in Cuba’s many limestone caves. People living near the caves collect the bats’ droppings (guano) from cave floors and use the droppings as fertilizer.
Reptiles are the most numerous representatives of land animals. The Cuban crocodile is a species of crocodile that only lives in Cuba’s freshwater swamps on the Zapata Peninsula and on the Isle de Juventud. The American crocodile outnumbers the Cuban crocodile in these areas. (The American crocodile also lives along the shorelines of all Central American and Caribbean islands and in Florida.) Other reptiles include iguanas, salamanders, 15 poisonous snakes, and a 13-foot (4-meter) long nonpoisonous snake called the rnajd de Santa Maria. The maja (which means nonpoisonous snake) is Cuba’s largest snake.
About 300 species of birds live in Cuba. Year-round inhabitants include varieties of hawks, hummingbirds, owls, parrots, pelicans, quails, spoonbills, and woodpeckers. Cuba boasts the world’s smallest bird, the bee hummingbird, which lives primarily in the mangrove swamps of the Zapata Peninsula. This tiny bird is slightly larger than a grasshopper. Cuba is also a meeting ground for migratory birds from both the tropical zone in northern South America and temperate zones in North America. Migratory birds—including various warblers and thrushes, and the American redstart, bobolink, and the Cuban trogon—use Cuba as a stopover. Even though it is not a permanent resident of their island, Cubans chose the trogon as their national bird because it has red, white, and blue feathers, the colors of the Cuban flag.
Tourist resources of Cuba
Cuba is located in the Caribbean
sea on the islands of Cuba, Youthud (until 1978
city - Pinos) and many (about 4195) small
islets. Washed in the north by Florida
Strait, in the southwest — the Yucatan Strait,
in the east by the Windward Strait, in the south
is a long and narrow strip
land stretching for 1500 km between the North
and South America in the Caribbean Northwest
pool. He has seen a lot about her
Christopher Columbus once said in his lifetime,
that man has not seen the earth more beautiful.
is the main island, which
surrounded by four other groups
islands. It makes up the majority of government
territorial lands (105,006 km² or
40,543 square miles) and — seventeenth
largest island in the world. Maximum
its length (1500 km) — from Cape Cabo de San Antonio to
Cape Punta de Quemados, maximum width (191
km) — in the province of Camaguey. Second by size
island in Cuba — Isla de la Juventad (Island
Youth), located in the southwest,
with an area of 3056 km² (or 1180 square
miles). The total area of Cuba is 110
the island is composed
mostly flat and hilly terrain.
In the southeastern part — the Sierra Maestra,
region of steep mountains, highest point
which is Turquino Peak, towering
at 2005 meters (6,578 feet). local climate
close to tropical, although often
winds blow from the sea. In general, on
Cuba observed (with some modifications)
dry season, which lasts from November to
April, and rainier season — from May
to October. Average temperature in winter
+ 21°C in January and +27°C in July. Cuba is located
on the path where hurricanes often pass with
destructive storms, which is
most common in September and October.
— the largest city in Cuba
and its capital; other equally important
cities include Santiago de Cuba and Camageu.
The most notable small towns include
Baracao, who was the first Spanish
settlement in Cuba, Trinidad, listed
on the UNESCO World Heritage List, and Bayamo.
in its administrative division consists
from fourteen regions and one municipality
— Isla de la Juventud (Island of Youth).
They, in turn, were formerly part of
six large historical regions:
Pinar del Rio, Havana, Matanzas, Las Villas,
Kamageu and Oriente.
NATURAL AND HISTORICAL
Looking at the map
Cuba can give the impression
about the simplicity of the device, it is mainly plain
surfaces, but this impression is deceptive.
Despite the relatively small size
territory of Cuba, its natural conditions
are characterized by significant
differences and great variety. Difficulties
variety of natural conditions of Cuba
due to its «median» geographic
position at the junction of the tropics and subtropics.
Cuba is part of the Antilles-Caribbean
region of the Cordelier fold belt.
At the same time, it combines folded
structures of the island Antilles and
subplatform areas. Especially characteristic
for Cuba wide spread young
limestones. Cuba is currently
in the zone of high seismicity (up to 7 points).
With folded structures are now associated
heavily depleted copper deposits.
There are also manganese ores, possible
and bauxite deposits. But most importantly
mineral wealth of Cuba in the world
values are reserves of nickel ores combined
with cobalt. Cuba is well endowed with raw materials
resources for the construction industry
2/3 of the entire area of Cuba is occupied by slightly
hilly plains. In economic
respect are especially important for perennial
plantation tropical crops and
tourism areas with altitudes up to 100 meters
above sea level. They are the most populated
and mastered. Plains with low elevations,
with small groups of palm trees — typical
landscape over most of the area.
Mountain ranges and uplands stretched out
along the coast in the West, in the center and
in the East of the country. The relief does not create significant
obstacles to the development of transport.
Large single alluvial plain
is of great agricultural importance
due to soil fertility and availability
water. The largest high mountain
country system – Sierra Maestro stretched out
250 km along the southeast coast.
Mountainous areas do not yet play an important
roles in the economy. One of the most important
features of the natural identity of Cuba is
in the wide development of karst processes,
due to the spread of limestone.
Karst caves have become important objects
tourism. Due to the development of karst, Kubu sometimes
called «paradise for speleologists». Spreading
karst has a noticeable effect
on the geography and appearance of the country, on the conditions
the life of his people. This is due to the fact that
in karst areas there is very little surface
stock. Groundwater of karst origin
plays an important role in water supply.
Cuba, temperate tropical, and at the same time
strongly softened by warm sea currents,
washing its shores. Maximum temperature
— 35 ° С — happens in August, while in January
it can drop to 19°C. Water temperature
less fluctuating throughout the year
than the air temperature: near the northern
coast, it ranges from 24 ° C in winter
up to 28°С in summer, and off the southern coast from 26°С
in winter to 28°C in summer.
for dry and rainy season
in Cuba is rather conditional. Tropical
dry season lasts from November to April,
and rainy — from May to October. But at the same time
strong tropical weather may pass in March
downpour, and in June — September it will be for weeks
stand dry sunny weather.
inconveniences arise in autumn
called the hurricane season, lasting
from October to November. However, hurricanes
in Cuba are irregular, and rarely pass
two years in a row in the same territory
and at the same time. So the probability
good weather in autumn is also very high,
and the chance to get into the hurricane zone
and wildlife of Cuba
Cuba is located at a sufficient distance
from the mainland and has a unique plant
and the animal world. More than
6,000 plant species, half of which
them — endemics .
this flora of Cuba is influenced by
human activities have changed significantly
not for the better. If at the beginning of the 19th century
forests occupied 90% of the territory of Cuba, now
they occupy only 19% of . Scaffolding pushed out
agricultural land: plantations
sugar cane, citrus, mango,
bananas and other crops.
despite the fact that Cuba is located in a tropical
zone, 43% of its forests are mixed forests,
31% — mangrove forest, 12% — coniferous forests, and only
1. 5% — tropical forest. Of course the most popular
the tree is the symbol of Cuba — royal
palm tree reaching 30 meters in height.
not only flora, but also fauna of Cuba.
The most widely represented reptiles
— 2 types of crocodiles, iguanas, many
various lizards, geckos, salamanders,
as well as 15 species of non-venomous snakes .
On dry high plateaus,
east of Cuba you can find several
scorpion species and large arachnids,
but they are harmless to humans.
large mammal in Cuba (if
do not count pets) is
tree rat hutia, the size of a nutria.
It mainly lives on small surrounding
Cuba islands. Among marine mammals
there are several types of dolphins,
and the largest representative of this
a class inhabiting the deep seas of Cuba
— sea cow manati .
species of birds living here are characteristic
only for Cuba. First of all, tiny
brightly colored hummingbird feeding like a butterfly,
flower nectar. However, national
Tocororo was chosen as the bird of Cuba because of its
characteristic of this country blue-red-white
way, flat terrain, temperate tropical
climate (no sudden temperature changes)
and the richest endemic vegetable
and wildlife create favorable conditions in Cuba
conditions for the development of tourism.
to numerous political upheavals,
with which the history of this country is so rich,
Cuba is still one of the most
tourist destinations in the Caribbean
sea. Hundreds of thousands of tourists from all over the world
come to Cuba every year, attracted
its warm climate, beautiful sea,
rich history of the island and famous
Cuban cigars and rum.
located in the northwest of the island
and traces its history back to 1515. The city is very
picturesque — magnificent period mansions
Spanish domination side by side with
buildings in the style of «developing socialism»,
ultra-modern skyscrapers — with dilapidated
suburban houses, and pompous hotels in the coastal
parts of the city — with numerous churches.
the core of the city is Old Havana, located
around the port and Havana Bay.
Narrow strait to the harbor from two sides
guard the ancient fortresses of Castillo del Morro
(1589-1630), Castillo de la Punta (Castillo de San Salvador de
and lighthouse (1845) and the west bank forts
La Cabaña (San Carlos de la Cabaña) and
La Real Fuerza (1555-77, the oldest
fortification in America)
which now houses the Museum of Ancient
weapons. From Havana’s Malecon
(a favorite place for walking citizens and the arena
holding traditional February
carnivals), stretching almost under
walls of forts, begins the central
Havana street — Paseo del Prado or just
Prado. The boulevard is considered one of the main
architectural monuments of old Havana
— paved with marble slabs and lined
lined with colorful mansions
in the old Spanish style, nowadays it
is one of the favorite vacation spots.
The building of the National
Capitol, built in the image and likeness
Washington, now hosted here
Cuban Academy of Sciences, National Library
science and technology and local history museum.
Nearby are the former presidential
palace (now — Museum of the Revolution), palace
Governor (now — Museum of the City of Havana)
and the Granma memorial in honor of the legendary
yacht on which Cuban revolutionaries
led by Castro landed on the island
to the west of the bay lie a small
El Templete chapel (1828) at the site of the founding
cities, as well as beautiful architectural
complexes of Plaza de Armas (Square
Arms) with the majestic Palacio de Los Capitanes-
Plaza de la Catedral (Cathedral Square)
with Cathedral of St. Christopher (1748-77), Plaza Vieja
(Old Square) and Trocadero street with building
Palace of Fine Arts — one of the best
art museums in the Western Hemisphere.
Havana has many museums, among which
especially stand out the Museum of the fight against illiteracy,
National Museum, Colonial and Anthropological
museums, Ernest Hemingway’s house-museum in
Villa Vigia, Historical Museum of Guanabocoa
and a kind of “wall museum” of the bar
«Bodeguita del Medio», which houses
many autographs of famous people
XX century. Must visit
convent of Santa Clara (1644), cathedral
Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception (1656), city
City Hall (1792 d.), the largest park in Havana
named after Lenin, Botanical Garden with a unique
Japanese garden, as well as the largest
zoo in America. Also of interest is one
of the most majestic monuments of the capital
— 18-meter sculpture «Havana Christ»
near the fortress of La Cabaña, Tropicana cabaret,
open air museum of african art
sky — Ammel lane in Cayo Hueso area,
theater Garcia Lorca, exhibition center
«Expocube» and the theater. Amadeo Roldana.
new part of Havana — on the embankment
in Vedado, along the Malecon
and La Rampa streets, there are numerous
villas, hotels for every taste and with excellent
service, as well as well-equipped
beaches. In the hills above Vedado are
University of Havana (1728), square
Revolutions with the Jose Marti Memorial (1996
g.) and an observation deck with a height of 138 m.,
Palace of the Revolution, administrative buildings
and the National Library, and on the shore
bay — one of the world’s largest aquariums.
Along the bay in the Cubanakan area stretches
a whole series of beautiful beaches and yacht clubs,
as well as a large amusement park, and for
river Almendares — an area of chic mansions
and luxury Miramar hotels.
Havana, on the coast, built a lot
modern tourist complexes
— a pioneer city of five camps «Jose
Marty» in Tarara (11 km. beaches), tourist
Soroa center with experimental station
for breeding orchids (the second largest
in the world), Santa Maria beach area (30 km.
from Havana), as well as Jibacoa, Arroyo Bermejo,
El Salado, Esscaleras de Jaruco, San Antonio de los Baños,
Santa Cruz del Norte and others where not
only all conditions are provided for
a relaxing beach holiday, but you can
get to know the everyday
Cuba Required information | Cubabeds
Real, charming, romantic, bright….
Cuba is world famous for its picturesque white sand beaches and turquoise waters, irresistibly rhythmic music and sensual dancing, rum and cigars, vintage cars that drive through the streets of its historic cities, the slogan «Long live the Revolution» and more 55 embargoed for years, it seems like time has stopped here…, friendly and hospitable people, cities full of life, stunning natural landscapes, dynamic culture… This island has a lot to offer, it has a special place among the whole group of Caribbean islands and is the largest of them.
Cuba, officially the Republic of Cuba, is the largest island in the Caribbean (109.884 km2 / 42.426 square miles; 1.250 km long / 780 miles).
The capital of Cuba is Havana and the official language is Spanish. The national currency is the peso, CUP (the salaries of most Cubans and prices are set in Cuban pesos), while the tourism economy operates in convertible pesos, CUC (fixed at par with the US dollar), although there is a tax when converting a dollar to a convertible peso in Cuba in the amount of 10% of the amount. If you change 100 US dollars in Cuba you will get 90 CUC, or rather minus the bank’s commission of about 86 CUC.
Cuba is a traditionally Catholic country. Culturally, Cuba is considered part of Latin America. This is a multinational country (natives, Europeans, Africans), more than 11 million people live here.
The local climate is tropical.
Cuba is an archipelago located in the northern part of the Caribbean, at the confluence of the Caribbean Sea, the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico.
The island is located between the United States (Florida is only 150 km/93 miles North), the Bahamas (140 km/87 miles NE), Haiti (80 km/48 miles East), Jamaica and the Cayman Islands. the islands (140 km/87 miles south) and Mexico (Cancun is located 210 km/130 miles west).
Cuba is the main island. Its terrain is mostly flat and hilly, with the exception of the Sierra Maestra (the highest point of Pico Turquino 1974 meters / 6476 feet).
Cuba is surrounded by four small groups of islands, the Colorados Archipelagos, Sabana Camagüey, Royal Gardens and Los Canarreos.
The country is divided into 15 provinces, which can be grouped into 3 main regions: Western Cuba (Pinar del Rio, Artemisa, Mayabeque, Havana, Matanzas, Isle of Juventud), Central Cuba (Villa Clara, Cienfuegos, Sancti Spiritus, Ciego- de Avila, Camaguey) and Eastern Cuba (Las Tunas, Holguin, Santiago de Cuba, Granma, Guantanamo).
A painful story.
The island was inhabited by people from the Taino and Sibonean tribes when Christopher Columbus landed on the northeast coast of Cuba on October 28, 1492 years, and approved by the possession of the Spanish Kingdom in 1511 and thus became the center of support for the Spanish Empire and its colonies in America. An urban society developed very quickly here, not dependent on slavery, unlike other colonized Caribbean islands.
Cuba remained a Spanish colony from the end of the 15th century to the beginning of the 19th century.
Independence from Spain was the object of the first uprising in 1868 led by Carlos Manuel Cespedes, and later in 1885 of the Revolutionary Party founded by José Martí. These conflicts led to the Spanish-American War in 1898, when the island was transferred from Spain to the United States. Cuba gained formal independence from the United States on May 20, 1902, and was given the name Republic of Cuba, but was still a «Protectorate of the United States».
The Cuban Revolution began in the 1950s when various organizations launched an armed uprising against the dictatorship of Batista. Fidel Castro and his followers arrived on the island to start an uprising in 1956. Castro quickly became the leader of a revolutionary group known as the «26 July Movement» . Rebel detachments entered the capital on January 8, 1959, displacing Batista, and later a government was formed under the leadership of Fidel Castro.
After the founding of the Cuban Communist Party, relations between the United States and Cuba began to deteriorate. In March 1960, the United States created a group of trained and armed Cuban opposition to overthrow the Castro regime. The Battle of Chiron Bay took place on April 14, 1961, where the Americans failed.
Against the background of various sanctions, the blockade imposed by the United States and the Organization of American States, and the missile crisis in 1962, Cuba switched to a communist system, following the model of the Soviet Union.
The country was ruled by Fidel Castro until 2013, after which he was replaced by his brother Raul Castro.
An ideal walk along the cobbled and dirt streets of Havana in the late afternoon along the famous Malecón . Here it is possible to get lost between musicians, fishermen, singers, kiosks, restaurants, bars… Walk to the 18th century Saint Christopher Cathedral, located in Old Havana and built in the Baroque style, and then from the Bacardi building, home of the Cuban manufacturing company of the same name Roma, up to Cueto Palace with its unique architecture reminiscent of that of Gaudí in Barcelona.
A wide variety of architectural styles in Havana can be found next to each other. Modern buildings coexist with colonial majestic buildings of the 20th century.
City-museum with columns, balconies, arches that are full of memories, narrow streets, small or grandiose squares, ancient churches, ruins of buildings…
Every place here has its own history and deserves special attention.
Wonderful sightseeing tours of the old historic center of Havana or excursions that combine acquaintance with the colonial and historical cities of the island are waiting for you. Cuba is home to 10 UNESCO World Heritage Sites located throughout the island. These are «Old Havana with its fortifications» , and «City Historic Center of Cienfuegos» , and «Castle of San Pedro de la Roca» in Santiago de Cuba, as well as the city-museum of Trinidad …
CULTURE OF CUBA: CUISINE, CUSTOMS, SOUVENIRS
Cuba’s greatest wealth is its culture. Art is present here in all areas and has many stories, emotional and proud. National Museum of Fine Arts and the streets of Havana are adorned with colorful and lively pictures of Cuba’s history, people and daily life that arouse curiosity beyond music and dance.
The music of Cuba is an amazing blend of bongos, clave, guitar, piano, piano, trumpet…
World-renowned artists such as Gloria Estefan, Buena Vista Social Club and Orisha are a reflection of Cuban society and its cultural influences. Spanish, African and local heritage have come together to create a vital part of Cuban culture.
The sounds of Afro-Cuban Jazz, Rumba, Salsa… It is worth visiting the concert hall to enjoy Cuban music. It will become an unforgettable event of your trip.
All styles of music and dance have an undeniable appeal. Cubans are always open for a holiday. This is best expressed through music, dance, costumes, a sense of rhythm, as in the dances «danson», «mambo», «cha-cha-cha» or «salsa» … The nightlife of the Varadero resort is interesting. It is here that the most famous nightclubs of the country are gathered.
In other words, one could say that Cuba originated from
a musical chord merged with a dance step. Everything from the chamber
music to incendiary dances, sets the rhythm for the Island. ballet, modern,
popular dances represent the diversity of Cuba.
Cuba has a famous National Folklore Ensemble,
which has won numerous awards. The ensemble preserves and maintains the heritage and
traditions of folk dance and music.
National Ballet of Cuba with its founder, director and
Prima ballerina Alicia Alonso represents and develops classical dance. AT
During the 60 years of its existence, the ballet has taken part in many
productions of national and international level.
International Ballet Festival is organized every year
Havana, where many meet with directors and artists of the best troupes.
Over 250 museums, art galleries and exhibitions open
for visiting. Here you can see national and international expositions.
Only in one Havana there is the Museum of Art of Cuba, the historical center of the city,
Dance Museum and more.
Cuba is the site of film festivals, such as the
low-budget cinema, which took place in Gibar, Holguin province.
Theater is one of the cultural phenomena that has brought
Cuba world fame. The premieres of performances by theater troupes are constantly held. AT
country, more than 60 theater halls offer a wide range of performances. Cuban
The kitchen has also made its appetizing contribution.
Excellent Cuban cuisine is influenced by Spanish and Caribbean traditions. Dishes such as rice and black beans, known as «Moors and Christians», platano vegetable bananas, tropical fruits, meat slow cooked with garlic, spices cumin, oregano and bay leaves distinguish Cuban cuisine with a pleasant combination of aromas, tastes and colors. .
Also worth trying is ropa vieja (old clothes), which is beef stew in tomato sauce, black beans, yellow rice, sycamore, fried yucca with beer, as well as tamales and Cuban bread.
Cuban cigars are another hallmark of Cuba. We all imagine the image of Fidel Castro and Che Guevara smoking huge cigars made from whole rolled tobacco leaves. Like wine in some countries, Cuban cigar culture is a culture in its own right. Coiba, Montecristo, Partagas, Romeo and Juliet, Bolivar… all these names attract the attention of cigar aficionados.
Cuba has excelled everyone in the art of turning dark green tobacco leaves from the hills and plains of the island into cigars. They are rightfully considered the best cigars in the world. The drying process has a huge impact on the variety of cigar flavors: spicy, sweet, cocoa, nut, cream, cedar, oak, and fruity.
Cuban «torcedors» or cigar rollers are experts in their field and the most skilled in the world.
It is impossible to leave Cuba without visiting one of the tobacco factories, without getting to know the vitality of Cuban culture, the secrets of the island’s cities, without enjoying the beauty of the beaches…
Now it’s time to relax, sit down and smoke your newly purchased best Cuban cigar and ask for some rum.
The best way to discover the legend of rum is to take a guided tour of «Roma Museum Havana Club in Havana» or «Roma Museum in Santiago de Cuba» . Here you will learn everything about the production of rum, as well as enjoy a large selection of Havana Club rums.
We also advise you to visit the most famous bar-restaurants «Floridita» and «Bodeguita del Medio» in Havana for some traditional Cuban cocktails. The simplest of these, Cuba Libre (rum, Coke and lemon), classic Mojito (white rum, sugar, lemon juice, soda and mint), Hemingway’s favorite Daiquiri (white rum, cocktail liqueur, sugar syrup, lemon juice and crushed ice) or President cocktail, named after former Cuban President Mario García Menocal (1912-1920). This cocktail was invented during Prohibition in the USA (dark rum, white vermouth, a dash of grenadine and angostura bitters). Americans who visited Cuba at that time were very fond of ordering it.
Nature of Cuba
Cuba is an island paradise blessed with a tropical climate, breezes and warm waters throughout the city. The stunning white sand beaches of Varadero, the coasts of Trinidad, Holguin and other provinces together cover more than 300 kilometers.
The coastline of the island is complemented by thousands of islets around (the most famous of which are Cayo Largo, Cayo Coco, Cayo Guillermo, Cayo Santa Maria …). Here you can go kitesurfing, boating or just drink a cocktail under the calm, gentle melody of the waves.
In addition to the beauty of Cuban beaches, an amazing underwater world awaits you. There are many well-equipped centers in Cuba with professional instructors who invite you to snorkel around the protected reef «Queen’s Gardens», coral reefs that are excellent for exciting and magical encounters with the flora and vibrant fauna of the Cuban underwater world. The unique beauty of Cuba is not only on its shores, but also in well-preserved nature, landscapes and panoramas.
Green hills, waterfalls, natural pools, mountains, valleys, plains, natural parks — all this splendor will allow you to enjoy walking, cycling, swimming or just observing the flora and fauna.
Cuba is a country of ecological tourism and biodiversity, where endemic species are in harmony. There are many preserved natural sites, such as the Guanahacabibes, Viñales, Pico Cristal, Turquino and Alexander Humboldt National Parks, as well as the Sierra del Rosario Biosphere Reserves, the Guanahacabibes Peninsula ”, “Buenavista” and “Zapata Swamp”.
There are six world natural reserves in Cuba, protected by UNESCO :
— Sierra del Rosario. Province of Pinar del Rio. /1985/
— Cuchillas del Toa. Guantanamo Province /1987/
— Guanaacabibes Peninsula. Province of Pinar del Rio /1987/
— Baconao. Province of Santiago de Cuba /1987/
— Zapata Peninsula. Province of Matanzas / 2000 /
— Buenavista in the archipelago of the Gardens of the King. North of the province of Villa Clara, Sancti Spiritus, Ciego de Avila and Camagüey /2000/
The best asset of this magnificent country can rightly be considered the Cuban people themselves. About 11 million people inhabit the Island. Cuban society is a perfect reflection of its history, a true mixture of peoples of various origins, including Europeans, Africans, Asians and mulattoes — a whole spectrum of faces, smiles, skin colors and hair . .. And every Cuban has his own origin. There is no racism in Cuba.
Cubans are characterized as friendly, pleasant, cheerful, sociable, noble, proud, considerate and generous people
One could list all the qualities of Cubans for a long time. They are very friendly and open, always ready to support the conversation and help.
Your stay on the island will undoubtedly enrich your communication with the local population, and for this you just need to ask them for directions or sit on a bench nearby. Cubans are always very happy to communicate, they like to spend time talking on the streets, terraces, in bars or clubs until late in the evening. Their smile, laughter and good mood will be transferred to you.
Cubans, being very generous and hospitable, always welcome visitors. They will gladly open the doors of their houses for you, as an honored guest, and cook dinner for you at home or in a private restaurant (“paladares”). Another common practice in Cuba is “casas particulares”, which means renting a room in a private house, which will make your experience more realistic and where you can experience traditional Cuban hospitality.