Fun Cuba facts give travelers insight into the magic of this remarkable island nation and its intriguing people. Resting quietly in the deep blue Caribbean waters, The Republic of Cuba sits north of Jamaica and the Cayman Islands, west of Haiti, south of Florida (90 miles) and east of Mexico (130 miles).
- The Caribbean’s largest island is often called “El Cocodrilo” for the island’s crocodile-like shape or “El Caiman” for those who believe the shape more closely resembles an alligator.
Cuba consists of 400 intriguing islands and cays. Cuba’s more than 42,843 square miles (110,850 square kilometers) ranks El Cocodrilo the 17th largest island on the planet.
The topography of Cuba is unlike other Caribbean islands. Beautiful rolling plains are set between the magnificent Sierra Maestra mountain chain to the southeast and enticing beaches and deep blue water all around. Experienced travelers marvel at the symmetry of Cuba’s pristine white sand beaches, crystal blue waters and brilliant landscape.
Originally, the island’s was divided into six large provinces: Pinar del Río, Habana, Matanzas, Las Villas, Camagüey and Oriente.
Today, Cuba comprises 15 provinces and the Isle de la Jeventud municipality: Pinar del Río, Artemisa, Havana, Mayabeque, Matanzas, Cienfuegos, Villa Clara, Sancti Spíritus, Ciego de Ávila, Camagüey, Las Tunas, Granma, Holguín, Santiago de Cuba, Guantanamo.
The official language of the Republic of Cuba is Spanish but many citizens can converse in English.
Cuba’s constitution depicts the Communist party as the “leading force of society and of the state.”
More than 11 million people live in Cuba. With a diverse, multi-ethnic country, Cuba’s culture reflects influences from many peoples, including Taino, Aboriginal, Ciboney and Spain. The country’s largest cultural influences stem from Spain and Africa.
American Indian migratory Taino tribal populations inhabited Cuba as farmers and were called Arawak by Spaniards.
The Ciboney people were both farmers and fishermen.
The largest city in Cuba is Havana, the capital. Cuba’s second largest city is the former capital, Santiago de Cuba.
- The National Anthem of Cuba is “Himno de Bayam.”
- The climate is tropical with refreshing trade winds that help keep temperatures in January around 21 degrees Celsius (72 F) and around 27 degrees Celsius in July (80 F).
- High season or “dry season” runs from mid-October through May. The “wet season” runs from June through September, when hospitality and travel prices are lower.
- Cuba includes the Island of Cuba, the Isle of Youth and four clusters of islands; the Carnaguey, the Canarreos, the Jardines de la Reina and the Colorados, which surround the main island.
- Cuba’s highest peak (Pico real del Turquino) in the Sierra Maestra chain climbs a majestic 6,476 ft. (1,974 meters).
- Tourists flock from all corners of the world to enjoy the country, culture, beaches, waters and people.
- Cuba was discovered by an unlikely explorer, Christopher Columbus who, believing he had reached India, promptly claimed the island for Spain.
- When Columbus arrived in 1492, Cuba was inhabited by several Mesoamerican tribes.
- Cuba remained a colony of Spain until the Spanish-American War of 1898.
- The first Spanish settlement was constructed by Diego Velasquez de Cuellar at Baracoa in 1511.
- The first Governor was Dr. Gonzalo de Angulo who declared liberty for all natives on November 4, 1549.
- In the Treaty of Paris ending the Spanish-American War, Spain ceded their claims to Cuba, Puerto Rico, the Philippines and Guam to the US for $20 million.
- Cuba gained formal independence from the United States on May 20, 1902.
- Havana City, Cienfugos and Trinidad have been listed as World Heritage Sites by UNESCO.
- 50 percent of Cuba’s population is female.
- Many changes are occurring in Cuba, seemingly on a daily basis, but one exciting change is expanded Internet access.
- Cuba’s National Flower is “Mariposa blanca” whose literal meaning is literally “White Moth Flower” for the flower’s semblance to a flying white moth.
- Cuba’s national bird is the strikingly beautiful Tocororo.
- The official tree is the distinctive Royal Palm; no surprise there!
- Cuba’s sporting interests resemble America’s. The most popular sport is baseball. Cuban baseball players are in high demand in the Major Leagues.
- Mysteriously, a treasured fish called the Manjurai is only found in Cuba.
- Cuba has a universal healthcare system and an abundance of physicians. Cuba takes pride in its healthcare services.
- The life expectancy in Cuba is 78 years.
- Tourists receive healthcare at specifically dedicated facilities.
- Cuban cuisine reflects its diverse cultures and is heavily influenced by Spanish and Caribbean delicacies and seasonings.
- Music is a matter of national pride. Roots to Cuba’s rich musical heritage are found in Afro-Cuban civilizations.
- Cuba’s most prominent music is Son, which is the basis for other musical types like, Salsa, rumba, cha-cha and more.
- Cuba’s classical music is world renowned. Ernesto Lecuono is a legendary composer.
- Havana was the center of rap in the 1990’s.
- Cuba has a rich literary history with such prominent authors/poets as Duce Maria Loynaz, Jose Lezama Lima, Miguel Barnet (Everyone Dreamed of Cuba), Zoe Valdes, Reinaldo Arenas, Guillermo Cabrera Infante.
- Cuba’s art culture is long and treasured. Long contained on the island, Cuba’s art community has moved from a number of Miami collectors onto the New York art scene and across the country.
- Kadir López Nieves is one of a current crop of highly regarded rising stars in the world of international art.
- The National Botanical Garden is located in Arroyo Naranjo, Havana. Renowned Japanese landscape architect Yoshicuni Araki designed and oversaw construction of the spectacular Japanese Garden at Botanic Garden.