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Cuba 101 [Basic and Useful Info]

What is Cuba like? I sorted out some basic information about the amazing country.

Name of the Country

República de Cuba

Geographical Features

Cuba is consist of islands in the Caribbean.

  • 93 mile (150km) south of Key West, Florida, United States.
  • 130 mile (210km) away from Mexico.
  • Jamaica is to the south.
  • Haiti is to the southeast.

Time Zone

During Summer time, CDT (UTC-4)

Same as Eastern Time Zone in the United States including New York.

In 2015, the summer time ends at 1AM(CDT) on November 1, Sunday. In 2016, the summer time starts at midnight(CST) on March 13, Sunday.

Official Language


As of 2015, not many Cuban citizens speak English even in Havana. I highly recommend to learn basic Spanish.



CUC (Convertible Pesos)

Tourists use CUC. CUC 1 = US$1

CUP(Cuban Pesos)

Currency used by Cuban. Also described as “MN” (Monda Nacional). Most wages and prices are set in Cuban Pesos. CUC 1 = CUP25

CUC cannot be exchanged outside of Cuba.

You can exchange at CADECA. There are ones at the airports. To go to Havana or wherever, you need to pay the driver (unless you are in tour), so get some CUC at the airport. They open until very late. I arrived at 2AM to Jose Marti International Airport, but they were open still.

CADECA on the Obispo street are crowded as well, even though they are supposed to have slightly better rate.

Check the exchange rate (Linked to

Do I need to get CUP?

If you stay in city area, then you do not necessarily get CUP. It is always handy.

If you stay in Havana most of the time, then you do not need to get CUP. Even if you run into a vendor which prices are set in CUP, they usually can give you the change to your payment. But of course, not too big CUC. Always bring small CUC.

The vendors accepting CUP are the ones Cuban use in their daily life. If you do not speak Spanish, try not to confuse people much.

【Related Articles】
・English Posts coming up soon.


Standard voltage:110V/220V

Frequency: 60Hz

Power Sockets: Type A/B

I could charge iPhone6, Panasonic GH1 without any problem.

Internet (Wifi)

In July, 2015, Cuba has opened up 35 Wifi spots in major cities.

To use it, you must purchase Internet card at 2CUC an hour.Check the location on ETECSA site (the provider)

[cml_media_alt id='351']ETECSAcuba[/cml_media_alt]

Can I swim through the year?


Tourists swim through the year. I swam in February in Cuba, and it was hot and the water was perfect temperature to cool down my skin.

Is Cuba safe?

I found Cuba as safe as Japan.

But of course, women should not walk outside alone late at night or early in the morning anywhere in the world.

Cuban guys could be flirty, but most of them treat women with respect. This is my personal opinion, which can be all wrong, but until the summer of 2015, less than 10% of Cuban had access to the Internet. Even though they did, they could not see adult contents because it was very very slow, and also the Socialism country was restricting. Cuba also has not allowed even travelers bring pornographic books into Cuba. I think that helped Cuban men remain nice and kind. Or maybe there are way too many Japanese guys who tend to see women as sex objects under the influence of manga?


Capital Havana (Habana)
Government Republic(Socialism)
President Raul Castro
Population Around 11,230,000 (2015/09)
Ethnic Goups(wikipedia)
Religion Christian, and pretty free
Major Industries Tourism, Agriculture and fisheries
Country Code +53


Flag of Cuba

【Related Blog】
「Dramatic! The Meanings in the Cuban Flag」 (Currently, Japanese only)


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