Caribbean Tourism

Cuba

Cuba

Cuba has something for everyone and its charms are as varied as they are fascinating. Most people spend some time relaxing and enjoying the sun and sand on Cuba’s extensive beaches, but there is so much more to do.


Go before Castro dies and see one of the last bastions of Communism and a culture which has denied itself the influences of the USA. Visit the Spanish colonial cities, where the architecture is being beautifully preserved, go hiking or cycling in the countryside and see rural life in Cuba, take a ride in one of those famous fifties cars, go birdwatching or scuba diving, the list is endless. No one will leave the island without being affected by the pulsating rhythms of the music and dance, the racial mixture which has produced such creativity and exuberance in the arts and entertainment, without being diverted into advertising bill boards and neon lighs. And of course, you haven’t lived until you’ve learned to dance the rumba.

The island of Cuba, 1,250 km long, 191 km at its widest point, is the largest of the Caribbean islands and only 145 km south of Florida. The name is believed to derive from the Arawak word ‘cubanacan', meaning central. Gifted with a moderate climate, afflicted only occasionally by hurricanes, not cursed by frosts, blessed by an ample and well distributed rainfall and excellent soils, it has traditionally been one of the largest exporters of cane sugar in the world.

Geologically at least, Cuba is part of North America; the boundary between the North American and Caribbean plates runs east-west under the Caribbean Sea to the south of the island. Along the plate margin is a deep underwater rift valley, which runs between Cuba and Jamaica. This feature is quite close to the Cuban coast to the south of the Sierra Maestra, with water plunging to 6,000 metres deep only a few km offshore.

The northern coastline is gradually emerging from the sea. Old coral reefs have been brought to the surface, so that much of the northern coast consists of coral limestone cliffs and sandy beaches. By contrast the southern coastline is being gradually submerged, producing wetlands and mangroves, with fewer sandy beaches than the north of the island. Limestones of various types cover about two-thirds of the island. In most areas, there is a flat or gently rolling landscape.

There are three main mountain areas in the island. In the west, the Cordillera de Guaniguanico is divided into the Sierra del los Organos in the west, with thick deposits of limestone which have developed a distinctive landscape of steep-sided flat-topped mountains; and the Sierra del Rosario in the east, made up partly of limestones and partly of lavas and other igneous rocks. Another mountainous area in central Cuba includes the Escambray mountains north of Trinidad, a double dome structure made up of igneous and metamorphic rocks, including marble.

The Sierra Maestra in east Cuba has Cuba’s highest mountains, rising to Pico Turquino (1,974 metres) and a rather different geological history, with some rocks formed in an arc of volcanic activity around 50 million years ago. Older rocks include marble, and other metamorphics. Important mineral deposits are in this area; nickel is mined near Moa.


More . . .

Introduction

Cuba is the largest island in the Caribbean Sea, located at the entrance to the Gulf of Mexico. The main island, together with the Isle of...

Cuba, largest of the Caribbean islands

Cuba, largest of the Caribbean islands and 90 miles south of Florida, is a fascinating place to visit. With a predictably delightful...

CUBA: HOW TO GET THERE

AIRLINES: Aeroflot, Aeromexico, Aeropostal, Air Europe, Air Jamaica, Condor, Cubana de Aviacion, Iberia, L.T.U., Ladeco, Mexicana, Taag,...

CUBA: MONEY/ BUSINESS GUIDE

BANKS: Foreigners, including tourists, who wish to open a bank account in Cuba, may do so at Banco Financiero Internacional (a private bank...

CUBA: COUNTRY PROFILE AND MAP

GEOGRAPHY: The Republic of Cuba is an archipelago made up of the Island of Cuba, the Island of La Juventud and approximately 4,195 cays and...

CUBA: WHAT TO SEE AND DO

DINING: Restaurants available - Local, International, Chinese, Japanese, Argentinean and Vegetarian. A 10-15% optional gratuity is...

CUBA: USEFUL INFORMATION

TOURIST OFFICES Cuba Tourist Board in UK Cuba Tourist Board 154 Shaftesbury Avenue, London WC2H 8JT UK Tel: 020 7240 6655 Fax: 020 7836...