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Cuba, the largest of the Antilles, is an archipelago consisting of a main island named Cuba, the Isle of Youth and about 4,195 keys and islets. Its elongated and narrow shape propitiates circulation of trade winds from the Atlantic, which cool its tropical, humid climate. Only one fourth of the land is mountainous being its main systems:

The Guaniguanico mountain range at the west region; the Sierra del Escambray to the south centre of the country; and to the east the Sierra Maestra with its Pico Real del Turquino, climbing to 1,974 meters above sea level, the island's highest point. The remaining territory, plain and fertile, includes immense extensions of sugar plantations (the island's main export line), tobacco (highly appreciated worldwide) and other agricultural products.

The island's has more than 200 rivers of short course and flow impetuously, which hinders navigation. The biggest river is the Cauto, east of the country, with an extension of 250 km of which only 112 are navigable by small crafts. Subsoil is rich in nickel and nature shows a variety of plants and flowers as well as a marvellous diversity of animals. This Caribbean island has more than 280 charming beaches, virgin keys, caverns and caves for exploration, as well as forests and swamps for pleasure trips. Overall surface is 1 220 km.
Coming from the very heart of the American continent, from the Orinoco-Amazonas region, arrived the first inhabitants of the island. They called themselves Tainan and were more developed than the other two aborigines settlements: Guanahatabeyes and Siboneyes. Tainans were harvest people and hunters, their population was over 100 000 inhabitants.

On October 27,1492 Admiral Christopher Columbus commanding three caravels; La Niña, La Pinta y La Santamaria, landed at the eastern Bay of Bariay. By the end of 1510 the conquering expedition led by Diego Velazquez arrived and founded, in that very year, the villa of "Nuestra Señora de la Asuncion" in Baracoa.

The Republic was established on May 20, 1902 but the intermeddling Platt Amendment soon restrained it. Julio Antonio Mella, leader of the university students, founded the Communist Party of Cuba in 1925. "Revolution of the 30's" was the name given by the people to the struggle against Machado's dictatorship. The assault on the Moncada garrison was carried out on July 26th, 1953 in Santiago de Cuba by a group of young men led by Fidel Castro. Despite its failure, this action motivated the National liberation movement. On December 2nd, 1956, 82 expeditionary men arrived from Mexico aboard the Granma yacht and landed at the southeast area of the country. At the head of this expedition was Fidel Castro, other members were Ernesto Che Guevara, Camilo Cienfuegos and Fidel's brother, Raul Castro. They went on towards the Sierra Maestra Mountains creating along the way the Rebel Army. During the years of 1956, '57 and '58 innumerable revolutionary blows in different regions and cities of the island began to weaken Batista's army.

On January 1st 1959, President Fulgencio Batista flew to Santo Domingo with his family abandoning Cuba, with him were 40 million dollars stolen from the public treasury prior to his departure. The Rebel Army troops commanded by Fidel Castro arrived victoriously in Havana on January 8th, 1959. The First Law of Agrarian Reform was promulgated on May 17th, 1959 returning land to the farmers.

Cuba was expelled from the OAS in 1962. The so-called October Crisis happened in October 1962 as a consequence of the Soviet nuclear weapons on the island, this has been touted as the closest that humanity has come to a nuclear war. Commander Ernesto Che Guevara was murdered by CIA agents at Valle Grande, Bolivia in 1967.

In 1995 small private businesses were allowed in sectors such as Private restaurants, Taxis, etc. The European Community approved on that year a 19,5 million dollars program to finance public health. President William Clinton undersigned in 1996 the Helms-Burton Law, which effectively strengthened the blockade against Cuba, essentially meddling in the country's internal and external affairs. Months later the Cuban Parliament issued the Law 80 declaring "illegal" the Helms-Burton Law and defending the rights of Cuban people to choose their own destiny. In January 1998, Pope John Paul was officially invited to visit the island for five days he was met by the highest representatives of the government and heads of Churches. The Elian Gonzalez kidnap case by Miami relatives is the latest move designed to undermine the Cuban people.
Cuba has a very pleasant average temperature of 24,6ºC (76,3ºF) yearround. However, knowing exact forecasts will help you pack your suitcase for the specific dates of your trip.

Average 24,6ºC (76,3ºF)
Summer Average 25ºC (77ºF)
Winter Average 22ºC (71,6ºF)
Currency: Cuban Convertible peso (CUC).

Due to the recent regulations established in Cuba related with the circulation of the USD in cash, from date November 8th 2004, all payments in cash should be done in CUC (Cuban Convertible peso).

US Dollars in cash won't be accepted as a payment for any service (hotels, restaurants, taxis, shops, cinemas ect) in the island. The CUC (Cuban Convertible peso) can be acquired in any Exchange Houses available in the country or in the Banks.

When leaving the country, the remaining CUC can be changed in the Exchange Houses available at the Airport. Any other currency in cash, can be changed to CUC considering the current exchange rate with USD.

Cuban pesos, or moneda nacional, can be used at local venta libre stores, cafeterias and street stands, cinemas, and many other businesses away from popular tourist destinations. Cadeca, with kiosks throughout Cuba, changes currency at fair rates.

Credit cards or traveller checks issued by US companies are not accepted. A Visa or MasterCard (or two) issued by a non-US bank is the way to go.

The voltage in most residential and trade areas, offices and hotels is 110 V / 60 HZ, though some facilities already have 220 V / 60 HZ. Wall outlets are for flat plugs.
All travellers are requiered to get a Visa . You can obtain a Tourist Visa in the Cuban Consulate in your country. Also you can get the Visa in most of the airports (Airline - counter) prior to departure to Cuba.

Cuban nationals living in another country must contact with the Cuban Consulate in your country for information prior to departure.
The Custom allows personal belongings free of tax. This belongings may be used or new but in a reasonable quantity accordingly with the duration of the trip of each passanger.
    Medical Insurance - New Regulation:

The Government of Cuba agreed to establish that all travellers, foreigners and abroad Cuban residents should have a travel insurance policy with medical expenses cover, when visiting the country starting on May 1st, 2010.

To fulfill this demand, the traveller should have a travel insurance that includes medical expenses or a medical expenses policy, with cover inside of Cuba.

The policy should be acquired in the country of residence. Those travellers that exceptionally don’t have the insurance at their arrival, they will be able to acquire a policy with insurance and assistance cover subscribed by Cuban insurance companies at the airport, port or marines.

The traveller who is checked when arriving to the country, should show the policy, certificate of insurance or travel assistance card, which is valid during the stay in Cuba.

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