Religion - Primarily Roman Catholic with a number of people practising Santeria, which combines the Yoruban religion of African slaves with Catholicism.
Currency - CUP (Cuban peso) or CUC (Cuban convertible peso) both shown as ($); locals tend to use the former and tourists the latter.
Flight time from the UK - Typically 14-15 hours depending on airline and route.
Cuba has some of Latin America's most celebrated festivals; many of the biggest, such as carnival in July, are unmissable.
Street parties and free concerts throughout the country mark the first day of the triumph of the Cuban Revolution on Liberation Day, Jan 01. Late February sees the Cuban Cigar Festival take place, promoting the Cuban cigar industry with visits to factories and plantations and plenty of tastings. From late February until early March the Havana International Book Fair takes place with discussions, readings, concerts and a literary prize at its heart. In May, International Workers' Day, known by its date, Primero de Mayo, is vigorously celebrated in this communist country with parades and an outpouring of national pride. In late June there's a celebration of bolero in Havana whilst in Camaguey big music stars perform on over thirty stages throughout the city. Santiago's week-long celebration of Caribbean music and dance takes place slightly later, at the start of July. Cuba's most exuberant carnival kicks off in Santiago in mid-July and the costumed parades, congas, salsa bands and late-night parties last two weeks. Lasting around a week, the Havana carnival runs from late July to early August with many of the country's top bands playing and a huge parade along the Malécon. October features an International Ballet Festival and an International Theatre Festival, both in Havana. Late November is the time for a classical and chamber music events as well as a week of salsa concerts, classes and workshops. Early December sees film buffs descend on Havana for a ten-day film festival that combines Cuban, Latin American and Western films. There's a huge International Jazz Festival in the middle of the month before the year concludes with an unusual and exuberant pseudo carnival in Remedios, Villa Clara on December 24 that's full of floats, fireworks and partying.
Please note that entry requirements and visa regulations can change often and at short notice. We can provide general information about the passport and visa requirements for your trip and this information may be included after the itinerary section of your quotation. Your specific passport and visa requirements and other immigration requirements are your responsibility and you should confirm these with the relevant Embassies and/or Consulates. Neither we nor the principal(s) or supplier(s) accept any responsibility if you cannot travel because you have not complied with any passport, visa or immigration requirements. Please call your WEXAS specialist if you wish to discuss entry requirements.
To enter Cuba you must have a valid passport that's good for at least two months after your departure date.
Confusingly, Cuba has two units of currency, both represented by the $ sign. The Cuban peso (CUP) and the Cuban convertible peso (CUC). Cubans earn CUPs but tourists almost universally spend CUC, which are divided into centavos. Both currencies are essentially worthless outside the country.
CUC banknotes are clearly marked wit the words 'pesos convertibles' and come in denominations of 1, 3, 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100. There are also 5c, 10c, 25c, 50c and $1 coins. The CUP, also known as the national peso is made up of 100 centavos. Banknotes come in denominations of 1, 3, 5, 10, 20 and 50, with coins available for 1c, 5c, 20c, 1-peso and 3-peso.
Make sure that you always have some hard currency on you in Cuba; carry convertible pesos in small denominations as restaurants and shops often don't have change. Notes must be in pristine condition. Any sign of damage or a tear and they usually won't be accepted.
Visa and MasterCard credit and debit cards are useful in upmarket hotels and restaurants. Other cards tend not to be accepted and American Express or Diners Club are certainly unusable. For many Cubans, bank cards are an unknown quantity so stick to cash if possible. The few ATMs there are tend to be associated with banks and will only work with Visa. Those in top-end hotels may take a slightly wider range although US issued cards will still never work.