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- Capital city: Havana.
- Currency: Visitors use the Cuban Convertible Peso (CUC$), in note denominations of 1, 3, 5, 10, 50, 100.
- Cuisine: Caribbean staples such as rice and beans mix with Spanish and south American influences to form food bursting with colour and flavour. From classic snacks such as Cubano sandwiches and empanadas to citrus chicken dishes and sweet plantains.
- Tipping etiquette: Tipping is expected throughout Cuba. Tip at least 10-15% of your restaurant bill, and tip hotel maids a small daily amount, rather than just at the end of your trip.
- Saying hello: Simply saying ‘hola’ (hello) is perfectly acceptable. If you’d like to offer a more polite greeting, say ‘buenos dias’.
WHEN TO GO
The warm, tropical climate brings two distinct seasons to Cuba. From November to April, the weather is dry and cooler, making it ideal for more active holidays and exploring the countryside. This is also when cultural festivals come to Havana, and the streets fill with parties to mark New Year’s Eve – after rather low-key Christmas celebrations. May to October is the wet season with climbing temperatures and days broken by brief rain storms. July and August are the busiest times to be in Havana and Santiago, before the main rains arrive.
Baseball is a national passion in Cuba. Go to one of the bigger games outside Havana to really get a feel for local life.
Top tip from SLH