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Cuba - Facts for the traveller, when to go, events

Facts for the traveller for Cuba

The flat summit of El Yunque from Baracoa, Guantanamo Province Visas: Virtually all visitors require a Cuban visa or Tourist Card, available from travel agencies, tour operators or a Cuban consulate for a stay of one month. The USA officially prohibits its citizens from traveling to Cuba unless they obtain a special license; travel restrictions are relaxing, however.
Health risks: Hepatitis
Time: GMT/UTC (USA Eastern Standard Time)
Dialling Code: 53
Electricity: 110-230V ,60Hz
Weights & measures: Metric

When to Go to Cuba

There isn't a bad time to visit Cuba. The hot, rainy season runs from May to October but winter (December to April) is the island's peak tourist season, when planeloads of Canadians and Europeans arrive in pursuit of the southern sun. Cubans take their hols in July and August, so this is when the local beaches are most crowded. Christmas, Easter and the period around 26 July, when Cubans celebrate the anniversary of the revolution, are also very busy.

Cuba Events

The Havana Carnival in late February and early March features parades in front of the Capitolio or along the Malecón on Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings. The Jornadas de la Cultura Camagneyana is scheduled for the first two weeks of February, and the Havana International Jazz Festival happens every second year in February. April sees the Semana de la Cultura celebrated in Baracoa and the Electroacoustic Music Festival in Varadero. The first week of May has the Romería de Mayo in Holguin, and at the end of June Trinidad hosts the Fiestas Sanjuaneras. Carnival is celebrated in Santiago de Cuba during the last two weeks of July and the first week of August to coincide with the holidays around July 26. Carnival marks the end of the sugar harvest and originated as a period in which the slaves were allowed to celebrate. For those 10 days the drum is king. The Festival of Caribbean Culture is celebrated in June or July, October has the 10-day Havana Festival of Contemporary Music and the Semana de la Cultura Trinitaria happens in Trinidad in late November. The International Festival of Latin American Film is held in Havana in December of each year.

Public Holidays
1 January - Liberation Day
1 May - Labor Day
25-27 July - Celebration of the National Rebellion
10 October - Day of Cuban Culture
Note that Christmas Day has been observed as a public holiday since the Pope's visit in 1997.

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