Cuba, the beautiful Alligator as it is called and the largest of the Caribbean islands is located in the entrance of the Gulf of Mexico. The island’s closest neighbours are: Haiti to the east; the Peninsula of Yucatan to the west; Florida to the north and Jamaica to the south. The Bahamas is found very close to the northeast. Cuba is an archipelago made up of some 4 195 keys and the Isle of Youth.
Cuba’s nature is diverse and extravagant; you can find the best landscapes; a great variety of flora and fauna; over 280 excellent white sand beaches; virgin keys; caves; swamps; valleys; forests and mountains. Cuba has a modern hotel’s infrastructure, a wide variety of Hospitals and Health Care centres through out the island; Convention & Congress Centres; good restaurants and night clubs; Theatres, Zoo and Botanical Parks; and a monumental colonial architecture in most of its principal cities as well as an active and vibrant culture life.
The island’s most important mountainous groups are formed by the Sierra de los Organos to the west; the Sierra del Escambray to the central part and the Sierra Maestra Mountains to the east where you can find the highest elevation which is the Turquino Peak 1 974 meters above sea level.
The Cuban population is the result of a mixture of European, African, Asian and the aborigine people. Its people are joyful and musical and live very rooted in its traditions and customs. The island’s inhabitants have a high educational level and have access to a national educational system free of charge for all.
Cuban culture is a product of the mixture of cultures. As Cuba’s ethnologist Fernando Ortiz said it is the outcome of a process of merging cultures from different origins which has formed the Cuban nation and the Cuban culture. In the field of music, the rumba and conga emerged from the African ancesters now transform into afrocuban music; the danzón and son coming from the merge with the European cultures. The most recent genres are the mambo, cha cha cha, new trova movement, latin jazz and the popular salsa. This mixture of rhythms and new musical trends has had a great impact in the national culture and got international recognition in renowned musical groups like: Aragon, Benny More, Compay Segundo, Joseito Fernandez, Lecuona, Cesar Portillo de la Luz, Celia Cruz, Chucho Valdes, Elena Bourke, Omara Portuondo among many others.
Great writers and poets like Jose Maria Heredia, Jose Marti, Dulce Maria Loynaz, Alejo Carpentier, Jose Lezama Lima, Nicolas Guillen or Eliseo Diego; internationally acclaimed painters like Wifredo Lam, Rene Portocarrero or Tomas Sanchez; or exponents of dance like the Cuban National Ballet company and its prima bailerina Alicia Alonso. Cuba is the site of important international events like: the Havana International Ballet , the Havana Theater Festivals; Biennial of Fine Arts; Popular Music Festival like Benny More or Cucalambe; International Book Fair; the International Film Festival of New Latin American Cinema among many others.
Cuba is divided into 14 provinces and a special municipality. They are Pinar del Rio, Artemisa, Ciudad de La Habana, Mayabeque, Matanzas, Villa Clara, Cienfuegos, Sancti Spiritus, Ciego de Avila, Camaguey, Las Tunas, Holguin, Granma, Santiago de Cuba and Guantanamo. The special municipality of the Isle of Youth located south of Havana province.
Havana, the capital of Cuba, was founded in 1519 and originally baptised with the name of San Cristobal de la Habana and is located in the north-western part of the island. The city is full of incredible history, culture and traditions. It is an excellent cultural and tourism destination.
Old Havana was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO since 1982, it has one of the most eclectic architecture complexes of the new world where the multiplicity styles are merged and an infinite number of values are conserved as loyal exponents of the colonial architecture of America.
Artemisa, in August 2010, Artemisa became the capital city of the newly formed Artemisa Province, which comprises 8 municipalities of the former La Habana Province and 3 from Pinar del Río.Wikipedia
Mayabeque, Mayabeque is made up of the 11 eastern municipalities of the former La Habana province, with the capital in San José de las Lajas. Mayabeque Province is named after the Mayabeque River (the largest in this territory) as well as the south shore of Mayabeque beach, the place believed to be the original location of Havana village (San Cristóbal de La Habana) that was founded in 1514. Wikipedia
Pinar del Rio is the island’s westernmost province. You can visit beautiful sites like: Viñales Valley, declared a Nature World Heritage Site by UNESCO and Soroa located in the western part of the Sierra del Rosario Mountain range, declared a Biosphere Reserve due to its natural treasures.
In the Sierra del Rosario it is also the Terrazas complex, an beautiful area where you can enjoy San Juan River and places like French coffee plantation ruins.
Best diving you could have in Cuba also is located in Pinar del Río province at Maria La Gorda in the Guanacabibes Península and also in Levisa Key , a key off main land, north of Pinar del Rio. Also in Maria La Gorda you could find best in depth fishing in the island.
Matanzas, known as the Athens of Cuba, stands out in the country’s cultural panorama. It is famous for the world famous Varadero Beach Resort with 23 diving areas, sporting installations, golf course and a wide range of hotels and tourism facilities.
In the Zapata Peninsula a vacationer can visit the Bigger Swamp in Cuba and in the Caribbean, also an excellent place for bird watching and to observe the cocodriles in their own environments.