27 Interesting And Fun Cuban Facts About Cuba [Explained]

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Cuba is one of the most beautiful countries in the world. This island nation with a population of over 11 million, stands proud as the largest island in the Caribbean. There are many interesting facts about Cuba that make it an attractive destination.

Cuba is popular for its rich history, culture, and music. It has so many beautiful places that will interest you. Cubans are one of the most friendly people in the world. It is a country with good proximity to the US state of Florida. 

Historical Facts About Cuba

Cuba Slavery

Despite being a small country, Cuba was famous for many reasons. One of the more infamous facts about Cuba is its policy on slavery. Many countries in the Americas were quick to abolish slavery whether willingly or reluctantly.

Cuba is the second to last country in the American continent to abolish slavery. After centuries in 1886, Cuba finally abolished slavery. 


Snow History

Cuba is not a place where snowfall is common. Snowfall is more of a miracle in Cuba but guess what? Cubans have openly enjoyed the snowfall miracle once.

March 12, 1857, was the first and last time in Cuba’s history when they experienced snowfall. Although certain parts claim to experience snowfall once in a while. The only recorded and officially recognized snowfall in Cuba took place in 1857.


The Christmas Ban

There are many facts about Cuba but this one stands out. Christmas is a tradition celebrated almost everywhere in the world. But for good 29 years, it was banned in Cuba.

From 1969 to 1998, Cubans didn’t have the luxury to celebrate Christmas. The Cuban leader at the time Fidel Castro prohibited any form of religious celebration.

As you’d expect though some Cubans continued the celebrations. They celebrated under the radar as quietly as possible. Now though Christmas is back.

In 1998 though Christmas celebration was officially restored as a public holiday again to honor the pope who visited the country.


Biggest Ballet School In The World

Here’s one really cool fact about Cuba, although not entirely a surprise considering the culture and their love for dance. Cuba has one of the oldest and biggest ballet schools in the world.

The school was established over 90 years ago (1931) in the capital city of Havana. The first crop of students was about 3000. It is no surprise that Cubans love ballet.

Cuban Adjustment Act

Since 1966, the U.S. provides a quick path for Cuban citizens to get legal residency when they step foot on U.S. soil. Yeah! I know what you are thinking, it can’t be that easy, Well it is relative.

As long as you do not take flight, but you go through land or sea, as a Cuban you are granted legal residency in the United States. During that time, the act was passed with the intention to help political refugees from Cuba.

This has made the migration to the U.S. attractive to millions of Cubans. Although many in Cuba are still in despair as this act has allowed family and friends to jump ships and never look back.

This initiative has however changed in 2017 by then-President Obama. Cubans now have to seek similar legal entrance into the country before being able to get a green card.

In 2015 Cuba Had Their First Public Wifi

Cuba experiences the introduction of the internet in the late 90s and until. Internet in Cuba did not improve due to government restrictions and poor funding until 2007.

Since 2007 the internet began to gain ground and it was only in 2015 that public WiFi hotspot was introduced. And the introduction was only in 35 locations.  Although before that time government officials had access to WiFi hotspots.

The following year the number improved. As of 2018 over 500 hotspots are available in Cuba providing good internet access to Cubans all over the island.

Cultural Facts About Cuba

Nochebuena (The Good Night)

Here’s an important Cuban cultural fact, they love the good night. Cubans adore Christmas Eve, they refer to it as “the good night.” It is a time when they get together with families and have the main meal of the holiday while celebrating.

Usually, the main meal is roast pork depending on the size of the family most Cuban families roast a whole pig. Often the meal is accompanied by vegetables, rice, and fried plantain. Cubans love plantain.

Most families go stick together and go straight to mass at midnight after they’ve finished eating their Nochebuena.

Burn The Doll And Bring The Fortune

Every culture and tradition has its superstitious beliefs and Cubans are no exception. Another fun fact about Cuba is that they believe very much in the spirituals. One tradition Cubans uphold yearly is the new year celebration.

During this celebration, they burn dolls. Not every kind of doll though. Ragdolls are perceived to be bad luck which invites terrible things. Cubans especially those in the rural areas burn these dolls on New Year’s as a way to ward off evil and anticipate good fortune for the new year. 


What Food Do Cubans Like

Due to the climate condition of Cuba, root vegetables and tropical fruits thrive there.

One fact about Cuban food is that it almost always has a touch of rice or plantain. Cubans consume a lot of seafood, and it is no surprise considering it is an island country.

Though Cubans love rice and plantain also. Tostone is one of the best ways to enjoy Cuban cuisine. The Tostone is a twice-fried plantain. That said, Cuban food is truly a treat, so be sure to try out some of their delicacies when you visit.


Homemade Cocktails

Taking alcohol regularly is not something for average Cubans. Alcohol is too pricy to be leisure for Cubans.

The people love their homemade cocktails. Many Cubans prefer to use their recipes instead of buying liquor. The main ingredient is mainly aguardiente a type of liquor made from sugar.

This homemade cocktail is a staple for Cubans during festivals, dancing parades, music festivals, and hanging out with friends. It may not be suitable for every palette, so check before you gulp.

Cubans Love To Be Heard

Cubans love to show respect and be respected in return. When conversing with Cubans you should try to maintain direct eye contact as much as possible.

Cubans believe looking someone directly in the eyes when speaking is a sign of respect. It tells them you are interested and invested in the conversation.

A rather random fact about Cuba is that shouting is common. Cubans love to express themselves so it is common to see people converse as loud as possible. If you happen to witness that, don’t be alarmed its part of the culture.

Interesting Facts About Cuba For Kids


Amazing Literacy Rate

Cuba has an impressively high literacy rate of over 99%. A larger proportion of Cubans at 15 can read and write.

The Government in Cuba takes education seriously thereby providing free education for Cubans at all levels. There are many educational initiatives in Cuba going in promising directions. Certainly, one of the encouraging facts about Cuba for kids.


Hummingbird Paradise

There are over 2500 species of birds in Cuba. The standout specie though is the hummingbird. These unique small birds find their habitation in Cuba.

The hummingbird has a unique size in that it is often mistaken for an insect. It has a length and height of 6cm apiece while weighing between 1.5 to 2 grams.

Hummingbirds are common in Cuba and you can easily spot them when you get to the Alexander Humboldt National park in East Cuba. 


Small And Mighty

One interesting fact about Cuba is that it is small and big at the same time. While as a whole Cuba is almost the same size as Virginia, it is the largest island in the Caribbean.

There are over 500 islands in the Caribbean, and Cuba is larger than all of them. The closest are Haiti, Dominican Republic, and Jamaica.


Beautiful Beaches For All

Cubans love the beach, so there is no surprise that Cuba has over 250 beaches. It makes it one of the best beach sites in the Caribbean. Also, Cuba has over 200 bays in addition to the beautiful beaches.

Fun Cuba Facts For Travelers


Dual Currency In Cuba

Cuba’s ties with the USA cannot be over-emphasized. One important fact about Cuba to note for travelers is that it is one of a few counties operating with dual currencies. 

Of the two currencies in Cuba, one (CUP) is strictly for the locals while the other (CUC) is for foreigners. The CUC is known as the Cuban Convertible Peso, it has a fixed rate of 1CUC=1USD, for tourist you shouldn’t have any currency troubles while visiting Cuba


Best Cigars In The World

One of the things Cuba is famous for is its Cuban cigars. Most of their cigars are handmade with homegrown tobacco, which makes them more unique and appealing.

When visiting Cuba you can never go wrong with trying their cigars. You don’t have to be a smoker, you can go to one of their tobacco plantations and try it out, it’s worth it.

No Coca-Cola In Cuba

This is a weird one but also a cool fact about Cuba. Coca-Cola or Coke as it is nicknamed is a world-renowned brand. Apart from the drink itself, their famous and amazing Christmas displays place it high on the list of carbonated drinks in most countries.

But yeah! Cubans don’t drink coke. Cuba like North Korea is the only two countries known for banning the production and import of Coca-Cola. But don’t worry as a visitor you can still get coke while on vacation. A few hotels and stores still sell them. Cubans though take Tukola which is the local version of Coca-Cola.

Biggest Carnival In The Caribbean

For tourists who love culture and color here’s an exciting fact about Cuba for you. The biggest carnival in the Caribbean takes place in Cuba.

Carnival de Santiago de Cuba is one of the best carnivals the Caribbean has to offer. Features music dance and culture. There Cubans have the opportunity to showcase their rich culture and heritage with their costumes.

John Lennon Park

Havana houses a well-designed statue of John Lennon, which they now call John Lennon Park. However, the statue has seen its glasses stolen an unaccountable number of times.

One funny fact about Cuba is that there is now there’s a guard specially positioned to hold the glasses. Only upon tourist arrival does the statue gets to put on its glasses again.

Hotels Are Rare

One surprising but interesting Cuba fact is that they have very few hotels. If you want to book a hotel in Cuba you will notice it’s quite a hassle.

Most hotels in Cuba don’t offer the local experience while being expensive, it’s a no-go. To enjoy Cuba and the local experience, you will be better off at a casa particular also known as a “Private house.”

Most private houses are licensed by the government so you have nothing to worry about. They also have what it takes to welcome foreign guests. At the casa particular you have a firsthand experience of the local Cuban life as you get to stay with a local family and eat their homemade foods.

Common Facts About Cuba


Cars Are Overpriced In Cuba

Although not the poorest Country in the world it takes a very wealthy man to own a good car in Cuba. Most common cars in Cuba are vintage and are at least 60 to 70 years old.

Very old cars are sold for thousands of dollars, you can imagine what a cost of a new car would be. One historical Cuba fact is that they imposed a ban on domestic sales of cars for over 50 years. It was in 2014 that domestic sales of cars began.

For example in 2020 the Cuban government announced a 10% discount on car sales and yet a Peugeot Expert Tepee 2013 still cost around $191646,00.


Hitchhiking The Travel Way

That said, a related Cuban fact is that they don’t have many cars. Most Cubans don’t own cars. Available transport like buses although very good are often overcrowded. If you live for the hustle it’s something you might want to try.

But it is common to see many hitchhikers on your travels to Cuba. To enjoy your travels and explore the cities to the fullest you might want to join the hitchhiking train.

Language, Religion, And Ethnicity

Cuba has a Spanish heritage, therefore the official language is Spanish. Although other languages like English and Haitian Creole are also spoken in Cuba.

The ethnic groups are about 64.1% white, 26.6% black, and 9.3% black. Christianity is the dominant religion in the region with about 58.9% of Cubans being Christians while 23.2% have no religion, 17.6% have Folk religion while others are 0.3%.

Relatively Low Salary

An average Cuban earns about $25-30 per month. Seems low but it is not the worst, sure by American or European standards, it is terrible. But it is fair when you compare it to certain countries like Haiti, Jamaica, and even Mexico. 

When you look at it critically you will see that it is not so terrible. Cuba provides food stamps for their citizens and subsidizes basic amenities, education, and health care.

With all that, $25-30 seems fair. You can still enjoy the money well within the month. Coffee costs as little as .04cents, sandwich .08 cents, shared taxi for .40cents. The $30 goes a long way.

Other Interesting Facts About Cuba

The Beatles Were Banned

Here’s a lesser known and probably surprising fact about Cuba. Up until the year, 2000 Cubans didn’t get to enjoy the Beatles’ music. Castro prohibited the Beatles’ music, broadcasting stations were forbidden from airing them.

Castro believed that the Beatles’ music was a symbol of irrational materialism. Good thing though the Beatles’ music is back in Cuba. Castro eased the embargo on the Beatles in 2000, he was quoted saying “I am a dreamer who has seen my dreams come true.”


High Doctor-To-Patient Ratio

Cuba has a very high doctor-to-patient ratio, it is one of the highest in the world. Cubans enjoy exceptional healthcare service. Cuba has over 65,000 qualified doctors and over 50,000 doctors in over 65 countries of the world.

From reports in 2019, Cuba had an exceptionally high 9 doctors to 1000 patient ratio. Currently, it stands at an average of 6 doctors per 1000 people. Which is still exceptionally high when compared to many developed countries. In the UK it is about 2.7 doctors for 1000 patients.

The Crocodile Country “El Crocodile”

It has been suggested that when you view it from a high altitude above sea level, Cuba resembles a crocodile.

One Cool fact about Cuba is that it has a nickname in Spanish “El Crocodile.” rightly so, if it resembles a crocodile viewing from the air, there is no better nickname than this.

Phone Ban

It was not until 2008 when President Raul Castro’s government intervened before Cubans were allowed to own phones.

Before the ban was lifted in 2008 only official workers and government offices were allowed to own a cell phone. 

Discovering More Fun Facts About Cuba

Cubans are some of the most open and inclusive people in the world. They are warm to foreigners just as they are to locals. When traveling to Cuba be sure to enjoy some of their amazing cuisine, especially the Tostone, and visit some of their amazing beaches.

Enjoy sightseeing at the museum and parks in Havana, and dive into the local culture. These are just a few of the many interesting and fun facts about Cuba. Don’t miss out on anything when you decide to go to Cuba for your next trip.



Book Your Flight

I usually use a combination of 2-3 of the following search engines to find cheap flights: Skyscanner, Momondo, Google Flights

Find Your Accommodation

Booking.com is my usual platform for finding accommodation options as they have one of the largest selections. Hostelworld is great for booking hostels. For more private or long term accommodation, Airbnb is my go-to platform.

Travel Insurance

Travel insurance is important for to protect yourself against unforeseen circumstances. I usually look at a few insurance companies depending on my travel needs.
  • SafetyWings for Travel Health Insurance
  • IMG Global for added Insurance when doing activities outside of usual coverage
Packing for your trip? Check out the packing list for ideas on what to bring

For more travel resources, check out my resources page for best platforms and companies to use when you travel.

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Welcome To NomadsUnveiled
This is Rax. For over a decade, I have traveled to over 60 countries - from a budget backpacker to a business traveler, expat and then a digital nomad. You can find insights and perspectives from myself and other world travelers that will inspire your journey of discovery.


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