Cuba is a beautiful country that is absolutely rich in both culture and history.
Though Cuba is a popular tourist destination, there are actually lots of things about this island nation that most people don’t know about.
If you want to know more about Cuba, then you’re in the right place!
We’ve put together 11 interesting facts about the island that you should definitely know. From old cars to fantastic healthcare, there’s more to Cuba than meets the eye!
1. The Diversity Of Cuba
Cuba has an extremely diverse culture that isn’t talked about enough. There are so many different types of people that call this island their home.
Before the Spanish Conquest in the 1500s, Cuba was originally home to the native Taino people.
The population of the Taino has dropped in comparison today, but there are still remnants of the people in the modern Cuban culture.
When the Spanish people did come over to Cuba, they added their own culture into the mix and were later joined by other Europeans, Africans, the Jewish People, and many other cultures and ethnicities.
2. Cuba Is A Lot Bigger Than You Might Think
You might be under the impression that Cuba is quite small, but you’d be surprised to know that it’s a lot bigger than you think.
It’s actually the biggest island in the whole of the Caribbean. If you want a comparison, it’s roughly the same size as Pennsylvania.
On top of its main landmass, there are also lots of little islands scattered around that are part of the Cuban territory.
If you want a number, there are actually a staggering 4000 islands that makeup Cuba altogether!
3. Cuba Is The Home Of Cigars
We’ve all heard of the famous Cuban Cigar, but do you know how big of a deal cigars actually are in Cuba?
They are popular among all social classes in Cuba.
Whereas in other countries, cigars are considered an indulgence of the rich, everyone in Cuba enjoys cigars, regardless of social status!
Cigar culture in Cuba is taken very seriously. If you want to be a cigar roller, you have to spend months training and getting your cigar rolling education. All the cigars in Cuba are still hand-rolled!
4. World Heritage
We all know of UNESCO World Heritage sites, but did you know that Cuba has 9 of them in total?
Its most famous UNESCO World Heritage site is Old Havana, which was built sometime in the 1500s.
There is also a valley filled with tobacco farms called Viñales Valley, a fortress and castle built in 1648 called San Pedro de la Roca, and many more World Heritage sites.
If you find yourself planning a trip to Cuba, make sure you check out some of their 9 World Heritage sites!
5. The Home Of Old Cars
Cuba is well known for its love for classic American muscle cars, but it might surprise you at the sheer number of these cars you’ll find across the island.
When you step onto Cuban soil, you’ll feel like you’ve traveled back in time and the number of American muscle cars will certainly surprise you!
They do use modern cars in Cuba, but it seems the love of the old American muscle cars has been ingrained into the culture, and this gives the whole island a quirky and fun vibe.
6. Cuba Loves Baseball
When you think of baseball, you probably immediately think of the US, but it might surprise you to know that Cuba is also a place where baseball is just as popular of a pass time!
They have their own baseball league in Cuba, and they have been playing baseball in Cuba since at least the 1860s.
Lots of Cuban baseball players have actually made the jump from the Cuban League over to the MBL in America.
Other sports that the Cubans love include boxing, volleyball, and soccer, but baseball is definitely their number one sport!
7. Currency In Cuba
Currency has had an interesting history in Cuba. The original currency was the Cuban Peso, which was used by the natives, and then as tourists became more frequent to the island, the Cuban Convertible Peso was introduced.
So at one point, there were actually two currencies being used at the same time in Cuba!
It used to be illegal for tourists to use the Cuban Peso, but this law was eventually phased out and tourists could choose between the Cuban Peso or the Cuban Convertible Peso.
They were both worth different amounts as well, which could get a bit confusing.
8. A High Life Expectancy In Cuba
Although Cuba is considered to be a poor country, it actually has an incredible healthcare system that is regarded as one of the best in the world.
This means as well that the life expectancy is actually pretty high in Cuba and most people live long and healthy lives on the island.
The average Cuban life expectancy is 78.8 years. The Cuban life expectancy is higher than the U.S. life expectancy of 78.79 years.
The reason that the life expectancy in Cuba is so good is that they offer Universal Health Care to all their citizens, regardless of their income or social class.
It doesn’t matter what your situation is, if you are a Cuban citizen, then you can get the healthcare that you need.
9. Wifi Issues
If you’re very internet dependent, be aware of what the wifi is like if you find yourself in Cuba.
Though it is a big tourist destination, Cuba is run by an authoritarian government, and access to the internet is still heavily regulated.
This means that you might have a bit of trouble accessing the internet when you’re there.
You can get on the internet, but you’ll have to use one of the designated hotspots, and you’ll have to pay to use them.
On top of that, lots of websites are still restricted, so you may not be able to access the websites that you need to.
10. Fancy A Cocktail?
If you love a good cocktail, then Cuba is the place for you! Cuba is a very rum-centric place, it is the Caribbean after all!
The famous and simple rum and coke actually originate in Cuba and go by the name of Cuba Libre.
The Mojito and the Daiquiri are also two famous and loved cocktails that come from Cuba, so you have this beautiful island to thank for these cocktails.
11. A Great Literacy Rate
On top of a great life expectancy rate and famous cocktails, Cuba is also known for its fantastic literacy rate.
Cuba takes care of its residents and it has a great welfare state. The literacy rate in Cuba is 99.7%, which is a vast improvement from where it was 60+ years ago.
As you can see, there’s more to Cuba than what you might have originally thought.
It is a diverse country, filled with culture, amazing cocktails, and lots of World Heritage sites.
If you find yourself planning a trip to Cuba, take these fun facts into account while you’re exploring and really appreciate this beautiful country for all that it is.
There’s so much to Cuba, we haven’t even scratched the surface here. This list is just the beginning of all you can discover about this beautiful island!