10 Amazing Facts About Cuba – “Pearl of the Antilles”

1. In Cuba, Christmas was banned for 30 years. When Fidel Castro’s communist government came to power in 1959, Cuba was declared an atheist state. In 1969, Castro abolished Christmas as an official holiday, the reason being that it had a negative impact on the country’s production of sugar. Cuba’s 30-year ban on Christmas came to an end in 1997, after Pope John Paul II’s historic visit to the country.

2. On New Year’s Eve, many Cubans burn life-sized rag dolls as a way of bidding farewell to the old year. This Cuban tradition was almost eradicated after the Cuban Revolution, but has recently become popular again. The dolls are called monigotes and Cubans typically gather in streets and squares to burn the effigies at the stroke of midnight.

3. Cuba is home to over 25 endemic bird species, including the bee hummingbird, which is the smallest bird in the world. This tiny bird grows to 6 cm in length and has vivid, iridescent colors. Due to its small size, you are likely to mistake it for an insect.

4. The main island of Cuba is over 103, 599 km square, making it approximately half the size of Great Britain. It ranks as the 17th largest island in the world. Aside from Cuba’s main island, there are a further 400 islands, islets and keys that are part of Cuban territory.

5. Cuba’s cars are world famous, and it’s a popular tourist attraction to go for a ride in these old American cars. Did you know, that there is a law preventing Cuba’s vintage cars from being exported from the island? Only Cubans and foreign residents (temporary or permanent) are allowed to purchase cars in Cuba. 

6. Cuba is known for having one of the best health care in the world, and it’s free for citizens. Education is also free, and for everyone aged between 6-15, it’s mandatory to attend school.

7. Until 2008, Cubans were not allowed to own cell phones. Quite surprising, right? The same goes for computers. Since this law changed, many cubans have gotten either a cell phone or laptop. Especially since the Wi-Fi hotspots came in 2015.

8. Coca Cola is officially not sold in Cuba. Only two countries in the world are known for banning Coca Cola, and that’s Cuba and North Korea.

9. Did you know, that Cubans also have the highest doctor to patient ratio in the world? With more than 70,000 qualified doctors, which when compared to entire Africa, is only 50,000. It is estimated that the Cuban doctors settled abroad, bring back 8 billion dollars worth of money, which makes the exports of doctors more valuable than the whole tourism industry.

10. The freedom of the press is non-existent since all media is owned and highly controlled by the government. This includes TV, Radio, Newspapers etc. Before the revolution, there were almost 50 newspapers published on a daily basis. Check out the latest updates on Cuba!

Did you know? Dominican Republic is not so far from Cuba! And just like Cuba, the DR has a very amazing culture! Do check that out as well!

This was all for Cuba’s amazing facts, hope you found them interesting!