Monday, June 27, 2022

Culture Of Cuba

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Cuban culture is characterised by a melting pot of different cultures, mainly from Spain and Africa. After the 1959 revolution, the government launched a national literacy campaign, offered free education for all and established rigorous sports, ballet and music programmes.


Cuban music is very rich and is the best known expression of Cuban culture. The central form of this music is the Son, which was the basis for many other musical styles such as the “Danzón de nuevo ritmo”, the Mambo, the Cha-Cha-Cha and the Salsa. Rumba music (“de cajón o de solar”) has its origins in early Afro-Cuban culture, mixed with elements of the Hispanic style. The tres was invented in Cuba based on models of Spanish cordophone instruments (the instrument is actually a fusion of elements of the Spanish guitar and lute). Other traditional Cuban instruments are of African or Taino origin or both, such as the maracas, the güiro, the marímbula and various wooden drums, including the mayohuacán.

Cuban popular music, in all styles, is appreciated and praised throughout the world. Cuban classical music, which includes music with strong African and European influences and includes both symphonic works and music for soloists, has received international recognition thanks to composers like Ernesto Lecuona. Havana was the heart of the Cuban rap scene in its early days, in the 1990s.

At this time, reggaetón was becoming increasingly popular. In 2011, the Cuban state denounced reggaetón as degenerate, ordered the reduction of the genre’s “low-key” broadcast (although it did not ban it outright) and banned Osmani García’s megahit Chupi Chupi, characterising its depiction of sex as “the kind a prostitute would achieve”. In December 2012, the Cuban government officially banned sexually explicit reggaeton songs and music videos on radio and television. Besides pop, classical and rock music are also very popular in Cuba.


Cuban cuisine is a fusion of Spanish and Caribbean cuisine. Cuban recipes share spices and techniques with Spanish cuisine, with some Caribbean influences in spices and flavours. Food rationing, which has been the norm in Cuba for the last four decades, limits the general availability of these dishes. The traditional Cuban meal is not served in several courses; all dishes are served at the same time.

A typical meal may consist of plantains, black beans and rice, ropa vieja (shredded beef), Cuban bread, pork with onions and tropical fruits. Black beans and rice, called moros y cristianos (or moros for short), and plantains are staples of the Cuban diet. Most meat dishes are slow-cooked with light sauces. Garlic, cumin, oregano and bay leaves are the dominant spices.


Cuban literature began to make its voice heard in the early 19th century. The dominant themes of independence and freedom were exemplified by José Martí, who led the modernist movement in Cuban literature. Writers such as Nicolás Guillén and José Z. Tallet focused on literature as social protest. The poems and novels of Dulce María Loynaz and José Lezama Lima had a major influence. The novelist Miguel Barnet, who wrote “Everyone Dreamed of Cuba”, reflects a rather melancholic Cuba.

Writers such as Reinaldo Arenas, Guillermo Cabrera Infante and, more recently, Daína Chaviano, Pedro Juan Gutiérrez, Zoé Valdés, Guillermo Rosales and Leonardo Padurah have achieved international recognition in the post-revolutionary era, although many of them have been forced to continue their work in exile because of the ideological control of the media by the Cuban authorities.


Dance occupies a privileged place in Cuban culture. Folk dance is considered an essential part of life, and concert dance is supported by the government and includes internationally renowned companies such as the Ballet Nacional de Cuba.


Because of their historical ties to the United States, many Cubans play sports that are popular in North America rather than those traditionally promoted in other Latin American countries. Baseball is by far the most popular sport; other sports and pastimes include football, basketball, volleyball, cricket and track and field. Cuba is a dominant force in amateur boxing, regularly winning numerous medals in major international competitions. Cuba also fields a national team that participates in the Olympic Games.

How To Travel To Cuba

By air Havana Jose Martí International Airport, outside Havana, is the main gateway and is served by major airlines from points in Canada, Mexico and Europe. A direct flight to Beijing was introduced in 2016. There are also regional flights from other Caribbean islands. Cuba's national airline, Cubana de Aviacion, connects...

How To Travel Around Cuba

By bus The bus is the most popular way to get around the island. There are two long-distance bus lines, Viazul, which is usually for tourists, and Astro, which is usually for locals. Shorter routes are served by local provincial buses. Viazul Víazul is Cuba's main tourist bus line and the most...

Visa & Passport Requirements for Cuba

A tourist visa (visa de tarjeta del turista) is required for travellers from most nations. This visa, which is little more than a piece of paper on which you write your personal details, costs between 15 and 25 CUC (or €15-25), depending on where it is purchased. It can...

Tourism in Cuba

Tourism in Cuba is an industry that generates more than 2 million arrivals per year and is one of the island's main sources of income. With its favourable climate, beaches, colonial architecture and distinct cultural history, Cuba has long been an attractive destination for tourists. "Cuba maintains 253 protected...

Destinations in Cuba

Regions in Cuba Western Cuba (Pinar del Rio, Havana, Matanzas, Isla de la Juventud)The capital, the hills of Pinar del Rio and an off-the-beaten-track island where you can go diving make for an exciting region.Central Cuba (Camagüey (province), Villa Clara, Cienfuegos, Sancti Spíritus, Ciego de Ávila)Eastern Cuba (Las Tunas, Holguin,...

Weather & Climate in Cuba

As the entire island lies south of the Tropic of Cancer, the local climate is tropical, tempered by the northeast trade winds that blow all year round. The temperature is also determined by the Caribbean Current, which brings warm water from the equator. Cuba's climate is therefore warmer than...

Accommodation & Hotels in Cuba

Casas particulares If you want to experience some of the real Cuban life, the best places to stay are casas particulares, which are private houses licensed to offer accommodation to foreigners. A casa particular is essentially a private family establishment that provides paid accommodation, usually on a short-term basis. In...

Things To Do in Cuba

Stroll Havana's Malecon in the early evening and soak up Havana's culture. Watch out for prostitutes, as mentioned above; they are plentiful in this area, especially in the sections where rich white male tourists are known to hang out.If you have the money (usually about $60 or the equivalent...

Food & Drinks in Cuba

Food in Cuba The restaurants are owned and operated by the government and the food ranges from bland to spicy. Generally, the spicy dishes are not as hot as the hot peppers found on some other Caribbean islands. The Cuban national dish is rice and beans (moros y cristianos), and...

Money & Shopping in Cuba

Currency in Cuba Dual currency system Two currencies circulate in Cuba, the Cuban Convertible Peso (CUC) and the Cuban Peso (CUP). The wide circulation of US dollars in Cuba ended in November 2004. Cuban convertible pesos are called kooks by the locals and are the currency most tourists will use in Cuba....

Traditions & Customs in Cuba

Cubans are generally friendly and helpful people. Remember that they earn about US$15 a month; if they can help you, they probably will, but they expect you to return the favour. If you are invited to a Cuban's house for dinner, accept the invitation. You will really be treated...

Language & Phrasebook in Cuba

The official language of Cuba is Spanish, very similar to the Spanish of the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico, although the version here is very different from that spoken in Spain (although it is quite similar to that spoken in the Canary Islands, as many Cubans are descendants of...

Internet & Communications in Cuba

Internet Cuba is inherently one of the most expensive and difficult places to communicate. In Cuba, internet is provided by the state-owned telecommunications company ETESCA (under the brand name Nauta) and is only available at airports, upscale hotels and government communication centres. Finding a high-end hotel or government communication centre in...

History Of Cuba

Before Christopher Columbus landed in Cuba in 1492, the Taino people had long lived there. In 1511, the first Spanish settlement was founded by Diego Velázquez de Cuéllar in Baracoa, and other towns soon followed, including the future capital San Cristobal de Habana (Havana), founded in 1515. Cuba remained a...

Stay Safe & Healthy in Cuba

Stay Safe in Cuba Cuba is generally a very safe country; strict and extensive policing, coupled with neighbourhood watch groups (known as the Committee for the Defence of the Revolution, or C.D.R.) generally keeps the streets free of violent crime. Drug laws can be harsh and their enforcement unpredictable. The same...



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