Cuba - Frequently Asked Questions
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Cuba | Frequently Asked Questions

General Info, Travel Info, & FAQs are provided to assist with your vacation.

What is the population?
The population of Cuba is more than 11,120,000.

How big is the country/island?
The Cuban archipelago, which consists of the main island, the Isle of Youth and approximately 4,195 cays (pronounced keys) and islets, comprises a surface area of 110,992 sq km. The main island is 1,200km long; 210km at its widest point and 32km at its narrowest point.

Can I drink the tap water?
Tap water is generally safe to drink. Bottled water (agua mineral sin gas) is also available.

What are the best things to buy here?
Specialty stores in tourist areas carry high-end European and other imports.

For souvenirs with local flavour look for local crafts, guayaberas (the typical straight-bottomed shirts worn by men) and Cuban cigars, rums, music and books.

What are the main industries?
The main industries are tourism, agriculture (sugar, tobacco, coffee, honey, cocoa and citrus fruit), rum, pharmaceuticals and biotechnology, construction materials, fishing and mining (nickel, copper and magnesium).

What native dishes should I try?
The national dish is ajiaco, a stew made with various root vegetables and pork, poultry or beef. Other local dishes include ropa vieja (shredded beef with onions and peppers), lechón (roast pork) and picadillo a la habanera (ground beef in tomato sauce, sometimes including olives and raisins). Side dishes include tachinos, chatinos or tostones (fried green plantains), congri (rice with red beans) and moros y cristianos (rice with black beans). For dessert try natilla (a sweet pudding), flan and Coppelia ice creams. Guarapo is the sweet juice of freshly pressed sugar cane.

Can I use my calling card from here?
AT&T: Although service is available from the Guantanamo Bay US military base, there is no access to the base from within Cuba. Service is only available from the base for country-to-country calls using AT&T Calling Cards, AT&T Corporate Cards, American Express, Diners Club, Discover/NOVUS, MasterCard and Visa. To call the US dial 2935 + area code + local number or for country-to-country calls dial 2935 + 01 + country code + city code + local number and then follow the voice prompts.

BT: no service available

Canada Direct: no service available

MCI MinutePass: no service available

Sprint: no service available

For more information see the section in General Info: Telecommunications.

How should I dress to go out?
Dress in Cuba is casual. Still, it is unacceptable to wear bathing suits, short shorts and short tank tops in public. Light cotton clothing is sufficient, although you may want to dress a little more formally for fine dining and theatre events. Guayaberas, the straight-bottomed shirts worn untucked by men, are acceptable at formal functions. You may want to bring a light sweater/jacket for evenings and for use in air-conditioned facilities.

Can I use my hair dryer and electric shaver?
Electricity is 110 AC, 60 Hz, which is the same as in North America, although many hotels also have the European 220-volt system. Power surges and outages are common.

How much should I tip?
Tips are very important supplemental income to the low wages most workers earn. Although some restaurants include a 10% service charge you may wish to tip the wait staff an additional 5-10%. In general, tip waiters and waitresses 10-20% ($2-$5 at buffet-style establishments), maids $1 per day, porters $1 per bag and about $1 for anyone providing a service to you, such as taxi drivers, guides, restaurant musicians and so forth.

Disclaimer: Information is provided as a service to visitors and is updated regularly. All information should be verified prior to travel.

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