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Cuba, the biggest island in the Caribbean, is located at the entrance to the Gulf of Mexico. Cuba`s nearest neighbors are: to the East, Haiti (77 kilometers), to the West, the Yucatan Peninsula (210 kilometers), to the North, Florida Peninsula (180 kilometers) and to the South, Jamaica (140 kilometers). The Bahamas are very near, toward the Northwest of the eastern end of Cuba. Formed by around 4 195 smaller keys, cays and islets, it covers a surface of 110 922 square kilometers and1 200 kilometers of extension, on a mostly karstic and flat territory.
Its nature, diverse and prodigal, shows wide variety of plants, animals and more than 280 beaches, virgin islands, grottos, caves, mountains, forests, savannas and marshes.
Moderate subtropical. The Cuban territory grazes the Tropic of Cancer, and due to its long and narrow configuration, on an east-west axis, it receives the refreshing action of the trade winds and the sea breezes. During the short winter, it is cooled by masses of cold air from the North; those cold fronts do not last long. The day and night temperatures differ less in the coastal regions than inland. The eastern part of the country has a warmer climate than the western part.
There are two seasons, clearly defined: the dry season, from November through April; and the rainy season, from May through October. The average annual precipitation is 1 375 mm.
Average temperature 24,6ÂºC (76,3ÂºF) Summer average 25ÂºC (77ÂºF) Winter average 22ÂºC (71,6ÂºF).
There are three outstanding large mountain ranges. In the West, the "Sierra de los Organos"; in the central part, the Sierra del Escambray; and in the southern region of eastern Cuba, the Sierra Maestra, where the highest point of the country is located, the Pico Real del Turquino, 1 974 meters above the sea level. Its longest river is the Cauto, with a length of 250 kilometers.
Lay country with freedom of cults. Catholic and Afro-Cuban religions prevail, although other tendencies also exist.
Education is free and ninth grade is obligatory. In 1961, illiteracy was eradicated and today the population has a high instruction level. Cuban educational system embraces from day care centers for working mothers children to universities disseminated throughout the whole country.
Cuban health care system is said to have one of the world most complete programs of primary attention, the lowest infantile mortality rate in Latin America and free services for all the people.
The national currency is the Cuban Peso (CUP), which is equivalent to 100 centavos (cents). Notes can be of 1, 3, 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100 pesos. Coins can be of 1, 5 and 20 centavos, and there are others of 1 and 3 pesos.
At the Bureaus of Exchange (CADECA) created to sell - buy Cuban Convertible Pesos (CUC), the exchange rate can vary now between $20.00 and $25.00 Cuban pesos (CUP) to the Cuban Convertible Pesos(CUC).
In tourist facilities and other service units, prices are set in Cuban convertible pesos (CUC), so it is reccommended to pay in that currency. Cuban Convertible Pesos and coins have unlimited legal course in the national territory.
Euro: In Varadero, Cayo Largo del Sur, Jardines del Rey (Coco and Guillermo Keys), Santa Lucia and Covarrubias Beaches, and Holguin province (tourist resorts on northern coastline), you can also pay in euros.
Cuban convertible pesos can be changed upon departure at bank offices at international airports and ports in Cuba.
Credit cards -except those issued by US banks or their branches in other countries- are accepted. Among those accepted are MasterCard, Visa International and CABAL. Traveler`s checks, including those issued by US banks, are accepted.