Saturday, December 16, 2017
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What is the population?

The Cuban archipelago comprises a surface area of 110, 992 square kilometers.

Can I drink the tap water?

Tap water is generally safe to drink. If you prefer, bottled water, sold as agua mineral sin gas, is also available.

Is Cuba safe?

Answer:Cuba is probably one of the safest countries in the world. Crime is usually limited to "quick theft" and your physical safety should be very secure. However, you will probably meet a "jinetero" or hustler and you may find yourself saying "No Gracias" more often than you'd like. Because most Cubans are so friendly, it's easy to be lulled into a false sense of security but you should remember to take the same precautions as you would when travelling anywhere.

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 Cuban cigars, rums, guayaberas (the typical straight-bottomed shirts worn by men), Cuban music and books, and local crafts.

What are the main industries?

The main industries are tourism, sugar, petroleum, tobacco, construction, nickel, steel, cement, agricultural machinery, and pharmaceuticals.

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.

How's the food?

Food is simple, but good. However, people don't go to Cuba for the food! Staples include black beans & rice, fish, chicken and pork. We usually arrange at least one visit to a private Cuban restaurant (paladar). Variety and ambience tend to be greater in private restaurants than in the state-run operations.

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 untouched 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 60 Hz 110 AC, 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 per cent service charge, you may wish to tip the wait staff an additional five to 10 per cent. In general, tip waiters and waitresses 10 to 20 per cent (at buffet-style establishments tips $2 to $5); 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.



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