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Living in Cuba?

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Alberto Mendez

Living in Cuba, from Spain

"From all the websites I checked before moving to Havana, InterNations seemed to have the highest quality and looked the most inviting."

Cynthia Fleming

Living in Cuba, from Great Britain

"I discovered that I wasn't the only British spouse looking for an expat women group in Havana. So we got together and organized one."

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Cuba at a Glance

Life in Cuba

Life in Cuba has its pitfalls! Read our guide and find out all about different destinations, healthcare, and accommodation in Cuba. That way, living in Cuba can be an amazing experience, with joyful, welcoming people and constant sunshine.

There is a lot about life in Cuba which attracts expats to move to this Caribbean island. Some may instantly think about the famous Cuban cigars and Ché Guevara murals, while others are reminded of the music of the Buena Vista Social Club. Either way, Cuba is often associated with a simple, yet romantic and happy way of life. But before you celebrate by lighting that thick Montecristo, read on for a brief overview of living in Cuba.

Destinations in Cuba

From big cities to rural villages, living in Cuba may take you everywhere, whether you’d prefer a more urban life or the less luxurious countryside. Everything is possible. In this section, we will introduce a few destinations but this overview is by no mean extensive, of course.

Havana

Havana is Cuba’s capital, located in the northwest of the island at the Gulf of Mexico. With about 2.14 million inhabitants, it is also the largest city in the Caribbean and attracts expats and tourists alike. Havana, also known as the “Gateway to the Gulf of Mexico” is particularly famous for its colonial architecture.  The city is the cultural and political center of Cuba. Thus, many expats seeking employment in Cuba might find themselves settling in Havana.

The city was originally called La Villa de San Cristóbal de la Habana and served as a center for trade and commerce in the 16th century. Today, Old Havana, the historic heart of the city, is the last relic of life in Cuba’s colonial past. If you ever get sick of urban life and the hustle and bustle on Parade Square, head out to Playa del Este. This beach stretches 15km from Bacuranao to Guanabo, just east of Havana. It’s the perfect place for a spontaneous get-away.

Trinidad de Cuba

Trinidad de Cuba borders the Caribbean Sea and, much like Havana, it looks back on almost 500 years of history. The city’s ancient palaces and colonial-style buildings take you back to the reign of the Spanish conquistadores. Today, life in  Trinidad is mostly dominated by tourism. However, the tobacco processing industry is strong in this area as well.

To expats living in Cuba’s province of Sanctí Spiritus, this may not come as a surprise. After all, it has been declared UNESCO world heritage site, together with the neighboring Valle de los Ingenios (Valley of the Sugar Mills). Aside from that, Trinidad’s beaches are what make life in Cuba particularly enjoyable. Most of them are located on Casilda Bay.

Santiago de Cuba

Santiago de Cuba is considered the second largest city in Cuba and also the one which is known to be the most “Caribbean”. Cuba’s southeast is influenced by trade and immigration, mostly from nearby Caribbean countries. However, Santiago de Cuba is also famous for its colorful carnival, an annual celebration locals are particularly proud of.

The historic heart of Santiago is definitely worth a visit, not to mention Major General Antonio Maceo Revolution Square, where parades and meetings take place. Moreover, San Pedro de la Roca, located at the Bay entrance, bears witness to the long history of pirate attacks the city had to endure. Throughout your life in Cuba’s southeast, you will most likely discover even more places to see and things to do.

InterNations Expat Magazine