Living in Cuba?
Life in Cuba
At a Glance:
- For expats seeking employment, Havana may be the best choice.
- The healthcare system, based on preventing diseases, is considered fairly efficient.
- More than one tenth of Cuba’s GDP goes towards funding public education.
There is a lot about life in Cuba which drives expats to travel to this beautiful island. Some may instantly think about the famous Cuban cigars and Che Guevara murals, while others are reminded of the music of the Buena Vista Social Club. Either way, concepts of life in Cuba are 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 Capital to Countryside
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. Although this section is by no means extensive, below you will find a brief introduction to some of Cuba’s prime destinations.
Havana: The Cultural and Political Center
Havana is Cuba’s capital, located in the northwest of the island at the Gulf of Mexico. With just over 2.14 million inhabitants, it is also the largest city, not only in the country but also in the Caribbean. Havana, also known as the “Gateway to the Gulf of Mexico”, attracts expats and tourists alike. It is particularly famous for the colonial architecture that litters the Cuban landscape. The city is the cultural and political center of Cuba. Thus, many expats seeking employment in Cuba might find themselves settling in Havana.
Originally called La Villa de San Cristóbal de la Habana, Havana 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 tire of the mass of people, and the hustle and bustle of life on Parade Square, just travel out to Playa del Este. This long beach, which stretches 15km from Bacuranao to Guanabo, can feel like a different country. Just east of Havana, it’s one of Cuba’s best beaches, and the perfect place to just sit back, light a Cuban cigar and think the world away.
Santiago de Cuba: Come Here For the Carnival
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 its neighboring countries. However, Santiago de Cuba is also famous for its colorful carnival, an annual celebration Cubans 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.
Trinidad de Cuba: The Island’s Most Popular Tourist Spot
Trinidad de Cuba borders the Caribbean Sea and, much like Havana, it is far from new. Looking back on 500 years of history, its ancient palaces and colonial-style buildings will take you back to the reign of the Spanish conquistadores. Today, life in Trinidad is mostly dominated by tourism, and the streets are just as filled with foreign visitors as they are with Cuban locals. 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 a 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.
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