Call us today on 020 7644 1755

A practical guide to Cuba

National holidays and celebrations

There are seven national holidays in Cuba and almost all of them have some historical significance. The list of holiday dates officially observed nationwide is as follows:

  • Triumph of the Revolution - 1st January
  • International Workers' Day - 1st May
  • Commemoration of the Assault of the Moncada Garrison - 25th to 27th July: three days of national celebration.
  • Independence Day - 10th October
  • Christmas - 25th December

Here are some other important dates and times in the Cuban calendar:

  • Havana Canon Shot: takes place daily at 9PM.
  • Santiago de Cuba Carnival: takes place in July and runs for seven days.
  • Havana Carnival: takes place in August and lasts a full seven days.
  • International Book Fair: in either February or March - a week-long festival.

Money

Cuba currently has two usable currencies: the Cuban peso (CUP) and the Cuban convertible peso (CUC). As a tourist you will use CUC to pay for any goods and services you purchase. Take British pounds to exchange on the island for the best rates.

Be aware that US dollars are no longer accepted in Cuba and those wishing to exchange them will be subject to a 10 per cent commission fee. Credit cards and ATMs are also subject to charges of between 11 and 13 per cent. Consult with your bank at home if in doubt before heading to Cuba.

Travellers' cheques are also highly recommended and easy to use, so long as they have not been issued by an American bank. Please note that American Express travellers' cheques are no longer accepted, as is the case with any credit cards issued by American banks.

Eating out

The 50-year-long US blockade limits the kinds of ingredients to which Cubans have access, which has affected (sometimes unfairly) the reputation of this island's cuisine. These challenges, however, have led Cubans to become very resourceful and creative in their cooking, which means unique dishes and flavoursome creations. A mix of Spanish, African and Asian cuisines, Cuban food is rarely spicy but always full of flavour.

The best and most authentic food is often found outside hotels and resorts. Try one of the famous 'paladares', which are restaurants created inside locals' home, for an authentic taste of Cuban life. We recommend La Guarida (so respected that many politicians, celebrities like Jack Nicholson, and even the Queen of Spain have dined here) and La Cocina de Lillian, regarded as the most beautiful paladar in Havana, with a beautiful garden setting and some of the best food in the city. The capital is also home to some exceptional restaurants, like Cafe del Oriente and El Templete.

Climate

Enjoying a tropical climate with plenty of sunshine and warm weather all year round, Cuba has an enviable weather. Gentle north easterly breezes take the edge off higher temperatures making it perfect for a spot or sunbathing or lazing by the pool.

  • July and August are the hottest, most humid months, with average temperatures being around the 31°C mark.
  • The dry season runs from November to April, with May to October being the rainy period.
  • Even in winter average temperatures in January are between 21 and 24°C making it one of the most pleasant times of year to visit, with plenty of sunshine, milder temperatures and little rain.
  • Like virtually everywhere else in the Caribbean, due to its geographical location, Cuba can be stricken by hurricanes and tropical storms. The hurricane season runs from June to November and most storms are typically seen between August and November, with October being the most commonly hit month.

Meterological information

J F M A M J J A S O N D
Average °C 232222232526282828272624
Minimum °C 181717181921232323232219
Maximum °C 272627283031323232313028
Sunshine (hours) 87891010101110988
Rain (cm) 222115857531

Cuba Holidays Browse all

Best Value

From £579 per person
casa blanca - vedado

Casa Blanca - Vedado

This 1920s colonial house is surrounded by lush vegetation and terrace areas and boasts a stunning array of antiques,...

From £669 per person
villa romero

Villa Romero

Villa Romero is beautiful in its design, and its comfortable rooms are pleasantly decorated to a high standard, offering...

From £679 per person
starfish montehabana + Starfish Tropical

Starfish Montehabana + Starfish Tropical

Searching for a charming beach retreat with a twist? Why not head to Cuba and enjoy a stunning all-inclusive beach...

From £689 per person
casa santy

Casa Santy

Look out onto the day to day life of Havana's streets from the Casa Santy's balconies, with its great location and a...

From £689 per person
casa santy + Casa Jorge Y Ana Luisa

Casa Santy + Casa Jorge Y Ana Luisa

Enjoy a hearty welcome from hosts that exude contagious Cuban charm on an escape to Cuba. Explore not only the vibrant...

From £689 per person
casa colonial juanita + dos mares hotel

Casa Colonial Juanita + Dos Mares Hotel

Are you searching for an adventurous holiday filled with culture, authenticity and charm? Then why not enjoy a twin...

Talk to a specialist

anthony

Call 020 7644 1755 to speak with our award-winning travel consultants.

Opening hours 09:00 - 17:00 GMT

Related articles for Cuba

Carnival's Fathom brand makes last voyage to Cuba

It’s an end of an era for one cruise line which made history in Cuba. Fathom was the first cruise line to offer regular sailings between the U.S and Cuba following relaxed travel restrictions, but the cruise line made its final call on the Caribbean island last week after owners Carnival Corporation decided not to renew the licence. The move comes just as the U.S-Cuba travel industry awaits its fate, after it was announced that U.S President Trump would reveal new changes.

Cuba’s growth in the tourism market: threat or gain for other Caribbean nations?

As the number of American visitors continues to rise, Cuba has experienced remarkable tourism income in the recent years and is expected to keep growing in 2017. Authorities of the region share their views on the matter, highlighting the potential to make the nation’s popularity an opportunity to increase the Caribbean market as a whole.

One of our Cuba articles wins the LATA media travel award for best blog post!

“The Burial of Pachencho in Cuba”, a blog piece written by Cuba expert Claire Boobbyer for The Holiday Place, was awarded the Latin American Travel Association (LATA) media travel award for Online Blog Feature of the Year last night during a ceremony held in London. The Holiday Place is thrilled at having landed such recognition and warmly congratulates our featured, award-winning travel writer for her insight on a rare Cuban celebration and ongoing tradition in a small town.