10 Interesting Facts About Cuba

Mar 2015

I am fresh off the plane from Cuba and despite my significant research before hand, travel in the country surprised me in many different ways.  10 Interesting Facts about Cuba shares some of those discoveries.

  • Most noticeable was the observation that this is the only place in the world I have travelled where people in the city capitol are not walking around with their heads down looking at their cell phones. I’m sure cell coverage is coming, but for now it was really a refreshing anomaly.


  • Havana is clean, clean, clean. In fact I saw very little trash anywhere I went.
  • Many of the streets are paved with cobblestones that were used as ballast in the boats trading in sugar cane. Some of those cobblestones are from my home state of Massachusetts.cuba-havana-tieks-cibblestones
  • I was expecting to only see vintage cars in the country. There are in fact many new cars as well. Just not ones imported from the US.cuba-havana-car-white
  • The arts are ready to be discovered in Cuba. I have never seen so many passionate, creative people concentrated in one place. I am confident this thriving community will be appearing off island in the near future.



arts in havana are thriving

  • Education has been a high priority since the late 50’s. 100% is financed by the government. The country allocates 13% of its budget to an efficient education system, one of the highest in the world. Kids were engaging and charming everywhere.


  • Since Americans are not allowed to visit as tourists, I had no idea there are so many beautiful beaches and resorts there. Apparently Castro was quite a diver and there are incredible reefs to visit.

trinidad beaches cuba

  • Cubans spend a lot of time waiting. Long lines for buses, food and even ice-cream were some of the lengthiest I saw.

Shopping for eggs in Havana

  • The landscape is beautiful and there is much organic gardening taking place in the interior.
  • 3 houses a day collapse in the city of Havana. The city is crumbling before our eyes and historians are worried Old Havana might just be bulldozed to make way for growth and city planning. It would be a crime if the world was to loose this historical gem.

cuba-havana-buildings old houses old havana

  • Oh, and did I mention the people… For my +1 of 10 interesting facts about Cuba,  I’d have to say the people of Cuba are among the friendliest I’ve ever met. Everyone wants to chat and talk about where you are from. Truly special, authentic people!

the people of Cuba



  1. Anna says:

    3 houses collapse per day? Wow, that’s quite a lot :O And that’s really sad to hear. But apart from that: Thanks for sharing these amusing facts – I’m sure to spread them at the next party I’m attending! 🙂

    • alison says:

      I thought it was a shocking statistic also Anna, but it came from Miguel Coyula who is an expert in architecture, urban planning and social services in Havana.

  2. Can’t wait to visit Cuba and sooner than later. Sad and tragic to hear that houses are literally collapsing. I hope to get there before too much new development changes the character and characters.

  3. Tim says:

    Very interesting; especially the fact that old Havana is crumbling at such an alarming rate. Let’s hope that can saved.

  4. Donny says:

    Thanks for the informative article. I have Cuban ancestry and have been wanting to go there since I can remember. Did you try the Ropa Vieja?

    • alison says:

      You must try and visit Donny. I did not try rope vieja, as I don’t eat meat, but I’ll have a post on my food experience next Meatless Monday.

  5. WOW – what an amazing place. It has been on my bucket list for a while. I think I need to go now before it opens up too much to influence from the rest of the world.

  6. 3 houses a day collapse in Old Havana – how sad. I loved your observations about the people and the art. I especially was impressed with the approach to education. I fear that it will change very quickly.

  7. Beautiful! I imagined the island would closely resemble Puerto Rico and it does. I can’t wait to visit! Looking forward to more of your reports.

  8. Andy says:

    In many ways the lack of phone use is one of the best on this list. There are a few places in Africa still like this, but it’s rarer than ever and that’s a shame. The whole point of travel to me is meeting people and actual interaction – which is difficult with a screen getting in the way. Cuba sounds wonderful, but I guess it will change fast with the US opening up to travel?

    • alison says:

      I have to say being able to travel w/o internet was a blessing.The only time I took my phone out was for the camera and I felt like I got much more out of the trip because I wasn’t always worried about web interaction.

  9. Cuba is somewhere I’ve yet to visit, but would love to… sooner rather than later!!

    How refreshing that people don’t have their heads buried in mobile phones, and what a difference that must make in terms of experiencing the place as a tourist.

  10. “The country allocates 13% of its budget to an efficient education system, one of the highest in the world.” Wow! Many countries should take note. As a teacher I understand that children are our future leaders and education should be a priority. Great to see that a small country like this has that worked out.
    I would so love to go to Cuba someday. Beautiful pictures – thanks!

  11. Dawn Pearcey says:

    I love your images and facts from Cuba. Hearing about the thriving arts and education system is thrilling and inspiring. Can’t wait to read (and see) your food post!

  12. anna parker says:

    Such a shame that Havana is crumbling, hopefully opening the country up to more tourism and trade will help the government restore it!
    How refreshing to go somewhere without selfie sticks and smart phones – such a nice relief! People actually looking at things!

  13. What an inviting post! Would love the opportunity to visit Cuba…hopefully, the influx of tourist dollars will benefit restoration efforts.

  14. We’ve always wanted to see Cuba and are following the improving relationship between the US and Cuba closely. Hopefully the travel restrictions will be eased in the near future. Loved your comments on this fascinating country.

  15. Andrew says:

    That’s a crazy stat about 3 houses per day crumbling – it sounds like they may have little choice but to demolish some, which would be a real shame, but understandable. In Panama City, they’ve put a lot of money into renovating and protecting the decaying buildings in the Old Town, but Cuba wouldn’t have anywhere near enough funds for this I believe. Nice post, I’m set on trying to go to Cuba at the end of our current trip in South America.

  16. Every time we see a story about travel to Cuba we want to go even more! This was a great look at the country. Sure hope all of the old buildings are not demolished, or fall down.

  17. I’m going to Cuba the first week of April and really looking forward to it so I read this eagerly! Have things loosened up to the extent that you can leave a tour group and go snorkeling or would that still be forbidden? It’s my secret goal!

  18. Sue Redddel says:

    Loved reading about your journey to Cuba. We were there in August and I have to agree that my biggest take-away was that the people are not only friendly they are the hardest working most resilient folks on the planet. I can’t wait to go back!

  19. Cuba sounds so enticing. I look forward to visiting.

  20. Elena says:

    They are not only the friendliest but some of the happiest people I have met, despite of their lifestyle…or maybe just because of it 🙂

  21. Alli says:

    I can’t wait to get to Cuba! It sounds so lovely. The people, the sights, the photo opps, all of it! Great write up!

  22. Shelley says:

    Many interesting facts I didn’t know about about Cuba. I’ve wanted to visit Cuba for a while, but I better hurry! I would love to see it before too much changes with increased tourists, and I didn’t realize Havana itself was crumbling.

    • alison says:

      Well everyone certainly seems to have it on their wish list. I feel so lucky to have been there at this moment in time. It’s good Shelly that you want to get there quickly.

  23. Corinne says:

    Glad to hear that about the cell phones…great photos…

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  25. Fiona McAuslan says:

    It’s worth mentioning that while there are buildings falling down there’s little chance of old Havana being bulldozed away. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage site and the Cuban state’s Oficina del Historiador de la Ciudad de la Habana has been hard at work for very many years restoring and preserving the crumbling buildings of Habana Vieja (as well as other areas of the city). It’s a slow old job but the evidence of it is everywhere – Cubans and the Cuban state are both incredibly proud and protective of their incredible architectural heritage.

    • alison says:

      Agreed Fiona. thanks for taking the time to comment. It seems like an overwhelming talk, but there are many supporting the effort and I hope the Cuban people will succeed, as Old Havana is a treasure.