A Merry Cuban Christmas

There’s a good reason that many Cubans have never seen Santa, and it’s not because he couldn’t get a visa—nor that it’s never been known to snow in Cuba. To Cuba’s young, bearded revolutionaries, Christmas was both religious and capitalist at the same time, so the holiday was officially banned. Christopher P. Baker discusses the recent history of Christmas in Cuba and shares his own holiday experiences.

Using Cell Phones in Cuba is Frustrating and Costly

ne of the first observations that visitors to Cuba have is that unlike almost every other country in the world that they’ve visited, Cuba has relatively few cell phone users. In June 2010, the nation had 1,098,000 cell phone users according to Cuba’s National Statistics Office—up from 330,000 in 2008, when President Raúl Castro lifted […]

The Hotel Nacional in Havana, Cuba

The landmark Hotel Nacional is dramatically perched atop a small cliff at the junction of La Rampa and the Malecón. Luminaries from Winston Churchill and the Prince of Wales to Marlon Brando have laid their heads here, as attested by the photos in the lobby bar.

Background Cuba: The Land

Cuba lies at the western end of the Greater Antilles group of Caribbean islands, which began to heave from the sea about 150 million years ago. Curling east and south like a shepherd’s crook are the much younger and smaller mostly volcanic Lesser Antilles, which bear little resemblance to their larger neighbor.

Cuba’s Best Beaches

Cuba boasts glorious beaches. Most are scattered along the north shore, with concentrations immediately east of Havana; in Varadero; Cayo Largo; the Jardines del Rey (Ciego de Ávila and Camagüey Provinces); and Holguín. Here’s a list of the top Cuban beaches.