Fun Facts About Cuba

Cuba is known for its vibrant culture, captivating music and intriguing history that draws travelers from all around the globe. While most are familiar with its volatile politics and iconic landmarks, there is so much more to discover!

Cuba, when seen from above, resembles an alligator or crocodile; thus its nickname El Cocodrilo (The Alligator Island).

1. The USS Maine exploded in Havana

American warships few rival the USS Maine for being so well-known, due to its explosion in Havana Harbor on February 15, 1898 and killing over 260 crew members. This event set off media frenzy and eventually the Spanish-American War; which eventually lead to U.S. colonization of Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Philippines. While its exact cause remains unclear today, public sentiment held against Spain for this tragedy led President William McKinley’s administration to propose intervention into Cuba as an act of revenge against Spain – leading them both men called out on Twitter in 1898 for taking action.

The USS Maine is memorialized with a statue on the Malecon, one of many tributes along the seawall that pay homage to this tragic event.

Cuba boasts diverse ecosystems that span from dense forests, grasslands, and small deserts, to an array of dense forests, grasslands, and small deserts that serve as home for various plants and animals that cannot be found elsewhere on Earth. Cuba also is well known for being home to one of the smallest birds ever seen: bee hummingbird.

Cuba boasts some of the best fishing opportunities worldwide. Its ocean waters boast 22 endemic species that attract big-game fishermen and fly fishers from across the globe.

Cuba stands out for more than its breathtaking beaches, historical landmarks, and impressive architecture; its citizens take great pride in their educational achievements and its strong community spirit brings people from different walks of life together.

Cuba has long been revered as an excellent cigar producer, producing more than one billion cigars annually and exporting them. These premium quality tobacco cigars make Cuba one of the top three exporters worldwide. It’s no wonder Cuba cigars remain so wildly popular!

During the Cold War, many countries imposed trade restrictions against Cuba and restricted their ability to import new cars; as a result, many old American cars remain on its streets, particularly those lined with ornate columns in Old Havana. As such, you will still see many such cars on display today.

2. You’re not allowed to sit on the Malecon facing the U.S. Embassy

Cuba is an enthralling island nation filled with vibrant history, culture and natural wonders that often go underappreciated and misrepresented by travelers. These fun facts about Cuba can shed some light on why Cuba is such a special travel destination.

Cuba boasts one of the oldest ballet schools in the world. Established in 1931 and still active today, this school has produced many well-known dancers as well as being recognized as a leader in classical dance.

Cuba boasts an abundant wildlife habitat. It is home to various species found nowhere else on Earth – such as bee hummingbirds that only reach five centimeters long! Furthermore, Mount Iberia dwarf frogs only measure 1 centimeter long!

Cuba boasts a rich wildlife habitat and numerous unique plants and animals. Boasting various ecosystems from mountains to jungles to grasslands, Cuba provides the ideal setting for an array of plants and animals to flourish – including rare or endangered species like Antillean Manatees, Florida Keys Banded Geckos and even its own unique Florida Coot.

Cuba is renowned for its medical research. Cuba has made significant strides in medicine, developing two COVID-19 vaccines which are over 90% effective as well as a lung cancer vaccine, making Cuba an attractive health tourism destination.

Cuba may come as a shock, but its streets are actually home to an impressive collection of classic American cars dating pre-1959, due to Cuban law limiting ownership to these models only. Thus, streets in Cuba are filled with Fords and Chevrolets from decades past.

3. You’re not allowed to buy ice cream in Coppelia

Many travelers visiting Cuba think only of cigars, rum and Hemingway when it comes to its appeal; however, Cuba offers much more than these famed landmarks can offer. Much of Cuba’s allure lies in daily life – its pride in educational achievements, indigenous heritage traces and sense of community among people from various walks of life – yet no discussion of Cuban life would be complete without including its beloved treat ice cream! For Cubans it is more than a luxury; rather it is considered a necessity that costs pennies; government subsidies mean its widespread availability – no surprise here either! Cuban citizens line up morning, noon and night for scoops of this delicious frozen treat!

Coppelia opened in 1960 as an oasis of modernism amid Cuba’s run-down baroque and Soviet-bloc architecture, quickly becoming an institution. Even Fidel Castro publicly touted it as “la Catedral del Helado,” or the Ice Cream Cathedral. At its height, this establishment served over 50 flavors to campesinos, beachcombers and visiting dignitaries alike; Vermont senator Patrick Leahy — an outspoken opponent of Cuba’s trade embargo — treated Fidel to a bowl of Ben & Jerry’s in Coppelia!

Coppelia remains popular not only due to its affordability and taste but also because it allows people to share an ice cream treat with either family members or strangers alike.

Critics, however, criticize this establishment for violating privacy in this way. Although seats are meant for four, some customers regularly fill empty tables with strangers from other stores in order to listen in on conversations and invade other patrons’ personal space. To mitigate this behavior, the store posted signs in-store and online warning of their violation.

Coppelia’s line to purchase ice cream continues to move in an orderly manner and is frequently monitored by security guards with truncheons. While flavors have decreased from 50 at one point, five scoops is still relatively affordable for many Cubans.

4. The Tryp Habana Libre hotel opened in 1958

Built by the pension fund of Cuban restaurant workers and opened as Latin America’s tallest hotel, Havana Hilton opened for business in March 1958 with 572 rooms over 25 floors on Calle 23 (“La Rampa”) and Calle L in Havana. At that time it was considered one of the most prestigious and largest hotels in Latin America – offering amenities such as Trader Vic’s and casino tables, plus rooftop bar seating, rooftop pool facilities and even a supper club for its customers.

Of its most illustrious guests were many of the world’s premier political leaders and athletes such as Elizabeth Taylor, Sara Montiel, Arturo de Cordova and Maro Moreno – as well as political revolutionaries Fidel Castro who used it as his headquarters after taking power in 1959; following the revolution it then became state run and was renamed Tryp Habana Libre.

Today, the hotel stands as a source of pride and sentimental value to Cubans nationwide. The atrium lobby features casual seating areas and a bar. Amelia Pelaez’s mural, restored over its main entrance is still visible while it also displays paintings, sculptures and photographs by famed Cuban artists.

While its exterior may appear bland, the lobby itself is an impressive space with a two-story atrium filled with greenery and modern artwork. Furthermore, the hotel’s restaurants have earned themselves an outstanding reputation.

Location. At the heart of Vedado, this hotel puts it near popular attractions such as University of Havana and Museum of the Revolution, shops, restaurants (such as Nana Cafe serving European dishes) and cafes – making this hotel an excellent option. A short walk will bring you to the SERAC bus station, making exploring the city an effortless task from this classic property. Business travelers will appreciate that this hotel also features an on-site conference center. Tryp Habana Libre is an ideal location for hosting corporate or wedding reception events. Travelers looking to escape city life will also appreciate nearby golf courses; Tryp Habana Libre provides an exceptional option to experience Cuba.

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