Cuba is the most populous nation in the Caribbean. Its people, culture and customs draw from several sources including the aboriginal Taíno and Ciboney peoples, the period of Spanish colonialism, the introduction of African slaves, and its proximity to the United States. The island has a tropical climate that is moderated by the surrounding waters; however, the warm temperatures of the Caribbean Sea and the fact that the island of Cuba sits across the access to the Gulf of Mexico make Cuba prone to frequent hurricanes. Cuba's main island, at 766 miles long (1,232.5 km), is the world's 17th largest.
Quick Facts and Figures
Official Name Republic of Cuba
Population 11,822,800 (69 out of 192)
Capital City Havana (2.3 million)
Official Currency Cuban Peso
Religions Catholic, others
Land Area 110,860 sq km (103 out of 192)
Latitude/Longitude 21º 30N, 80º 00W
Cuba is an archipelago of islands located in the Caribbean Sea, with the geographic coordinates 21°3N, 80°00W. Cuba is the principal island, which is surrounded by four main groups of islands. These are the Colorados, the Sabana-Camagüey, the Jardines de la Reina and the Canarreos. The main island of Cuba constitutes most of the nation's land area or 105,006 km² (40,543 sq mi) and is the seventeenth-largest island in the world by land area. The second largest island in Cuba is the Isla de la Juventud (Isle of Youth) in the southwest, with an area of 3,056 km² (1,180 sq mi). Cuba has a total land area of 110,860 km² (42,803 sq mi).
The main island consists mostly of flat to rolling plains. At the southeastern end is the Sierra Maestra, a range of steep mountains whose highest point is the Pico Real del Turquino at 1,975 meters (6,480 ft). The local climate is tropical, though moderated by trade winds. In general (with local variations), there is a drier season from November to April, and a rainier season from May to October. The average temperature is 21 °C in January and 27 °C in July. Cuba lies in the path of hurricanes, and these destructive storms are most common in September and October. Havana is the largest city and capital; other major cities include Santiago de Cuba and Camagüey. Better known smaller towns include Baracoa which was the first Spanish settlement on Cuba, Trinidad, a UNESCO world heritage site, and Bayamo.