Capital City Havana
Population: 11,000,000
Currency: Cuban Peso (₱), Convertible Peso (CUC$)
Language: Spanish
Calling Code: +53

Cars, mojitos, communism, music, colonialism – all vital aspects of everyone’s views on the largest of the Caribbean islands, Cuba. There’s something alluring about a gap year in Cuba, and anyone returning from this island will confirm that Cuba really is everything you might hope for. What’s more, Cuba is undergoing huge internal changes, as the Communist states arguably starts to become more liberal and Western – so get there as soon as you can, before the Cuba we know today is consigned to history…

Havana will almost certainly be your first port of call, home as it is to the country’s main airport. And what a city it is! A mixture of unique culture and colonial roots, the city boasts a variety of imposing architectural wonders – such as the Museum of the Revolution and El Capitolio – as well as other attractions known throughout the world, like El Malecon and the winding streets of Old Havana. But it’s away from the hustle and bustle of Havana’s tourist trail that you’ll find the real heart of the city – in the paladares and casa particulares run by householders and offering some of the best and most authentic food and accommodation in the whole city.

A gap year in Cuba shouldn’t just be confined to Havana though – the whole island is buzzing with places to see and go. Top of these has to be the beautiful town of Trinidad, which is so important that the whole place has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. With winding streets hiding bars, cafes and restaurants, as well as only being a short ride from one of the most beautiful beaches in the country, it should be top of every traveller’s list. Dotted along the coast are also many places you’ll be able to jump on a boat and deep-sea fish, dive and snorkel. You could spend a week, month or year in Cuba – it really depends how much you want to explore!

Working in Cuba

There aren’t many places on earth where you’ll find a smaller chance of finding work than Cuba. In fact, it is pretty much impossible. So our advice is simple: don’t even bother trying. Volunteer schemes are also incredibly limited, due to the restrictions placed on nearly every walk of life by the Cuban government. So, just enjoy yourself instead, and leave working to another day…

Where Next?

Central and South America are the usual choices for those looking to continue their travels after leaving Cuba, mainly due to the fact that there are regular flights there from Havana. The US is also an option, however flights are much less regular, thanks to the ongoing tensions between the two countries. There are regular flights to Europe from Cuba too, if you have finished exploring this part of the world.

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