Havana is the capital city, major port, and leading commercial centre of Cuba. Havana's economy first developed on the basis of its location, which made it one of the early great trade centres in the New World. Sugar and a flourishing slave trade first brought riches to the city, and later, after independence, it became a renowned resort. Despite efforts by Fidel Castro's government to spread Cuba's industrial activity to all parts of the island, Havana remains the centre of much of the nation's industry. Cuba is an island between the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, 150 km south of Key West, Florida. Tropical; moderated by trade winds; dry season (November to April); rainy season (May to October). Mostly flat to rolling plains, with rugged hills and mountains in the southeast. The official language is Spanish. Cuban Spanish is often difficult to understand, even for Spanish speakers from other countries. For important business dealings, visitors will need to be either fluent in Spanish or have an interpreter. The main religion is Christianity. The economy of Cuba is a largely state-controlled, centrally planned economy overseen by the Cuban government, though there remains significant foreign investment and enterprise in Cuba. Most of the means of production are owned and run by the government and most of the labour force is employed by the state. The security risk for expatriates in Cuba is low. Risks include petty crime, such as pickpocketing, bag-snatching and theft, particularly in Havana, as well as confidence tricksters who may target expats, while violent crime is relatively rare and unlikely to involve expatriates. Other risks include criticising the authorities which may lead to arrest and harsh punishment, as well as the risks related to hurricanes and earthquakes. The population in Havana is 2.1 Mil (2014 est.), while the inflation rate is 5.5% (2014 est.).
Cost Of Living
The cost of living for expatriates in Havana as at 1 January 2015 is low in comparison to other places in the world. In Havana, the cost of each basket, based on local prices, compared to the international average in USD, is categorized follows: 1) Alcohol (where available) & Tobacco: Low 2) Clothing: Average 3) Communication: Very High 4) Education: Very Low 5) Furniture & Appliances: High 6) Groceries: Low 7) Healthcare: Very High 8) Household Accommodation: Low 9) Miscellaneous: Very Low 10) Personal Care: Very High 11) Recreation & Culture: Very High 12) Restaurants Meals Out and Hotels: Low 13) Transport: Very Low Havana is for example -8.4% cheaper than Montevideo for groceries, -25.2% cheaper for household costs than Durban, and -35.6% cheaper for transport costs than Athens. Havana is ranked as a extreme hardship location. Hardship (also know as quality of living) refers to the degree of hardship an expatriate and their family are likely to experience in the host location. Hardship pay is compensation to encourage people to move, in particular to less desirable locations. In determining the amount of hardship premium payable, factors such as economic, political, religious, infrastructure, environment/climate, personal safety, health, education, and transportation factors are considered. The hardship premium for Havana for an expat from Zurich is for example 30%, i.e. host location (Havana) premium of 40% minus home (Zurich) location premium of 10%. Xpatulator.com has been created to assist subscribers calculate expatriate pay using the online calculators and extensive database of cost of living and hardship indexes, for 780 international locations. Want to know more about cost of living, hardship or expat pay in Havana? Register subscribe to your home location and Havana and run your personalised reports.