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. The climate is tropical moderated by trade winds. 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. In Cuba decision-making authority is narrowly concentrated, with decisions almost always made at a high level within government agencies. It is generally advisable to address people using their professional title, or by either Senor (Mr), Senora (Mrs), or Senorita (Ms) and their surname. Because of the heat in Cuba, business dress tends to be very light-weight suits or sports coats with trousers. Women are prominent at all levels of business and public life. 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. Cuba operates a dual currency system. Visitors usually use the Cuban Convertible Peso (CUC), whereas locals use the Cuban Peso (CUP). The CUP is worth much less than the CUC. Not all international cards will work in Cuba. Medical facilities in Havana are better than the rest of Cuba, however serious specialist medical emergencies may require medical evacuation which can be very expensive. Many medicines are unavailable in Cuba. Expatriates should bring prescription drugs taken regularly with a copy of the prescription and a letter from the doctor explaining the condition for customs. Cases of Chikungunya virus and cholera have been confirmed. The population of Havana is 2.1 Million (2016 est.), while the inflation rate is 5.3% (2016 est.).
Cost Of Living
The cost of living for expatriates in In Havana, the cost of each basket, based on local prices, compared to the international average, is categorized follows (Exact cost of living percentages only available in personalised reports): Havana as at 1 April 2016 is average in comparison to other places in the world. 1) Alcohol (where available) & Tobacco: Very Low 2) Clothing: Low 3) Communication: Very High 4) Education: Very Low 5) Furniture & Appliances: Average 6) Groceries: Very Low 7) Healthcare: Average 8) Household Accommodation: Low 9) Miscellaneous: Very Low 10) Personal Care: Very High 11) Recreation & Culture: Very High 12) Restaurants Meals Out and Hotels: Very Low 13) Transport: Low Havana is for example -43.4% cheaper than Roseau for groceries, -35.6% cheaper for household costs than Dominican Republic, and -14% cheaper for transport costs than Santo Domingo. The hardship premium for Havana for an expat from Estonia, is for example 0%, i.e. host location (Havana) premium of 40% minus home (Estonia) location premium of 40%. Havana is ranked as a extreme hardship location. 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.