It is traditional in Cuba to get tasks or errands done early in the morning when it’s cooler, therefore you need to rise early with the sun.

Business meetings, education lectures, presentations, conferences, medical appointments and work appointments all happen mainly in the morning. From my experience appointments and meetings arranged for the afternoon tend not to happen.

Business meetings, education lectures, presentations, conferences, medical appointments and work appointments all happen mainly in the morning. From my experience appointments and meetings arranged for the afternoon tend not to happen.

Banks & The Cadecas

Plan ahead and get there early in the morning.

Banks open around 8am and 9am and close between 3pm and 7pm, depending on the branch or type of bank. Some banks are not open on Sundays and close early on Wednesdays and Saturdays.

Cadeca (Casa de Cambio) open at 9pm and close, depending on the branch, at around 7pm. The Cadeca are similar to the banks and normally open on Sundays (but they do close early on the weekends).

Shops

Most shops are open for 12 hours a day, depending on the type and location. They usually open between 8:30am and 9am and close at either 8.30pm or 9pm. There are some small convenience stores that open 24/7.

National Holidays

1st January

Liberation Day

2nd January

Victory of the Armed Forces Day

1st  May 

Labour Day - Mayday International Workers’ Day

25th-27th July 

National Rebellion Celebration

28th September

Festival for the CDR

10th October

Anniversary of the 1868 War of Independence

17th November

International Students’ Day

27th November

Anniversary of the execution of eight medical

17th December

Freedom of the Cuban five arrived back in Habana

25th December

Christmas Day

Children’s Day

The third Sunday in July is “Children’s Day” in Cuba. This provides children and adolescents with a special day of celebration and it takes place in streets and parks and in recreational and cultural centres. It is brilliant to explore parks on this day and watch local life.

Students’ day

Students’ Day takes place on 17th November when the nation celebrates past and present student struggles around the globe. The date was selected to pay tribute to the resistance carried out by students in Prague against the Nazi invasion in 1939.

On this day, Czechoslovakian students decided to fight for their nation´s freedom and carried out a heroic clash in Prague against the fascism that was invading their country.  The Nazi invading forces fired upon them, killing many and sending survivors to a concentration camp.

In my experience, the opinions of students in Cuba are regarded as extremely important. Students of all ages have representation at the National Assembly of Cuba. 

Medical Students Executed November 1871

On 25th November 1871, the Spanish Governor of Habana arrested eight medical students at their school. This took place during the Ten Years’ War - or the Guerra de los Diez Años - which was Cuba's fight for independence from Spain. The students were accused of desecrating the tombstone of a Spaniard, which wasn’t true.

The following day, the eight young students, who were aged between 16 and 21, were tried by the order of an acting Captain General in the absence of the General Count of Balmaseda of Cuba. The first trial wasn’t accepted by a group of pro Spanish volunteers who had assembled in front of the building where the trial was held. So the students were tried again and subsequently condemned to death by firing squad. 

When the General of Cuba returned to Habana he did not impose a lower sentence. Just two days after their arrest all 8 students were executed. This date (27th November) is commemorated as a national day of mourning.

Students in Habana will never forget the names of the eight young people or what happened to them. Every year they march from the steps of Habana University to remember Alonso, Anacleto, José, Ángel, Juan,  Carlos Torre, Eladio, and Carlos Verdugo

27th Jan - Outside Habana University - Light Parade

On 27th January, university students, especially students like myself who attend the University of Habana, recognise and celebrate the historical tradition of their generation and of those before them during a ceremony of lights or torches in honour of José Martí. This year (2015) was the 162nd anniversary of the birth of Jośe Martí, and it was celebrated to show that the fire of Martí is still alive among the generations. Most Cubans don't believe that the revolution started in 1959 with Fidel and Che, but that it began with Jośe Marti in 1895. I was one of many thousands who lined the streets of Habana and marched with burning torches in unusually cold weather.

Also, in 2014, Cubans celebrated the 70th anniversary of the entry of the student Fidel Castro Ruz at the University of Habana. 

Tour and Holidays to Cuba