Cuba: A journey through the country and its fascinating coins

Cuba - The country and its coins

Cuba, Republic of Cuba (República de Cuba)

Cuba is popular with tourists for its lush nature, excellent beaches, and numerous colonial and revolutionary landmarks. The country is famous for its cigars, rum made from sugar cane, salsa and other Cuban dance styles, Fidel Castro and Che Guevara, 1950s cars, Spanish colonial architecture, the Cuban National Ballet, the Buena Vista Social Club and Guantanamo Bay.

Cuba – interesting facts, figures and data:

Capital: Havana – 2.1 million inhabitants (as of 2022)

President: Miguel Mario Díaz-Canel Bermúdez (born in 1960 in Falcón, Placetas) is a Cuban politician and President of the Council of State and the Council of Ministers of the Republic of Cuba since April 19, 2018. He has served as President of the Republic of Cuba since October 10, 2019, and also as First Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba (PCC) since April 19, 2021, both as direct successor to Raúl Castro.

Currency: the Cuban peso (Spanish: peso cubano), currency code CUP, is the original and current of what are now two official currencies in Cuba.

Population: 11.33 million (2022)

Area: 109,884.01 km²

Official language: Spanish

Famous people from Cuba

Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz (was a Cuban revolutionary, communist politician, Marxist theorist, and dictatorial head of government/president of Cuba and first secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba).

Raúl Modesto Castro Ruz (a Cuban politician. He was President of the Council of State and the Council of Ministers of the Republic of Cuba from 2008 to 2018 and First Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba from 2011 to 2021. He was one of the leading figures of the Cuban Revolution).

Camilo Cienfuegos Gorriarán (was a Cuban revolutionary. Camilo Cienfuegos was one of the leading revolutionaries and guerrilla leaders of the “26th of July Movement” or rebel army against the Batista regime, along with Ernesto “Che” Guevara, Fidel and Raúl Castro).

Ernesto “Che” Guevara (was a Marxist revolutionary, guerrilla leader and author)

Celia Cruz (Bolero artist, “Queen of Salsa”)

Gloria Estefan (born in Havana, she is the most famous singer in Cuba)

Andy García (a US actor, film producer and director of Cuban origin).

José Martí (politician and apostle of Cuban independence)

Italo Calvino (born in 1923 in Santiago de las Vegas, Havana province, Cuba, was one of the most important Italian writers of the second half of the 20th century. Many of his books are popular and school reading in Italy today).

Silvio Rodríguez Domínguez (one of the most famous Cuban singer-songwriters of the Nueva Trova music style and former member of the Cuban Parliament).

José Canseco Capas, (born in 1964 in Havana, Cuba, is a former baseball player. He was mostly used as an outfielder, and later as a designated hitter. During his career in American Major League Baseball he played for a total of seven teams).

Dámaso Pérez Prado (was a Cuban musician and composer who became known as the “King of the Mambo”).

Jeff Bezos (founder of and owner of the Washington Post. Bezos’ father came to the United States from Cuba as a teenager).

Eva Mendes, born Eva de la Caridad Méndez (born in 1974 in Miami, USA, is an American actress and model who has Cuban parents).

Why a trip to Cuba is worth it:

The colorful architecture

With influences ranging from French neoclassicism and Art Deco to Spanish Moorish style and colonial baroque, Cuba’s architecture continues to enchant its visitors. Whether in the UNESCO-protected Old Havana or the cobblestone streets of Trinidad, the colorful facades are everywhere.

You can stay with the locals

There are many hotels in Cuba, but nothing beats staying in a “Casa Particular”. Casas Particulars translate to “private home” and are basically Cuban homestays where guests pay to rent a room in a local’s house or apartment. Casa Particular have their own shower and toilet. Often they also have a private terrace or veranda, where guests can sit comfortably outside. In some “casas” (often this abbreviation is used) the guests sit together with the family at the kitchen table and enjoy the food together. In other “casas” guests have more privacy. Especially for renting to tourists, some Cubans have built additional rooms in their gardens.

This form of accommodation is common throughout Cuba and gives you a unique insight into the life of the locals. Eating Cuban food and learning about the island’s history from your host is undoubtedly the best way to immerse yourself in Cuban culture.

Authentic travel experience

Due to decades of political isolation, Cuba has remained largely undiscovered. Its colonial towns and white sandy beaches are not yet overrun with tourists. And the island is still untouched by retail chains that dominate the world. All of this adds to the charm of Cuba, and the locals are happy to see tourists visiting this colorful island.

The fantastic weather

Cuba and all of its guests enjoy a warm, subtropical climate that makes the island a great vacation destination at almost any time of year. With an average of eight hours of sunshine per day and around 300 sunny days per year, there is plenty of sunshine on the island.

Cuba streets are a living museum

A walk through the streets of Havana is like a journey into the past. Why might you ask? In 1960, then-political leader Fidel Castro issued an embargo banning all American imports. The result tourists experience today – is an eclectic mix of goods that have survived the last six decades. The best example of this are the American-style classic cars that are often found on Cuba’s roads. Dating back to the 1950s, these vehicles are a source of pride for their owners and have been lovingly maintained. Everything from colorful Chevrolets to Fords – experience a living car museum live.

Beautiful beaches

In Cuba there are many beaches, to be exact – 300. Each of them offers picturesque stretches of white sand and turquoise waters. The best beaches include:

  • Playa Los Flamencos on the island Cayo Coco
  • Player Pilar in Cayo Guillermo and
  • Playa Ancón on the south coast of Cuba.

Cuban music and salsa

Life in Cuba moves to the beat. Whether in Havana’s lively bars, in a car with regaettone blaring from it, or on the street with people playing guitars, music seems to come from every corner of this vibrant island, which is one of the things that makes a trip to Cuba unforgettable.

And good music naturally includes good dancing. Cuban salsa is a favorite pastime of the locals, and it’s almost impossible to leave the island without learning a few steps. The mix of Caribbean and Latin music will have you on the dance floor in no time.

Rum and cigars

Rum and cigars are indeed an important reason to travel to Cuba! World famous rum and premium cigars that you can’t get anywhere else in the world make for a good time and are part of the Cuban experience!

Natural beauty everywhere

Although Cuba’s cities and beaches are often the focus of interest for many tourists, the island also offers a lot of natural beauty. The Sierra Maestra mountain range in the southeast of the island is home to waterfalls, hidden caves and diverse flora and fauna.

Pico Turquino is the highest point in Cuba. It is located in the southeast of the island, in the Sierra Maestra in the municipality of Guamá, province of Santiago de Cuba. The name is thought to be a corruption of the term for “turquoise peak,” so named because of the apparent blue hues seen from high ground at certain vistas. For the centenary of his birth, a bust of José Martí was placed on the summit, created by Jilma Madera.

Further west is the Vinales Valley, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This green valley is surrounded by karst hills and is loved for its quiet pace of life and breathtaking scenery.

Trinidad City Museum

Trinidad is a city with colonial architecture and is on the list of “tourist attractions and highlights of Cuba”. In the middle of the 20th century, the construction of new buildings in the city was prohibited, so time has simply stopped here. On the streets you will see horse-drawn carriages, the road is paved with cobblestones. There are also a lot of colonial style houses.

Cuba – the land of Ernesto Che Guevara

Ernesto “Che” Guevara, born in 1928 in Rosario, Argentina; died in 1967 in La Higuera, Bolivia) was a Marxist revolutionary, guerrilla leader and author. He was a central leader (Spanish: comandante) of the rebel army of the Cuban Revolution from 1956 to 1959 and, along with Fidel Castro, is its most important symbolic figure. Che Guevara is a man who is a legend and who is absolutely everywhere. Considering that Ernesto was not born in Cuba, but in Argentina, we can say that he had a strong charisma. Everywhere on the island you can find pictures of him.

The villa of Ernest Hemingway

Cubans are very proud of Ernest Hemingway, who had a private estate in Cuba, and talk about him for hours. The places where he lived and worked are revered, and the doors of Ernest’s villa are open to tourists.

Cuba coins and gold coins

Cuba has two currencies in official circulation, the Cuban peso and the convertible peso. Both currencies consist of 100 centavos. The Cuban peso (Spanish: peso cubano), is mainly used by locals, while the convertible peso (Spanish: peso cubano convertible) is mainly used by tourists and diplomats.

The first national coins were issued in Cuba in 1915. The coins were minted in the following denominations: 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 40 centavos and 1 peso. On the obverse of the coin was the coat of arms of Cuba, and on the reverse – a star. The face value was indicated on the 1-, 2- and 5-centavo coins by Roman numerals inside the star, while on the other coins it was written in capital letters. The coins of this series remained unchanged until 1961, with the exception of the 1 peso coin, which instead of a star had the profile of a girl and the inscription “PATRIA Y LIBERTAD” on the reverse. The obverse of this coin has also undergone some changes.

Speaking of Cuban commemorative/collector coins, commemorative coins of various denominations were issued in 1953 (100th birthday of José Martí – poet, writer, publicist and leader of the Cuban Liberation Movement from Spain). Another ultra rare Cuban gold coin: 2 pesos José Martí(mintage: only 50 copies).

In 1990, a new 3-peso coin was issued. This coin, which is very popular among numismatists around the world, depicts the revolutionary Ernesto Che Guevara.

Before the introduction of the convertible peso, the so-called tourist money was issued by the National Tourism Institute (INTUR) from 1981 to 1989. In 2001, these coins were completely withdrawn from circulation and replaced by convertible pesos. Architectural monuments are depicted on the convertible pesos, which makes them popular with tourists and numismatists.

In our store you will find a number of super interesting gold coins from Cuba, which are certified by PCGS or NGC and have received a very high grading. Let us convince you ourselves:

You may also be interested in:

Do you want to sell your Cuban gold coins or are you interested in our gold coins? We are looking forward to your contact by e-mail or phone.

Cuba 1981 100 Pesos Pinta NGC MS68
Cuba 1981 100 Pesos Santa Maria NGC MS69
Cuba 1981 100 Pesos Nina NGC MS69
Carlos Manuel de Cespedes - Cry of Yara - Cuba 1968
Cuba 100 Pesos 1991 La Giralda Tower Seville
Cuba 100 pesos 1991 Puerta de Alcala Madrid
Cuba 100 Pesos 1991 Stadium Olympic Games Barcelona
Cuba 100 Pesos 1992 Saint George Palace
Cuba 100 Pesos 1992 Seville Tower of Gold
Cuba 100 pesos 1992 El Escorial
Cuba 100 Pesos 1993 Founding of Cuba 478 years
Cuba 50 Pesos 1991 Hatuey NGC PF68 UCAM
Cuba 100 Pesos 1992 Spanish Monarchs NGC PF68 UCAM
Cuba 100 Pesos 1992 Bartolome de las Casas NGC PF68 UCAM
Cuba 100 Pesos 1991 Diego Velazquez NGC PF68 UCAM
Cuba 100 Pesos 1991 Hatuey NGC PF68 UCAM
Cuba 100 Pesos 1991 Pinzon Brothers NGC PF69 UCAM
Cuba 100 Pesos 1990 King Ferdinand V NGC PF69 UCAM
Cuba 100 Pesos 1990 Juan de la Cosa NGC PF68 UCAM
200 pesos 1993 Bolivar Marti PCGS PR68DCAM
100 Pesos Cuba Pinta 1981 PCGS MS70
100 pesos Cuba Nina 1981 PCGS MS69
100 pesos Cuba Nina 1981
100 pesos Cuba Santa Maria 1981
100 pesos Cuba Santa Maria 1981
2 pesos José Martí NGC PF62 Cuba