Places to Go and Things to Do

Exploring and Living in Cuba

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The main national daily Spanish newspaper is the Granma. It is the official newspaper of Cuba, is printed in five languages and can be accessed at: http://granma.cu. For tourist-oriented information in Spainsh-English read the Cartelera magazine, http://www.cartelera.com, which covers many local activities. In most hotels catering to tourists with Internet connections, you can keep up current world news. The hotel Havana Libre has a good Internet connection for about five dollars an hour.

 Cable news network or CNN was given a special license to open a news bureau in Havana. Cuba was given the rights to show CNN on Cuban television, so it was only logical CNN would be the first news bureau to be approved. Nine other news groups were also granted licenses: ABC News, CBS news, The Miami Herald, The Associated Press, Dow Jones & Company, The Chicago Tribune, The Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinel, Univision and possibly The New York Times.

 Despite being a country of avid readers, only a few bookstores stock titles in English. Cuba Libro a bookshop, cafe and literary salon that offers Cubans and tourists alike a unique space to buy or borrow tomes in the language of Shakespeare.

Once the country opens up to the global economy, the number of bookstores stocking books in English will increase. Someday there may even be branches of large international bookstore chains like Barnes & Noble in Havana. On-line bookstores like Amazon.com may be accessed now provided you have a good Internat connection, so kindle books can be read. The big problem for Cubans is how to purchase eBooks on the Internet because of credit card restrictions and the prohibitive cost. There are even occasional book fairs where a few second-hand books in English may be found.

La International Bookstore Tel: 613283 on Calle Obispo No 526 and Librería Bella Havana in Havana have a small selection of English books. La Moderna Poesía Tel: 622189 La Habana Vieja, Obispo 526 at Bernaza, is another good bookstore.

The annual Havana Book Fair is held in February and is a book lovers' paradise. It features international exhibitors include consulates and national libraries from various countries, as well as publishers and national collective stands. For more information about Havana’s bookstores see https://www.lonelyplanet.com/cuba/havana/shopping/books

Havana also has many public libraries. La Biblioteca Nacional José Martí (at Plaza de la Revolución in Vedado is Havana's main public library. Other libraries are: Biblioteca Pública Provincial Rubén Villena, Biblioteca Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología (The National Science and Technology Library, located in the former Capitol Building, Biblioteca del Instituto de Literatura y Liguística (Institute of Literature and Linguistics Library) Biblioteca Memorial Juan Marinello (Juan Marinello Memorial Library, in Nuevo Vedado and the Biblioteca José Antonio Echevarría, Vedado featuring books by Latin American authors. However, at present you are really better off shopping for reading materials in English abroad or trading books with other English-speaking expatriates. If you are fluent in Spanish you have nothing to worry about since there are many materials available.

 While on the subject of books the name of José Martí inevitably comes up. He was Cuba's most famous writer and revolutionary leader in the country's Second War of Independence during the 1800's. Martí wrote many poems, essays and plays. He died in a battle fighting for his beliefs.

Guidebook

Official Guide to
Cuban Spanish

Official Guide to Cuban Spanish

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Information herein is authorized through the courtesy of Christopher Howard, author of the best selling Cuba information source, Living and Investing in the New Cuba. Please be aware that all information herein is protected by COPYRIGHT © and misuse of it will carry a penalty by law.