INTRODUCTION

Cuba is the largest island in the Carribean, although it is an archipelago with a total surface area of 110,922 sq km. The main island is 1,250 km long and 100 km wide on average. There are five groups of islands around the main island, the archipelagoes of Colorados, Sabana, Camaguey, Canarreos and Jardines de la Reina. Cuba is situated only 180 km from Florida, 210 km from Mexico with Haiti and Jamaica even closer (80 km and 140 km respectively). Lighthouse at Castillo del Morro HavanaThe population of Cuba is of mixed ethnic origin with descendants of the European and African immigrants who played a major part in the history of the island. The total population is about 11 million of whom 2.5 million live in Havana. Much of the land surface of Cuba is flat plains well suited to the large scale cultivation of sugar cane and tobacco, which are major crops. Mogotes, Vinales

There are three main mountain ranges on the island, the Sierra de los Organos at the western end, the Sierra del Escambrey in central Cuba and the Sierra Maestra at the eastern end of the island. The highest peak on the island is in the Sierra Maestra, Pico Turquino at 1,974 m. The climate of Cuba is dictated by its position just south of the Tropic of Cancer. Temperatures throughout the year vary very little remaining between 20-30 degrees Celsius on average. Rainfall occurs throughout the year although May to October are the months with the highest precipitation. The other important weather feature of the area is the hurricane. Hurricanes periodically devastate parts of the island with September and October the most likely months for them to occur. The effects of hurricanes are severe on the vegetation as well as the people of the island.