6/20/12

TRAVEL & MONEY IN CUBA

Cuba Money Bills & Coins CUC and Cuban Pesos

 MONEY IN CUBA

Cuba uses 3 types of currencies as legal tender for two types of users, One for Cubans the other for Tourist. Cuban money for local Cubans is the Cuban Peso which are not worth very much. One Cuban Peso is worth 1/23 of a dollar or less than 5 cents. Cubans the live and work for the Cuban government in Cuba are paid a monthly salary between $150 Cuban Pesos at the low end to $600 Cuban Pesos at the high end. sounds resonable untill you do the conversion and realize that its less than $10 USD per month at the low and just under $30 USD at the high side. All inclusive meals every day so the benifits are greater when you consider the Cuban people have free health  care and free education including university at the very hisghest level of PHD. Similar education in the USA at any avereage univeristy is worth over $100,000  and the cost of an operation is around $20,000 in any American hospital.
Cuban Convertible Peso or CUC=100 centavos. Bills are in denominations of CUC $100, $50, $20, $10, $5, $3 and $1. Cuban Coins are very common and available in denominations of CUC $1, and $0.50, $0.25, $0.10, $0.05, and $0.01 centavos.

TOURIST CURRENCY CUC

For Tourist in Cuba they are not able to easily access the Cuban peso market where you can buy the very basics of fruits and vegetables. Tourists must exchange their foreign currency in Hard Dollars like USD, CDN, EURO and convert them into Cuban Convertible Pesos at any Cuban bank or Cuban currency exchange house. The exchange rate for these currencies vary depending on the situation however the only thing that you can really be sure of is that the tourist are loosing value at every step in the process. Many tourist ask how the Cuban government can get away with this but it pretty easy to do when you have a captive market and no other option available. In Cuba that's just the way it is while the local Cubans have developed an expression to explain pretty well everything in Cuba "No es facil" or "Its not easy"  Euro & Canadian Dollars are exchanged into Cuban convertible Pesos at teh airport as soon as you pick up your luggage or at any Cuban financial institution or Casa de Cambio or Cuban Currency Exchange house.

WARNING AMERICAN  MONEY IN CUBA

For Tourist from the U.S.A.  American US Dollars(USD) are not accepted in Cuba and American tourist will be charged commission on exchanging them. In the 1990s, Cuba decided to slowly get rid of its Dollar reserves, banning the currency from general use and introduced the replacement CUC as a convertible currency under its control. CUCs cannot be purchased or exchanged outside of Cuba. Cuban nationals continue to be paid in the Cuban Peso (CUP; symbol CUP$ or $). In some tourist areas, the Euro is also accepted. Hard currency (ie CUCs not CUPs) must be used in most transactions. As of March 2011, 1CUC=1USD.

Cuban 100 Peso bill
Cuban 100 Peso bill (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
MasterCard and Visa are accepted almost everywhere as long as its not from a US bank, or a bank with affiliate or subsidiary links to the USA. ATM s are more common however if your going to Cuba cash is still king and can be found in any Cuban bank or Cadecas with non-US Visa credit and Visa debit cards.

ATM's In CUBA

ATM's are available but not very common so your number one best option is still cash can be obtained in banks and Currency Exchange Cadecas with non-US Visa credit cards and/or Visa debit cards. Same is for MasterCard and Euro based debit cards.
Cuban Travelers checks are best to be cashed at the bank where you will get the best rates. Cuban hotels and Cadeca Currency exchange houses all charge huge fees to exchange money so be smart and take one or two trips to the local bank  and exchange all your foreign currency for the highest exchange rate possible. US Dollars, British Pounds Sterling, Canadian Dollars, Euros and all major international currencies are all accepted in Cuba. Travelers checks like US Dollar checks issued by US banks are not accepted in Cuba but American Express travelers checks issued by European and other non-American owned banks can be exchanged in major tourist areas. Best to take Travelers checks in a foreign currency other than US Dollars.

Cuban Banking Hours:

Mon-Fri 8:30 am  to 12:00 Noon and 1:30pm  to 4:00 pm
Sat     8;30 am  to 12:00
Sun     Closed

Cuba Money Warning

 First Bring more money thatn you thinnk you will need. Cuba is EXPENSIVE! If you have an emergency like you need to go to the hospital you will need cash so bring more so that you wont run short of money in Cuba.

Second The import and export of local Cuban currency either Cuban Convertible Peso of Cuban Peso is prohibited. Importing foreign currency is unlimited as long as you declare funds exceeding $5,000 USD on arrival. Export of your own money is allowed up to the amount imported and declared.

Third If its your first trip to Cuba stay safe and stay close to the main tourist destinations line Havana, Varadero, Cayo Coco, Santa Lucia, Cayo Largo, Trinidad and Santiago de Cuba. Cuba is safe to travel and they have many banks and financial institutions all over Cuba but there is much more to offer in these tourist areas and for your first holiday in Cuba best to play it safe.
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1 comment:

  1. Wow very informative post. Thanks for sharing the nice information regarding the travel and money in Cuba.
    Cuba Holidays
    Thanks for it.

    ReplyDelete