Money Sense in Cuba

Is there anywhere else in the world where you are restricted to exclusively using cash (absolutely no US ATM or credit cards allowed!) when traveling abroad?  In Cuba, this is the case, so here are some helpful hints:

  • Don’t bother with traveler’s checks.  They lose their insurance properties in Cuba, so you might as well just bring cash.
  • Speaking of which, while most Americans choose to bring US dollars, there is an approximately 12% exchange fee taken when doing so, while the fee is closer to 4-5% with other currencies.  If you can get a great exchange rate on Canadian dollars/Euros/etc. or just have some lying around from a past trip, bring it!
  • When exchanging money, be sure to ask for small bills or coins to use when tipping.
  • Cuba is an extraordinarily safe country, but it is always better to err on the side of caution and not carry around large sums of money.  Leave the majority of extra money in your hotel room safe which is quite secure.

Written by our Travel Specialist Tes Cohen