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Frequently Asked Questions
Currency

Cuba operates as a dual economy. Its hard currency is the Cuban convertible peso (CUC$), which you will exchange and use in Cuba. CUC$ come in the following denominations: 1, 3, 5, 10, 20, 50, and 100. Please note that CUC$1 comes in both a coin and paper money configuration. The monetary unit used only by Cubans is the Cuban peso, also called moneda nacional or CUP.

Please note, as of December 2019, Cuba's cash economy is now shifting to accept U.S. dollars (USD). Private vendors such as artists, paladars, taxi drivers and souvenir markets are now accepting payment in USD, but will provide change in local Cuban currency, the CUC.  We recommend that you bring a mixture of USD in small bills in addition to larger bills. You may still need to exchange some money into Cuban CUC for state run stores, such as for local official stores where you might buy water or entrance to evening shows or activities. Exchange small amounts at a time to avoid collecting too many CUCs as you travel. Your guide will be able to provide you with more details when you arrive. Please note that CUC can only be converted back into USD in Cuba. 

 

Yes, in order to obtain CUC$ (Cuban Convertible Pesos, the currency used in Cuba) at the airport, upon entry into Cuba, exchange your currency in currency exchange kiosks as you are exiting the terminal, provided the kiosks are open. If the kiosks are not open, you can purchase CUC$ in the departure hall, just to the right of the arrival hall after you exit to the outside. 

Once in Cuba, the airport, tourist hotels, banks, and CADECA bureaus can exchange currency (US and Canadian dollars, Euros, British pounds, etc.) for you. Hotels are often the most convenient place to make currency exchanges. Be sure to have proper ID (passport) on hand. 

Do not accept offers to exchange currency from anyone who approaches you on the street. It is illegal and a common scam practiced all over the world to take advantage of travelers, who are unfamiliar with new currencies. This is particularly applicable, due to the dual currency system used in Cuba.

Please see the update as of December 2019 here regarding the use of U.S. dollars in Cuba. 

In March 2011, the CUC$ was re-valued to be equal to the U.S. Dollar at a 1:1 ratio. This exchange rate is subject to change at any time and for the most up-to-date information, check with insightCuba staff or visit www.xe.com.

There is a tariff of approximately 13 percent when converting U.S. dollars to Cuban convertible pesos (CUCs) while in Cuba. This fee can vary from place to place and is subtracted from the exchange at the time of conversion. When exchanging other currencies, such as euros, pounds, or Canadian dollars, expect an exchange fee, but it is less than the fee placed on U.S. dollars.

In Cuba, exchange your money at the airport, a CADECA exchange kiosk, or your hotel. CADECA is an official money exchange agency in Cuba. Do not exchange money on the street or in unknown situations.

Please note that CUCs are not available for exchange outside of Cuba. You must exchange your currency to CUC$ upon arrival in Cuba. Likewise, if you have excess CUC$ upon departure, you must convert them before you leave Cuba.

Please see the update as of December 2019 here regarding the use of U.S. dollars in Cuba. 

There is a tariff of 13% when converting U.S. dollars to Cuban convertible pesos (CUCs) while in Cuba. This fee can vary from place to place and is subtracted from the exchange at the time of conversion.

In Cuba, exchange your money at the airport, a CADECA exchange kiosk, or your hotel. CADECA is an official money exchange agency in Cuba. Do not exchange money on the street or in unknown situations.

Please note that CUCs are not available for exchange outside of Cuba. You must exchange your currency to CUCs upon arrival in Cuba. Likewise, if you have excess CUCs upon departure, you must convert them before you leave Cuba.

 Please see the update as of December 2019 here regarding the use of U.S. dollars in Cuba. 

Please note, as of December 2019, Cuba's cash economy is now shifting to accept U.S. dollars (USD). Private vendors such as artists, paladars, taxi drivers and souvenir markets are now accepting payment in USD, but will provide change in local Cuban currency, the CUC.  We recommend that you bring a mixture of USD in small bills in addition to larger bills. You may still need to exchange some money into Cuban CUC for state run stores, such as for local official stores where you might buy water or entrance to evening shows or activities. Exchange small amounts at a time to avoid collecting too many CUCs as you travel. Your guide will be able to provide you with more details when you arrive. Please note that CUC can only be converted back into USD in Cuba. 

Despite President Obama's announcement to normalize diplomatic relations and ease certain trade restrictions with Cuba, there is currently no way to wire money to Cuba except for in extreme emergencies. It is important for each guest to bring sufficient cash throughout their stay in Cuba.

Due to the U.S. embargo against Cuba, there are currently no financial or banking relationships between the US and Cuba which is why US citizens are unable to withdraw funds from ATM’s, use credit cards, or wire money. 

 

No, Cuban currency or CUC$ is not part of the international currency exchange. Therefore, you will be unable to buy it or sell it back anywhere, but in Cuba.

It is possible to bring Travelers Cheques to Cuba. However, they can only be cashed in very specific hotels in Havana. Travelers Cheques used in Cuba are not insured; therefore, they lose their primary feature. At this time, we do not advise our participants to depend on Travelers Cheques as a monetary resource while in Cuba, as they do not provide reliable access to funds.

Travellers must declare quantities in excess of US $5000 to customs.

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