In Cuba the payment method used most often is cash. The currencies in circulation are:
The convertible peso (CUC) is the preferred currency for visitors. It is used in most cases and is equivalent to the US dollar.
The Cuban peso (CUP): Also called national currency, is used mostly for shopping in the small markets of fruits and vegetables (agros).
The official exchange rate between the two currencies is: 1 CUC = 24 CUP.
Foreign visitors pay in cash most of the time using convertible pesos (CUC). Although you can also use credit cards in Cuba, we recommend using only in banks to withdraw cash, because in most commercial and gastronomic centers can not use them directly to pay.
Regarding the use of credit cards, always keep in mind:
- In Cuba you can only use VISA cards. MasterCard cards can not be used.
- You can not use cards if the issuing bank is from the United States.
- Travellers checks are not changed.
With respect to cash, always keep in mind:
- Always change your money to CUC before leaving the airport, this is important to make the first expenses.
- Insist to recieve small CUC banknotes of 1, 5, 10 and 20.
- The US dollar is taxed in Cuba 10%, so it is better to change your dollars into euros before coming to Cuba, this way you will not lose money in the process of exchange them for CUC. It is always better to bring euros to Cuba.
- Do not change money on the street, always use banks or CADECA (official exchange)
- Some international currencies are not changed in Cuba. See page of the National Bank of Cuba (below) to see the coins are changed in Cuban banks.
- When leaving Cuba at the airport, you can change the leftover money back to euros or dollars, in this case the 10% tax does not apply.
- Remember that there is a branch CADECA (House official exchange rate) at the airport. This branch is open 24 hours. There are also ATMs to withdraw cash with VISA cards.
The particular and Bed and Breakfast houses like Mercedes Hostal are always paid in cash.
National Bank of Cuba page with the current exchange rate in Cuba.