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Currency

What money to take to Cuba.

As of November 8, 2004 free circulation of US dollar in Cuba has stopped. Cubans, as before, can hold the American currency, but for payment in shops or restaurants only "convertible peso" is now accepted.

 

The cuban currency was revaluated to 8% starting April 2005

As a general view the new changes are the follow:

-- American dollar is not accepted on government business from Nov 8 2004 on (99% of Cuban places)

-- all stores that used to sell in American dollars changed to PESOS CONVERTIBLES (see below for the explanation of this term)

-- pesos convertibles now cost the equivalent of $1.18 American Dollars (if you exchange dollars into pesos convertibles) because of the 10% penalty to USD and 8% of the revaluation of the CUC

-- if you trade Canadian dollars or euros or any other strong currency into pesos convertibles the exchange 1.08 taking as reference the American dollar for example if 1 euro is 1,30 USD. So taking the 8% of the revaluation 1 euro is about 1.20 CUC

In Cuba exist two kinds of peso: "Cuban peso ", used by citizens of Cuba in shops (except for so-called "divisas" or "currency" shops) and "convertible peso" (“CUC”)

Convertible peso (“CUC") is accepted for payment in currency shops instead of US dollar. It is used for all transactions involving tourists, including payment for hotels, taxi, restaurants, etc. Any payments from a credit card are also made in convertible peso.

 

There are places that accept only Pesos Convertibles and other places only Cuban pesos.

So US dollars are not any more freely circulating in Cuba from November 8th, 2004. The National Cuban bank has released the so called 'PESO CONVERTIBLE' in substitution of foreign currencies. You can acquire 'pesos convertibles' at the airport, banks and at the Money Exchange Offices, called "CADECA" (you can find these offices everywhere in the city). In addition, the exchange of US dollars to 'Pesos convertibles' will not be more one-to-one (as before), but 1 US dollar = 0.87 Peso convertible .However, the penalty of 10 % IS ONLY APPLIED TO US-dollars and NOT for any other foreign currencies such as Euros and Canadian dollars (among others). Other currencies than US-dollars will be exchanged according to the daily exchange rate of the international currency market. Taking into consideration the 8% of revaluation of the Cuban Peso Convertible

Information for tourists that are going to be renting a private room, house or apartment: Private owners of “casa particular” specify all their rates in convertible peso, but you can also pay using any foreign currency accepted in Cuba, based on the current exchange rates. The most popular currencies in Cuba are the Euro and the Canadian dollar.

Tourists are recommended to bring to the country not US dollars, but Euro. The Euro has free circulation in Cuba and is accepted as a payment as if it were convertible peso. Canadian can bring their national currency and at the time of exchange no taxes are imposed, but Cubans prefer the Euro. The Swiss francs and the English pound are also free of the tax penalty at the time of the exchange. Be aware that only the above listed currencies are the only ones that can be easily exchanged in Cuba in the so-called places of exchange CADECA in Havana and other tourist centers.

Consult your bank for the daily exchange rate. For 1 Euro you will get the USD daily exchange rate in CUC. Before you leave the country we advise you to change back the left CUC to Euros or USD.

You should know that most of the foreign currency trading (forex trading) websites provides the exact exchange from any currency to peso convertible.

 

Accepted Foreign Currency

Canadian Dollars (CAD), Swiss Francs (CHF), Mexican Pesos (MXN), Japanese Yen (JPY), British Pound Sterling (GBP) and the Euro (EUR) are all accepted. Exchange rate is based on 1 Cuban Convertible Peso being equal to 1 US Dollar.

 

Cuban Convertible Peso

These are easy to difference. All Convertible Pesos have the phrase "convertible pesos" both in the front, and the back.

 

 

 

Coins:

These are a problem, there are not any specific distinction of the convertible from the not convertible coins, the main difference are that all convertible coins have a representation of different touristic/historic places of Cuba. The not convertible ones have instead an image of some Cuban patriot/historical personality in the front.

5 cents

10 cents

25 cents

50 cents

1$

 

The Cuban Peso

The national Cuba currency, the Cuban Peso, is equivalent to 100 centavos (cents). Notes can be of 1, 3, 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100 pesos. Coins can be of 1, 5 and 20 centavos, and there are others of 1 and 3 pesos.

At the Money Exchange Offices (CADECAs) created for the population to sell - buy USD's or Cuban Convertible Pesos, the exchange is $24.00 Cuban pesos to the peso convertible

There are different emissions of the bills; we will show only the latest version because currently are the most used. You will only need pesos to access to a limited number of products/services: Take a public transportation (guaguas), buying market food (vegetables and fruits), perhaps some juice or a pizza in the streets.

 

Front

Back

$1

$3

$5

$10

$20

$50

$100

 

Credit cards in Cuba

You can use any credit cards in Cuba (Visa/MasterCard/Euro card not from an American bank), as long as they are not issued in American (US) banks. There are however limitations regarding debit cards and lots of them are not accepted nor work in ATM machines. Visa Electron is widely accepted.

American Express and Diners Club are not accepted. Traveller cheques from Thomas Cook are the only travellers cheques accepted in Cuba.

Do not assume that every commerce / shop / supermarket / entertainment / etc. will accept payment by cards, usually they do not, and some times their terminals are out of order. So you will use your cards mostly to get cash (now in Cuban Convertible Pesos) to use everywhere.

There are plenty of ATMs and banks, especially in the big tourist areas like Havana, Varadero and Trinidad where you can withdraw money free of charge. Hotels usually accept card payments.

 

More about ATMs in CUBA

Often will MasterCard's only work inside a bank?

You must show passport to get money if you get into a bank.

Often have foreign banks put some restrictions on use their cards in some foreign countries like Cuba.

If you contact your bank, can they easy and normally fast open up your cards so they can work in Cuba?

If your cards or bank are connected to a US. bank will they seldom work in Cuba, because of the blockade.

It is no problem to use visa or credit card in Cuba, but it is smart to check in advance

if your card is connected to a US bank and also call your bank in advance and ask if your cards are valid in Cuba, so they can open up any restrictions they should have on your card.

If a thief steals your card and misuses it, would you get your money back, is they steal only cash, will you maybe not get money back.

It is a 3 % commission if you change or take out from a ATM.

And some banks only charge a very little commission to use their cards.

Finances Bank is the most international bank in Cuba, and where it is best change your cards will work. They has a branch at the Havana Libre Hotel complex, on the end.

Asistur is a Cuban company that helps foreigners with different problems like getting money from abroad.

Head office is in old Havana.

Link. http://www.asistur.cu/index.php

Yes, Western Union has branches in Havana.

Here is some adresses.

-- CIUDAD DE LA HABANA, CENTRO HABANA, TIENDA PANAMERICANA, NEPTUNO ESQ. A SAN NICOLAS. Phone 5378660120

-- CIUDAD DE LA HABANA, CENTRO HABANA, TIENDA PANAMERICANA, AVE. SALVADOR ALLENDE CARLOS III e/RETIRO Y ARBOL SECO. Phone 5378730116

-- CIUDAD DE LA HABANA, CENTRO HABANA, CADECA, GERENCIA BELASCOALIN NR 308 e/SAN RAFAEL Y SAN MIGUEL. Phone 5378790446

-- CIUDAD DE LA HABANA, HABANA VIEJA, TIENDA PANAMERICANA, MONTE 613 EL CARMEN Y FIGURA. Phone 5378604946

-- CIUDAD DE LA HABANA, HABANA VIEJA,CADECA, OBISPO 368 ESQ. COMPOSTELA. Phone 5378664152

-- CIUDAD DE LA HABANA, HABANA VIEJA,CADECA, CUATRO CAMINOS NAJASA MONTE e/ARROYO Y MATADERO. Phone 5378736973

 

Airport tax

Every passenger leaving the country will be charged airport tax 25 CUC. The tax is only payable at the airport and can not be paid in advance.

 

 

 

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