Currency of Cuba? Exchange rate?
The official currency of Cuba is the Cuban Peso (CUP). The official exchange rate is around 120 CUP for 1 USD. The exchange rate in the black market might be higher. We recommend, however, to exchange your money at banks or with people you trust to avoid getting scammed. There have been reports of counterfeit money on the streets.
What currency should I bring to Cuba?
Most places such as restaurants, bars, tour guides, drivers, hotels actually prefer hard currency such as EUR, USD, GBP or CAD. It is important you have cash with you in these currencies to pay for services while in Cuba.
The Cuban Pesos will be used mostly in government-run venues such as museums, etc.
Will my credit or debit cards work in Cuba?
Probably not! Most international credit or debit cards do not work in Cuba because of the US-embargo and international sanctions. Even if your bank is not American-owned, many banks fear US-sanctions and block their cards in Cuba. Contact your bank beforehand to find out if your card will work in Cuba. Do not rely on credit cards and bring cash. You might find yourself without money if they do not work.
How much money should I bring?
It is difficult to tell you exactly how much money to bring to Cuba. The island is not exactly a low-cost destination. Drinks are usually inexpensive compared to other countries. A cocktail could cost between 2 and 5 USD. Food, on the other hand, could be limited and more expensive. The price for a meal depending on the restaurant ranges between 8 and 20 USD. Lobster is usually the most expensive meal on a menu.
Bring everything you need!
Bring with you all items you think you might need while in Cuba such as sunscreen, adaptors, cables for cell phones, etc. These things are hard to get in Cuba.
Internet access can be spotty in Cuba, although it has greatly improved in recent years. You can order online a SIM card which can be picked up at the airport on arrival. This information can be found online. Otherwise, you can buy a SIM card in a Cuban city. Most hotels and Airbnbs offer internet for pay.
Whatsapp is a very handy app to communicate while in Cuba. We recommend you download whatsapp before landing in Cuba.
Avoid drinking tap water since your stomach might get upset.
Cuba is a generally safe country. In big cities like Havana, please exercise normal caution at night. The current dire economic situation is leading to an increase in crime.
Tips make a big difference for the people of Cuba since salaries are very low and the cost of living is high.
Tips for the driver and the guide, although voluntary will be highly appreciated. If you decide to tip, it would be better to tip in hard currency such as USD, EUR or anything but Cuban Pesos.
Ours tours comply with the category of travel “Support for the Cuban People” for U.S citizens
Our tours and services are designed and aimed at having meaningful interactions with the Cuban People, therefore, they fully comply with current rules and restrictions that the U.S. government imposes on its citizens.
With us, you will undertake independent activities supporting the private sector such as private tours in classic cars, eating at privately owned restaurants known as Paladares in Cuba, drinking at private bars, etc.