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Anybody been to Cuba in last year? Question about money etc

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Anybody been to Cuba in last year? Question about money etc

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Aubrey_ThicketAubrey_Thicket Forumite
299 posts
Hi guys

We’re off to Cuba in a few days. What is the best advice with regard to money m. This was a late deal so we have no time to get Cuban Pesos etc.

Also, what about plug adapters?

Thanks all
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Replies

  • DigForVictoryDigForVictory Forumite
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    The local tobacconist went last year, thinking he’d need pesos but low denomination dollar bills were absolutely fine (& preferred). Your bank may blink at you insisting on single dollar bills but the Cubans won’t!
    Have a wonderful time! & sorry not a clue about electricity.
  • edited 21 October 2019 at 6:03AM
    JamoLewJamoLew Forumite
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    edited 21 October 2019 at 6:03AM
    Take £ notes. Cash points are few and far between and you can usually change money in the hotel. There is also an exchange at the airport - but we never found it.
    The exchange rate is fixed to the American $, we found the rate was better in Havana than in Varedero.

    You can only change money in the country. Make sure you are aware of the difference between CUC and CUP.
    As a tourist, you will be using CUC, the CUP is mainly for locals and usually used for buying essentials such as food, the CUC is for "luxuries"
    1 CUC = 25 CUP, so check you change very carefully, although our impression and experience was that Cubans are exceedingly honest.
    CUCs have pictures of monuments on one side of them where as CUP have pictures of people (on both if I recall)
    It take many people to make a monument is a good way to remember

    In the hotel we stayed, most of the electricity sockets were the Amercian type, but the odd one or two were the European type. Take a couple of each adapters and you should be fine.

    Enjoy and have a great time, it's a fabulous country with very a friendly and welcoming population. Although immigration at the airport doesn't feel like it and definitely felt very "bizarre"
  • edited 21 October 2019 at 9:07AM
    leylandsunaddictleylandsunaddict Forumite
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    edited 21 October 2019 at 9:07AM
    Is it you that's asked on the Cuba forum on TA?

    If so, you have been given replies from people that have been to Cuba umpteen times. No point me going over it as well.

    Cuba is a lovely country and the people are so friendly. Go and enjoy! Use the cadeca at the airport to change a small amount for tipping before you get to your hotel. Tipping in the currency of the country you're in is the best way. The Cubans won't refuse to take USD notes but they're better off with CUCs. No point buying them and then changing them, especially as there's a 10% surcharge. That way you can use coins or notes and they don't have to change them.
  • Voyager2002Voyager2002 Forumite
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    When I was there in 2013, there were lots of cashpoint machines... and in any case, you can always take your card inside the bank (with your passport) and get cash over the counter. The many money-changers (Cadeca) will also give cash for a card and are much faster than banks, although they have long and fast-moving queues. I cannot believe that any of this has changed over the last few years.

    Only take US dollars for tipping: if you exchange them anywhere official there is a ten per cent fee, which you can avoid by bringing pounds instead. (Cuban people can use US dollar notes in ways that foreigners cannot, and would often prefer them to CUC.)

    As for the comments about everyone being honest -- while crime is low, I was short-changed in the Holguin airport cadeca and encountered another scam there later, so do not relax completely. Remember that hotels and resorts give far worse exchange rates even than airports, so change money in town whenever possible.
  • I have been to Cuba from the UK on 62 occasions and I can assure you that you should take Sterling. Clean, untorn bills with no writing on them, in £10, £20 or £50 denominations. Please note that Scottish notes are not acceptable.

    Do not even take US dollars for tipping as the recipient will be penalised by 10% when exchanging them. The everyday Cuban you will meet is not interested in receiving one dollar bills, they want CUC's.
  • Important update! We have recently reviewed and updated our Forum Rules and FAQs. Please take the time to familiarise yourself with the latest version.
  • WanderingpommWanderingpomm Forumite
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    The local tobacconist went last year, thinking he’d need pesos but low denomination dollar bills were absolutely fine (& preferred). Your bank may blink at you insisting on single dollar bills but the Cubans won’t!
    Have a wonderful time! & sorry not a clue about electricity.

    Most places won’t take dollars and if they do it will be a terrible exchange rate. There is an embargo so are difficult to use.
    £ and € are better options but get local currency at the airport.
  • Voyager2002Voyager2002 Forumite
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    Bellagio1 wrote: »
    Do not even take US dollars for tipping as the recipient will be penalised by 10% when exchanging them. The everyday Cuban you will meet is not interested in receiving one dollar bills, they want CUC's.


    The sort of people who work in resorts and receive dollar tips are not "ordinary Cubans". And in any case, someone in the extended family will be collecting dollars for the next trip to Miami...

    Bottom line: any kind of tip will be appreciated (apart from foreign coins) but do not take dollars for your own spending.
  • If you are a UK citizen why would you buy US dollars to take to Cuba?. It doesn't make sense. To start with you would have to pay a commission to buy them whereas you can just draw Sterling notes from your bank with no commission charges.

    Also the sort of people who work in resorts need tips in CUC's to help buy the everyday things they need. Not only that I do not know of any Cuban that just 'visits' the US. .US visas are hard to come by.

    If their extended family visit from the US they come loaded with cases full of goods (I believe it's 120 kilos) to distribute to their family members and they are certainly not looking for a few dollar bills to help offset the cost.
  • Thank you to all you guys who took their time out to assist us here. So, it’s unanimous...

    £ Sterling it is.

    Bellagio1 please can you advise us on what plug to take (we are Spending half the time in Havana and half in Varadero).

    Thanks again guys.
  • Although the power supply in Cuba is mainly 110 volts, most of the modern hotels have dual voltage with all the sockets in the room being 220 volts. Usually in the bathroom there is an 110 volt socket suitable for shavers and charging batteries. All UK appliances will work in Cuba and all you will need is an adapter. The sockets in the rooms are cleverly designed so they will take the North American flat 2 pin and the European rounded two pin plugs. Personally I would go for North American flat 2 pin.

    Even casa particulares that are mainly 110 volts usually have one socket that is 220 volts because of the air conditioner.
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