What currency does Cuba use?

Travel Destinations

By Daniela Howard

Cuba’s Monetary System

Cuba is a vibrant and unique country full of history and culture. One thing that visitors to Cuba may wonder about is its monetary system. Cuba has a dual currency system, which can be confusing for those unfamiliar with it. The primary currency used by locals is the Cuban peso (CUP), while the convertible Cuban peso (CUC) is primarily used by tourists.

A Brief History of Cuban Currency

The history of Cuban currency is a complex one. Before the revolution, Cuba used the Cuban peso, which was equivalent to the US dollar. In the 1960s, the Cuban government began to nationalize businesses and industries, which led to economic sanctions from the United States. This, in turn, led to a shortage of US dollars in Cuba, so the government introduced the convertible peso (CUC) in 1994, which was pegged to the US dollar.

Cuban Peso (CUP): The Primary Currency

The Cuban peso (CUP) is the primary currency used by locals in Cuba. The CUP is used for everyday transactions such as buying groceries, taking public transportation, and paying for services. The CUP comes in denominations of 1, 3, 5, 10, 20, 50, and 100, and coins are available in 1, 5, 20, and 40 centavos.

Convertible Cuban Peso (CUC): A Secondary Currency

The convertible Cuban peso (CUC) is a secondary currency used primarily by tourists. The CUC is used for larger transactions such as hotel stays, renting a car, and purchasing souvenirs. The CUC comes in denominations of 1, 3, 5, 10, 20, 50, and 100, and coins are available in 1, 5, 10, 25, and 50 centavos.

Exchange Rates: CUP to CUC and Foreign Currencies

The exchange rate between the CUP and CUC is 1:1, meaning that one CUC is equal to one CUP. However, the exchange rate between the CUC and other foreign currencies can vary and may affect the amount of CUC you receive when exchanging money. It’s important to check the current exchange rates before exchanging currency.

Where to Exchange Currency in Cuba

Currency exchange offices, called CADECAs, are located throughout Cuba. It’s recommended to exchange currency at these offices rather than at hotels or on the black market. It’s also important to note that US dollars are subject to a 10% exchange fee, so it’s advisable to exchange US dollars for another currency before arriving in Cuba.

ATMs, Credit Cards, and Debit Cards in Cuba

ATMs are available in major cities and tourist areas, but may not be reliable or have sufficient funds. Credit cards and debit cards issued by US banks are not accepted in Cuba, so it’s important to bring cash or cards issued by non-US banks.

Using Foreign Currency in Cuba

Foreign currencies such as euros, Canadian dollars, and British pounds can be exchanged for CUC at CADECAs. However, it’s important to note that some currencies may have lower exchange rates than others.

Restrictions on Currency in Cuba

There are restrictions on the amount of currency that can be brought into or taken out of Cuba. The maximum amount of CUC that can be taken out of Cuba is 5,000, while the maximum amount of foreign currency that can be brought in or taken out is 10,000.

Tips for Handling Currency in Cuba

It’s important to keep small bills and coins on hand for everyday transactions. It’s also recommended to keep a record of all currency exchanges and receipts in case of any issues. Lastly, it’s important to be vigilant and cautious when handling currency to avoid scams or counterfeit bills.

Conclusion: Navigating Cuba’s Currency System

Cuba’s dual currency system can be confusing, but understanding the differences between the CUP and CUC and where to exchange currency can make navigating Cuba’s monetary system easier. By following these tips and being aware of restrictions and exchange rates, visitors to Cuba can enjoy their trip without worrying about currency issues.

Additional Resources for Currency in Cuba

  • Cuban Convertible Peso (CUC) on Cuba Travel Guide
  • Cuba Money on TripSavvy
  • Cuban Peso (CUP) on Cuba Travel Guide
  • How to Handle Money in Cuba on Lonely Planet
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Daniela Howard

Daniela Howard, a dedicated Harpers Ferry resident, serves as the foremost expert on West Virginia. Over a decade in travel writing, her work for Family Destinations Guide offers in-depth knowledge of the state's hidden treasures, such as fine dining, accommodations, and captivating sights. Her engaging articles vividly depict family-friendly activities, making your West Virginia journey truly memorable.

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