Destinations > Caribbean > Cuba

Currency, Exchange, Credit Cards, ATMs in Cuba

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Currency

The official currency in Cuba is the Convertible Peso (code CUC; symbol CUC$ or $), divided into 100 centavos. Notes come in the following denominations: $100, $50, $20, $10, $5, $3 and $1. Coins are in denominations of $1, and 50, 25, 10, 5, and 1 centavos.

Cuba also uses another 'local' currency - the Cuban pesos (symbol CUP), called 'moneda nacional' (MN). The Convertible Peso is used to pay for hotels, restaurants, taxis or stores, while the Cuban Peso is used locally at agriculture markets, by street vendors or some smaller, local restaurants. Travelers to Cuba will mostly use the CUC, but sometimes it's a good idea to exchange a small amount for CUP.

Foreign Currency Exchange

Foreign currency can be exchanged at banks or state-run exchange offices (casas de cambio or Cadecas). For exchanging US dollars in Cuba visitors have to pay additional 10% fee, so it is not recommended to bring US dollars. Recommended are Euros, pounds sterling, Canadian dollars or Swiss francs which are the most popular foreign currencies. Cash can be also obtained in banks and Cadecas with non-US Visa credit and Visa debit cards.

It is strongly recommended not to exchange money on the street, outside official exchange places.

The local currency must be exchanged back before leaving Cuba, so the best option is to only exchange small amounts at a time.

ATMs

The availability of automated teller machines (ATMs) is pretty limited - they are easier to find only in Havana and Santiago. Most machines work on international networks and have either Plus or Cirrus sign, but debit cards are rarely accepted. Only non-US credit cards can be used.

Credit Cards

Credit cards (only Visa and MasterCard) can be used in limited places, mostly in larger hotels and resorts, provided that the cards are not issued by a US bank or its subsidiary. Credit card payments will normally be charged additional 8% fee. Credit cards are charged in US dollars, so for those who have accounts in another currency, additional conversion charges will apply.

It is possible to obtain cash in banks and exchange offices (Cadecas) with non-US Visa credit cards.

Traveler's Checks

Traveler's checks in major international currencies (such as euros, pound sterling, Swiss francs, US or Canadian dollars) are generally accepted at banks and major hotels, as long as they are not issued by a US bank. It's more difficult to exchange checks in US dollars, so recommended are checks in other currencies. There is usually a commission for cashing traveler's checks.

Banking Hours

Typical banking hours in Cuba are from 8:30am - 12:00pm and 1:30pm to 4:00pm, Monday to Friday, and 8:30am -12:00pm on Saturdays, but many banks have extended hours.




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