Before heading to Cuba, there were these stories of people running out of money!
What a terrifying thought!
Who wants to have an amazing time in a country, get to the last day or two and not be able to eat, buy souvenirs, or get back to the airport?!
Luckily, there is a way to enjoy the beautiful country of Cuba without blowing your budget and running out of money!
If you are unaware, if you are in the States, as of now, you cannot use USA debit/credit cards in the country. It is all cash.
And when you exchange United States Dollars (USD) in Cuba, you will incur a 10% penalty on each transaction.
Cuba is not as inexpensive as one of would think. With that information and 8 full days in Cuba, I challenged myself to a $50CUC/day budget.
Before explaining the breakdown of how to acquire money for your trip to Cuba, let’s first discuss how to go about getting cash if you have USD.
There are several options, but we will discuss three:
Order Euros or Canadian Dollars (CAN) from your local bank well in advance.
Once you arrive in Cuba exchange your Euros or CAN for Cuban Convertible Pesos (CUC).
Take USD to the airport and exchange for Euros or Canadian Dollars (CAN).
Once you arrive in Cuba exchange Euros or CAN for CUC.
Take your USD to Cuba and once you arrive in Cuba, exchange Euros or CAN for CUC.
*Note: You will incur a 10% penalty for exchanging USD to CUC.
I took $565 in USD and exchanged $500 USD to Euros, getting back ~ €360.
Taking €360 and converting it to Cuban Convertible Pesos (CUC) gave me ~$400CUC.
divided by the 8 days we were there, gave me $50CUC/day in Cuba.
Things to Consider:
- $1CUC= $1USD
- There are two forms of currency in Cuba:
The CUC (Cuban Convertible Peso) and the CUP (Cuban Peso).
CUC is the currency you will be using while in Cuba for everything aka “tourist currency”.
If you would like to get street food or small items, you can exchange CUC for CUP at any bank or CADESCA Exchange Counter.
- The exchange that you see online in a Currency Converter is not the market rate in which you buy/sell currency. This means, do not think the conversion you see online will be the same at the exchange counter.
- While in Cuba in June 2016, there was a better conversion on CAN than Euros to get CUC. The markets change daily. I am unsure of where you would look to see what the market rates are in Cuba specifically. The Pound still have a great conversion even though the value plummeted after #Brexit here in the States.
- While we did not do the math initially, converting once USD —> CUC (with the 10% penalty) vs converting twice (USD—> Euro/CAN —> CUC), seems to get you more CUC in the end (because you are not losing out twice by paying conversion rates, fees, and commissions on two different currencies).
Here is the EXACT breakdown of how I managed to spend $50CUC/Day in Cuba!
Let me keep it real, there were two days where I went over budget but was very under budget the other days so it worked out!?
Also, accommodations and tours (if that’s your thing) should be booked in advanced. That is why it is not included in the breakdown.
Want a super detailed, informative guide to everything you want to know in Cuba?!
Download the ULTIMATE Guide to Cuba Below!
It goes through every topic covering planning your trip to Cuba to make the planning easy, seamless, and fun!
Learn How To:
- Get your Visa
- Get transportation (so you’re not getting ripped out!)
- How to Booking accommodations (and the best neighborhoods to stay in)
- Best places to eat + drink
- How not to get ‘played’
- Much more!
When are you headed to Cuba?