There are 2 different types of Cuban currency, both of which can only be exchanged within Cuba as it is illegal either to import or export the currency.

The Cuban Peso (CUP) is the currency of the locals and the currency required away from tourist resorts. It is the official currency of Cuba.

The Cuban Convertible Peso (CUC) is the currency of visitors and used for luxury items. All prices in resorts will be in CUC. Both types of Peso comprise 100 centavos.

If you are travelling off the beaten path somewhat you will find that you can pay with CUC, however the price you pay will be a far higher price than the exchange rate between the two currencies.


Be aware of both currencies as some con artists will accept payment in CUC but give change in CUP instead, which is worth a fraction of the amount.

Keep in mind that just one Cuban Convertible Peso (CUC) is equivalent to 25-30 Cuban Pesos (CUP), subject to exchange rates, although this average rate has been accurate for the past number of years.

Exchanging Money
Foreign currency cannot be exchanged to Cuban Pesos. Only CUC can be exchanged in to Cuban Pesos and as the currency is both illegal to export and is not recognized outside of Cuba, you can only obtain Cuban currency whilst in Cuba.

Currency exchange can be made at banks or exchange offices (casas de cambio), called Cadeca. Queues are typically long for any currency exchange, particularly locations which can exchange CUC into CUP.

There is also the option to change funds at the airport on arrival, however the exchange given is less than that of the banks and Cadeca, which between them all have similar rates.

In general, banks tend to be open from 8.30am until 4pm Monday to Friday, closing between midday and 1.30pm. On Saturday they are open until midday, although in cities the banks sometimes stay open all day.

Credit Cards
Both Mastercard and Visa are accepted widely throughout Cuba, unless your issuer is American, but cards are subject to far higher than expected commissions. There are cash machines in tourist areas and cities, although do not expect to find them so commonly as you would at home.


US dollars
When the CUC was introduced it was to phase out use of the American dollar. US currency is no longer valid in Cuba and exchanging them for Cuban currency is subject to a higher commission than exchanging British Pounds or the Euro.

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