Cuba Money

Currency

There are two currencies circulating in Cuba, Cuban Pesos (CUP) and Cuban Convertible Pesos (CUC). CUC is the currency most tourists will use in Cuba. It is how you will pay for hotels, official taxis, entry into museums, meals at restaurants, cigars, rum, etc. CUP are also known as local pesos and are referred to in Spanish as "Moneda Nacional" (National currency). There is a limited range of goods that can be bought for local pesos, and these are transactions carried out in agricultural markets or from street vendors.

Over 75% of Cuba's visitors hold Canadian Dollars, Sterling or Euros which are perfectly acceptable. Mexican Pesos, Swiss Francs, Japanese Yen, Australian Dollars and at least four other currencies are also reportedly converted at major banks in Cuba. If you must change a large sum of home currency for another, make sure to change directly into CUCs, and research exchange rates in advance. For currencies that aren't accepted in Cuba, converting to Euros in your home country will probably be the easiest & cheapest option. Most travel transactions and expenses are in 'pesos convertibles' or 'chavitos' (CUC$). The best rates for CUC$ are at the banks or CADECA kiosks, not resorts. There's little difference between the rates offered at Cuban airport kiosks or banks. Also, be advised that travelers changing money on the street have been defrauded, with fake or local currency.

Traveller's cheques are accepted, but it's better to bring cash to Cuba. ATMs are relatively rare in Cuba, with most being in Havana. Visa & Mastercard credit cards (of non-US origin) can usually be used, including for cash advances, but places that accept Visa as payment are extremely limited. Canadian debit cards are generally not accepted, although this does vary from card to card.

Tipping

Restaurants now add 10% service to the bill. If service has not been added then 5-10% is reasonable. Staff in an all-inclusive resort tipping CUC20-30 per week. Tipping CUC2 per person per day for a tour guide. If you like a musician who is playing in a bar or a café, tipping CUC1 per group for musicians.