Content updated on 03 March 2018
There are two currencies in operation in Cuba. You may be wondering why they make things so difficult for themselves but the tale of the two currencies is as integral to Cuban culture as salsa and rum. Read on to find out more about how these currencies operate, their exchange rates and the best places to withdraw local currency in Cuba.
The main currency in Cuba is the Cuban Peso (CUP) and it is commonly used by locals in their everyday transactions. If you ever come across a place that only trades in CUPs, it may be useful to know that one peso has 100 cents. Notes can be of 1, 3, 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100 pesos. Coins can be of 1, 5 and 20 centavos, and there are others of 1 and 3 pesos.
The Cuban Convertible Peso (CUC) was introduced by the Cuban financial authorities as a control mechanism that replaced all foreing currencies in circulation with a convertible currency that was equivalent in value to the USD. Previously dollars were quoted in places such as hotels, restaurants and ‘dollar shops’. Some places only accept CUPs, CUCs or sometimes both. One CUC is roughly equivalent to 25 CUPs but you should always check with your host what the current exchange is doing before venturing out into the city on your own.
US dollars were removed from circulation in 2014, and until recently a 10% commission was charged to exchange them but this tax is only applicable when purchasing CUCs in cash.
Avoid changing money at the airport or hotels. Just let your host know, or if you are on your own, withdraw your cash at an ATM (maximum limit per transaction is around 300 CUC) or a bank like BFI, Banco Metropolitano or CADECA (maximum limit per day is around 1,200 CUC). You’ll need to take your passport with you.
When you withdraw CUCs from a Cuban ATM, the transaction is denominated in USD, to which a 3% exchange commission applies. When you purchase CUCs in cash, a 13% commission applies (10% tax + 3%).
Whereas Amex and Mastercard have both stated they are trying to have their cards function in Cuba, at the moment, no US-based credit or debit cards can be used there — this also includes using a debit card to withdraw cash at an ATM. We recommend taking one to two VISA debit cards with you and confirming with your bank before travelling that your debit, credit or ATM cards will allow you to withdraw cash or pay for things in Cuba.
ATMs in Old Havana
- Prado y Animas, Prado No. 307
- Cuba y O’ Relly, calle Cuba No. 255 esq. O’Reilly
ATMs in Vedado
- Focsa, calle 17 No. 55, Vedado
- 23 y J, calle J No. 501 esq. a 23, Vedado
- Nuevo Vedado, calle 26 esq. A 37, Nuevo Vedado
- 23 y Montero Sanchez, calle 23 No. 1054, Vedado
- MINREX, calle Calzada e/ G y H, Vedado
- MITRANS, Ave. Carlos Manuel de Céspedes e/ Tulipán y Lombillo, Plaza de la Rev.
- Hotel Cohiba, Malecón y Paseo, Vedado
- MINAZ, 23 e/ N y 0, Vedado
There are no ATMs or banks in las Terrazas.
You can withdraw money at the CADECA or the main bank.
Most ATMs in Trinidad are located outside the banks.
Most ATMs in Santa Clara are located outside the banks.
Most ATMs in Camaguey are located outside the banks.
Avoid changing money at hotels. So make sure you stock up on all the cash you need before you leave Camaguey.