Cuba Currency: Everything You Need To Know For 2023

Cuba Currency. CUC. CUP

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Cuba’s currency has changed – locals and tourists say goodbye to the so-called dual currency system and hello to the reactivation of the historic national currency, the Cuban Peso (CUP). However, visitors are reporting that you might not actually use any Pesos while visiting Cuba.

This guide will detail everything you need to know about Cuban currency, answer whether you can use your credit card in Cuba and discuss the rumoured USD tax AND exchange fee!

Want to share your currency in Cuba experience? Please leave a comment at the end of this guide or contact us.

Traveling to Cuba soon? Here’s our first timer’s guide to Cuba

What Type of Cuba Currency Is There?

There is now one unified currency in Cuba, the Cuban Peso (CUP).

The CUP which should trade at 24 pesos to the US Dollar.

However, travelers who have recently returned state that they didn’t need Pesos at all.

Previously, there were two currencies.

The CUP, outlined above, which tourists only really used for street food, and the Cuban Convertible Peso (CUC).

The Cuban Convertible Peso (CUC pronounced Cook), was the so-called Cuban tourist currency, used daily by foreigners to pay for accommodation such as casas particulares, buses, taxis, tours and food.

The CUC will be phased out, making way for the CUP.

Here is how to tell the difference between the two notes.

  • CUP = Pesos, pictures of people on the bill/note. Che on the 3 CUP note
  • CUC = Convertibles, pictures of monuments on the bill/note
  • 1 CUC = 24 CUP, check the up to date rates here

The 3 peso note is popular with visitors as it has Che Guevara face on it!

Cuban Currency

Can I Get Cuban Currency in the UK/US/Etc?

No, you can’t exchange your native currency for Cuban in your home country or anywhere in the world apart from Cuba.

However, it is looking like you don’t actually need to worry about Cuban Pesos as hotels, restaurants and taxis are accepting Pound sterling (GBP) and Euros (EUR).

You can also exchange money at these places to and it is being suggested that the street exchange value is much better than rates offered at official places.

Thanks to Tim in the comments for this update.

Note: Some locals refer to the Pound as Sterling, just remember that if you are trying to exchange money.

It’s a little muddier for US Dollars (USD) with some saying that they are accepted on the street and others saying restaurants and taxis will take USD but not all hotels.

Some hotels are offering 25% discount off the food bill if you pay with credit card using GBP or USD.

Thanks to A. Loch for the feedback from their most recent trip to Cuba.

You may also like our guide to scams in Cuba that actually happen.

Vintage Car Havana Cuba

What Currency to Take to Cuba?

You can’t buy CUP in other countries like you can buy euros for your trip to, say, Paris.

As a workaround, it is recommended* that you take either of the following three currencies to Cuba in cash:

  1. Pound sterling (GBP)
  2. Euros (EUR)
  3. Canadian dollars (CAD) – although a reader advised us (below) that CAD didn’t work well for them

You can see today’s Cuba exchange rate here as well as other currencies accepted and their exchange rates.

* Taking GBP or EUR is only recommended if the exchange rate is good for you at home and you don’t have to go miles out of your way to make the exchange. Shop around online to see what the best rates are before deciding if you are going to exchange your native currency for either of the three.

What is the Cuba Exchange Rate for USD?

Up until July 2020, there was a 10% conversion fee on the US “greenback” dollar.

This meant visitors were charged the 3% conversation fee discussed above and a further 10% fee so 13% fee in total.

Previously, this would have meant:

  • $10 USD – 13% (1.30) = $8.70
  • $100 USD – 13% (13) = $87

According to many news outlets, as of July 2020, the 10% tax has now been scrapped. Do you have experience of this? Please leave us a comment or email gemma(at)twoscotsabroad(dot)com.

However, the official Banco Central De Cuba still shows GBP, EUR and CAD to offer better conversions than the USD.

How to Get Cuban Currency

As mentioned above, you might not need to Cuban currency during your trip.

However, for your own knowledge, here is how to get Cuban currency.

The official Cuba money exchange is called CaDeCa (Casa de Cambio).

They can be found everywhere in Havana and the bigger cities but less so in smaller towns.

We were caught out in Caleton by Playa Larga as the bank hours were limited. Luckily new friends lent us some CUC so we could go diving at the Bay of Pigs the next day.

To exchange money at CaDeCa you need:

  • An early rise
  • Your passport
  • Patience

Be prepared to wait in long lines.

I read that CADECA shops close at 3pm so get there early, at opening times is recommended. Although changing money in Cuba is not impossible, it can be taxing on time.

There are two CADECA at Havana airport, check upstairs for the quieter one which had no line when we arrived.

It is recommended to exchange as much as you are comfortable with at the airport.

The airport ATM did not work during our departure.

Cue panic as we were not aware that there was a tax you have to pay to leave. Luckily our airline had already covered it.

Read our guide to Cuba to avoid the silly mistakes we made.

You can also exchange GBP or EUR to Peso locally; ask your casa host, hotels or taxis drivers.

Line at bank in Havana Cuba

Should I Exchange Money at my Casa?

It is common for visitors to exchange money at their casa.

Not all casas will offer this service but they will point you in the right direction of who can help if you want to exchange money.

You can shop around this way too.

Have you exchanged money at your casa? Please share your experience in the comments below.

Read next: a guide to casas in Cuba.

What about ATMs in Cuba?

There are ‘hole in the wall’ ATMs in Cuba and we used them after our cash ran out.

Non-US Visa is the preferred card. Others may not work.

Again, there may be lines and there are instances when the money runs out. ATMs also max out so you may have to return for more.

Cash may come out before your card so remember to lift it out the machine or it will get swallowed. We had a swallowed card incident in Peru and it sucked, boom boom!

Overall, getting cash in Cuba is relatively easy if you have a non-US card that works, can beat the crowds and don’t mind making a few runs.

Vinales Casa Particulare Cuba

Can You Use Credit Cards in Cuba?

Increasingly, hotels, restaurants and tour accept non-US credit cards.

It isn’t certain whether your credit card will work in Cuba so it is best to have cash too.

So How Much Does Cuba Cost?

The total budget for 3 weeks in Cuba came to 1903.50 USD. That’s 90 USD per day for two people with limited activities and one week in an all-inclusive resort. You can read the full details here in our breakdown guide.

Playa Ancon Trinidad Cuba

Frequently Asked Questions

What money is used in Cuba?

Officially, the currency used in Cuba is the Cuban Peso (CUP) but EUR or GBP are widely accepted.

Can I use USD in Cuba? 

Possibly. Some say the street value for USD exchange is good.

Should I exchange my USD before I go to Cuba?

You can’t actually exchange USD to CUP outside of Cuba.

Should I exchange my USD to another currency before I travel?

This very much depends on what exchange rate you can get for GBB or EUR.

If the rate is poor, it may be worth you taking USD.

If it involves you having to drive for miles and eats into your time, just take USD and be prepared to wait in line.

Further Reading 

Vinales Farmer Cuba

Final Words

I hope this has helped answer your question – what currency do you use in Cuba?

To recap, the best currency to take to Cuba is either EUR, GBP or CAD, depending on where you are traveling from.

Did you find this useful?
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Planning a trip to Cuba in the future? You need to know about Cuba's currency changes. Gone is the so-called tourist currency, the CUC. Click to find out more.

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64 thoughts on “Cuba Currency: Everything You Need To Know For 2023

  1. Andrew says:

    Biggest comment for sure is the need NOT to use an official exchange. The current rate is 1USD = 90-100 CUP. All restaurants will charge this. Bring a lot of cash and rent through an AirBnB that will exchange with you or just pay everything in cash. Upside is that museums now cost only a few ¢.

  2. Stephanie Irving says:

    I returned from Cuba a few weeks ago. I am from the US and I did in fact exchange at my Casa Particular. It was very easy, quick and safe to do it this way in our experience. US dollars were 170 per CUP, Euros were 140 per CUP. We exchanged our US dollars for CUP. We brought Euros with us also. We found that the Euro and Dollars were the most wanted currencies in restaurants, taxis, shopping etc.. We also had the Cuban CUP and used that in many restaurants. We found that the restaurants posted what currencies they accepted and at what rate, so it was easy to figure out who took what and where.
    Our only issue was that we had a few of our bills that had small tears in them or a little marking on them and our Casa Particular would not accept those bills. The bills need to be new or in like new condition.

  3. Michael Court says:

    I am a Scot, in Cuba at the moment. The official bank rate in Cuba is now cup 110 to $1 to buy or cup 123 to sell. Once here you cannot buy dollars anywhere, not in Banks or Currency exchange shops. Some, mainly government agencies, still try to get away with charging in dollars at circa 24cup.
    Restaurants will price in cuban peso (cup) but charge in dollars at exchange rates anywhere between 120cup to 160cup per Dollar.
    So my advice is stock up in Dollars before you get here and always ask the exchange rate before you buy.
    One other point is they do not seem to have pharmacies here so anything you need, even routine painkillers make sure you bring a good supply.

    • Sulav Maharjan says:

      I just visited CUBA and I learned that my excess Cuban pesos while departing the money exchanger in airport denied taking it. How come? May be that will stay with me forever now.

  4. Kim Darby says:

    My step-daughter just returned from Cuba. She said that they couldn’t get pesos converted back to Canadian dollars. In the past the switch back was easy at the airport.

    • Two Scots Abroad says:

      Hi Kim, thank you for sharing your daughter’s experience with out readers. I hope she enjoyed her vacation.

  5. Tony says:

    I am in Cuba now. If you are coming to Cuba bring usd to euros. The exchange rate is best in the street…170 Cuban pesos to the usd or euro…the banks give 120 cup to the dollar when you use your credit or debit card.
    All Cubans want dollars BUT if you bring dollars in notes, you can change to CUP(Cuban Pesos) you can pay in Cup but they will want the equivalent of 120 cup in your 170/180 exchange in the street means you are better off.
    Always haggle and ask for their ‘Best price in Cuban Pesos’…keep your dollars in reserve…do not admit to having dollars..

  6. Roy Jefford says:

    We have just returned from Havana. My advice is take euros and lots of them as its all they want to trade in and once there you can only get pesos from the banks or cash machines. Every restaurant, taxi, souvenir shop and even street traders use them, nobody is bothered about the pesos. Cash machines are very limited and in my case having a First Direct account my debit and credit cards were both useless, fortunately my wife’s card worked. If you do get pesos get very few and spend them all, as once back at the airport they are completely worthless. We have 6000 pesos spare !!!
    Above all enjoy Cuba.

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