Nowadays there are two legal tenders in Cuba: the Convertible Cuban Peso (CUC) & the Cuban Peso (MN or CUP), both made up of 100 cents (centavos). The CUC was issued in 1994 and at the time of this writing, one CUC is worth twenty-four Cuban Pesos. There are circulating banknotes of 1, 3, 5, 10, 20, 50, and 100 CUC and coins of 1, 5, 10, 25, 50, and 100 cents for both currencies.
Where to get the Cuban currencies
The Cuban Peso and the Convertible Cuban Peso are exchangeable and expendable only within the country.
Cuban currency exchange services are provided at airports, hotels, banks and currency exchange houses called "CADECA" or "Casas de Cambio", spread along the country, some of them open around the clock.
The CUC exchange rates are slightly less favorable at the airports, so we advise to exchange here only what you may need to start your trip and then exchange the rest of your currency in a bank, hotel or CADECA at any Cuban city or town.
You are required to show up your passport at all exchange houses and banks when exchanging your money into CUC's.
We strongly recommend you exchange your currency only at Cuban exchange houses (CADECA), hotels or banks. In the streets, you may find scammers trying to pass fake CUC or MN bills, usually offering better exchange rates, based in the traveller's ignorance of the differences between the Convertible Cuban Peso and the Cuban Peso.
Main CUC safety features
- Watermark: with the denomination of the currency and José Martí’s effigy visible against light.
- Safety thread: with the text “PATRIA O MUERTE VENCEREMOS” visible against light.
- A 5 points star motive with a perfect front/back coincidence.
Prices of services and goods
Since a few months ago marketing of goods and services are in both currencies and can be paid with any of the two currencies at CADECA's exchange rates. As both types of currencies are legal tender they are completely available to Cubans as well as to foreigners, with no restrictions.
CADECA exchange rates:
- 1 CUC (buy) = 25 MN or CUP
- 1 CUC (sell) = 24 MN or CUP
Credit cards, ATMs & Traveler's checks
The credit cards accepted in Cuba, either to pay for services and goods or to draw cash from ATMs, are MasterCard International and Visa International. MasterCards issued by American banks are not accepted in Cuba. However, since June 28th 2016, MasterCards from U.S. Stonegate Bank in Florida and Banco Popular de Puerto Rico are accepted in Cuba.
You can find ATMs in many locations of Havana, almost in every bank and hotel of Havana. You can find ATMs along the country so you can exchange your money everywhere in Cuba. Some exchange houses (CADECA) also have ATMs.
The Cuban government waive the usual 10% charge on cash dollar exchanges for those using credit cards.
Traveler’s checks issued by non-American banks can also be used to withdraw money in banks and some hotels.
Visitors can exchange Cuban pesos back to any of the currencies accepted in Cuba before leaving the country at the international airports. The export of Cuban pesos is strictly prohibited.
Tourists and other visitors may bring in as much currency as they wish. However, if you intend to carry with you the equivalent of USD $5,000 or more when departing, be sure to have it declared when entering the country.