One of the biggest questions about visiting Cuba has to do with money — what's the Cuban currency? What's the best way to pay for things in Cuba? How much money should travelers bring?
This handy guide covers it all. Below, we discuss the importance of cash in Cuba, why you should leave your American credit card at home, and what to know about Cuba's two different currencies.
In Cuba, cash is king. Your American credit and debit cards simply won't work. Use this guide to learn all about using cash, cards, and checks in Cuba—after, feel free to message us with any questions you still have!
For twenty-five years, Cuba had 2 currencies that were in use at the same time, but in 2020 they eliminated one (the CUC) and went back to having a single currency in circulation: the Cuban Peso (CUP). The Cuban peso can be used in almost any shop across the island, aside from special stores that only take a specific Cuban debit card for payment.
The Cuban government has recently made drastic changes to the USD-CUP exchange rate, so be sure you know what the latest rates are. It can be very helpful to have the assistance of a trusted local planner to make sure you're getting the best rate.
To get the best exchange rate and avoid getting ripped off, be careful where you exchange money in Cuba. Cuban travel experts recommend that you only exchange money at the following places:
When it comes to how much money you should bring to Cuba, our locals say it depends on what kind of experience you're looking to have. They provided these tips (but can help with more specific questions):
Locals tell us that the biggest mistake travelers make has to do with credit cards, debit cards, and traveler's checks. So, read these tips carefully:
For credit cards:
For debit cards:
For traveler's checks:
Have more questions about money in Cuba? Here is a list of our local Cuban travel experts who can help—feel free to send them a message!
And check out our other Cuba content, including: