For many travelers Cuba is one of those countries they postpone visiting thinking “I will do it someday”. But crystal blue water, salsa melodies, and relaxed friendly atmosphere we here about when someone starts sharing his Cuban experience make us want to at least find out what to expect of Cuba.
Although it has become a more popular tourist destination, Cuba still has a couple of challenges including its infrastructure equipped not well enough to accommodate all its visitors, hard internet access, and – most importantly – credit cards difficulties.
So here are a few money related tips to consider before taking off to the country of smiles, beautiful baroque buildings and authentic culture.
Credit cards issue
The biggest issue is a lot of credit cards don’t work here in Cuba, meaning you’ll have to use cash. Although it’s possible to get cash using ATMs, many foreign bank cards including those owned by USA banks don’t work here. Even some non-American banks implement additional preventive control and limit their cards from working here too. So you will have to check whether your home bank is in relations with the USA. The solution is to arrange a VISA card that usually faces no problems when handled in Cuba while the situation with American based companies is improving.
Paying with cash
Since you may face problems using credit cards, you ought to take care of having hard currency with you when packing things. You can expect the best exchange rate with euros and pounds sterling. However, bringing other foreign currency will be a problem as it doesn’t circulate here. As for US dollars, you will face terrifying exchange rates and additional charges with each transaction.
There are two local currency types – Cuban convertible peso (CUC), and Cuban national peso (CUP) with a value of 1/22 CUC. The first one is agreed with US dollars and should be used by tourists. In most places, you will see prices in both local currencies, but you shouldn’t take a notice of it.