What is the local currency?
Cuba has a dual currency system:
- the Cuban Peso Convertible (CUC): fixed to the US dollar
- Cuban Peso or Moneda Nacional (CUP): 1 CUC = 24 CUPs
Should I change money before I go?
You will need to buy some CUC on arrival as tourists always use CUC and virtually all services are priced in that currency.
It's very easy to exchange cash at the airport, banks or at any of the CADECA exchange offices dotted around Havana. Sterling, Euros or Canadian dollars are all fine but avoid taking US dollars as a 10% penalty fee is charged when exchanged. It's best to take Sterling in £10 or £20 notes – do not take £50s. Do not bring Scottish or Isle of Man notes as these are not recognised by Cuban banks and will not be exchangeable.
Cuba has very few ATM machines, and the ones that are available don’t always work so they can't be relied on - make sure you have some back up cash. You can withdraw money on your credit/debit card over the counter at a bank or CADECA but you must make sure that your card or bank has no association whatsoever with any American bank. (Virgin, Egg or American Express will not be accepted and do not work anywhere in Cuba).
How much should I budget per day for extras?
Around £25 - £40 a day should be plenty, but this is guidance only as you know your spending patterns better than we do.
Is it customary to tip?
Tipping in Cuba is not mandatory, but very much appreciated.
For everyday life, we recommend tipping around 10% in restaurants and bars if service is not already included. Then for your guide and driver, it is customary, though not compulsory to tip them around £5 -£10 each at the end of the day, this is normally handed over at the end of the trip.