On Using US Dollars and AirBnB in Cuba

We are planning a “people to people” five-day trip for a family of three, departing from the US the last week of June 2016. Things are changing so fast; would appreciate some up-to-date information about two topics regarding currency and lodging.

Should I take Euros or US Dollars to Cuba?

When exchanging U.S. dollar banknotes a 10% tax is STILL applied plus an exchange commission. The 10% tax is NOT applied to other currencies, bank transfers, or credit card payments.

Are American Express travelers checks accepted in Cuba?

In a June 2011 phone consultation with Cuba’s Banco Financiero Internacional, S.A. (BFI) – one of the country’s main banks with branches located throughout the country – they said that American Express Travellers’ Cheques are accepted in Cuba as long as they are payable against banks that are not based in the United States.

What exactly is the new exchange rate in Cuba for USD?

Under Cuba’s new exchange rates, which went into effect on March 14, 2011, the 10 percent fee for buying CUCs with U.S. dollars in cash remains in place. For example, the exchange rate for today (March 22nd) is US $1.03360 to buy CUC 1. This means that for US $100 you will receive just under CUC 90.

What’s appropriate for tipping in Cuba

I’m travelling soon to Cuba and would like to know the norm for tipping at hotels or restaurants. Is it legal to tip with gifts such as certain hygiene products (toothpaste, shaving product, makeup) or school supplies (pencils, notebooks)? Is this appreciated or insulting? What constitutes an appropriate gift?