Which Currency Should I Take on My Trip to Cuba?

HAVANA TIMESWould it be wiser to exchange US Dollars to another currency prior to traveling to Cuba or should I just exchange US Dollars to CUC (Convertible Cuban Pesos) when arriving in Havana?

Answer: It will be to your advantage to take Canadian dollars, Euros, or Swiss Francs instead of USD. Whether it is also advantageous or not to take Mexican pesos will depend on the exchange rate you get.

After the 10% penalty (surcharge) is subtracted and the commission (just under 3%), the USD is exchanged at a fraction over 0.87 cents CUC.

Here is the site for the latest exchange rates at the CADECA money exchange.

Taken from the official CADECA website on February 19, 2019

Tasa de cambio/Exchange rate

Fecha/Date: 19/02/2019

Las monedas EUR, GBP y USD se multiplican en la compra./The EUR, GBP and USD currencies multiply in the purchase.

En Casas de Cambio/In Exchange Houses:

Moneda/ Compra/ Venta/
Currency Buy Sell
CAD CAD 1.36093 1.28808
CHF CHF 1.03264 0.97737
CUC CUC 1.00000 1.00000
CUP CUP 25.00000 24.00000
EUR EUR 1.10014 1.16236
GBP GBP 1.25720 1.32830
JPY JPY 113.72683 107.64031
MXN MXN 19.79414 18.73361
USD USD 0.97250 1.02750

En hoteles, puertos y aeropuertos/In hotels, ports and aiports:

Moneda/ Compra/ Venta/
Currency Buy Sell
CAD CAD 1.37150 1.27876
CHF CHF 1.04067 0.97029
CUC CUC 1.00000 1.00000
CUP CUP 25.00000 24.00000
EUR EUR 1.09166 1.17084
GBP GBP 1.24750 1.33800
JPY JPY 114.61187 106.85930
MXN MXN 19.94813 18.59773
USD USD 0.96500 1.03500

Below is a list of currencies that can be officially exchanged in Cuba:

Country and acronyms

CAD – Canadian dollar
GBP – British Pound
MXN – Mexican Peso
CHF – Swiss Franc
EUR – Euro
DKK – Danish Krone
SEK – Swedish Krona
JPY – Japanese Yen
USD – US Dollar (a 10% tax is applied before the exchange)
CUC – Cuban Convertible Peso

Should I change my money at the airport?

Question: How do I ensure i don’t get cheated when changing money.

Answer: The exchange rate is slightly less at the airport, ports and hotels.  You can see the rates above.   These are the only places that give a different (lower) rate.  Therefore, to get the best rate stick to the Cadeca money exchange offices and avoid changing money at the hotel.  At the the airport Cadeca we recommend you exchange a small amount so you can take a taxi and get to where you are staying in the city.   Although the exchange rate difference from the airport Cadeca and ones in the city is less than 1%.  The difference is similar for Euro or other currencies.

42 thoughts on “Which Currency Should I Take on My Trip to Cuba?

  • January 3, 2020 at 5:25 am

    That sounded stupid ..we did stupid things and got away with it ..im going back w one goon still..but hounestly paradise …even if you act stupid your safe and I have been all over ..nicest ppl nicest beach and so safe i can’t stress that …leave your phone out Cuban government so harsh ..its like a death sentence for them to steal it .like for real im going Jan 20 and wearing gold
    ..i never been to a place in the carribean I can say that …
    But has.its down side ,ppl scared of you which sucks for ppl like me .a social butter fly..but safety in paradise and abused ppl better then 12.miles away likeBahamas I’ve been walk around there lol for 3 times the money and you seen evil lol

  • September 26, 2019 at 11:13 pm

    I got completely lost trying to make sense of the thread from the beginning!

    I want to know the preferred currency to bring, as a Canadian traveling to Cuba (from the U.S.) for a week’s photography class.
    Background info:
    – I am a U.S. resident
    – My income in the U.S. is my Canadian retirement pension which is converted to USD, thereby already losing 30%+ on the exchange rate and bank fees.
    – Money conversion arrangements will be made in Cuba for those in our group of students who bring U.S. or Canadian funds. (So the actual conversion in Cuba does not concern me.)

    Which of these options should I choose?
    A) Bring new CANADIAN DOLLARS, in new $50, $100 and $1 bills.
    B) Convert my Canadian Dollars to USD, and bring only U.S. DOLLARS in new $50, $100 and $1 bills.
    C) In Canada, convert Canadian Dollars to CUC before going to Cuba. Bring CUC only.


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