QUESTION:  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…

Can you give advice on the currency situation?  Are US dollars used in daily transactions?   Or do travelers still exchange dollars into CUC?  (And lose 13% in the process.)

We would also like to book lodging through Air B&B to better connect with local people.  Since most Cubans have no internet, there must be some “middle men” acting as agents.   Do you think it a good idea to use AirB&B?  Or do you suggest doing something else for affordable places to stay?

ANSWER: The currency situation has yet to change.  The Cuban government said it will take off the 10% penalty when the US allows the Cuban state companies to open dollar accounts in the United States.  That hasn’t happened yet.  You can save some by taking either Euro’s or Canadian dollars with you instead of USD.

No problem using AirBnB.  People who rent find a way to have email or use the Wifi public points to connect. Most either have email at home, legal or not, or someone who does makes the connections for them.  There are also other Casa Particular sites for booking homestays.


37 thoughts on “On Using US Dollars and AirBnB in Cuba

  • November 22, 2017 at 11:52 am
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    I am very interested in visiting Cuba to research volunteering as a medical professional. Due to the 12 categories of restrictions I am not sure where to start. I am interested in calling any clinics or hospitals to get started. [email protected]

  • November 15, 2017 at 5:30 pm
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    You can also go by boat.

  • November 15, 2017 at 2:51 pm
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    How safe are the Cubana and aerocaribbean planes? I need to take a flight from Havana to the Isla de la Juventud and am terrified by the airlines record.

  • November 1, 2017 at 4:27 am
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    Most bankers in the US are clueless. When exchanging US dollars for CUC in private transactions, no one wants anything other than US$100 bills, not even US$50’s. It has been that way for years and confirmed once again 2 days ago.

    You can enter Cuba with as many US dollars as you want. You just must declare more than $5,000. It is illegal to bring CUC either into or out of Cuba although everyone commonly does.

  • November 1, 2017 at 4:20 am
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    The fees are in the difference in the exchange rate you actually get and the spot market rate, typically around 5%. In Cuba you will pay exactly 3% difference between the spot rate and what you get in CUC. So typically the effective rate for fees is around 8%,

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