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US Dollars Conversion in Cuba (to CUC) Question

I was wondering if recent American travelers to Cuba could tell me their experiences about exchanging US$ vs buying Euros or Canadian $ (which you lose money on) and exchanging that in Cuba. I was last there in 2/2011. I do not know which currency to bring. Seems we lose either way (Exchanging our money for Euros or exchanging USD there in Cuba).

Not sure if this is true information:
"What is the exchange rate between the CUC and the Cuban Peso (MN)?
You can exchange 1 CUC for 24 Cuban Pesos (MN) [sale] or 25 Cuban Pesos for 1 CUC [purchase]
What is the best currency to bring to Cuba?
On March 14, 2011 the Cuban Central Bank restored parity between the Cuban convertible peso (CUC) and the U.S. dollar. This effectively means that the CUC was devalued by 8% in relation to the US dollar and other foreign currencies. However, the 10 percent fee for buying CUCs with U.S. dollars in cash remains in place. So, the cardinal rule for bringing money to Cuba is to try and avoid US Dollars. The best currencies are Euros, Canadian Dollars, or Sterling since these are the most common and the exchange rates are generally quite reasonable. Bear in mind that the CUC is pegged to the US Dollar (at 1:1) so a stronger US Dollar means a stronger CUC (and hence less CUCs for your Euros/Sterling etc.)."

Posted by
6101 posts

I had euros from prior trips and exchanged them for CUCs in Havana so I didn't face the dollar problem. You could see what your bank would charge to sell you euros or British pounds or Canadian dollars, then compare that to the cost of changing US dollars to CUCs. My guess is that you'll lose less bringing a non-US currency to Cuba, because the USD-CUC exchange is effectively taxed by the Cuban government. So you're not just paying a bank to go to the trouble of selling you a foreign currency, you're also paying Cuba's added tax.

Of course you could take the view that Cuba desperately needs that premium and you're helping the Cuban people by "donating" extra dollars. What you can't do, as far as I know, is use regular Cuban pesos as a tourist. You'll be paying much higher prices for things than most Cubans do, consistent with your great wealth compared to most Cubans. Tourism has become Cuba's lifeline since the Soviets pulled their sugar support, and the CUC helps Cubans make a living.

Posted by
1 posts

I have a few hundred CUC that I had saved for a return trip to Cuba. I am not able to travel as soon as I had hoped, and would exchange them for US dollars at PAR if anyone is interested.