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The Currency in Cuba and the Currency Exchange

Currently in Cuba, there is a duality of currency. The official currencies are the Cuban Pesos (CUP) and the Cuban Convertible Pesos (CUC). Although making a bit of history, monetary duality arose in the era of the Neo-Republic in Cuba. By 1914 when the Cuban peso began to coexist with the US dollar. Until in 1948, with the creation of the National Bank of Cuba, Cuban peso was established as a single currency.

In the early 1990s, there was a strong deterioration of the Cuban economy, as a result of the fall of the socialist camp and the sharp upsurge of the special period. The value of the Cuban peso was devalued and the dollar began to circulate, which was quoted at very high rates, up to 150 Cuban pesos. It was then that in December 2004, the dollar was out of circulation by a decision of the government, although it was not banned, its role was assumed by the CUC, also called “chavito”, whose unit has since been bought 25 Cuban pesos.

As part of the economic reforms implemented after Raul Castro took power, the unification of the Cuban Peso with the convertible peso was announced on December 20, 2013, in order to leave a single currency as legal tender, an aspect that has not yet been resolved In the country although some steps have been taken.

The CUC convertible peso is the main currency used by tourists although it is also used by Cubans to make purchases at stores operating at CUC, which is quoted at parity of one dollar, CUC in Cuba is set at a fixed rate of US $ 1 = 1CUC, so the value of the CUC is approximately US $ 1.03 because Cuban banks will always carry a commission of around 3% when they give CUC, either by exchanging cash, checks Travel, or using a credit card at an ATM or a withdrawal of funds in advance. The rate is set by the Cuban government and is subject to change at any time. It is important to note that the change from US dollars to convertible pesos is subject to a 10% tax; While the exchange to other currencies such as Euros, pounds or Canadian dollars are free of that tax.

The Cuban Peso – CUP or National Currency is commonly used by Cubans to pay for state services, has a value of approximately 1CUC = 24CUP and in the case of foreign visitors can also be used if they so wish, it is worth noting that In most shops in Cuba the CUC is accepted at a rate of around 24CUP = 1CUC.

Money change in Cuba: There are many exchange offices (CADECAS) spread throughout Cuba. Its function is simply to exchange money, it can be done both from foreign currency to CUC, and from CUC to National Currency (CUP), although its rates are higher than those of the bank, are more accessible to people.

Other places where you can exchange money:

In the Banco de Cuba it is possible to carry out currency exchange in a safe and easy access and the exchange rate applied is the most generous, although it has as a difference that banks can not exchange money for national currency. If you want National Currency, you have to use a CADECA.

Most hotels in Cuba have small change offices near the reception.
Anyone can use it so they are not reserved only for hotel guests, although in this case, the changes are less favorable. For example, if you are exchanging $ 100 USD you could get 87 CUC, or even 84 CUC from a hotel CADECA according to your luxury category. This rate also applies to exchange offices located at airports.

Credit Cards: Although the Cuban economy works mainly with cash, credit and debit cards are accepted, and you can pay with them at resorts and ATMs. The most common are Visa and Mastercard. In this regard, it is important to keep in mind that when you want to withdraw money from a cashier using a credit card the amount to withdraw first will be converted into US dollars and then a 3% surcharge will apply. For example, if you want to withdraw 100 CUC, your account will be charged 103 USD.

It is important to note that credit or debit cards issued in the United States of America are not allowed in Cuba. And they do not work in the ATMs, nor in any business.

If you decide to make a trip to Cuba with cash the best exchange can be obtained in the banks and CADECA. It may be more convenient to carry Canadian dollars, euros, sterling pounds or Swiss francs, whose type of Change does not include the tax applied to the US dollar.

To know the exchange rate in Cuba of the Cuban peso against other currencies, you can visit the website of the Central Bank of Cuba.