Useful to have in case of emergency. They are accepted provided they are not backed by an American Bank. Credit Cards are acceptable to pay for excursions, however the cost of your trip will be converted into dollars and then into sterling + an average of 2.75% handling fee. If you draw cash on your Credit Card from a bank in Cuba the same conversion will apply + the handling fee + interest is charged from the day of advance.
Debit cards are a bit of a grey area. ATM machines are not widely available and if they are, they don’t always work. If you withdraw cash you will be charged between 11 and 13% by the bank.
Little more process involved here. You must have the original receipt and your passport with you to the bank or else they will not cash your Travelers Checks.
Cash (Best Choice)
You can only exchange your money once you are in Cuba because Cuban currency is not traded internationally. There are 2 currencies in Cuba, CUC (Cuban Convertible Peso) and CUP (Cuban Peso). CUC is what you will likely be using as this is the Tourist Currency (CUP is the locals currency). Exchange a little cash at a time so you don’t have to much CUC’s when you leave (keeping only a few for drinks/food at the airport and tips. If you are taking a taxi back to the airport, put back 25 CUC’s per person in notes (no change accepted). Here is an idea of what the exchange rate looks like today. Be sure and print a copy right before you leave so you are comparing the most recent exchange rates. http://www.oanda.com/currency/travel-exchange-rates
Cuban Convertible Peso (CUC) to US Dollar (USD)
Interbank rate for Tuesday, November 3, 2015
Apple Vacations Due to the great interest in the People-to-People Educational Travel Program to Cuba, Apple Vacations adds another tour to their line up! Choose from a 5 night Havana Getaway, or 7 nights experiencing the Colors of Cuba (includes Getaway to Havana plus 2 additional nights in Trinidad) and the newest tour, Seascape Discovery, which includes 4 nights in Havana and 3 nights in Varadero with accommodations at Iberostar Resorts! Want to stay longer and experience more? Our Travel Team also offers a 9 night Cuba tour with Collette Tours.
Take advantage of the opportunity to see this island as it is now, before it changes with the times.
1) Immigration in Cuba can be a little nerve racking. You will be que’d to enter immigration booth (one person at a time) and you will be required to hand over your passport and Visa (a Visa is required – most tour providers included in the cost of the tour, check with your travel agent for details). Your passport and yourself will be scrutinized – you will most likely feel uncomfortable and they may ask you questions – provide simple answer. If you have children, you can take them to the booth with you. You cannot go into the booth as a whole family though so split the kiddo’s up between the parents. If you have older children (teenagers+), let one adult go first, then the older child and then another adult, this way; if by chance the child is sent for interview there is an adult on the same side of immigration as the child and you can demand to go with your child.