Insider Cuba tips and information
Castro, Che, cigars and classic cars - everyone knows something about Cuba’s culture and history. We’re here to help you separate fact from fiction, and give you all the information you need to get to know the real Cuba for your individual Cuban adventure. Did you know Cuba has one of the highest literacy rates in the world? Or that it has two currencies (the Cuban Convertible Peso or CUC which you need and the he Cuban National Peso or CU that is for locals)?
Here you can explore our extraordinary country and answer any question you may have – whether it’s about WiFi, the Cuban weather, getting around or even just which comida criolla (Cuban cuisine) you have to try while on the island.
Cuba has two different currencies:
The Cuban Convertible Peso or CUC.
The Cuban National Peso or CUP.
Visitors pay mostly in Convertible Cuban Pesos. The CUC can be exchanged for a number of foreign currencies (and vice versa) – notes only, coins are not accepted - including the EURO, Swiss Franc, English Pound and US Dollar. Exchanging US Dollars in cash are charged with a tax of 10% on top of established bank commissions (not applied to credit or debit cards transactions). Almost every expense relevant to tourism like hotels, car rentals and fuel, restaurants, luxury goods, souvenirs, entrance fees etc. are paid in CUC.
There are banknotes of 1, 3, 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100 convertible pesos, coins come in 5, 10, 25 and 50 Cents and 1 peso.
The Cuban National Peso (CUP) is also called Moneda Nacional (MN; National Money). The Cuban Peso is used mainly by Cubans to buy fruits and vegetables in the markets, a pizza on the street, for city bus fares, and to pay gas, telephone and electricity bills. Most salaries are paid in Cuban Pesos.
There are banknotes of 1, 3, 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100 pesos, coins come in 1 centavo, 2 centavos, 5 centavos, 20 centavos, 1 peso and 3 pesos. 1 Convertible Peso = approximately 24 Cuban pesos.
You can acquire 'Pesos Convertibles' at the airport, banks, various hotel lobbies and at money exchange offices, called "CADECA" (you can find these offices everywhere in the country). You can also get Cuban National Pesos (CUP) in the CADECA (exchanging small amounts is recommended). Do not exchange money on the streets. All Cuban money is only valid inside Cuba – importation and exportation is not allowed.
In tourist facilities and other service units, prices are in Cuban Convertible Pesos (CUC). In Varadero, Cayo Largo del Sur, Jardines del Rey (Coco and Guillermo Keys), Santa Lucía and Covarrubias Beaches, as well as in Holguín province (tourist resorts on the northern coastline), payments in Euros are generally accepted.
In about 95% of hotels, a doctor is present to provide primary care to patients. Additionally, there are eight international clinics offering specialized treatment.
January 28: Anniversary of the birth of José Martí, Cuba's National Hero, in 1853.
February 24: Anniversary of the beginning of the War of Independence, in 1895.
March 8: International Woman's Day.
March 13: Anniversary of the attack on Havana’s Presidential Palace by a group of revolutionary youths seeking to the tyrant Fulgencio Batista, in 1957.
April 19: Anniversary of the defeat of the mercenary attack at the Bay of Pigs, in 1961.
July 30: Day of the Martyrs of the Revolution.
October 8: Anniversary of the death of Commander Ernesto Ché Guevara, in 1967.
October 28: Anniversary of Commander Camilo Cienfuegos’ death, in 1959.
November 27: Commemoration of the execution of eight medical students, by the Spanish colonial government, in 1871.
December 7: Anniversary of Antonio Maceo's death in combat in 1896, an outstanding figure in Cuba’s War of Independence against Spanish colonial rule.
January 1st – Triumph of the Revolution.
January 28th - José Martí's Birthday.
July 26th - Attack on the Moncada and Carlos M. de Céspedes Barracks.
October 10th – Abolition of slavery.
The following dates are official public holidays:
January 1st and 2nd - May 1st - July 25th, 26th and 27th - October 10th - December 25th.
Official Commemorations in January: January 1st - Revolution Triumph January 28th - Jose Marti's Birthday
July Official Commemorations: 26 - Asalto a los cuarteles Moncada y Carlos M. de Cespedes
October Official Commemorations: October 10
Credit cards - except those issued by US banks or their branches in other countries - are accepted. Among those, MasterCard and Visa International are the most widely accepted.
The CUC is not an internationally circulating currency. When withdrawing cash with a credit card, the CUC will be converted first to the US Dollar, the amount in USD will be deducted from your account, plus 3%. Example: if you want to withdraw CUC 100.00 cash with your credit card, USD 103.00 will be debited.
Cuban Convertible Pesos are legal tender everywhere in the national territory. Cuban convertible pesos can be changed upon departure at bank offices at international airports and ports in Cuba. Travelers Checks - as long as they are payable against banks that are not based in the United States - are accepted, although not recommended as they are subject to a commission and in case of loss, they cannot be substituted in Cuba.
With Cuba Travel Network you can safely travel to Cuba as a U.S. Citizen, just follow our guide:
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