CUBA INSIDER

Interactive Map of Cuba

 

 

Cuban Currencies

Cuba operates with two currencies- the Cuban peso for the local economy and the Cuban Convertible Peso for the foreign visitor. Neither is traded internationally, you must purchase them on arrival in Cuba.

1.) As noted above, you will be using the Cuban Convertible Peso or CUC (say KOOK). It’s what you exchange your USD or other foreign currency for and make all your purchases with in Cuba. Most tourists will only ever deal with CUC. For international exchange purposes 1.00 Cuban Convertible Peso = $1.00 USD. Be aware that there is a 10% penalty charged when exchanging US dollars (a Cuban reaction to the ongoing embargo), and generally a 3% exchange fee so your conversion of US dollars into CUCs will net about .87 CUCs per dollar.

2.) The other legal currency in Cuba is the locally used Cuban Peso or CUP, which is rarely handled by the vast majority of tourists. 24.00 Cuban Pesos = $1.00 USD. You may buy an ice cream cone or some other treat at a stand that operates on the local economy in CUP. So, you may come in contact with them. This is, however, a huge opportunity for a crafty Cuban entrepreneur to charge you in CUC and return change in CUP… Be aware.

I have seen the old Cuban gentleman offering the CUP $3 note featuring Che Guevara to tourists as a collectible…for 1 USD… Since the 3 CUP note is worth about 12 cents…that’s a very nice margin for him. Neither of the above is a huge loss…just be aware.

Both CUC and CUP, are legal tender in Cuba and both are completely available to anyone – including foreigners – with no restriction. Some collectors of foreign currencies seek to retain both some CUC and CUP for their collections.

Departing Cuba you can again exchange your CUC and CUP for USD.

If you leave a tip for exceptional service…leave it in CUC.

 

Cuba News

 

If you read or hear something that sparks a question, please reach out to us at Other Cuban Journeys for clarification or our comment based on our latest visit.

 

 

Tom’s Top Cuban Memories…

Walking up Obispo Street past midnight…after a daiquiri at Floridita, some superb tapas at a paladar I did not catch the name of…and the ongoing services of a guitarist and singer who followed me up the street singing for me at each stop (I think I paid him $3 and he was one happy camper).

The visit out to the tobacco farm near Vinales… We saw the tobacco in the field, in the drying shed, and we sampled too…in what I call the “Big Smoke”.

We negotiated with a couple of local entrepreneurs for a ride in a 1958 Chevy convertible… Revolution Square, under the harbor to the far side and Casa Blanca, and a grand parade down the Malecon.

Many thought all trace of the United States must be wiped from Cuba over the past 50+ years. Not so. El Capitolio itself…modeled after the U.S. Capitol building; the bust of Lincoln in Friendship Park; the monument to the USS Maine (with fresh flowers); and, of course, all the Hemingway sites.

Just sitting in the bar at the Hotel Nacional…and doing what I often do…pretending to be Frank Sinatra.

Come make your own memories in Cuba!

Tom Rockne
Journey Consultant
Other Cuban Journeys

 

 

Your Cuban Journey awaits…

I just made a return trip to Cuba.  I was again impressed by the resiliency, positiveness, and pride of the Cuban people.  The streets were alive with Cubans looking for the next opportunity.  The music played from every paladar and bar.  The excited conversations- punctuated by laughter- were carried on across the city and country.  And, there was more construction underway- including the continued work on the Capitolio.  Also, additional new yellow taxis on the street and tourist activity at every turn.  The new openings to the United States are energizing Cubans.  They are impacting Cubans.  And they certainly should be broadened and not reduced.

Cuba is changing.  In many areas, that’s a very good thing.  But I certainly want to see Cuba move slowly in terms of changes to Habana Vieja.  That treasure of architecture needs to be refurbished, but not replaced.  Preserve every building that is structurally sound.  Celebrate each plaza and open space.  Augment with modernized interiors as appropriate for improved facilities and accessibility, but do not erase or minimize the history.

Now is the time to go to Cuba…no matter when you read these words.  Today is better than tomorrow to see more of where Cuba is coming from.  What has the revolution delivered?  What can the next page of improved relations with the United States add to that?  Empowered further, what can the Cuban nation build for its own future? 

How does the United States move to expand and accelerate these changes on the island?  Some will advocate for an overdue end to the embargo.  It is a ready excuse for the Cuban government.  It diminishes the United States leadership in setting a positive tone for a renewed relationship with this island nation.  Some continue to believe that we must see additional actions on the part of the Cuban government to open up to more economic reform and a further embracing of human rights reform.  Regardless of the specific course, the goal is more freedom for the Cuban people to make their decisions as individuals in a freer atmosphere.  That’s a worthy goal for all to work towards.

The Cuban Capitolio is modeled on the U.S. Capitol building.  The bust of Lincoln still looks down from Friendship Park.  The monument to the USS Maine still stands.  From the haunts of Hemingway to the U.S. Embassy, the United States casts a long shadow across the island.  Let’s assure it is a refreshing and welcome one.  Let’s continue to each work to open doors for the long-suffering people of Cuba.  That will build the trust and admiration of the Cuban people…and at the end of the day…a day that is coming…the Cuban government will listen and fulfill the will of the Cuban people.

Hasta la Victoria siempre!  La Victoria de el pueblo de Cuba.

 

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Other Cuban Journeys, LLC is licensed by the US Department of Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (CT-2014-306910-1) to organize and conduct educational exchanges in Cuba that will result in meaningful full-time interactions between the US travelers and individuals in Cuba.