Cuba’s official currency – for Cubans only – is the Cuban Peso; there is also another legal currency for the touristic zones: the Peso Convertible CUC. Starting November the 6th, 2004, US Dollars (US$) cannot be used anymore for cash payments in Cuba. Only the Peso Cubano Convertible (CUC) can be used for this purpose. The Cuban Peso Exchange Rate against foreign currencies is fixed by the Cuban Central Bank. The bank’s site will show on-line exchange rates for list major foreign currencies, like exchange rate CUC-USD (US Dollar), CUC-EUR (Euro), CUC-GBP (Great Britain Pound), CUC-JPY (Japan Yen), CUC-CAD (Canadian Dollar) and more.
Changes of US$ to CUC will be charged 10% commission; when returning to your country, you can change back your CUCs without any commission. COMMISSION IS NOT APPLIED if CUC are bought using GB Pounds, Canadian Dollars, European EURO or any other currency but USD; eventually, it will be cheaper, for tourists, to use GBP, EUR or CAD instead of the USD.
The financial institution for money exchange is named CADECA – CAsa DE CAmbio. It is possible to change money in any bank in major towns like Habana, Santiago, Cienfuegos, Trinidad, Camaguey, but you will find CADECA offices in every tourist destinations like Varadero, Cayo Largo and Cayo Coco and even smaller villages. Currency exchange is authorized also at major hotel chains, so it’s possible to change money almost everywhere.
Credit card – if not issued by a US Bank – are accepted everywhere, but only by state-run businesses like hotels, shops, restaurants and travel agencies. You may be able to withdraw cash from ATM – machines are rapidly spreading through the country – but check with your bank if the card is accepted or not by Cuban Bank system.