Jump to content

How Much Cuban Currency Do We Need?


Recommended Posts

  • 2 weeks later...
  • 4 weeks later...
This is a hard question because every traveler is different. I exchanged $300 US. Remember to ask for smaller bills because if you don't buy something early on you will not have small bills for tipping. And ask for a few $1 or 50 cent pesos to start you off for the bathroom "guardians." You will get a welcome to Cuba sheet from the ship that has basic information including suggested tipping. Tour guide 5-7 CUCs, Bus driver 3-5 CUCS, meals 3-4 CUCs or 10% of the bill.

 

Some people bought a lot of cigars, rum, coffee, art work etc. We did not. Partly that was due to having almost no time to shop in Havana on our particular excursion. Our timing got messed up and we only had time for a bathroom break at the Art Market. We could have walked back to the market afterwards but frankly we were tired and we wanted to get ready for the cabaret that evening.

 

There is a tiny bit of shopping at the ships terminal. We bought cigars there, Romeo y Julieta, each encased in a metal container. I cannot remember the price but I want to say most cigars ranged from $8-$15, some were higher. Our daughters were on a different excursion where they spent more time at the Art Market (my daughter bought a caricature and a purse, around $10 each.) They also learned about rum, cigars and coffee and had opportunity to buy all three. Not sure about the rum price, daughter said it was very reasonable. I saw coffee at the terminal shop ranging from $15-35 depending on package size.

 

Our shopping in Cienfuegos was divided between the botanical garden gift shop, street vendors off the plaza in the old part of town, the hotel where we ate lunch and vendors on the pier. I found most of the items to be very reasonably priced and prices are negotiable as well. Because I had not spent much in Havana except for tips I had quite a bit left. I bought bracelets ($5 each) 2 totebags, some carved hummingbirds (saw those also at the botanical garden shop) and a couple of claves. A lot of the items were priced around $5-10.

 

I still had money left and there was quite a line at the exchange although I do not think it would have taken too long. Instead I kept the change and the few $1, and $3 bills for souvenirs and shared my remaining $35 CUC's with my dining room steward, assistant and our yum-yum guy along with some additional US. I figured they would be going back to Cuba and could use it if they got off the ship.

 

So I spent around $250 dollars although that includes the exchange rate of 3% plus the 10% for changing US. It's roughly 87 CUCs per $100 US. I ended up buying 3 cigars, 3 packs of cigarettes, 6 wooden pens ($1 each) and assorted small souvenirs. I have to say I am not a big spender in most ports anyway. I don't buy expensive jewelry or lots of liquor. I do wish I had bought some more small items to share with friends but I also had to pack some of my daughter's rum and that plus my claves added to the suitcase weight.

 

Sorry for the long answer. If you have any questions I'd be glad to answer them. Enjoy Cuba! I thought it was lovely except maybe the bathrooms :)

 

St. Louis Sal

 

Sal,

This explanation is excellent! Thank you. So you would say $250 to $300 USD is an approximate amount to budget for 2 ports in Cuba?

Was your passport stamped upon entry or exit by the Cuban authorities?

Which cruise line did you travel with?

Link to post
Share on other sites

So once I figure the amount of CUC I think I will need and if it will pay to do the US-> other currency -> CUC, but don't use all of the CUC, will they exchange it back to another currency , and at what rate?

 

 

Regardless of the currency I bring with me, I'm thinking of exchanging CUC's for US Dollars on the way back to the boat before I leave. For a US resident, is that the best way to get the best rate back to USD?

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks - actually, just looked further down in the forum (always a good practice BEFORE asking) and saw this post

 

https://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2606090

 

which noted you only get charged the 3% fee regardless of the currency you exchange the CUC's back into. So I guess we can just get the money back in USD (assuming the exchange rate is the same for buying and selling, unlike the US banks, which sort-of functionally includes a fee as the rates are different).

Link to post
Share on other sites
Thanks - actually, just looked further down in the forum (always a good practice BEFORE asking) and saw this post

 

https://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2606090

 

which noted you only get charged the 3% fee regardless of the currency you exchange the CUC's back into. So I guess we can just get the money back in USD (assuming the exchange rate is the same for buying and selling, unlike the US banks, which sort-of functionally includes a fee as the rates are different).

I took Canadian dollars to avoid the 10% penalty. When I left, I exchanged CUC's back to American dollars.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Forum Jump
    • Categories
      • Forum Assistance
      • Q&A: Cruise Insurance with Steve Dasseos of TripInsuranceStore.com
      • New Cruisers
      • Cruise Lines “A – O”
      • Cruise Lines “P – Z”
      • River Cruising
      • ROLL CALLS
      • Digital Photography & Cruise Technology
      • Special Interest Cruising
      • Cruise Discussion Topics
      • UK Cruising
      • Australia & New Zealand Cruisers
      • North American Homeports
      • Ports of Call
      • Cruise Conversations
×
×
  • Create New...