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can someone please let me know which is the best way to obtain Cuban currency CUC or Euro. What is the exchange are and about how many euro is for dinner

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18 hours ago, vacationers said:

can someone please let me know which is the best way to obtain Cuban currency CUC or Euro. What is the exchange are and about how many euro is for dinner

We went to our local bank (Chase) and got euros before we left, as they were giving a more favorable exchange rate than we would have gotten exchanging dollars into CUC in Cuba. If you exchange dollars when you get off the ship you get hit with something like a 12% penalty for getting CUC.    There is no penalty changing CUC back into U.S. dollars before boarding the ship.  We were told the best exchange rate at the time we were there was for Canadian currency.   We had a very, very nice lunch and it cost us around 16CUC pp.  Sodas were 1.50 CUC, alcoholic drinks around 5 CUC, beer 3 CUC.  

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If you can purchase Euros or CAD with NO FEES from your local bank, you will save a few bucks vs. exchanging US $ for CUCs in Cuba.  Otherwise, you will actually be losing money in many cases, not to mention the time wasted ordering and picking up your money.  I was able to purchase CAD from Bank of America with no fees as a preferred customer.  I bought roughly $150 US worth and saved a whopping $5 over what I would have paid just bringing my US $ to Cuba.

 

Folks on this board who think otherwise have not actually run the numbers and are just looking at the additional 10% penalty Cuba imposes on the exchange of US $.  What they fail to take into account is that any bank is not giving you the true exchange rate, so you are losing a bit there, plus any transaction fees.  For most people who plan to spend a day in Havana and maybe buy lunch or a few souvenirs, it's really not worth your effort to bother exchanging US $ into Euros or CAD.

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14 hours ago, FredZiffle said:

 and saved a whopping $5 over what I would have paid just bringing my US $ to Cuba.

Never understood the "need" to exchange money before going to Cuba.   Many spend 10 to 15 bucks per drink on board without a single regret.   Why are they so needy to save the piddly amount at the exchange?  

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I wasn't sure about exchanging before hand either... but I have a trip to england next year so just changed a bunch into pounds and will use those. 

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Can you use American dollars in Cuba or do you have to exchange to Cuban currency?

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You pretty much need to exchange money.  There may be a few places that will accept US currency, but they are few and far between.  

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Unless you want souvenir currency, you'll need to change the CUC back to US$, or Euro, etc. The 3% exchange fee again applies, but not the penalty.

 

If you give USD to a tour guide, they take the conversion hit.  In general, Cuban citizens are not permitted to hold USD.  For a person in a country where the average monthly salary is about $35 US, earning $200 month is a huge deal.

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