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Cuban Currency -- How You Pay for Things in Cuba

The CUC on the left and Moneda National (local pesos) on right
The CUC on the left and Moneda National (local pesos) on right

Casa Particulares in Havana Cuba

This is needlessly complicated for some reason. Even a local taxi driver told me he thought it was absurd. They use two currencies here, both called pesos. One is "convertible" and is the "national" version. At this time, a Convertible peso (CUC) which cubans often call "dollars" since they are linked to the US dollar, is worth 24 or 25 national pesos.

At most placea (stores, taxis, restaurants) you can pay with either currency. For example, you can pay 1 CUC for a taxi ride or 25 "national pesos" for the same ride. Neither currency can be exchanged for anything useful outside of Cuba, which is why my driver thought it was an absurd complication. The one difference (and it is important to tourists) is that only the CUC can be converted back to dollars (or euros, etc) at the airport on your departure from Cuba.

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Casa Particulares in Havana Cuba (continued)


The menu at Chef Pepes snack bar is in local pesos
The menu at Chef Pepes snack bar is in local pesos

Prices in restaurants and stores seems to most often be in CUC (though, you can pay with the equivalent amount of the other currency - the national peso.) Some stores had prices for items marked in both currencies for you. A few places (gas stores, I believe, although I didn't buy gas personally) require payment with CUC.

Official rate 83.17 per $100. Some hotels would still change for you as a non-guest, but at a worse than official rate. In need of some local cash right away, I even walked into a car rental office at night and was able to change $20 at close to the official rate (from the guy sitting at the desk.) The owner of my casa owner even gave me 1-to-1 for a $150. Apparantly it can be useful to them to acquire dollars from sources other than banks.


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