Getting CUCs to start
Replies: 19 - Last Post: Sep 7, 2012 10:20 PM Last Post By: samanthany
Sep 6, 2012 1:21 PM
Getting CUCs to startHi. I read the FAC on currency, but it's a few years old.
My question is, is it still a good idea to buy CUCs in the airport when you arrive in Havana?
If so, where in the airport do you buy them at a decent rate?
We're arriving in early October and hope to have CUCs for cab, casa, and some food.
Sep 6, 2012 1:53 PM
1All banks charge essentially the same rate for CUCs. There is no competition. There are banks at the airport that are open whenever flights are arriving. .
Having CUC is more than a good idea. It is necessary as that is one of the Cuban currencies. And, the one you will be using to pay for almost everything.
There is also the Cuban Peso, also known as Moneta Nacional, abbreviated as CUP. It is available to tourists but I doubt if you will using that based on your initial question.
Sep 6, 2012 2:24 PM
2There are Cadecas (Money Exchange kiosks) at the airport, not actually banks, but they give you about the same exchange rate. Hotels will charge you more than banks/cadecas so it's a good idea to exchange enough CUC for at least a few days to avoid having to wait in line at a bank or get overcharged at your hotel.
Sep 6, 2012 3:25 PM
3For short trips the difference in rates between the Airport Cadeca/ATM's and Banks or Cadecas elsewhere - including those in hotels/resorts - is negligible. Cuba is one of the very few places in the world where rates at airport(s) is not a huge rip off.
Sep 6, 2012 5:27 PM
Sep 6, 2012 5:40 PM
5Make sure you have some smaller denomination bills for your taxi into Havana. My cabbie ripped me off as he "didn't have change" for a 50, the smallest bills the ATM at the airport would give me. Stop at the cadeca in the airport if that is the case for you.
Sep 6, 2012 5:50 PM
Sep 6, 2012 6:26 PM
Sep 6, 2012 6:36 PM
8Ah Chef you mean the 10% as a huge rip-off
But that aside! ...USD cash to CUC returns virtually the same amount whether it be at the airport or anywhere else if at a Cadeca or Bank.
I'm certainly not doubting you or Ryan - just never seen a 50 CUC one and as you know we rely almost totally on ATM's for cash. I drive Mrs A crazy by stopping at every ATM we pass to see what it is dispensing. And yes 40 bills limit per single transaction so if 5's - 200CUC; 10's - 400 CUC etc.
Sep 6, 2012 6:50 PM
9John, good to know. I haven't found out what the limit is (on the Cuban side) of an ATM withdrawal. I have done 400 CUCs in one transaction but did not want to try for more.
I have seen 50s in the ATM only once but it was a hoot. I took out $600 in two transactions and only got 12 bills! I had to find a rubber band because my money clip was too big. Ha!
Sep 6, 2012 8:10 PM
10Some hotels do charge very poor rates.
Broadly, the rates (best to worst) are:
special Cadecas (hotels, airports), BFI
hotels own rates
- but as John says, the difference is only worth worrying about if changing large amounts
Certainly change some at the airport. How long are you in Havana for ?
Yes, some ATMs do have 50s - possible BICSA ? And yes, that 40 limit can be a pain if there is only CUC 3 notes !
Sep 7, 2012 7:51 AM
11John.....that's news to me about the limit on number of bills dispensed. I think you must be right. At my bank on La Isla, there are two ATMs side by side. One dispenses $5's, the other $10's. The one that dispenses $5's had a written notice not to request more than a certain number, which I happened to do by mistake. The machine got jammed and I got short changed by $15. I phoned my friend at the bank and reported the loss and within a few days, they deposited the missing money into my account.
It used to be that there was a cadeca in Terminal 3, the international airport, near where you collected your luggage. I think you have to go up to the second floor now.....true or not? I always have some cucs left from previous trip to get me through the first couple of days.
Sep 7, 2012 8:44 AM
Sep 7, 2012 10:31 AM
13grizzlygul: That is almost exactly what I experience although I buy Euros rather than Canadian. I save 5% and almost as important, the 5% I do pay goes to my bank's profits. I cannot say that I love my bank, but I'd rather the money go to them.
Sep 7, 2012 12:15 PM
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