I have read the FAQ but....
Replies: 16 - Last Post: Jan 28, 2013 11:40 PM Last Post By: DebbyinVan
Jan 21, 2013 4:19 AM
I have read the FAQ but....I am bringing Canadian cash. What is the best option for me , flying into Cuba for the first time to Varadero? In the FAQ that might be outdated, one writer suggests changing it right away in Varadero at the luggage carousel. Anyone agree/disagree? If I take that option, how much would be advisable given that I already have my hotel paid for in the first days? I don't want to get too much but I have to get to Varadero and from there to Havana from Varadero.
Do Cuban service providers accept Canadian dollars at all, or do they insist on Cuban money strictly?
Thanks for your help.
Jan 21, 2013 5:31 AM
1Change $300 on arrival. Change again once in Havana.
You can find a Cuban accepting CDN but that will be an extreme exception. Most providers will require CUC only.
Jan 21, 2013 5:55 AM
2There will be a regular bank branch at the airport, not one of those overpriced foreign exchange booths like you and I are accustomed to. Exchange rates at all the bank branches are essentially the same.
tip: bring pristine $100 bills, new if possible. You will have difficulty exchanging any bill that has markings, soiled or torn. $100s just to minimize the bulk. Big bills are no problem to exchange as long as they are clean. Also, get some CUP in addition to the CUC, then learn where you pay in which. It could save you a lot of money.
Jan 21, 2013 8:05 AM
3But if changing at the airport especially, check the rate and count carefully - apparently they are masters at short-changing.
The rates vary only by small amounts between the different banks and cadecas.
The rate given by Banco Metropolitano is published on the internet - check that just before you leave so you know more or less what the rate should be.
Jan 21, 2013 9:03 AM
4Re short changing
I was nearly done in Varadero airport on my last visit. I was changing several hundred £. The female cashier used the automatic machine to count out the large notes, then put the pile under my counter and out of my sight. Then she counted the small change and picked up the notes again (but not all of them). Something in the strange order she did things alerted me and I took great care in counting out the money before leaving the counter. I was $20 short. She asked for the wad of notes back, counted them under the counter again and triumphantly told me that the full amount was there. Of course it was, she had added in again the stray $20 note! She was a cool operator so I'm sure this wouldn't have been a one-off.
On the other hand I have had cashiers in banks most concerned that I should watch them count out the money....so the short-changing is not universal.
Jan 21, 2013 11:07 AM
Jan 21, 2013 12:58 PM
6Speaking of exchanging money, is it really that difficult? I don't like the idea of carrying around a thousand dollars, even in my money belt. (plus I'll mostly be staying in Havana)...
Jan 21, 2013 3:22 PM
Jan 21, 2013 4:41 PM
8DebbyinVan, Have a read through this.
Jan 27, 2013 3:36 AM
9You should change a few dollars right away before you leave the airport. I would change at least $200. It goes very quickly at first, paying the taxi, tips etc...
One reason that it is better to change a lot of money is to avoid going back to the Cadeca day after day. Changing money is easy but waiting in line at the Cadeca can easily eat up 1+ hour out of a day. In my experience, the Cadecas in old Havana have huge line ups and the service is slow. One day we were standing in line and the armed security people (the Cuban Brinks) showed up to take the money away. They had to clear everyone out of the cadeca and take the money. This took over 1 hour by itself. I think we stood in line for over 2 hours that day. It's Cuba!
Jan 27, 2013 9:54 AM
Jan 27, 2013 1:44 PM
Jan 27, 2013 7:37 PM
Jan 27, 2013 7:55 PM
(3 star Hotel)
From US$118.06 per night
(4 star Hotel)
From US$237.11 per night
(3 star Hotel)
From US$207.34 per night