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Cash in Cuba

7 posts
Cash in Cuba

Ok, so I will be travelling as a US citizen in Cuba at the end of June. I see "cash is king", and figure on budgeting about $100/day (Air BnB paid for and a few excursions as well through the site). I've called my bank and was told that my CC can be used there, but seems after reading a lot of these comments that US bank cards cannot be used on the island.

So....where to stash all the cash?? Seems like a pretty basic question, I know, but I'm getting a little anxious about it. Any advice will be greatly appreciated.

55 replies to this topic
Toronto, Canada
Level Contributor
9,151 posts
1. Re: Cash in Cuba

You cannot use US plastic visa mastercard in Cuba, they dont work convert your US $ in cuba to CUC.

Minneapolis...
Destination Expert
for Cuba
Level Contributor
5,790 posts
33 reviews
48 helpful votes
2. Re: Cash in Cuba

I am still amazed at the mis information that is put out there..

Csah only can be difficult, but what I can tell you is your cash will be much safer tucked away in your casa, then on the street with you.

I have an advantage as I stay in the same casa every time , and do not ever have a worry, but in general casa are safe. Casa owners have to much to lose, to attempt messing with their guests things. Have some with you daily, , tuck some away in different parts of your room, your luggage, inside a shoe...etc.

Biggest piece of advice, bring an emergency stash, above and beyond what you think you will need, money goes fast, and you never know what emergency will pop up.

7 posts
3. Re: Cash in Cuba

We were planning on doing the double conversion. US to Canadian or Euro and then convert again in Havana.

Level Contributor
24 posts
4. Re: Cash in Cuba

In casas it's OK to leave cash, but do keep it under a lock (ie: your locked suitcase). As #2 says, Casa owners will not touch your stuff, and if it's locked away even better. Cuba is quite safe so even carrying cash concealed on your person is OK, but like I said in a money belt and not in a bag strapped over your shoulder. Don't be paranoid, Cuba is very safe, but do take the usual precautions.

7 posts
5. Re: Cash in Cuba

I'm super excited about this trip.

I haven't really used cash on a regular basis in years.

Just a little nervous about having so much on hand and no way to access our US accts in case of emergency or loss.

Consett, United...
Level Contributor
22,927 posts
110 reviews
180 helpful votes
6. Re: Cash in Cuba

I carry more money on a daily basis than I will day on a forum.

Maybe it is me but NEVER have I felt at risk .

Minneapolis...
Destination Expert
for Cuba
Level Contributor
5,790 posts
33 reviews
48 helpful votes
7. Re: Cash in Cuba

Amelia,

every American goes through that same fear, always use to having credit cards for emergency, I have come across quite a few Americans that were not prepared. One couple, I met on Santa Maria beach who only had a few dollars to last them for their last two days, ( I would of happily helped them out , but I was on the beach, with minimum funds on me that day.. ).. They said their casa hosts were helping them with free meals.

Ialso met a guy that had to receive funds from friends through Western Union …..so, like I said, emergency stash is a must.

Also, more than not, that exchange you are doing is not the wisest thing...hopefully one of the money experts on here will explain that to you.

Edited: 1:21 pm, June 15, 2019
7 posts
8. Re: Cash in Cuba

yes, please explain. Everything we've read thus far has advised that method as converting US $ in Cuba has such a high tax.

Saint Louis...
Level Contributor
64 posts
9. Re: Cash in Cuba

Joann p—do you mean the converting of us to Canadian to Cuban is bad?

Uh oh, I need help too. That was my plan. We were going to have our bank order us Canadian money (more than we think we will need is our plan) and then when we get to Cuba, we would exchange the Canadian to Cuban.

I had read Cuba charges 3% to convert, then an extra 10% if it is US currency, for a total of a 13% loss right off the top. So as long as my concerting US to Cuban costs less than 10% here, I was told to do that before I left.

Am I wrong? I will do something else if you all think I should? Maybe have the emergency “more than I hope to spend” part in US so if I succeed in not spending it, I don’t have to change it from Canadian to us. But as for the rest of the plan?

Artemisa Province...
Level Contributor
23,478 posts
28 reviews
12 helpful votes
10. Re: Cash in Cuba

As long as the conversion in the US is less than 10%, then there should be a gain.

But there is also the risk of exchange movement whilst you are holding the third currency and if you exchange too much, a further cost to exchange back.

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