1950s chevrolet in Havana used for tourist trips.
1956 Chevrolet Bel Air

New 2024 money guidelines for Americans visiting Cuba

How much cash do I need to bring to Cuba?

We suggest a minimum of $ 100 dollars per day for expenses not covered in your tour package. Prices in Cuba are similar to the United States. US credit cards don’t work in Cuba except at Hotel Aston and select restaurants. Bring more cash than you think you’ll need. You don’t have to spend all of it.

If you get stuck short of funds during your Cuba Explorer trip, WE WILL HELP.

How do I get Cuban pesos, and what is the exchange rate?

Cuba’s currency is called the peso, CUP, or moneda nacional. Visitors can purchase Cuban pesos at exchange bureaus (CADECA) with American dollars and other major foreign currencies.

The official exchange rate for Cuban pesos is one US dollar for 110 pesos. The street rate to purchase pesos is more favorable.

It is not possible to buy Cuban pesos outside of Cuba. We don’t recommend taking Cuban pesos home except as souvenirs, as they have no value outside Cuba.

Once you purchase Cuban pesos, it is unlikely that you can exchange them back for US dollars or other foreign currencies.

  • At banks Cuban pesos can be purchased at Cuban banks. The rate is one dollar for 110 pesos.
  • At Cuban exchange bureaus A limited number of CADECAs are available in Havana, including the airport. At a CADECA, you will receive a special tourist rate of 1 dollar for 110 pesos.
  • On the street This option is subject to scams and is not recommended.
  • At major hotels This option is no longer available.
  • Ask Cuba Explorer Tell us before arrival if you need clarifications or help with money matters in Cuba.

Why would I bother to convert my US dollars into pesos?

Cuban girls enjoying rum cocktail.
Cuba Explorer money guidelines keep you safe.

Having Cuban pesos in hand provides a sense of security. You’ll feel like a local, and have fun with street shopping.

Small private businesses display prices in pesos. Many display prices in US dollars. So you’ll always know accurate costs and pay the same price as Cubans. You’ll not have to worry about calculating or haggling over exchange rates on the spot.

Nearly all businesses and services you’ll encounter welcome payments in US dollars – most honor the one dollar for 110 pesos exchange rate, and some better it.

What is a prepaid MLC tourist card?

In Cuba, there are two payment systems: Pesos and MLC cards. There are two types of MLC cards. One is for Cubans, and the other is for visitors. Both function as prepaid debit cards.

Funds are added to these cards using foreign currencies. Once the money is in the MLC card, its value is equivalent to the US dollar.

Do I need a prepaid tourist card, and where do I get one?

Prepaid MLC cards are the only way to pay at most hotels and Cuban government stores. Likewise, many small private businesses, including restaurants, are beginning to accept MLC card transactions.

Prepaid MLC tourist cards are sold at exchange bureaus (CADECAS). They come in five amounts: 50, 100, 200, 500, and 1000 dollars. Refills are added in these same fixed amounts. The one-time card cost is $ 5 USD.

Prepaid MLC tourist cards only work in Cuba. You cannot transfer funds into or out of the card. However, you can refill them and use them to withdraw Cuban pesos from Cuban bank machines at the rate of 110 pesos for one dollar.

Your name is not attached to the card. Replacements or refunds aren’t possible if you lose the card or forget your PIN. The card is not redeemable for US funds but is valid for two years.

Travel with Cuba Explorer means fewer money worries in Cuba

Major expenses during your Cuba Explorer tour are prepaid: accommodations, transportation, day excursions, and most meals. You only need cash for gratuities, optional evening entertainment, extra libations, souvenirs, and meals not listed in your tour package.

Tips from seasoned travelers and Cuba travel advisors

Don’t be overwhelmed. Make a simple expense plan before travel. Here’s a summary of what our travelers say worked best for them. Cuba travel advisors concur.

  • Budget a minimum of $ 100 per day in US dollars.
  • Consider exchanging $ 100 to 200 dollars for Cuban pesos. Ask us. We can help.
  • Keep the rest of your money in US dollars, which you’ll have no problems spending while in Cuba.
  • Only purchase the MLC tourist card if you have a good reason, such as staying in hotels outside Havana.
  • Rest assured, Team Cuba Explorer is happy to answer money questions and assist with Cuba money matters. So feel welcome to call, email, or chat with us.