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

Quick money guidelines for Americans visiting Cuba

How much cash do I need in Cuba?

Cuba’s currency is known as the peso, CUP, or moneda nacional. It is the only legal tender on the island. The Cuban peso has no value outside of Cuba. Visitors can purchase Cuban pesos at exchange bureaus, banks, and hotels – in Cuba only!

Expert advice for planning your Cuba travel expenses

As of June, 2021, one US dollar is equal to 24 Cuban pesos.
Cash is King. Bring US dollars and convert to Cuban Pesos on arrival.
US credit and debit cards don’t work in Cuba. Cashier’s checks are hard to redeem.
Bring more money than you think you’ll need. You don’t have to spend all of it.
If you get stuck short of funds on your Cuba Explorer trip, we will help.

Cuba travel budgeting is simple. Learn from Cuba pros.

All major expenses on your Cuba Explorer tour are prepaid: accommodations, transportation, day excursions, and most meals. You will need funds for gratuities, optional evening entertainment, extra libations, souvenirs, and meals not included in your trip package.

Costs in Cuba are similar to the US. Best to bring more money than you think you’ll need so you don’t get caught short of funds. We recommend a minimum of $ 100 USD per day. However, if you run out of cash, our Havana office will help you.

Americans should bring US dollars to Cuba to convert them to Cuban pesos. An exchange fee of approximately 3%, as with all other currencies.

Best money practices and safety tips for your Cuba visit

Cuban girls enjoying rum cocktail.
Money guidelines for Cuba to keep you safe.
  • Change your US dollars into Cuban pesos at the airport on arrival or at your hotel. Alternately you can exchange money at a Cuban bank. Your passport is necessary when exchanging money. Never exchange money with Cubans on the street. Your guide will help you locate banks and exchange bureaus.
  • You don’t have to exchange all of your US dollars upon arrival. You can convert half at the start of your tour and more later as needed.
  • Keep extra cash, identification, and other valuables in your hotel room lockbox. Don’t walk around on the streets with lots of money.
  • Only leave your hotel with as many pesos you plan to spend, plus a photocopy of your passport. Keep your passport, valuables, and extra funds in your hotel lockbox.
  • Ostentatious displays of jewelry, cameras, and spending will attract pickpockets. Don’t let purses, cell phones, and valuables dangle.
  • Export of Cuban pesos is limited to 2,000 CUP. Exchange your Cuban pesos back into American dollars at the airport. Note Cuban airports only accept foreign currencies for fees and purchases after you pass airport security.

Cuban money factoids for numismatists

  • What does CUP mean? It’s the International Standards Organization ISO Code 4217 for Cuba’s national currency. Cuba (CU) + Peso (P) = CUP. Likewise, United States (US) + Dollar (D) = USD.
  • What is the symbol for the Cuban peso? $ or $MN.
  • What denomination is the Cuban peso issued in? Bills $1, $3, $5, $10, $20, $50, $100, $200, $500, $1000. Common coins 5¢, 20¢, $1, $3, $5.
  • RIP CUC (November 8, 1994 – December 31, 2020). The Cuban Convertible Peso or CUC, a dual island currency equal in value to the USD, is no longer in circulation.