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Cuba Currency: Are they still using two different types?

by Cristóbal Manjón | July 24, 2019
colorful houses in Cuban streets

When you decide to take any trip it is very important to know the standard of living in the country and some of the prices of the products that you'll need. We have to avoid headaches and know the current equivalence of the currency and it is also convenient to make sure you're aware of the legal tender in your destination.

Here you will discover the Cuba currency, if they still use two different ones, cost of life and more.

What are the 2 types of Cuba currency?

There were two types of Cuba currency until 2021: the Cuban peso and the convertible peso, and one was used for tourists and the other for locals. However, in 2021 the Cuban government decided to unify the two into only one currency of Cuba.

Currently only the Cuban Peso (C.U.P) circulates. The value of the CUP does not vary since the Cuban government does not allow fluctuation.

The currency of Cuba cannot be taken out of the country, so you will have to get it once you arrive in the country. 

Cuban peso, the official currency of Cuba

This currency of Cuba has the ISO code CUP. There are notes of 1, 3, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 500 and 1,000 pesos and coins of 1 and 3 pesos and 1, 2, 5 and 20 cents.

Convertible peso: a Cuba currency just for tourists

This Cuba currency is used by tourists and its ISO code is CUC. This does not mean that we cannot use Cuban peso (CUP), but we must know that most of the items sold to us are in convertible pesos (CUC). We can find coins worth 1 and 5 pesos and of 5, 10, 25 and 50 cents. The convertible peso notes are 1, 3, 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100. And it is advisable to look for notes with small value.

Cuban man carrying plantains to sell in Cuban peso

Can you exchange USD to CUC in Cuba?

Yes, you can exchange USD to CUC in Cuba. Next, we explain where you can proceed to change the currency:

1. CADECAS (bureau de change). These are the Cuban exchange houses and without doubt the best place to change currency in Cuba, or to withdraw money. Also, sometimes they will ask us for our passport.

2. ATMs in the bureau de change. If you do not want to stand long lines at the exchange offices, you can withdraw money from the ATMs.

3. ATMs Cuba is full of ATMs, so we should not have any problem withdrawing money from them.

4. Pay with card. Except in big hotels or in specific shops, paying by card in Cuba is difficult; that's why it's good to carry cash. If the card has not been issued by a US bank, it is only accepted in some establishments.

Exchange rate from Cuban peso to USD

The current exchange rate for the Cuba currency to USD is: 1 CUP = 0,042 USD.

Exchange rate from USD to Cuban peso

The current exchange rate for USD to Cuba currency is: 1 USD = 24 CUP.

Does Cuba have a high standard of living?

Street vendors sell in Cuba currency

Everyone knows that Cuba is a fun and incredible destination, and local prices can be low. It should be noted that sometimes you can negotiate the price and you agree to negotiate and haggle with the taxi driver, however in restaurants and many stores the prices are not negotiable.

To give you an idea of the standard of living in Cuba, a taxi can cost about 25 or 30 convertible pesos from the airport to Havana, and there is a distance of around 20 kilometers. You can eat at a restaurant from $5 and if you like McDonald's, you might spend a little less.

And, finally, as far as transport is concerned, the services are very cheap and you can have a monthly subscription for only 9 dollars. You can read our article about how to travel to Cuba to learn more about this subject.

After this summary, we just wish you a happy stay in the pearl of the Caribbean. A country in which you will have a great time and you will know the kindness of its people and its culture. And don't forget to apply for your visa for Cuba!