Dollars to Cuba?

Do you take US Dollars to Cuba or exchange them before you go into another currency?

Well, conventional wisdom states that, since there is a 10% penalty on the exchange Dollar/CUC you should win a few percentage points by exchanging your dollars to Canadian or Euros before you go.

This way you save a little bit (about 2 percent, depending on the rates you get at your bank. I will not go into the details here but the official rate is 0.87 CUC for a Dollar.

But… (in Cuba there is always a but)

The Cubans are opening hard currency stores were you can only buy products in foreign hard currency and the products are priced in USD. Demand for Dollars is high at the moment and this morning I was offered 1.15 in the street!


The Euro has a ‘hard currency bonus too but it is smaller. 1,08 in the Cadeca, 1,12 in the street.

So in stead of 87 CUC for a 100 I got 115! So at the moment the debate about currency is more about courage. Do you dare to exchange in the street with the ‘illegal’ currency traders? Then do take US Dollars! (And know the difference between CUC and CUP before you make a deal!)

Update Nov 19: And suddenly the Dollar madness was over. US$ back to 1,02 in the streets. (that’s still a whopping 15% higher than the official exchange rate!)

Before you go to Cuba, get your money straight!

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