The system of currency in Cuba has given tourists headaches for quite a while, so it is not at all strange that you are wondering what is the currency in Cuba!

The former dual-currency system Cuba had, has appeared complicated for most foreigners in the last decades.

In 2021, however, the Cuban government changed the monetary system, BUT the changes have not made the Cuban currency system any less complicated, unfortunately.

Whatever you are wondering about money in Cuba, what currency to use in Cuba, or what Cuba’s exchange rate is – here is what you need to know about money before your Cuba holiday in 2022.

Saving for holiday - money in Cuba

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Quick Facts About Money In Cuba 2022

  • The Cuban Peso (CUP), which the Cubans call the Moneda Nacional, is the only official Cuban currency valid after 2021
  • The Cuban currency CUP value to the dollar officially is 24:1
  • You can extract CUP from Cuban ATMs, but NOT from ATMs outside of Cuba
  • You CAN use an international Visa or Mastercard central places in Cuba, but still not everywhere
  • US credit cards are NOT accepted in Cuba
  • US $$ are NOT worth anything in Cuba in 2022
  • Euro is VERY popular in Cuba 2022
  • You can change Euro in cash for CUP in exchange offices, or on the streets in Cuba
  • You CAN use Euro in cash for many services and in many shops in Cuba
  • Some places and shops do NOT accept Cuban CUP, only Euro or credit card
  • Some places accept ONLY Euro in cash, NOTHING else
  • One Euro sells for 90 CUP on the street in Cuba (May 2022)
  • Bring a LOT of Euro (or Canadian dollars) in cash for your Cuba holiday, you can pay in these currencies in most places – and in some places, it is even (unofficially) mandatory!

Also read: All you need to know about Havana!

What Is The Currency In Cuba Now?

In January 2021 the Cuban government reformed the system of dual currency in Cuba (CUC and CUP) that has existed since the 90ies. They removed the CUC, so now the CUP, the Cuban Peso, is the only national currency that is valid in Cuba.

In June 2021, the Cuban national bank also announced a suspension of the use of dollar deposits due to the US sanctions.

What are you going to do in Cuba?

For you, as a tourist in 2022, this means that US $$ in cash no longer has any value in Cuba. The foreign currency used in Cuba that really has value now is mainly the Euro, and also the Canadian dollar.

The Euro, and also Canadian dollars, are currently extremely valuable for Cubans.

Also read: The comprehensive guide to Cuba!

The National Currency Of Cuba

The only official national currency of Cuba from 2021 is the Cuban Pesos (CUP), also called Moneda Nacional.

The CUP is only available in Cuba. You can withdraw CUP in an ATM when you arrive in Cuba, or you can bring Euro in cash and exchange this in an exchange office (or on the street).

The official price for the Cuban Peso is 24 on the dollar in the bank, but on the streets, it is a different ballgame. In May 2022 one Euro is worth up to 100 CUP on the streets of Cuba, on the black currency market.

Shopping Cuba money in Cuba

Cards vs Cash In Cuba

As the CUP is the only official currency in Cuba, in theory, you should be able to pay for anything with CUP. But this is not the case in reality

Cuban citizens have two different credit cards from Cuban banks. One that has only CUP in it, and one that has only MLC in it. MLC means Moneda Libremente Convertible, and MLC is basically any international currency, just not the Cuban Peso.

When the Cubans talk about MLC, it is generally US dollars they are referring to.

What are you going to do in Cuba?

The reason Cubans need a special MLC card with foreign currency in it is that in Cuba there is a chain of governmental shops that do not accept the domestic currency CUP.

These are called MLC shops. In these shops Cubans (and foreigners) can only pay with international currency credit cards.

These are the shops that have clothes, shoes, all kinds of soap and vanity things, canned foods, detergent, cleaning stuff, kitchen appliances, interior accessories, refrigerators, and air conditioners, anything really, except fresh foods.

In order to deposit currency to their MLC cards, Cubans need someone outside the country to transfer currency to their account. Or, they can deposit MLC (like Euro) in cash by physically going to the bank and depositing it.

In 2022 it is not possible to withdraw international currency from any bank in Cuba, only CUP. Hence, Cubans can only get foreign currency like Euro, in cash, if tourists bring it on their holiday to pay for stuff.

Because of the weird system with domestic MLC shops, the result is you can pay with Euro (or Canadian dollars) in cash in many places because people need foreign currency to do their domestic shopping.

This goes for many paladares (private restaurants), taxis, tourist services, sports activities, tours, and almost any service Cubans offer to tourists really.

So you should bring a lot of Euros in cash. Pay for stuff in Euro, change what you need into CUP in Cuba, and change back what you don`t use when you go home.

Because there are still things you can pay for with CUP in 2022. Fruit and vegetables, sandwiches on the streets, memorabilia in tourist shops, or propina, the Cuban word for tips.

Or the bici-taxis. You should definitely make sure you carry some CUP around.

Also read: Fun Things To Do In Varadero Cuba!

International Credit Cards In Cuba

Cash and credit card money in Cuba

Regardless of what is the isolated domestic currency in Cuba, you can use your international credit cards like Visa, or Mastercard, in many places in 2022, but the majority of places are not online yet.

Large hotels and resorts will most likely accept payment with credit cards.

Yet, I went scuba diving in Varadero early in 2022 and was expected to pay for the day with Euro, in cash. Electronic payment proved super difficult, so be prepared.

More and more restaurants and bars accept electronic payment, but mostly in the cities, and still far from all. So again, bring cash, or effectivos, as the Cubans call it.

What are you going to do in Cuba?

You can pay for some Cuban services online with your credit card, like bus transfers on the Viazul Bus Company homepage. You can also pay online for prebooked accommodation of course.

You can easily extract CUP in Cuban ATMs and banks at the official exchange rate which is 1:24 $ to CUP.

Note that American credit cards are not accepted anywhere in Cuba, so American travelers need to bring all the money they need for their holiday, in cash. In Euro, not $$.

Also read: Visit Viñales Valley Cuba!

How Much Cash Should I Bring To Cuba?

Well, how big is a fish? If you are wondering how much cash you should bring to Cuba, it all depends on how you plan to travel. In luxury or backpacking style, or somewhere in between?

Also what activities and adventures do you are planning to do on your Cuba holiday in 2022, and how much they cost. So make sure to do your research before you go to have a good idea of what amount you need.

As a rule of thumb, I would say bring the amount of money in cash (Euro or Canadian dollars, not USD), that you plan on spending in Cuba.

Castillo del Morro Santiago de Cuba

Your whole budget for (not prepaid) accommodation, food, shopping, transport, and activities during your stay.

You can easily change back what you don’t spend when you get back home.

Be aware that during the pandemic, due to the monetary reforms, ongoing sanctions, and the covid-closing of the country – there has been large inflation with prices increasing 500-1000% on many foods and items in the shops and on the black market.

Therefore prices in Cuba are higher than before the pandemic, which for tourists will be detectable in the prices of food and drinks in restaurants.

What are you going to do in Cuba?

How To Get Cuban Currency

Again, you will not be able to get Cuban current CUP outside of Cuba. Once in Cuba, you can extract CUP from Cuban ATMs with your national credit or debit card, which is easily available in most cities and towns.

You can also bring foreign currency in cash to Cuba, and change it when you get here. You can change your foreign currency at the airport, in exchange offices in Cuban cities, or ask your host for advice.

American credit and debit cards do not work in Cuba in 2022. If you are an American, you are advised to bring Euros in cash for the expenses you plan to have on your holiday.

Bring Euros or Canadian dollars, not US dollars.

Below you have three examples of travel budgets for Cuba 2022; cheap, budget, and luxury, to give you an idea.

What are you going to do in Varadero?

The Cheapest Cuba Vacations

A daily backpacking budget for Cuba in 2022 should be at least around €80-100.

This budget will get you something like a shared room at a hostel or Casa Particular (€10-25), three cheap meals a day (€50ish), a large bottle of water (€2), a couple of beers (€3-4 each), a wifi card (€1), one or two taxi tours in the city center and entrance to a museum.

This budget will not cover a full night out, journeys, activities, or other transport.

Below is an example of the absolute cheapest hits on and on Hostelworld in December 2021 for Havana, Cuba. As you see, a lot of casa particulares are promoted in both places.

Examples of cheap hotel prices havana 2021
Hostelworld cheap cuba travel accommodation

Cuba Budget Travel

A medium-level daily budget for Cuba budget travel would be around €150-200.

On Airbnb, you can get private rooms or even a studio or whole apartment to yourself for down to €25 per night, breakfast not included. But mostly the prices are higher than that.

The prices also vary a lot, so do some research for different dates if you are flexible.

In Trinidad you can get a room in a Casa Particular for around €15 per night, breakfast not included. Breakfast was €5 before the pandemic, currently, it will be between €5-10.

Good restaurants OR restaurants that are in the middle of the tourist hotspots in Havana will have higher prices than the casual little ones off the beaten track. A nice dinner can easily be around €40-50 per person including drinks and lunch a little less.

A couple of taxi trips (€20), entrance to a museum, drinks at night in one of the music bars, water & wifi, and a little tourist shopping and your budget is already up.

If you want to go shopping, scuba diving, have treatment at a spa, or anything like that, you need to upgrade your budget too.

Where To Stay In Havana 2022 | Best Hotels, Neighborhoods & Areas 

Cuba Luxury Holidays

Luxury hotels in Cuba

Cuba’s luxury holiday budget can quite frankly be limitless, you can get insane luxury in Cuba if money is not an issue.

For 5 stars hotels in Cuba or the equivalent, check out the Casa & Hotel overview, starting with the best hotels in Cuba, sorted by destination.

I recently stayed at the Iberostar Selection Bella Vista in Varadero as well as the Melia Paradiso Varadero, both beautiful places. Prices were $185 and $285 per day respectively, all-inclusive. Any activities or not-included amenities (like spa treatments) add to the budget.

Luxury hotels in Havana tend to offer room and breakfast or half board, not the all-inclusive option as people generally go exploring outside the hotel for lunch and dinner during their stay.

Also read: Best travel resource tips & advice for bookings of flights, accommodation & adventure

All inclusive hotel Varadero Cuba pool

One night at the super stylish Manzana Kempinski hotel at Parque Central in Havana starts at $360 per night for one room and two people in May 2022, including breakfast.

Iberostar Parque Central which is also a beautiful hotel centrally located between Old and Central Havana starts at €187 per night including breakfast.

You can also search for mansions or Casas on Airbnb, there are some super fancy options with luxury amenities, pools, jacuzzi, and more. I rented a house that I would call a mansion in the summer of 2021 for my birthday for one night, and that was €400.

In that particular house, there were four bedrooms and room for eight people sleeping. Also a huge kitchen, a living room with an oversized TV, a backyard with a pool and bar, and a jacuzzi on the roof.

Also read: Resorts in Cayo Santa Maria

All inclusive resort varadero cuba beach

There is a good scene for fine dining in Havana as well, read this overview of the five best restaurants in Havana including recommendations for fine dining a la carte places.

Be aware that a lot of restaurants, although super elegant, do not accept credit cards. Ask beforehand, and be prepared to pay in cash.

With no budget limitations, you can get a convenient taxi to take you or collect you from anywhere, ride in style with the old classic car taxis that roam the streets.

Read the shopping guide if you need to do some shopping during your stay, but my advice is that Havana is not a shopping mecca so don’t expect to be able to buy things you might need here!

old classic american cars

Cuba Transportation Options

Transport between destinations in Cuba is definitely cheapest and quite easy by bus, but more convenient, more expensive, and less time-consuming by taxi.

The following are price examples for Viazul travel in Cuba 2022.

  • Havana – Varadero $9
  • Havana – Trinidad $21
  • Havana – Santiago de Cuba (long haul) $57

You should definitely buy your Viazul tickets online beforehand. It is safe, and you do not need to stand in lines or deal with the bureaucracy of buying from a ticket office at a Cuban bus station. Also, you get your ticket electronically and are guaranteed a seat.

The details on where the bus leaves from and so on, you will find out when you get here, don’t worry.

NB: You normally need to be at the bus station ONE HOUR prior to departure. Depending on the day of the week, departure place, and destination, there might be queues for check-in, luggage drop-off, and entering the bus.

Remember to bring your passport also for domestic transportation!

In Havana, you can take bici taxis for short distances, which will be around €8/200 CUP. A taxi between Old Havana and the Vedado can be €24-40/600-1000 CUP dependent on the day and time.

A one-hour tour of Havana with a classic American car is €40 in May 2022.

Also read: Your guide to Havana nightlife

Examples Of Prices In Cuba

  • A bus ride (the guagua, the city bus) or taxi collectivo a short stretch within a city in Cuba should be around 1-5 CUP, which is less than €1/4.

  • Bici taxi a short stretch (2 persons) around 100 CUP or €4.

  • Private taxis between city areas, like between old Havana and Vedado, probably will be around 200-500 CUP (day-night/weekday/weekend) or €8-20.

  • One can of foreign beer is 100-120 CUP or around €4-5.

  • One bottle of wine is a minimum of 600 CUP in May 2022, or around 20 Euro, and one bottle of rum from around 400 CUP.

  • A breakfast or lunch in the daytime with a drink starts at around 250-300 CUP or €10-12 and up.

  • Between Havana and Varadero (2,5 hours), a private taxi will be between 6000-9000 CUP €200-350 dependent on the day of the week, time, and your bargaining skills.

Wrap-Up What Is The Currency In Cuba!

From one currency system to another, although there are no longer two official currencies in Cuba, there is still one official and now several unofficial currencies to wrap your head around.

The different foreign currencies have slightly different values on the street of Cuba, en las calles, as the Cubans call whatever goes on outside the private home.

My suggestion for your key takeaway is, to bring cash in Euro or Canadian dollars, and change them on the street with some help from the locals.

Pay in foreign currency when you can, a lot of vendors and service workers will prefer that.

And lastly, spend your money on private enterprises like paladares (privately owned restaurants) and empresas particulares (private businesses)!

Check out this comprehensive guide for more general travel tips for Cuba!

Do you have any questions about Cuba? Leave a comment, or send me an e-mail! Happy to help!

cheap and budget travel like backpacking

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  1. Nice… A lot of questions answered here. Sufficient cash/euros is definitely of the essence. One of my colleagues was planning a backpacking trip through the country, but he didn’t bring any cash, and had a very hard time… Ended up leaving for home earlier than planned.

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