The currency in Cuba at present is the Cuban Convertible Peso or CUC. This currency is only available in Cuba. The theoretical value of the CUC is linked on a fixed basis with 1 USD for 1 CUC. The CUC is obtained by changing foreign currency at official exchange booths called CADECA, bank outlets and hotel receptions. For most currencies an exchange commission is charged of 4 %. For exchanging the USD there is an exchange commision with an extra penalty of 10 %.
It is possible to pay in shops and hotels with credit cards of VISA and Euro-Mastercard if they are not issued by American banks. The value on the sales voucher is in USD, not in CUC as it is not an international currency. The commission is 4 % charged to the owner of the credit card.
We recommend to bring cash euros to Cuba or a visa or master-card credit card (not issued by an American bank).
The so called Moneda Nacional is a currency not destined to foreign visitors as it is primarily for buying subsidized products and services. You can also buy now with this currency in shops but at the exchange rate of 1 cuc equals 25 peso moneda nacional. For a tourist there is no point in using this currency for this purpose as to obtain moneda nacional you have to exchange cuc for it at the rate of 1 cuc equals 24 moneda nacional.
In cubafortravel.com we can quote in USD or in EURO for all our services. But the currency for foreign operations related to Cuba (payments by bank wire) must be EUROS. We work with bank transfers to our Cuban or foreign accounts and with payments on the spot in cash. We can accept a prepayment of part of the services and the rest on arrival on the spot in cash. The payment conditions are agreed between the client and our commercial staff through email communication.
In case of cancellations after having payed we reimburse the amount discounting the bank fees and the agreed cancellation fees.
For all visitors to Cuba it is mandatory to have a passport valid for 6 months and a tourist card. This tourist card can be purchased (price around 25 euro) at a Cuban embassy or consulate in your home country. Some air lines include the tourist card in their rates or provide it at a cost. In the airport of departure it is possible the airline sells you the tourist card. The airline is supposed to check whether you have the tourist card on you before letting you board the aircraft. The tourist card is not sold in Cuba in the airports of arrival.
Citizens from some countries like Russia do not require the tourist cards.
Cubafortravel.com can include on request the visas for guests that book packages with us.
Before leaving the country there is a mandatory 25 CUC exit tax to be paid in the airport. Almost all airlines have this tax included now in the ticket.
Safety and health
Most travel safety hazards in Cuba are of the soft kind. In the streets of the big cities pick pockets and small thievery are very common. In smaller laid back places this is less a problem. Properties that are left unattented disappear quite quickly, beware of this. Hotel rooms have secure deposit boxes and it is best to leave travel documents, money and valuables in there. Loosing a passport is a big hassle with police and embassy bureaucracy as a result.
Many thefts occur along the road with rental cars by taking along people hitching for a ride.www.cubafortravel.com advices against taking hikers at all times.
In general you will find Cubans very friendly and very social.
The Cuban health care system is renowned all over the world and medical tourism is one of the main sources of revenue of the country. In the major tourist places you will find special clinics for foreign visitors with state of the art infrastructure and very qualified english speaking personnel. The services are not for free and it is obligatory to enter the country with a health insurance valid for Cuba. If you can't present a travel health insurance on arrival immigration can force you to buy one locally.
The land telecode of Cuba is 53. There is an almoast nation wide mobile network and possibly with connection to your local provider so don't be surprised your own mobile phone works here. The costs for an international call is on the other hand quite expensive.
In many hotels and some public places you find wifi internet services at 2 CUC per hour.
There are almoast no international newspapers or magazines available. There are a few Cuban state controlled newspapers available. Hotels have international satelite TV news channels. In private homes you have Cuban TV channels and Telesur.