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exchange it into the local currency to make purchases while you’re there. Cuban currency is NOT traded internationally, so you can’t buy it in advance. You buy it when you arrive in Cuba.
1.) The major legal currency for Cuba is the Cuban Convertible Peso, CUC. It’s what you exchange your foreign currency for and make all your purchases with in Cuba. Most tourists will only ever deal with CUC. For international exchange purposes 1.00 Cuban Convertible Peso = $1.00 US Dollar.2.) The second legal currency in Cuba is the simple and lowly Cuban Peso, CUP, which is rarely used by the vast majority of tourists, but it’s still something you should know about. Outside of a resort or hotel when you're travelling independently it’s always handy to have a few Cuban Pesos on you. You get about 24 of them for 1 Convertible Peso.Street food like sandwiches and pizza, fresh fruit drinks and other small purchases are all incredibly cheap for Cuban Pesos. Once you get a feel for Cuba – and if you speak a little Spanish – there are peso bars and restaurants that can be quite interesting. Movies are cheap too.
Both types of Pesos, CUC and CUP, are legal tender in Cuba and both are completely available to anyone – including foreigners – with no restrictions whatsoever . You can exchange your CUC for CUP at any bank and most non-resort and non-airport Cadecas.
As a first-time visitor to Cuba though or as a resort tourist venturing off the resort for the day you can easily handle ALL your transactions with Convertible Pesos, CUC. Don't worry about CUP.
Lastly, all your tipping at the resort is (of course) in CUC. Never tip in CUP.
Where to exchange your foreign currency:
1.) The best exchange rate is a Bank.
2.) The next best exchange rate is at any Cadeca. A Cadeca (Casas de Cambio which means House of Exchange) is a government exchange facility. They're located at airports, many resorts and hotels and at locations all over the Island.
3.) The worst rate can potentially be over-the-counter at any hotel or resort because the rate is not regulated by the government.
Very Important Rule: You require your Passport for ALL currency exchanges.
Travellers Cheques: They are more hassle than they're worth. They're sometimes difficult to exchange and when you do find a place to accept them you pay a commission to cash them. If they do get lost or stolen they can't be replaced until you return home.
Useless Credit/Debit Cards: Citi Bank, Capital One, Maestro, MBNA, AMX, any Mastercard from a Canadian Credit Union, Diners, Egg, Santander/RBS, Abbey, Abbey National, Marks & Spencer, Alliance & Leicester, etc. are some of the US affiliated cards that are useless in Cuba.
As for cash points I assume you mean ATM or exchange counters, these are pretty common in Old Havana certainly the currency exchange counters are easy to find, they are in every hotel.
Just to put my two cents in on Alethia's comments. CheersTerry is 100% spot on with his remarks. I've been to Cuba also and have responded to other poster's questions but using my own words and experiences. CheersTerry may have commented after my remarks but it was always in an informful and supportive manner. I never took it in a negative or belittling way. But I also wasn't plagerising anyone else's work. There's no crime in cutting and pasting as long as you give credit where it's properly due, which you not only failed to do but instead made it out as you were the one who did the work. And just an F.Y.I for you Alethia, Terry IS an authority on Cuba.If you take the time to scan this board you'd realize that. He was extemely helpful to me before my first trip. If anyone is being self righteous here it's yourself.