Where To Exchange Money In Cuba

where to exchange money in cuba

Where to Exchange Money in Cuba: A Comprehensive Guide

Understanding the intricacies of Cuba's monetary navigation could mean a world of difference during your visit. Here's your thorough guide to exchanging currency in Cuba, the smooth way.

Understanding Cuba's Currency System

Before we delve into where to exchange money in Cuba, you should first familiarize yourself with the country's currency system. Cuba operates a unique dual currency system. It uses the Cuban Convertible Peso (CUC) and the Cuban Peso (CUP). While tourists primarily use CUC, understanding how to navigate both currencies enhances your overall experience in Cuba.

Cadeca – Currency Exchange Bureaus

Cadecas are government-regulated currency exchange bureaus spread across the nation. They offer competitive exchange rates without any additional service fees. You can convert major currencies – including USD, EUR, CAD, and GBP – into CUC at official exchange rates. Be sure to carry your passport for identification.


Banks are a reliable source for converting your money into CUC. While the premise seems to guarantee security, watch out for longer processing times, particularly during peak time slots. As a general rule, avoid exchanging money at banks unless you are changing a large sum.


Hotel exchange services offer the greatest convenience, especially if you are staying in one. However, this luxury comes at a higher rate compared to Cadecas and banks. Simply put, while hotels offer convenient services, they are not typically the best place to exchange money due to the mixed reviews regarding their rates.


At arrival or departure, you can exchange currency at the airport. While the exchange rates may somewhat mirror those in Cadecas, it's still advisable to only convert enough money for immediate needs. Airport exchange services may also have commission fees, so bear that in mind.


ATMs are scattered across urban areas in Cuba, enabling you to withdraw CUC directly. Do note that the fees associated with ATMs can be pretty high - both from the local bank and from your bank. Verify your bank's policies regarding international withdrawals before taking this route.

The Black Market

While it is unsanctioned and largely advised against, some tourists resort to currency exchange in the black market. The black market typically offers above-average rates, but the risks involved are quite high. It's illegal, and in the worst-case scenario, you could end up with counterfeit notes.

Changing Money Back to Your Currency

Upon your departure, should you wish to convert your unutilized CUC back to your home currency, the process is straightforward. You can revert your currency at the airport or any Cadeca. Just remember, once you leave Cuba, CUC is valueless outside, so it's wise to exchange your remaining CUC before heading home.

Avoiding Unnecessary Fees

The key to avoiding unnecessary fees is research and planning. Understand your bank's fees for international transactions and evaluate the different exchange options. While convenience is crucial, always prioritize the best exchange rates over ease.


From Cadecas, banks to hotels and airports, there's a variety of places to exchange money in Cuba, each with their perks and downsides. Knowledge is power, knowing where and how to exchange your money guarantees a smooth Cuban experience. Remember to keep an eye on current exchange rates and rules as they can fluctuate. Have a fruitful financial journey in Cuba!