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t is really difficult to explain the cuba currency because there are some thing from cuba that you must live to understand; but we will try to do our best for letting you know practically the essence of the problem. .In Cuba, the people trade every day with different currencies and it is a normal fact for them because the cuban peso is very unstable.

 

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Fidel Castro talked on March 24 about changes that took effect starting april 2005 and as he said that the cuban peso convertible will be revaluated in 8%. last year the cuba goverment decided that the American Dollar was not accepted any more in cuba.

The direct consequences are not for tourists but for cuban people. as a general view the new changes will be the follow

-- American dollars are not accepted on government business from Nov 8 2004 on(99% of cuban places)
-- all stores that used to sell in american dollars changed to PESOS CONVERTIBLES (see below for the explanation of this term)
-- pesos convertibles now cost the equivalent of $1.18 American Dollars (if you exchange dollars into pesos convertibles) because of the 10% penalty to USD and 8% of the revaluation of the CUC
-- if you trade canadian dollars or euros or any other strong currency into pesos convertibles the exchange 1.08 taking as reference the American dollar for example if 1 euro is 1,30 USD. son taking the 8% of the revaluation 1 euro is about 1.20 CUC.

So, according to a recent government regulation US dollars is not any more freely circulaing in Cuba from November 8th, 2004. The National Cuban bank has released the so called 'PESO CONVERTIBLE' in substitution of foreign currencies. You can acquire 'pesos convertibles' at the airport, banks and at the Money Exchange Offices, called "CADECA" (you can find these offices everywhere in the city). In addition, the exchange of US dollars to 'Pesos convertibles' will not be more one-to-one (as before), but 1 US dollar = 0.82 Peso convertible (18% less). However, the penalty of 10 % IS ONLY APPLIED TO US-dollars and NOT for any other foreign currencies such as Euros and Canadian dollars (among others). Other currencies than US-dollars will be exchanged according to the daily exchange rate of the international currency market. taking into consideration the 8% of revaluation of the Cuban Peso Convertible

The exchange to the Pesos convertible into american dollas is fixed, 1 to 1.18 american dollar, as established by the Central Bank of Cuba.

At the Money Exchange Offices (CADECAs) created for the population to sell - buy USD's or Cuban Convertible Pesos, the exchange can vary now between $26.00 and $27.00 Cuban pesos to the peso convertible.

As you can see there is a big confusion for a traveler relative to the several currencies that are used in Cuba (cuban currency) .we are going to clarify this important problem.There are up to four currencies currently circulating in Cuba. I said "up to 3" because the last incorporation to this monetary mixture is the Euro, but it is accepted only in limited touristic areas like Varadero and in the next month Cayo Coco, but now with the new regulation some people prefer euros instead of pesos convertibles.

The currencies currently accepted in Cuba are:

--Cuban Convertible Peso
--Cuban Peso
--Euro (only acepted in varadero and by some casa owners as payment for the rooms)

Cuban Convertible Peso:

The Cuban Convertible Peso is nothing more than an attempt made by the Cuban financial authorities to take out all USD currently in circulation, and offer a currency that is in all senses equal to those USD. They will keep the USD in the banks and will allow the tourists and other people with access to USD to pay in a disctintive way from the Cubans with plain Cuban Pesos. Although that is the final idea and every day you see an increase in the circulation of this currency, currently the cuban banks could not fullfill all currency needs with this money, i.e. they have not capacity to produce enough Convertible Pesos to change all USD in circulation. But that moment will arrive soon or latter.

Actually they reach this goal with the fractional money (the coins), at this moment it is not allowed to use any USD coin in Cuba, you will have to use, exclusively, coins from the Convertible Peso type.

There are a some scams and cheats in the streets based in the ignorance of the common traveller of the differences between the Convertible and Not Convertible pesos. In the following tables you will see all denominations currently in circulation of the Convertible Peso, and its fractional units (coins).

Bills:

These are easy to diffrerence. All Convertible Pesos have the phrase "convertible pesos" both in the front, and the back, click in the images to see the bills in detail. Click on images to enlarge

  Front Back
$1 $ 1 peso convertible front face $ 1 peso convertible back face
$3 $ 3 pesos convertibles front face $ 3 pesos convertibles back face
$5 $ 5 pesos convertibles front face $ 5 pesos convertibles back face
$10 $ 10 pesos convertibles front face $ 10 pesos convertibles back face
$20 $ 20 pesos convertibles front face $ 20 pesos convertibles back face
$50 $ 50 pesos convertibles front face $ 50 pesos convertibles back face
$100 $ 100 pesos convertibles front face $ 100 pesos convertibles back face

Coins:

These are a problem, there are not any specific disctintion of the convertible from the not convertible coins, the main difference are that all convertible coins have a representation of different touristic/historic places of Cuba. The not convertible ones have instead an image of some Cuban patriot/historical personality in the front.

5 cents 10 cents 25 cents 50 cents 1.00

Cuban Regular Pesos:

The rate of change of the Cuban Peso with the Convertible Peso is of 1/26 (July/2004). There are different emisions of the bills, we will show only the latest version because currently are the most used. You will only need pesos to access to a limited number of products/services: Take a public transportation (guaguas), buying market food (vegetables and fruits), perhaps some juice or a pizza in the streets.

  Front Back
$1
$3
$5
$10
$20
$50
$100

Another solution is to bring a credit or debit card. I have personally used visa electron and it works perfectly

 

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