Travel money guide: Cuba

Learn how to access your cash and navigate the dual-currency like an expert on your holiday to Cuba.

Updated

Fact checked

Indulging in the turquoise waters of Varadero, a late-night salsa in Trinidad and revolutionary history in Havana all come at a price. Cuba's dual-currency makes things just a little bit trickier than usual.

With two different currencies to contend with and the temperamental nature of ATMs, the key to a successful holiday in Cuba is to always have a backup. Unless you're staying in an all-inclusive resort, you'll need cash on hand so withdraw when you can and take more than one card option.

Compare travel money options for Cuba

Traveller's cheques are out and so are bank cards affiliated with the United States. Instead, have Visa and Mastercard credit and debit cards that you can withdraw money from along with an emergency supply of cash that you can easily exchange.

Data indicated here is updated regularly
Name Product Foreign Currency Conversion Fee Overseas ATM withdrawal fee Purchase rate (p.a.) Annual fee
Bankwest Zero Platinum Mastercard

0%
$0
17.99% p.a.
$0 p.a.
Offers a $0 annual fee, 0% foreign transaction fees, complimentary international travel insurance and a balance transfer offer.
Coles Rewards Mastercard

0%
$5
19.99% p.a.
$99 p.a.
Earn 2 flybuys points / $1 spent and save with a 0% balance transfer offer. Plus, 0% international transaction fees on purchases.
ING Orange One

2.5%
$2.50
11.99% p.a.
$0 p.a.
Keep costs low with $0 annual fee and 100% foreign transaction fee rebates. Available when you hold or open an Orange Everyday account.
ING Orange One Platinum

2.5%
$2.50
16.99% p.a.
$149 p.a.
Enjoy up to $30 cashback per month and 100% foreign transaction fee rebates. Available when you hold or open an Orange Everyday account.
Westpac Lite Card

0%
9.9% p.a.
$108 p.a.
Keep credit card costs low with a maximum credit limit of $4,000, a 9.9% p.a. purchase interest rate and no foreign transaction fees.
Latitude 28° Global Platinum Mastercard

0%
$0
21.99% p.a.
$0 p.a.
Save with 0% foreign transaction fees on purchases. Plus, complimentary flight delay passes and a global wifi access.
Bankwest Breeze Platinum Mastercard

0%
$0
12.99% p.a.
$99 p.a.
Get 0% interest on balance transfers for 6 months (with a 2% fee), complimentary travel insurance and no foreign transaction fees.
HSBC Low Rate Credit Card

0%
12.99% p.a.
$99 p.a.
Receive up to 20 months interest-free on balance transfers with a 2% BT fee. Also enjoy exclusive offers with the home&Away Privilege Program.
Commonwealth Bank Low Fee Gold Credit Card

0%
0% for 15 months, reverts to 19.74% p.a.
$0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($89 p.a. thereafter)
Save with 0% p.a. for 15 months on purchases and an ongoing annual fee waiver when you meet the spend requirement. Plus, included insurances.
Skye Mastercard

0%
$0
23.99% p.a.
$99 p.a.
Get 110 days interest-free, 0% foreign transaction fees and flexible instalment plan options.
Bankwest Qantas Platinum Mastercard

0%
$0
20.49% p.a.
$160 p.a.
Enjoy 0% foreign transaction fees, complimentary travel insurances and earn 0.75 Qantas Points per $1 spent on eligible purchases.
Bankwest More Platinum Mastercard

0%
$0
19.99% p.a.
$160 p.a.
Earn 2 More Rewards Points per $1 spent, 75,000 bonus points when you meet the spend requirement and save with 0% foreign transaction fees.
Commonwealth Bank Ultimate Awards Card

0%
20.24% p.a.
$420 p.a.
Earn up to 3 Awards points / $1 spent, save with 0% international transaction fees and gain access to over 1,000 airport lounges.
Bankwest More World Mastercard

0%
$0
19.99% p.a.
$270 p.a.
Earn 115,000 bonus points when you meet the spend requirement, receive complimentary travel insurance and 10 LoungeKey passes per year.
Bankwest Qantas World Mastercard

0%
$0
20.49% p.a.
$270 p.a.
Earn uncapped Qantas Points per $1 spent on eligible purchases, pay 0% foreign transaction fees and receive complimentary travel insurance.
Macquarie Black Card

0%
20.7% p.a.
$149 p.a.
Earn 20,000 bonus Macquarie Reward points and receive a 0% p.a. balance transfer offer for 14 months.
Macquarie Platinum Card

0%
20.7% p.a.
$99 p.a.
Earn 20,000 bonus points and receive a 0% p.a. balance transfer offer for 14 months.
Macquarie Black Card with Qantas Rewards

0%
20.7% p.a.
$149 p.a.
Earn 20,000 bonus Qantas Points and receive a 0% p.a. interest rate on balance transfers for 14 months.
Macquarie Platinum Card with Qantas Rewards

3%
20.7% p.a.
$99 p.a.
Collect 20,000 bonus Qantas Points and enjoy a 0% p.a. balance transfer offer for 14 months.
Macquarie RateSaver Card

0%
15.95% p.a.
$69 p.a.
Receive up to 55 days interest-free on purchases, a 0% p.a. for 14 month balance transfer offer and exclusive offers from Visa Entertainment.
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Data indicated here is updated regularly
$
Name Product Card access ATM Withdrawal Fee Monthly Account Fee Internatonal ATM Fee Foreign transaction fee
HSBC Everyday Global Account
Visa
$0
$0
0%
Special offer: $100 cash bonus for new HSBC customers.
Earn 2% cashback on tap and pay purchases (T&C's apply).
Enjoy no minimum ongoing balance or transaction requirements and the flexibility to hold up to 10 currencies. Apple Pay and Google Pay available.
Westpac Choice
Mastercard
$0
$5
3%
Take advantage of Westpac's Global Alliance and save on overseas ATM fees at over 50,000 locations worldwide with fee-free cash withdrawals.
CUA Everyday Snap Account
Visa
$0
$4.50
2.95%
Refund of international ATM withdrawal fees and international card transaction fees (conditions apply). Refund of overdrawn fees.
$0 monthly account fee. Unlimited fee-free everyday transactions.
Apple Pay, Google Pay and Samsung Pay available. Savings Top Up tool automatically transfers to linked savings account.
Citi Global Currency Account
Mastercard
$0
$0
Earn up to 1.4% p.a. interest on your AUD balance.
$0 monthly account fee.
Enjoy one linked debit card to hold up to 10 currencies and receive foreign currencies for free.
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Data indicated here is updated regularly
Name Product Available Currencies ATM Withdrawal Fee Initial Load Fee Reload fee
Travelex Money Card
AUD, USD, CAD, EUR, GBP, HKD, JPY, NZD, SGD, THB

Overseas: $0

Domestic: 2.95% of the amount withdrawn

1.1% of initial load value or $15, whichever is greater
1.1% of transaction value or $15, whichever is greater
Lock in exchange rates for up to 10 currencies, pay no overseas ATM fees and get exclusive merchant offers.
Cash Passport Platinum Mastercard
AUD, USD, CAD, EUR, GBP, HKD, JPY, NZD, SGD, THB, AED
USD $2.50, EUR €2.50, GBP £2.00, NZD $3.50, THB ฿80.00, CAD $3.50, HKD $18.00, JPY ¥260.00, SGD $3.50, AUD $3.50, AED 10.00
$0
$5
Up to 11 currencies on 1 card locked in exchange rates and no load fees.
NAB Traveller Card
AUD, USD, CAD, EUR, GBP, HKD, JPY, NZD, SGD, THB

Overseas: $0 per withdrawal via international ATMs

Domestic: $3.75 fee applies

$0
$0
Load up and lock in up to 10 currencies and benefit from no fees for reloading funds. Comes with a secondary card for added security.
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Data indicated here is updated regularly
Name Product Minimum Order Amount Maximum Order Amount Delivery/Pickup Method Commission Fee
Travelex Foreign Currency
$500
$5,000
In Store, At Airport
$0
Travelex makes it easy to exchange and get the best rate on over 40 currencies so you can be prepared for your next holiday.
Foreign Xchange Travel Money
$0
$9,999
In Store, Home Delivery
$0
Order multiple currencies in one transaction and have it delivered directly to your door anywhere in Australia. No delivery fee for orders over $1,000. A $10 flat fee applies to orders less than $1,000.
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What should I know about money for Cuba?

How the different travel money products work in Cuba

Using a prepaid travel card

You won't be able to load Cuban pesos on a travel money card. A prepaid travel card with no currency conversion fee is one way to go, but there's no real point to these products in a country that uses an unsupported currency. You'll have to pay to either buy the card or load it, and some providers will put a margin on the travel card foreign exchange rate.

Don't take a travel card to Cuba. Have a look at the other types of travel money products we compare on this page.

Using a debit card

The Citibank Plus Transaction Account is usually the standout debit card to take overseas. However, you will have issues using a Citi issued card in Cuba.

If you're going to use a debit card when you're on holiday, paying the extra fee for currency conversion is probably going to be unavoidable.

You can't purchase Cuban money before you leave Australia, so you're going to have to make an ATM withdrawal at some point when you land.

Using a credit card

Visa and Mastercard credit cards will work in Cuba, you can use the Visa cash advance facility at Cuban ATMS. American Express, Diners Club, GE Money and Citi cards will not work in Cuba over the counter or at ATMs. It's advised you open an account with another institution if you plan on using your credit card to spend (and it's always encouraged to have credit as a backup).

Using a traveller's cheque

Don't worry about traveller's cheques in Cuba. Card providers can give you a full refund if you get your credit or debit card skimmed, and there are fewer places than ever before where you can get your traveller's cheques cashed.

Paying with cash in Cuba

Take as much cash with you in a currency that can be easily changed when you go to Cuba. Make withdrawals from your debit account and use your credit card for big purchases. There's anecdotal evidence that different cards will and won't work in different places, which is why it's important to have as much cash on you as possible.

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Should I bring a travel card, a debit card, a credit card or bring cash to Cuba?

A credit card and debit card combo is definitely the way to spend in Cuba. You should have no problem using your credit or debit card to withdraw cash from inside a bank, but you may have issues using ATMs on the street.

Mastercard-branded cards work for over-the-counter cash withdrawals only, and some brands of card won't work at all. American Express, GE Money and Citi credit and debit cards won't work due to their affiliation with the United States.

Although no prepaid travel cards currently support Cuban pesos, preloading a currency with a good history against the Cuban pesos could be beneficial. While there are travel cards that don't charge for currency conversion, it is important to consider the back-end fees, exchange rate and managing an extra account.

A quick summary of travel money options in Cuba

Here are some of the benefits and disadvantages of using different types of travel money products in Cuba.

Travel money optionProsConsiderations
Debit cards for travel
  • Save on overseas ATM fee when you withdraw
  • Emergency cash facilities
  • Ideal for managing your travel budget
  • $0 account keeping fees if you deposit at least $2,000 per month
  • Unlimited free withdrawals at selected banks
  • Fees. Currency conversion and international ATM fees
  • Can't be used over the counter
  • No emergency cash
  • No backup cards
Prepaid travel money cards
  • Protected by PIN & chip
  • Pre-load and secure your exchange rate in multiple foreign currencies
  • Accepted worldwide
  • Emergency card replacement and backup cards
  • Ideal for managing your travel budget
  • No prepaid cards support the CUP
  • Reloading time
  • Local ATM fee
Credit cards for travel
  • Protected by PIN & chip
  • Access to funds up to your credit limit
  • Accepted worldwide
  • No currency conversion/ transaction fees
  • Benefits including rewards points on spending, 0% purchases, frequent flyer perks
  • Emergency card replacement
  • Can charge high withdrawal and cash advance fees
  • Higher spending limit (depends on your approved credit limit)
Cash
  • Payment flexibility
  • Convenience
  • More difficult to manage expenses
  • Higher risk of theft

This table is a general summary of the travel money products in the market. Features and benefits can vary between cards.

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Exchange rate history (AUD to CUP/CUC)

YearAverage annual exchange Australian Dollar (AUD) to Cuban Peso (CUP)Average annual exchange Australian Dollar (AUD) to Cuban Convertible Peso (CUC)
201227.051.02
201327.551.04
201423.620.89
201521.650.82
201619.350.73
201719.090.72
201820.690.78

*Exchange rates are accurate as of 1 January of each year listed above.

What are the currencies that can be easily exchanged in Cuba?

  • Canadian dollars (CAD)
  • British pounds (GBP)
  • Mexican pesos (MXN)
  • Euros (EUR)
  • US dollars (USD)
  • Japanese yen (JPY)
  • Swiss francs (CHF)
  • Tip: You'll need to a pay a fee for an entry visa when you arrive in the country, it's about $20 or 240 Mexican pesos.

A guide to Cuban banknotes and coins

Cuban banknotes are quite different to those we have in Australia so you may want to familiarise yourself with the notes before heading there:

BanknoteCuban Peso (CUP)Cuban Convertible Pesos (CUC)

$1

cuban1cuc1

$3

cuban3cuc3

$5

cuban5cuc5

$10

cuban10cuc10

$20

cuban20cuc20

$50

cuban50cuc50

$100

cuban100cuc100

Buying Cuban pesos

You can't buy Cuban pesos in Australia, so you're going to have to wait until you get there to obtain local currency. When you arrive in Cuba, you can get your cash changed at the airport, the deal is better than what's on offer at Australian airports, or look for cadecas (money changers).

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How much pesos should I bring to Cuba?

Budget (Cheap)MidrangeLuxury (High-end)
to-sleepHotel room per night
23.37AUD
Casa Particular (double room)
32.63AUD
Hotel Nacional de Cuba Havana
(standard room)
172.33AUD
foodReal Cuban restaurant
Meal for two, no alcohol
7 to 13AUD
Meal for two with one alcoholic meal
39.76 to 59.65AUD
Meal for two with a bottle of wine
66.28 to 132.56AUD
busWa-Wa - local bus
0.02AUD
Taxi (public)
6.62 to 33.14 AUD
depending on length of journey
Tourist Bus:
Viazul: Havana to Varadero
13.25AUD one way

*Prices are approximate and are subject to change.

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4 Responses

  1. Default Gravatar
    SallyApril 8, 2019

    You must buy a visa as you board your flight to Cuba. You can not get a visa in Cuba.

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      MaiApril 9, 2019Staff

      Hi Sally,

      Thank you for visiting this article.

      We appreciate and thank you for your feedback. Other users/readers may find your comment useful to make sure they will have a worry free travel to Cuba.

      Have a wonderful day!

      Kind Regards,
      Mai

  2. Default Gravatar
    ChrisJanuary 8, 2019

    It says above that the ING orange everyday debit card works in Cuba but when I rang them they said definitely that you cannot use it there, can you check and update page if this is the case?

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JhezJanuary 10, 2019Staff

      Hi Chris,

      Thank you for your comment.

      The ING Orange Everyday Account comes with a linked Visa debit card that you can access any merchant and ATM’s in the world that has a VISA logo on it, which includes Cuba. You may need to inform the bank that you’re travelling overseas and that you’ll use the card in Cuba so they will not decline transactions done overseas when using the card. Also, it’s important to bring a back up card or cash.

      Should you wish to have real-time answers to your questions, try our chat box on the lower right corner of our page.

      Regards,
      Jhezelyn

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