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PostPosted: Sun Dec 28, 2008 11:02 pm
by Tedly
Travelling to Varadero Cuba in February, was wondering what is my best option for me to bring for currency exchange? I hear that the hotels charge more to get currency against a charge that accurate? Find this hard to believe but I also heard that USD are accepted. Any truth to that? Is bringing canadian cash really my best option? Thanks in advance.

PostPosted: Sun Dec 28, 2008 11:16 pm
by Bigjohn
Hi Tedly
Your best option is to take Canadian cash and exchange it at the airport. A cash advance is not always available and US $ are charged a premium to exchange.
The airport currency booths are the handiest areas to change money but have a calculator in sight when making the deal. Not to say there is a scam operating there, but sometimes people have complained about short changing.
Where are you staying in Varadero? First time?

PostPosted: Sun Dec 28, 2008 11:54 pm
by Tedly
Thanks bigjohn. Yeah first time to Cuba. We are staying at the Sandals Royal Hicacos. The thing with the money is I don't want to be stuck with much at all at the end of the week. we will need money to go into Varadero for the day and hopefully into Havana for a day. I suppose at the end of the week I can exchange back any CUC that I have left over. Can i do that at the hotel? Not to sure about the cost of living in Cuba, so how much would I really need for the above mentioned trips? Lunch, cervasas, vino blancos for the wife and some basic touristy shopping? How many CUC would I get for say $100 Can at the airport?

PostPosted: Mon Dec 29, 2008 7:23 am
by Bigjohn
For $100 CDN you will receive approx. 72 CUC. First thing to do is tuck 25 CUC into each passport for your exit visa.
I haven't been to Varadero or Havana but in the Holguin area a dinner with drinks costs about half of what you spend at a 'Mom & Pop' place at home. (not Mom and Pop's place, but a restaurant!).
Excursions are best put on a credit card, Canadian banks only. No US affiliation cards are accepted, check with your bank.
Some hotels have a money change booth where they charge a transaction fee. Change a few $ more than you think you will spend and you will be ready for the 'duty free' at the airport on the way home. If you have too much left over, someone here at home will be happy to take it off your hands for posted rates.
Anything else? Fire away!

PostPosted: Mon Dec 29, 2008 9:26 am
by Tedly
Yeah we will definately credit card our excursion. We plan on doing the Seafari's by Catarmaran all day snorkel, lunch, rum punch thing. Always have to do something like this. Anything on that? I'm not a locked in person because we are at an AI. I like to get out and mingle. So I guess it wouldn't be unreasonable to exchange say $400.00 CAN when we first get there? Any ATM's around in Varadero or Havana?

PostPosted: Tue Dec 30, 2008 7:58 am
by Bigjohn
There is at least one ATM at plaza Americas in Varadero but the success rate at getting anything out of it can be less than stellar.
You can get a cash advance at a bank if you have your passport.
$400 CDN would be about right for the week before excursions. You will get roughly 300CUC, take 2x25 for exit visas and that leaves you 250CUC for a good meal, a couple cab rides, some T shirts and other souveniers and some rum to bring home and cigars.
I would not buy cigars from anywhere except a retail establishment. 99.9% of street cigars are fakes. Some smoke OK if you're not a cigar smoker to start with but anything could be chopped and rolled inside.
I usually count on 50CUC for tips per week. You decide what you want to do.
Cheap rum is just that. Good rum is worth bringing home. If you don't have any cash left at the return flight, the stores at the airport take plastic.

PostPosted: Sun Jan 04, 2009 11:12 pm
by Tedly
One more question for you bigjohn....have travelled around the caribbean much before but have never run into the american thing. Since I live in a border city, I have many t shirts and ball caps that have american cities on it a big no no to where clothing with american stuff mentioned on them or is it really no big deal? Thx

PostPosted: Sun Jan 04, 2009 11:39 pm
by Bigjohn
American logos and goods are welcomed by the masses. No problems with bringing those items.
Cuba does not ban Americans from travelling there, but the American government prohibits the spending of money there by Americans.
The best loved teams are the Yankees, Marlins and Devil Rays.
Take your donations and be assured that nothing will be rejected due to logos.