I’ve got 12 minutes so this might not be pretty.
When you bring in US dollars and exchange them for CUC they exchange at a rate of 1 to 1. But that’s AFTER they nail you with a 10% exchange fee.
To avoid that, I thought I’d be smart and bring in 2000 USD worth of Dominican Pesos.
Well, I’m an idiot.
The cuban banks won’t accept them anywhere in the country. It’s just not a currency they will exchange.
Which pretty much means I can’t get any money. I have been trying to get around this by wiring THC’s Euro account by getting messages out to someone that has access to my account.
I temporarily think that will solve the problem, but then THC realizes there is no atm that accpets mastercard. And no one knows where there is one that does.
Finally we get sent to a bank that accepts mastercard, and when we get there we learn it’s been closed for years.
We scour the city until we find possibly the only place that will let him withdraw money.
Along the way we have learned some great travel tips for cuba.
I’ll break these down more in a later post but this is pretty much the key things we’ve learned.
1. There are actually two currencies. The CUC and Money Nacional. It’s a little confusing but you want to eat and stay in places that price things by money Nacional. The CUC is for dumbass gringoes that are spending way too much for somethign that will cost 1/10 the price.
2. Stay in a casa particular, it is a room for rent with a Cuban family, there’s no point in staying in a Hotel as girls are not allowed and it’s much more expensive.
3. Eat in a Palador. It’s like a restaruant that’s in someones home. Only don’t go to the Gringo ones, those will cost 20 Cuc comparted to 1 dollar elsewhere in a REAL Palador