Cuba Update

FistoUncategorized11 Comments

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

times up

 

 

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About the Author

Fisto

I’m Fisto, I like to think of myself as a modern day adventurer. I have a roving foot, a desire to write, and a bit of a drinking problem, so having a blog seemed like a natural progression. Cheers.

  • Smooth Operator

    Fisto, can you ask THC to check his email please? Thanks!

    • TravelHardcore

      Done, check your mail / fb.

  • JJ Roberts

    I was in Cuba four months ago (not my first visit). First time I went there were 3 currencies (soft peso, hard peso and US dollar). Second time I went there were two (soft peso, hard peso) and then next time I go there will be one (the hard peso is disappearing the govt. has announced).

    Only really useful exchange currencies are british pound, canadian dollar and the euro as they are accepted everywhere. I took british pounds with me last time and had no problems. Bad move on the DM pesos. Anyone who has every been to Cuba could have warned you not to do that if you would have asked.

    I used mastercard in the ATMs of every major city in Cuba that I went to without problems. If the ATMs are not working just go to whats called a Cadeca. Even the small cities in Cuba have Cadecas. They will put your card into one of those merchant swipe machines that uses a dialup connection and give you your CUC. Easy.

    BTW CUC is not for dumbass gringoes its for anyone (even cubans) who want to buy anything that is not super basic. Want to buy a car / nice Cuban cigar or a decent beer you pay in CUC. Doubt me? Try drinking soft peso beer. It’s disgusting.

    There is nothing stopping you from changing your CUC into soft pesos and living like a Cuban does (all wages are paid in soft pesos to Cubans). If you do that, I recommend the street pizza. It costs about USD $0.10 and its surprisingly good for the price.

    BTW the reason Cubans survive on soft pesos and you can’t is that they still use state issued ration cards for basic food stuff like eggs.

    PS Every Cuban you meet will tell you they have a friend or relative that works in a cigar factory and will offer to sell you top brand cuban cigars for cheap. They look 100% genuine in terms of packaging, are made from floor sweepings and are completely un-smokable. Dont buy cuban cigars outside of a top quality cigar shop or hotel.

    • TravelHardcore

      Fisto means it are the dumbass gringos that eat at the CUC paladar, which serve exactly the same food as the cheap places and they end up paying 20 CUC (like 20 dollar) in stead the of 1 dollar you pay for the Monea Nacional places.

      ATMs did NOT accept mastercard, if you want to play safe bring Visa. The CADECA (money exchanger) is a way you can use mastercard, they charge 3% of the amount you want to withdraw.

      Ran into the cigar scam so many times we just laugh it off whenever it’s brought off.

      But generally Cubans are really cool people, we met some awesome new Cuban friends. As soon as we have decent internet again, prepare for an kick ass update. Having an awesome time here.

    • JJ Roberts

      Yeah I didn’t use the Cadecas if I could find a working ATM but its not possible in some of the smaller Cuban cities.

      Cuba is definitely awesome. Do you have your laptop with you? Writing up post on the laptop, copying to USB and taking the USB to ETESCA is the way to go otherwise it gets too expensive.

      If it wasn’t for the shitty internet situation in Cuba I would seriously consider spending an extended amount of time there. One month was enough.

      Look forward to the update.

    • Fisto

      JJ – I asked several people about the Domincan Peso and they all said it shouldn’t be a problem. Also, stating the obvious “bad move” after I just said it was a bad move is annoying. Then again you are known for wearing a red satin scarf.

      If you as a foreigner are paying 20cuc to eat in a palador, you are a dumbass gringo. And unless you are actually considering buying a car here, your information is irrelevant for the purposes of the traveler.

      You are flat out wrong about the availability of mastercard. Don’t give misinformation here.

      As usual, you come over here and try to brag about where you have been and drop self evident knowledge or repeat what we have already said like “oh yeah, I knew that too/already”.

      Plus, I’m sorry, I just can’t take a guy that wears a scarf and has bitch tits seriously.

    • JJ Roberts

      I didn’t give out mis-info about mastercard. I gave out facts. Read the post again.

      I was in cuba FOUR MONTHS AGO. I personally used mastercard in ATMS in EVERY MAJOR CITY IN CUBA (I spent a month and went the entire length of the island and back again).

      Mastercard is also accepted in every single Cadeca in the entire country. If you can’t get CUC using mastercard in Cuba then you are even dumber than I thought which I did not even think was possible.

      PS I dont own a satin scarf.

  • ColinK

    It looks like exchanging currency in Cuba can be a headache. I think another obstacle would be finding a rental apartment to bring girls back. I also heard you have to register a girl to stay at your place. Did you run into any problems with bringing girls back. Keep us updated!!

    • TravelHardcore

      We are staying at a casa particular run by a really sweet Cuban lady, she has introduced us to her family, invites us to her dinner and occasionally she brings over a shot of vodka to ‘lighten the mood’. We had no problems bringing girls over, she even jokes about it… “what are you guys still doing here, you should be out looking for a muchacha”

      There are a lot of pros and especially a lot of semi-pros in our area (centro Havana) but it is possible to find normal girls too. Got my first Cuban flag two days ago, I’ll try and write up an update soon, the cheaper internet I found takes 4 minutes just to open this page or gmail.

      Later, THC

  • TED G

    Fisto-
    Haven’t seen an article from you in a while. I listened to you about not masturbating and raising game and was in the gym the other day and had two hot girls linger around me sensing my sexual aggression.. I know this gym and they usually don’t do this. You know what you’re saying- I think you could write a book on optimizing health, sex techniques, and sexual energy for game.

    It’s my hope that you can write an article one Vegas and where and how to game in Vegas- getting a place on loc, breaking into circles with quality birds, game moves for touristy and local spots in Vegas, Typical Vegas girl mentality (I believe every town has this some towns have clicky backwards chicks others have open adventurous ones), and any other things most guys would not know about how to handle your game best in Vegas.

    Seriously though dog your blogs on frame,
    Game, sex techniques, and fitness are really good and could make a great product.

    • Fisto

      Thanks for saying all that Ted, I’ve got some downtime and working on getting some posts together. Now that we’re out of Cuba we will be doing more live update posts. I’m working on a few ideas for what you want.