Soultime Travel, Tailor-made travels

Frequently Asked Questions

Argentina, Bolivia, Brasil, Colombia, Cuba, Ecuador / Galapagos, Peru, Panama

For Cuba & Peru travels we work with constantly updated Manuals that our clients receive upon booking. Most issues are covered by these Manuals. Further questions or requests for information about the other destinations are answered by Email.

For direct assistance with your questions and concerns, feel free to Contact us.

The issues that most travelers have questions about are so far 5 main issues:
1) the Inca Trail availability,
2) the Cuban climate, hurricane risk & the best time to go,
3) all issues related to the Cuban currency CUC (pesos convertibles), obtaining cash, cash dispensers & accepted credit cards
4) Cuba visa application for US citizens & directions of Cuban consulates for travelers from Asia
5) safety traveling through Colombia (contact us for this directly)

Inca Trail realtime availability, you can check out the availability of Inca Trail trek permits in real-time by clicking on > Click: Availability Inca Trail Permit

Cuba´s Climate, Seasons, Travel advisory, Hurricane risk & Hurricane tracker >
Click: Cuba Climate & Weather
(and click through to all other links)

Cuba money, credit cards, CUC > see the information on this page by scrolling below - this is a summary from our Cuba Manual

Cuban consulates directory worldwide, visa application in general & for US citizens at this moment > Click: Cuba Visa - Tourist Card

Summary from the Soultime Cuba Manual (updated 2012):

Theme: Cuban money, rates, credit cards & traveler cheques

The currency that you will need is pesos convertibles (CUC), in common language by Cubans or foreigners announced as “kuks”. Some Cubans may still call them dollars but since October 2004 American dollars have been banned from the official Cuban economy and you can no longer make any payments in US dollars. In the all- inclusive hotel resorts you may be able to pay with Euros, but in all the other places you have to pay in cash with pesos convertibles (CUC). Cubans still often use the terms peso and dollar interchangeably. Other terms for a CUC include divisa, chavito, verde, guano, and fula. Cash is known as efectivo.

You can acquire pesos convertibles (CUC) at the airport by i) changing cash, ii) using your credit card at the ground floor offices on your arrival, or in the departure area on the first floor. They accept Canadian Dollars (CAD), Swiss Francs (CHF), Mexican Pesos (MXN), Japanese Yen (JPY), British Pound Sterling (GBP), Euro (EUR) along with some other currencies. There's also an ATM on the ground floor but in general it's better not to rely on the presence of ATM's in Cuba, there are only a few and they may not function.

Changing cash US dollars into CUC is nowadays an option to consider, until 2011 a very high commission rate of around 18 - 20% was charged, this has changed in 2012 to the regular Cuban currency commission rates.

Traveler's cheques -not issued in the USA- can be used as well, but are for Cuba maybe not the best method, as at a small bank agency you never know if they are accepted. Besides, Cuba is that safe that you don't need the security that traveler's cheques may give you.

For obtaining cash by using your credit card you pay 3,25% commission for every transaction (it was 11% before 2011 !).

Credit Cards: MasterCard & Visa, are accepted by Cuban banks.

No USA credit cards are accepted. Visa cards issued in the USA will not be accepted !

American Express credit cards, no matter where issued, are not accepted !

Advice: it is advised to bring and plenty of cash and 2 different credit cards (in case one is not accepted) to get the cash you will need and to be sure that whatever happens you will be not without financial means. You can not purchase goods or services by paying with credit card on Cuba so far. The car insurance of your rental car & the deposit can be paid by credit card (see: Rental Car rates in CUC) and is one of the few exceptions.

At the end of your trip changing back CUC to Euros, GBP or US Dollars is no problem as long as the sum in CUC is not too large and they have the correct amount of foreign currency for you. You might receive a rest amount in CUC or in another currency.

Besides the CUC, there are also pesos cubanos or moneda nacional in use. This is the currency of the nacional Cuban economy. As a tourist you may only need this money when you wish to join a Cuban bus, a ferry or wish to make use of another local service, but you can also pay this kind of services with small coins of CUC. You can easily obtain pesos cubanos at a Cadeca office or other Cuban bank. The official rate is around 25-27 pesos cubanos for one peso convertible.

It is said that both the CUC and moneda nacional are going to disappear and that one new monetary currency will come in place, however this rumour is already circulating since 2008 and so far nothing has changed..

Small coins & small bank notes are essential on Cuba ! When you receive CUC money you may ask for some big bank notes, but you will need mostly small notes on Cuba for every kind of transaction. Notes of 50 or 100 are often not accepted by small shops or services as there is no change available. Do take care you have always small notes of 1, 3, 5, and 10 with you. Notes of 20 also still do work well. Further is it good to have always coins of 25, 50 centavos and 1 CUC with you, for tipping or small purchases.

How & where to get CUC cash money on Cuba ?

See your guidebooks. On the international airport of Havana are several bank counters to obtain CUC. The rate at the airport is the same as at the banks in Havana city as all official banks form part of the Cuban government.

Information about travels, destinations & prices can change within a very short notice in Latin America. For this reason we would like to make clear that no claim or any rights can be made on basis of the information provided on this website or in our manuals, when it concerns general information or the character, prices and travel itinerary of a travel program (see: disclaimer page).

Soultime Travel tailor-made travels in latinamerica and the caribbean
Soultime Travel tailor-made travels in latinamerica and the caribbean