​On a budget in Cuba

Cuba can be cheap or expensive and it all depends on the money you use and how much you can bargain. As you may already know, there are 2 currencies on the market:
CUC (pronounced COOK) – touristic/luxury currency that is pegged to US Dollar 1:1

and CUP (peso Cubano) – the money of the locals

In Cadecas (money exchange government places) and in stores/bodegas 25 CUP = 1CUC. Cubans use the money exchangeable with 0.5CUC being an equivalent of 1CUP so the change can be given in any currency. Basic articles are usually priced in in CUP and the luxury in CUC.

In theory, you as a tourist, should use CUCs only, but none ever gives a damn about it. Even more, locals at seeing you using CUP consider you being smart. You won’t be able to get your CUPs from Cadeca, but your casa particular or any small shop will change it for you. You will usually get 24CUP for 1CUC so that they have some benefit on it too.

When asking for the price always make sure whether the price they give is in peso cubano or cuc. When buying from locals, have your CUPs handy, when in touristic zones or taxis be prepared for CUCs.

Below you can find some indication of what you can expect to pay for some products and services (cuc or cup depending where you buy it!) Some products can only be bought in Panamericanas (imported/luxury ones).

1.5l water – 0.7-2cuc – they are ridiculous about it!

small bread roll – 1cup/0,5cuc

cake loaf – 1cuc

fuzzy drink 1.5l – 1.5cuc

sandwich – 5-10cup/2cuc

average lunch dinner – 25-30cup/3-10cuc

coffee – 1-2cup/1-2cuc

fresh juice from 5cup/2cuc

bananas – 1-2cup per piece (fruit and veggies are sold either by piece or por libra)

limon – 1cup per piece

ice cream – 3-5cup/2cuc

alcoholic drink – from 2.5cuc

0.7l bottle of Havana Club – from 3.8cuc

public transport (guagua) in town – 1cup

guagua outside the town depending on the distance – from 5 cup

taxi shared ride from Havana to Trinidad – 18cuc pp

Via azul bus from 6cuc depending on the distance

budget accommodation – 15-20cuc

entrances to museums/places of interest – from 5cuc

toilet from 1cup *

*all prices are just examples of what we have encountered in March/April 2017

If you like this post and you think it might be useful to other budget travellers – share it and like it to let them find it easier.

One thought on “​On a budget in Cuba

  1. […] Oh, and one thing, if locals without taxi licence are caught taking a tourist on board they have to pay a high fine, so they won’t stop. Patience is needed when hitchhiking as the traffic is sparse sometimes. Short distance guaguas are quite frequent and reliable. You have to ask locals where to stop them and at what time they pass. They are very easy to use. Bring your CUPs with you as they cannot accept anything else. Read the survival guide on how to get cups here. […]


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