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Thread: Money in Cuba

  1. #21
    I am in Cuba - Havana now. I am US citizen. Posters here said to change USD to Canadian dollars in U.S., then change CAD to CUC in Cuba because you don´t hit with the 10% penalty. Well that is apparently wrong. The money changer lady told me that if you INCLUDE the 10% penalty, I still make more money with USD than CAD because the USD is so much stronger. She did the math for me and it worked out. Reputable cadeda at Hotel Nacional. So buyer bewared. Sucks for me, hope it helps you.

  2. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by Julian View Post
    I am in Cuba - Havana now. I am US citizen. Posters here said to change USD to Canadian dollars in U.S., then change CAD to CUC in Cuba because you don´t hit with the 10% penalty. Well that is apparently wrong. The money changer lady told me that if you INCLUDE the 10% penalty, I still make more money with USD than CAD because the USD is so much stronger. She did the math for me and it worked out. Reputable cadeda at Hotel Nacional. So buyer bewared. Sucks for me, hope it helps you.
    Math doesn’t lie.

    What exchange rate ‘fee’ did you pay in the US to convert to CAD?
    What was the exchange rate ‘fee’ that the Hotel Nacional was asking for?

    There are many variables that will dictate whether you win of lose on exchange rates.
    The deception is not in the math, the deception is with whom you choose to exchange your money on both sides.

    Here is my example:

    May 1, 2014 the exchange rate ‘fee’ at the Havana airport was 5.39% on top of the international exchange rate on that day to convert CAD to CUC. They said that exchange rate ‘fees’ in Cuba where all the same – not true!
    May 6, 2014 the exchange rate ‘fee’ at the ‘Cadeca – Casas de Cambio’ on Obispo Street in old Havana, which is like a stand alone bank, the ‘fee’ was 3.31% on top of the international rate that day.

    Between two places in Havana, that is a 2.08% difference to convert that same amount of money.

    The airport and ALL hotels will charge you an extra premium to convert your money, they see it as a chargeable ‘convenience service’ they are providing you to justify the extra ‘fee’ charges.

    I convert my money at home for 1.97%, so at the Airport 1.97% + 5.39% = 7.36% to pay conversions at both sides.
    I convert my money at home for 1.97% + 3.31% at the Cadeca = 5.28% to pay conversions at both sides.
    Both examples are less than a 10% USD to CUC penalty.

    There are two main variables that will dictate if you win or lose.
    First, what is the ‘fee’ rate to convert USD to CAD, you really need to shop around. It has been reported to be as high as 10% at Travelex and 4.49% at Wells Fargo, Travelex is just a plain rip off and Wells Fargo is overcharging also.
    IMO, you should be able to find an institution to do it for around 2%.
    These ‘fee’ rates are totally within your control, depending on where you go.

    2% + 3.31% at the Cadeca = 5.31% which beats the 10% penalty all day long.

    If you get sucked in and pay 10% to Travelex and use the airport in Havana, 10% + 5.39% = 15.39% then the 10% penalty looks pretty sweet!

    The second variable, which you are NOT in control of, is the fluctuation of the international exchange rates while your in-transit. However, that can work both ways, up or down?

    The math doesn’t lie, only the people that exchange your money do.

  3. #23
    I think the problem was MATH ......that or he was getting ripped off along the line.

  4. #24
    I agree with Duck and Beersterry 100%

  5. #25
    I will check my receipts and report back. The money changer lady just meant I would save money by coming to her with USD than CAD, but apparently I have to take my initial USD to CAD conversion rate in the states into account as well to fully determine what is best.

  6. #26
    this is a helpful link when figuring out what's what:
    CUC - Cuban Convertible Peso rates, news, and tools

    XE also has a decent iPhone app.

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