Currency in Cuba
What you need to know before travelling to Cuba
First things first: anything you have read about Cuban currency before 2021 is now out of date. Since January 1st Cuba began what became known as "Day Zero" as it ended its dual currency system.
This now means that the previous currency that was used by tourists, known as the Cuban Convertible Peso (CUC) is no longer in circulation.
So, what do you need to know from 2021 onwards?
The local Cuban currency is known as CUP or the Cuban peso. It is not possible to get this currency before you arrive in Cuba, and you're not allowed to take it out of the country. This means you need to get hold of it and spend it, while you're physically in Cuba.
The recommended way to get Cuban pesos is from an official currency exchange, known as a CADECA. These are found in all main tourist areas and inside larger hotels. You can either exchange cash that you have brought with you (British pounds and Euros are both widely accepted) or use an ATM. It is highly recommended to do this on arrival at the airport. This is because the airport exchange rate is exactly the same as everywhere else, and the exchange offices here are open 24/7. This way you can start your holiday with local currency in your hand.
The general advice for visitors to Cuba is to bring cash as well as your bank card. Cuba's infrastructure has improved greatly in recent years, and your bank card (assuming it is not authorised from America) should work in most ATMs across the island. In tourist places, European bank cards can now be used to make payment transactions, and your bank card is also useful to buy goods in certain shops that only accept foreign currency. But cash is a great backup, and in some circumstances, pounds, euros and dollars will be accepted in place of Cuban pesos. So bring both.
As with any other country in the world, it is not recommended to exchange money on the black market.