When budgeting for your holiday, you will need to consider drinks, any meals not included in the holiday price,
non-included entrance fees, optional excursions you may choose to participate in locally and any souvenirs or
additional services such as laundry. A general guideline for lunches and drinks is £10-£20 per person per day.
Tourists are required to use the Cuban Convertible Peso (CUC). CUCs are exchangeable at the airport, banks or CADECA exchange offices.
US dollar notes and coins are not accepted as currency in Cuba. Tourists are required to use CUC notes and coins, which are pegged to the US dollar in value. Sterling or other currency can be exchanged for CUC at the airport, in banks or CADECA exchange offices in most Cuban towns. Surplus Convertible Pesos can also be changed back into sterling at airports, or into euro at banks and CADECA. Many hotels do not change sterling although they accept euro.
To avoid time-consuming visits to banks, it is suggested that you change most of the currency needed for the whole trip at the Hotel Nacional in Havana. Many clients have found that about CUC$300- 350 (equivalent to US$ 300-350) per person is a realistic amount. To avoid double currency transaction charges, sterling seems the most practical choice of currency to take. Cash is the easiest option, but there are now cash machines in some towns and airports, and these accept most UK credit and debit cards. Before travelling to Cuba, you should check with your card provider that your cards are valid for use in Cuba. Cards issued by US banks are not accepted. Also note commission charges on ATM transactions can be expensive.
If you opt for cash, obviously concealed body belts and hotel safes (when available) are good choices! Notes should be clean (no writing on them or tears) and of £10, £20 or £50 value.
It is prohibited to enter or leave Cuba carrying Cuban Convertible Peso (CUC) currency. Please make sure you have spent or exchanged any remaining CUC prior to passing through immigration when you leave Cuba. You can do this at the CADECA exchange office at the airport, but we recommend you do this before reaching the airport as queues can be long and only a maximum of CUC300 will be exchanged into another currency. Any drinks, snacks, duty free and souvenirs will now need to be paid using a credit card or cash (GBP, CAD, AUD, USD, EUR etc.).
Although entirely at your own discretion, tipping is an important aspect of tourism and hospitality life and expectations are fairly high. In order to simplify tipping, we strongly recommend that you allow your leader to take care of making sure tips are given to hotel and restaurant staff and to local guides and drivers. This will be done using some funds provided by us together with, if you wish, a contribution from you, which he/she will collect during the holiday.
A supply of small denomination notes and coins is very useful. The people are poor and you’ll find that they do not resent small tips – but ensure that you do receive a service, however small. On occasions tipping may be best co-ordinated through your Ramblers Walking Holidays leader.
The local guide and driver accompanying the tour tend to be mines of information relating to all aspects of Cuban life and the country, and are also excellent travelling companions. Should you wish to tip our Cuban colleagues, you may wish to consider an allowance of £ 2.00 per day for the driver and guide. It must be stressed however that such tips are at your own discretion.