CUC – Cuban Convertible Peso

CUC is an international currency code (ISO 4217) for Cuban Convertible Peso. Cuban Convertible Peso is one of two official currencies used in Cuba. This article explains in detail everything about Cuban Convertible Peso – its history, value, exchange rate, and more. Pictures of front and back side of CUC are included.

CUC History – Why Cuban Convertible Peso Exists

History of CUC reaches as far back as 1994. Cuban government introduced it back then but it was used on a very small scale – just as some form of experimental currency system. US dollar was still preferred currency of choice used by most tourism related establishments. As many as four currencies were widely accepted throughout Cuba at the time (CUP – Cuban National Peso, CUC – Cuban Convertible Peso, US Dollars and Euro), which was causing confusion. In order to put entire monetary system of Cuba back in order, Cuban government decided put a stop on wide acceptance of foreign currencies and made CUC the only currency accepted in establishments where US dollars and Euros were previously used.

CUC – Cuban Convertible Peso became the only official currency accepted by tourism and luxury items related businesses on November 8, 2004. Cuban financial institutions also ceased to accept US dollars entirely on that day. It was still possible to exchange US dollars for CUC, but an exchange rate would incur additional 10% charge.

Cuban Convertible Peso is informally called “chavito”.

Value of CUC – Cuban Convertible Peso

Cuban Convertible Peso is pegged to US dollar and has been at $1.08 US since 2005. That means value of CUC is 8% above value of US dollar. When Cuban Convertible Pesos were officially introduced as primary “tourism and luxury” currency, value of CUC $1 was US $1 but it was increased by 8% on March 24, 2005 by the central bank.

CUC – Cuban Convertible Peso Exchange Rates

Here’s a list of sample exchange rates (Valid January 2009):

1.00 EUR = 1.22177 CUC (Euro)
1.00 CAD = 0.756105 CUC (Canadian Dollar)
1.00 CHF = 0.812825 CUC (Switzerland Francs)
1.00 GBP = 1.30107 CUC (British Pound Sterling)
1.00 JPY = 0.0103551 CUC (Japanese Yen)
1.00 RUB = 0.0282358 CUC (Russian Ruble)
1.00 USD = 0.925900 CUC (US Dollar, subject to additional 10% Cuban tax on top of this exchange rate)

Cuban Convertible Pesos Scams

There have been cases of tourists getting scammed by Cubans on mix of currencies. The scam consists on accepting CUC – Cuban Convertible Pesos but giving change in CUP – Cuban National Peso. CUP are much lower in value than CUC (1 CUC = 24 CUP). It is advisable for every traveller to Cuba to get familiar with the way their money looks so as to avoid such scams. See below for pictures of CUC – Cuban Convertible Pesos

Pictures of Cuban Convertible Pesos

Picture of Front Sides of Cuban Convertible Pesos (CUC) at $3, $10 and $20 Nominal Values. Photo by Chaymation, Flickr

Picture of Front Sides of Cuban Convertible Pesos (CUC) at $3, $10 and $20 Nominal Values. Photo by Chaymation, Flickr

Picture of Back Sides of Cuban Convertible Pesos (CUC) at $3, $10 and $20 Nominal Values. Photo by Chaymation, Flickr

Picture of Back Sides of Cuban Convertible Pesos (CUC) at $3, $10 and $20 Nominal Values. Photo by Chaymation, Flickr

CUC Coins

CUC coins are available in following denominations:

Centavos (cents):
5, 10, 25 and 50

1 and 5 (5 Pesos coin exists, but is very rare though)

CUC Banknotes

CUC banknotes are available in following denominations (in pesos):

1, 3, 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100 pesos.

Further Reading

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10 Responses to “CUC – Cuban Convertible Peso”

  1. Jason Kiehl Says:

    I believe you, I do believe! Might that possibly be attainable for you to have your blog translated in Chinese? English is my second language.

  2. Melody Says:

    do I convert My Cnadaian dollars before I go to cuba or wait until I get there. where in Varadero do i exchange my money? is there interac machines for account debit use?

  3. Greg Says:

    Melody Answer to your question Change your Canadian $ for CUC pesos when you arrive at the Cuban airport when you arrive if for some reason you want to take a taxi instead of the bus to your destination. If your taking the bus then you can change it at the resort. Do not change it for Euros in Canada or you will be hit with an extra fee on top of the extra exchange. & do not take U.S.$ to Cuba or you will be charged an extra fee on top of the exchange.

  4. carly bouutier Says:

    this is so cool i think this is intresting in my point of view

  5. Carol Says:

    The Canadian dollar is worth more as I write this. $100 Cdn would get you about $103 CUC. A significant difference from a year ago when you would get about $87 CUC for $100 Cdn. Cuban government making it more pleasing to spend our money while in Cuba … enjoy your trip. I always do!!! ;o)

  6. Xavier martinez Says:

    when traveling to cuba, where is the best place to exchange USD to CUC?

  7. Carol Says:

    Xavier …. best not to take US cash as there is an additional 10% surcharge to convert US to CUC. You can exchange US cash at any bank or Cadeca (money exchange) which are within or very close to the resorts. I have learnde that best not to do the exchange at the airport as they seem to ‘skim’ off their own tip and charge you more and some of these Cadecas are doing this also. So ask to see the computor so you see the actual amount you are entitled to (they can not manipulate that amount as it is connected to main banking system) .. also make sure the amount they have entered for conversion (the amount you have given them), is correct .. because if they enter a smaller amount, then you will obviously see and receive a smaller amount than you are entitled to. Paper receipts used to be issued but you only get receipt on a credit card (cash advance). Note that Cuba will not accept credit cards through a US bank. I suspect that one could use their US credit card (unconfirmed) at the International Bank as there are many Cuban Americans that return to the island. And you will require your passport during money exchange. New in the past year +. Enjoy your holiday.

  8. Bob Says:

    My wife and I will be going to Varadero Cuba at the end of the month. Will the staff at the resort accept U.S. dollars as tips

  9. Bob Says:

    I sent a message to you on Oct, 21st. but have not
    received an answer yet?? Was to do with staff at
    resorts in Cuba accepting U.S. dollars as tips.

  10. Mark Says:

    Hello Bob,

    Regardless of where you are in the world, tipping in home currency is the best way to go. Imagine you work in hospitality industry in Canada and a Japanese tourist gives you a tip in Japanese currency. Or a Swiss tourist gives you Swiss Francs.

    Furthermore – US cash incurs unfavorable rate and high exchange fees in Cuba so all in all, it’s gonna cost them more than it’s worth if you tip in US dollars.

    The best thing to do is bring anything but US dollars with you, exchange it for Cuban pesos and tip in Cuban pesos. Here’s more info:


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