Payment details and currency clarification
Cubas currency is called Cuban convertible peso or in short, CUC. The CUC is pegged to the U.S. Dollar at 1:1.
(There is also a currency called Cuban Peso, CUP, but let's not get into the dual monetary system here, most tourists only need to use the CUC currency. Read more info about currency on this page)
The CUC is a closed currency, it is only used and traded in Cuba and can not be bought or sold outside Cuba. A visitor to Cuba can not withdraw CUC from his local bank before heading to Cuba, and can not exchange any left over CUC to his or her home currency when getting back home.
For the same reason, international credit card transactions can not be processed in CUC. This is why all our quotes are in USD and not in CUC, though that is in fact the currency in Cuba.
Likewise, when you withdraw cash from ATM's in Cuba you will of course receive CUC bills, but if you take a look at your receipt the charge is made in USD. This is because your home bank will not accept payments in CUC, as it is a closed currency.
Paying for our services
When paying services with us from abroad the local rates in CUC are converted into USD (as the CUC is not traded outside of Cuba). We usually either request a deposit in advance and the rest in cash (all major currencies) in Cuba or the full amount paid in advance by credit card.
For conversion we use real market exchange rates, in our case those of the Cuban National Bank. Currency exchange websites such as xe.com and oanda.com show mid-market rates that are never used in real life when exchanging at any bank, ATM or counter.
Rest assured that all payments are handled through secure credit card processors.
The currency system in Cuba is indeed a bit confusing. If you have any questions about it or about how we process payments, if it is not clear here, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us for further clarification.