There are actually two currencies in Cuba: the Cuban Peso (CUP) and the Cuban Convertible Peso (CUC). This may sound a little confusing, but the Cuban Convertible Peso is the one most commonly used by tourists, so you’ll only need to worry about that once you’re there. Cuban currency isn’t traded internationally, so you’ll need to exchange your money once you’re in Guardalavaca and then you can enjoy the fine stretches of beaches, offshore coral reefs and resort nightlife this coastal paradise has to offer.
Watch out for fake cash!
You’ll find plenty of Cadeca currency exchanges or banks to change up your Euros or Pounds into Guardalavaca currency. There’s a bank in Guardalavaca, Banco Financiero Internacional, but you could also use the Cadeca at your hotel to change up your money. Be prepared to queue, and avoid changing your currency with locals who offer a faster or better exchange, as you’ll likely end up with a pocket full of fake Cuban money.
To change any currency, you’ll need to bring your passport every time and ask if you can have small denomination notes if possible, as they are easier to use when you’re out.
Using credit and debit cards
From bars on the beach to the touristy Boulevard market, there’s plenty of things to do in Guardalavaca and you’ll want to make sure you’ve got enough spending money to enjoy your holiday. It’s best to carry cash, as you’ll find some places won’t take credit or debit cards. Check with your bank before you travel whether your cards will work in Guardalavaca and if it’s unable to confirm, make sure you bring sterling or euros in cash to exchange for CUC.
If you do use your credit or debit card to pay, be prepared to for the additional local commission charges of approximately 3%, as well as your bank transaction charges. Travellers cheques aren’t widely accepted, and American Express travellers cheques aren’t accepted anywhere in Cuba.
How much to tip?
As soon as you get to Guardalavaca, you’ll soon feel welcomed by the friendly locals. Whether it’s the maid who cleans your hotel room or the bellboy carrying your heavy luggage, tipping in this idyllic place is always appreciated. A 10% service is now added to the bill at many restaurants (state and private), but adding 5-10% to your bill if it’s not is reasonable. It’s worth changing around 20 CUC at the start of a week to spend in tips, and always make sure you tip in Cuban Convertible Peso.
Leftover spending money
You can’t take any leftover Cuban currency out of the country, so it’s worth exchanging it at the airport when you leave or using it up in the last few days of your holiday. You can always pick up a few more souvenirs and mementos of your Guardalavaca trip before you leave, or treat the kids to one last ice cream before heading home.
Holidays In Guardalavaca