Money Tips for Tourists.

When considering what form of currency to bring to Cuba, it is helpful to look back at a bit of history first, particularly the years 1991-1999. At that time in Cuba, there was an economic crisis known as “Período Especial” (special period). This rough time for the Caribbean Island was the result of two factors: the economic embargo put in place by the US government and the collapse of the communist countries in eastern Europe. In response, Fidel Castro decided to open the gates to tourism to bring money from outside and create a second currency, creating a situation where Cubans would continue to use the Cuban Peso the CUP (at least for some very basic products) and the tourists would use American Dollars, allowing the economy to slowly grow.

Eventually, the “Peso Convertible Cubano” (CUC) was created, pushing the US dollar out of the Cuban finance system. Since the CUC was born to replace a foreign currency with the same value, the CUC and USD were exactly the same, just different notes. Eventually, in an attempt to fight back against the embargo, the dollar was devalued by 10%. In reality, the CUC and the USD move together always with a 10% difference.

The existence of the 2 types of currency in Cuba the CUP and CUC lasted until 2019, when the Cuban government created a group of stores, specialized in the sale of household items and especially electrical appliances. These stores operate in FREELY CONVERTIBLE CURRENCY, better known as MLC by its acronym in Spanish. Thus creating the THIRD currency, The MLC. How do you get an MLC? Good question. The MLC, is obtained solely and exclusively by depositing International currencies such as USD, EUROS, MEXICAN PESO, STERLING POUNDS, etc. in a bank account in a Cuban bank. A curious fact is that the government DOES NOT SELLS the MLC to de Cubans  because it DOES NOT have the CAPACITY to sell the MLC.

One MLC is the equivalent of one USD. But the MLC is a digital currency, (attention it is not  a CRYPTOCURRENCY) and to pay it is through the use of a magnetic card linked to the bank account.

At the beginning of the COVID-19 Pandemic and as a result of the closure of borders, the tourism industry stopped, and speculation began about the sale of International Currencies on the black market, because there was no circulation in the country.

In 2019 the cost of International Coins was around 20 to 35 CUP for 1 of these International Currencies.

Today, Speculation and Inflation is so big  that the prices of these International Currencies and especially the EUR and USD have risen in value almost 4 times.

Leaving the price of International Currencies this way:

Official market Government Exchange Houses (CADECA), between 110 and 135 CUP for each of these currencies.

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