If you're travelling to Cuba there are some important things to be aware of when it comes to money. Cuban currency comes in two forms and bringing one of them across the border is forbidden. So don't forget to exchange your money before you leave Cuba.
The government of Canada is warning people about money in Cuba and the laws around it. Updated on November 20, the government's travel site for Cuba lists the country's two official currencies as a possible concern for Canadian travellers.
The island nation's two official currencies are the Cuban convertible peso (CUC) and the Cuban national peso (CUP), which is also known as moneda nacional.
The CUC is worth significantly more than the CUP and transactions involving foreign travellers almost always happen in CUCs, which is why you'll want to make sure you have it on your trip.
However, it is strictly forbidden to bring the CUC across the border.
Canada is informing travellers to "learn to differentiate between [the] two currencies."
Because there are two currencies and Canadians may not know the difference, the government is also telling Canadian travellers to be aware of a common scam in Cuba.
Merchants will often give you change in CUP instead of CUC because CUP is worth so much less.
So be aware of the money you get back when you buy something in Cuba.
Since it's strictly forbidden to import and export CUC, it's important that you exchange your CUC back to Canadian dollars (CAD) before you get to the airport.
You can exchange the CUC without a fee at money exchange counters in Cuba’s international airports, banks, and major hotels.
The Canadian government advises Canadians to exchange their CUC for CAD before arriving at the airport when flying out of Cuba because Canadian dollars may not always be available at the airport.
After you go through customs at a Cuban airport, you're allowed to make purchases with a credit card or with cash in CAD so you won't be without money while at the airport.