How much spending money do I need?

Cuba is a lot more expensive than most developing countries. Be prepared to pay as much for food and services, as you would in any western ‘developed’ country. This is due to a unique set of circumstances that are found in Cuba. These include: complex monetary rules such as the artificially fixed rate for the local CUP currency; restrictions on private businesses which stifle productivity and make the country reliant on imports, and a 60 year strong trade embargo imposed on Cuba by the United States. The result is that most visitors find Cuba more expensive than they anticipated.

An image of Cuban CUP currency bank notes

How much you take along with you on the tour is obviously a personal matter. If you intend to purchase many souvenirs in Cuba, or if you enjoy spending it up on a big night out, we would recommend that you take a bit more than the estimated amounts below. In total as an estimate, where no meals or activities are included, you need to allow about 35 to 60EUR per day for expenses for the tour not including local payment and souvenirs.

Personal Tour Budget Summary

Expenses you will have once you arrive in Cuba

Tour Inclusions

See: Individual Tour Costs for more information on your particular tour.

Tour Exclusions

Tipping on the Tour

There will be times during your tour in Cuba where there'll be opportunities to tip local service providers - such as drivers and local guides. This is a completely optional practice to show your appreciation for excellent service and you should never feel obliged to do so, especially if you feel you did not receive good service. You may tip individually, or your tour guide will offer to collect the money and tip as a group. Also at the end of the tour, if you felt your tour guide did an outstanding job, tipping is appreciated (see also the section about your tour guide).

For local guides on day trips and other optional activities in Cuba, as a suggestion we recommended a tip of 2 to 5 USD per person.

Local Payment in Cuba

Many of our tours require part payment of the tour in Cuba in EUR (Euros) Cash.

This "Local Payment" must be handed to the tour guide at the first group meeting in Cuba (usually on the morning of Day 2 of the tour). We accept this payment exclusively in EUR cash.

Why do I have to pay a local payment?

We have part of the cost of the tour paid by you locally in Cuba for these reasons:

  • It is a challenge for us to send the large amount of money to Cuba to operate our tours. Paying part of the cost of your tour locally in Cuba alleviates the difficulties we have in getting enough money to Cuba to provide the services included in the tour, that we pay for in cash.
  • The local payment allows us to lower the upfront payment amount for the tour, which means that less or your money is collected as commission by travel agents. This helps us maintain the low cost of our tours.

What part of the tour does the local payment pay for?

The local payment does not cover any one particular aspect of the trip - such as the local flight or included excursions. Instead it goes towards paying for our total cost of running the tour (including accommodation, transport, guide, guide expenses etc), much of which we need to pay for in cash in Cuba.

Why do you only accept EUR cash?

EUR is the foreign currency that is most widely accepted and recognized in Cuba today. This is because there are some impediments with using USD in Cuba. While other foreign currencies such as CAD and GBP are recognized as having value, and can be exchanged in change houses in Cuba for local currency CUP, they are not as frequently used for payments between Cubans and therefore their use is less convenient than the EUR. Read more about money and currency in Cuba.

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