Cuban currency and how much life costs 

So there are two currencies in use in Cuba. Pesos nacionales for local people in wich they get their salary, buy food, transportation and basically run the essentials of life. Then there is the so called tourist money, pesos convertibles. One tourist peso is 25 pesos in moneda nacional. Even though CUC or pesos convertibles are referred as tourist currency anyone is able to get moneda nacional (CUP) from the cadeca or ATM. This makes life cheaper when getting food, entrance or transportation the local way. Some stores accept local pesos only, most accept both. That is such a struggle still sometimes when you see a pricetag with a $ sign and can’t figure out which currency it is. That time I got laughed at when i had to confirm that bag of youghurt didn’t cost 15 dollars in tourist currency..
Being the one with pesos and tourist dollars in my pocket all the time makes it sometimes hard to think about how Cubans just don’t have anything or how they talk about something that costs 5 – 20 local pesos and refer to it as “we can’t buy it, don’t have money” which is basically worth less than a dollar. But then at the same time there are things that even I concider expensive such as electronics or kitchen ware (let’s say a new fridge 2000CUC). Needless to say a Cuban need to save up for a long time, get a loan from work or have a sponsor outside Cuba who helps to do such purchases. While Cubans get some food and basic items cheaper on their food cards and water and electricity are basically almost free if compared to European countries or The US, so the very basics of life is guaranteed. Anything beyond basics costs. Clothes, shoes, new kitchen ware, detergent, stuff for cleaning, make up, bags, not to mention new furnitures, home electronics or smartphones.
Basic food here is good and cheap. So for example if I buy fruits with 50 pesos (depends on the fruit and location but usually a good amount) in moneda nacional it is worth 2 dollars in tourist money. Here are some price examples roughly about the range as well as I can remember seen in Santiago. Also please note that Cubans also use both pounds and kilos to measure items! And then look at that list and think what a Cuban can afford to buy with their 20CUC/month salary!
Guayaba 6cup/lbs

Bar of guayaba marmelade 25cup

Pineapple 20cup/each

Block of about 6 small bananas 5cup

6×1.5liters of bottled water 4.20CUC

2x5liters of bottled water 3.80CUC

1lbs of ham 30cup

1kg of gouda cheese 8CUC

1lbs of local more sour cuban cheese 30cup

Beer can/juice/water 1CUC

Bus from Havana to Santiago de Cuba 51 CUC

Bus from Holguin to Santiago 11 CUC

Private car from Holguin to Santiago 80 CUC

Car from Havana airport to city center 25 CUC

Bottle of sun bloc 30 CUC (imported)

Shampoo 8CUC (imported)

Handsoap 0.50CUC

Block of chocolate from Baracoa 12cup

Sandwich of ham and cheese 1.50-2.5 CUC

A ride with a moto 10cup

An apple 0.80CUC (imported)

Ride with a local shared car (has a specific route like a bus) 5cup

Dinner in a private restaurant (paladar) 8-10CUC + drinks 1-3CUC/each

Drinks in a bar juice/water/soda 1CUC beer 1-1.20CUC

Entrance to a hotel pool (usually includes food/drinks) 10-20CUC

An hour of internet 1.5CUC

Smartphone about 200CUC and up

A popcorn maker (yes i saw one..) 240CUC

Rice cooker 30-60CUC

Blender 60CUC

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s