Last updated: 11:00 PM ET, Mon September 07 2015

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  • Nick and Dariece | September 7, 2015 11:00 PM ET

    5 Places to Spend National Pesos for a Cheaper Cuban Holiday

    5 Places to Spend National Pesos for a Cheaper Cuban Holiday

    Photos by Goats on the Road

    Cuba can be both a very expensive and a very cheap holiday destination. It depends entirely on how you travel and what currency you spend. That's right. There is more than once currency in Cuba and if you choose to spend the same peso that most vacationers spend, you'll have a very expensive trip. But if you know about the CUP (national peso) and spend it more than the expensive CUC (convertible peso), then you can travel in Cuba on as little as $15 a day!

    In this article, we'll outline a few places where you can spend CUP to cut your travel costs significantly while traveling independently in Cuba.

    Restaurant Food

    This is the best place to spend your CUP in Cuba and it is where you'll stand to save the most money. Typically a meal in a fancy Cuban restaurant (which charges in CUC) will cost you around the equivalent of $15 USD, but a cheap meal at a street stand (which charges in CUP) will only cost you about $1!

    It's not hard to spot the peso food stands in Cuba. Generally they serve sandwiches, fresh juice and pizza and they'll often have locals lined up on the street. There isn't a lot of variety of street food in Cuba, but you can generally get a tasty pizza (more like cheese bread with meat) and a fresh local juice for under $1 USD.

    must try food in cuba


    If you choose to stay in a casa particular, you'll likely have a kitchen that you can use to cook your own meals. This means that you can head down to the local market and purchase produce and meats using CUP. The prices at the market are extremely cheap and you can probably cook yourself up a delicious meal in your casa for under $1.

    Local Transport

    There is always an option to take cheaper transport by spending CUP instead of CUC. When you're in a city and want to get around, consider hopping on a local collectivo taxi to see the sights, instead of hiring a taxi and driver. Usually a tour guide and taxi will cost around $50 a day, while you can actually get between sights on collectivo taxis for as little as 50 cents a ride!

    Local buses in Havana and most major cities will only cost about 1 CUP (4 cents) and they can usually get you where you want to go. Ask your casa particular owner where to catch the correct bus and you'll save a lot of money and have a fun adventure by hopping on the local transit system.

    Inter-City Transport

    You can also travel in between cities cheaper by taking the local bus, rather than the more expensive Viazul network of buses, which charge in CUC. Generally a five-hour ride on the Viazul bus will cost you around $25 USD, while the same ride on the cheaper Astro bus will cost around $12. The Astro buses are generally older and more crowded and finding a seat on an Astro can be difficult, so make sure you get to the station well in advance to book your ticket.


    That's right, you can even find cheaper booze by heading to CUP bars instead of the touristy ones. Just ask your casa particular owner where the best and cheapest CUP restaurants and bars are and they should be able to point you in the right direction.

    travel to havana cuba

    Travel Cuba Cheaply, But Don't Be Too Cheap!

    Cuba is a fascinating place to travel and while it's great to save your money by spending CUP wherever you can, it's also worth splurging once in a while and spending CUC for those luxury items and experiences that you can't buy with the cheaper currency. Tours, museum entrance fees, casas, hotels and good restaurants will always be charged in CUC, but it's often worth the extra money for the experience.

    While it is possible to travel here on as little as $15 a day, we would recommend upping your budget a bit to ensure that you have the best possible vacation while in Cuba.

More Cuba


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Nick and Dariece Notes from the Goats

Nick and Dariece Nick and Dariece are the couple behind Goats On The Road, a website designed to inspire others to live a financially sustainable, location independent lifestyle. Masters at making money abroad and turning their travels into a way of life, they've been on the road since 2008 and have explored some of the least visited places on earth, finding adventure wherever they go. They are also full time contributors at Credit Walk where they share their expertise of making money and travelling forever. Check them out at Goats On The and follow them on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.
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