Cuba - ATM's / Currency availabilty


Jul 16th, 2008, 03:35 AM
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Join Date: Jul 2008
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Cuba - ATM's / Currency availabilty

I'm touring Cuba by hired car for three weeks, staying in Casa Particulars. leaving late July 08. Can anyone advise about the availabilty of ATM's throughout the island. Will I find them in smaller towns or only in Habana? I'm always cautious about travelling with large amounts of cash stapped around my midrift (ie money belt).
Any favourite beaches, towns locations etc - do let me know.
Many thanks.
Greg_A is offline  
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Jul 16th, 2008, 04:29 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Ok, while you'll find some ATM's in Havana (mostly in Vieja) you'll not likely find them around the island, even in the larger towns (Varadero excepted).

So, how to carry/protect money. Well generally Cuba is pretty darn safe and I've never had a problem at all. So I do carry a money belt, plus of course some "flash" money if I'm ever robbed. Only happened to me once in South America, never in Cuba BTW.

What I do however is use my Canadian credit card and pre-load it with money prior to my trip. Then for me it's a simple matter of stopping at a bank and taking a cash-advance on the CC. Because I've pre-loaded the card, there's no interest charges from my bank.

My best travel rule for carrying money (not Cuba specific, but for anywhere) is to always try to reduce the risk of loosing everything by splitting the money up to many smaller bundles. Money belt, small envelope in the lining of the suitcase, some in a pocket, another small envelope in my daypack (inside the lining so a search won't find it) etc.

Favourite places in Cuba have to be Havana, Trinidad, and Vinales but I've also enjoyed time in Cienfuegos, Isla de la Juventud (can't get there by car) and Santa Clara is worth a stop for the Che Memorial.

Camaguey has just been named a UNESCO World Heritage site and of course Trinidad already is. With the addition of Camaguey, Cuba now has nine World Heritage sites.

Check out the Trip Advisor Cuba forum (more active than here) and also the Lonely Planet/Thorn Tree Cuba forum.

Have a great trip and enjoy Cuba.

Canuck_at_Canada_eh is offline  
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Jul 18th, 2008, 02:47 AM
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Excellent advice Steve.
Many thanks.
Greg_A is offline  
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