Cuba. Gratuities for tour guides and van/bus drivers. USD, Euros, or Tourist CUCS?

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#1
1,971 Posts
Joined Oct 2014
We will be in Cuba and taking ship sponsored shore excursions.
What is the preferred form of currency to tip our tour guides and bus/van drivers? USD, Euros, Tourist CUCS?
Would 10%-15% be sufficient for the tour guides? Drivers?
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La dolce vita!
Non mancarmi di rispetto, ragazzo! Lo ti ucciderò!








#2
50 Posts
Joined Oct 2017
we are also cruising to cuba and had the same question...we figure as in most cases just go with your gut...whatever you might tip for a similar experience elsewhere...in CUC's since they are all we will carry onshore.
#3
Alabama
1,679 Posts
Joined Apr 2016
As you know we’re on the Sirena now and the tour guides are happy to take dollars as tips as well as CUCs and euros. For us we gave 5 euros to the driver and 10 euros to the tour guide. The official “government” stores that sell cigars, rum and coffee as well as the private enterprises that sell tour stuff like arts and crafts also have no problem taking any of the three, usually at a 1 to 1 exchange rate for most items. We even went into a museum on our own the Santiago de Cuba and they accepted dollars in place of CUCs for the entrance fee.
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#4
516 Posts
Joined Apr 2009
Just be aware that all of these tour companies are government owned and the guides are required to turn over all tips so they can be "shared." They may be prohibited from telling you this officially but our guide did tell us when asked specifically about it. This is a heavily controlled communist country. Enjoy your trip but be aware that things are not always as they appear.

Mary
#6
Asheville
17,509 Posts
Joined May 2007
I seem to tip in CUC's. I was on a land tour and we tipped in $$. I tried to use a taxi with $$ -did not work. yet I have been told it has been done. but i did get glasses of rum in a hotel with $$. so i think it is hit and miss.


remember that you exchange rate better with Euro's than $$.
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Robin
#7
Los Angeles
1,257 Posts
Joined Feb 2001
10% better, since that is the extra fee on top of the usual 3% to exchange dollars into CUCs.
#8
SoCal
2,396 Posts
Joined Feb 2004
per family there, the black market exchange rate is almost 40 Cuban pesos versus the legal rate of 25. So I would think most would like US dollars versus CUCs
#9
Shaker Heights, OH
206 Posts
Joined Feb 2007
We never exchanged American dollars into CUC's when we were there in December. Everyone was fine with American dollars.
#10
Costa Mesa, CA
85 Posts
Joined May 2017
We went last May, I booked directly for a car tour with this company.

https://www.oldcarshavana.com/

The rate at the time was 120CUC with english speaking guide. We met the manager in the plaza de san francisco across from the terminal, he has quite a few drivers/cars. He called the driver by cell and we were picked up within minutes, parking is very limited in the area. The guide was not available so we were offered a discount of 20CUC. My wife speaks spanish so she was able to communicate with the driver, he gave us an excellent tour. We went ahead and tipped him 20CUC plus the 20CUC guide cost since he was so nice. 140 CUC total. It looks like the prices have come down a little since then. We were on the very first NCL Havana cruise, we enjoyed it so much we are going again in October.

I highly recommend you get a covered car, not a convertible. It was HOT there and the sun was fierce. We were so glad to have the hard top with AC between stops. It was an old pink chevy.

There is a money exchange right there in the terminal, I exchanged $400 and we had money left over after buying souvenirs and paying for the tour. There are lots of souvenir shops in the plaza area. After the tour, we took the pedestrian walk Obispo up to Plaza de Armas and the War Museum then return along the Malecon.

There was also a flea market style souvenir shop to the left of the terminal about 1/2 mile along the waterfront, it was in a large building with lots of booths set up. It was mostly the same thing in every booth, clothing, leather goods, wooden trinkets. I was offered black market cigars there too. The goods were all made in Venezuala, like our made in China flea markets.

Enjoy.




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