Cmelle

First time in Cuba. Question about money and visa

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Hi. So I'm going to Peru in a few days, staying for 1 week, then going to Bolivia for 1 week, then Cuba for 2 weeks. 

I just wanted to know the best/cheapest way to obtain my visa. I'm on a budget and i want to save all the money I can for cigars haha :cofcig:

Also I have a VISA debit card, but my bank is unsure whether it'll work in Cuba. Does anyone know whether it'll work in Cuba? Are there atms there? I've been told to take Euros and convert it to CUC once I'm there. But I'm worried if I loose it. Plus the money wasted from converting AUD to Euro to CUC. 

I'm from Melbourne and leaving for Peru in a few days. 

Any info is appreciated.

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Cuba being Cuba and the embargo being what it is, or at least how some organisations have to interpret it, there are oddities.

From Canada and the US you can get a tourist visa to Cuba on the plane or at the airport.

Not Ireland, for example. Someone I know was not allowed to travel to Cuba from Dublin airport because he didn't have his visa organised from the embassy before he left. I have never been allowed to board before showing a visa, and I cannot get one at the airport or on the plane here. What I'm saying is, rules vary from country to country. Nothing to do with the embargo, just whatever visa agreements there are between countries.

If travelling to Cuba from Bolivia, call or email the Cuban embassy in Bolivia and see what you need to do, just to be sure. 

The safest way is to get your Cuban tourist visa in Australia before you leave. 

US issued credit cards generally don't work in Cuba, I have heard of exceptions but as a general rule of thumb they don't work.

However there are also credit cards issued by banks outside the US that don't work , it's not just for Americans. It depends on the relationship between the non-US bank and a US clearing bank/subsidiary/parent bank. That relationship isn't always obvious until your card doesn't work in Cuba.

Call your bank that issued you the debit card and ask if your card will work in Cuba.

Bring cash. Use an ATM in Bolivia before you go if you can get a currency you can change in Cuba (Euro/Canadian/GBP/Mexican pesos/Swiss Francs, US dollars if you must though USD have an extra 10% charge) or go to a bank and withdraw using your visa debit. As far as I know you cannot change AUS$ in Cuba.

Or else bring the money you need for Cuba on your entire trip. That's risky.

I've never used an atm in Cuba, I've heard so many stories about cards being swallowed.

I have withdrawn money by going to a bank with my (Irish) credit card and passport, Cuban bank and my bank each charged me 3%, but if you need money..

The same might work with your visa debit, you might be able to get money at a cashier's counter at a bank, bring ID. Though there's no guarantee.

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Take cash, don't bother with cards. I'll be converting AUD to Euros for my Nov trip.

Check with your airline in Bolivia and see if they do Cuban visas at the gate. I bought my visa at the gate when I was in the Panama international airport (flying via Copa Airlines).

Be prepared to bend over and pay when you come home from Cuba. Remember the tobacco duty is now over AUD$1000/kg.

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