Cuban money is confusing. I am lucky to have a friend from Norway who lives in the Hotel Melia Cohiba. It is a 200 dollar a night hotel, and she booked a room for 100 dollars on the Internet.
This is the Melia Cohiba, look at the flags in front of the Hotel.
Inside the Melia Cohiba, a person can exchange money, and use the internet. The airport had no money exchange, a few taxi drivers wanting 20 US Dollars, 20 Euros, or 20 of what you had to go anywhere. I could not find a money exchange business in the Airport, however during the day, not at night there are people standing around who want to exchange money. This mean you must know the exchange rates very well, and arrive during business hours.
Havana Habana Cuba Saturday, December 5, 2009
By Andres Hidalgo with editing Travel Gear
If you live close to a Five Star Hotel, all the necessities are possible, money exchange, telephone, and internet. A person could look at the Five Star Hotels as base of intelligence. Tourist havens where you pay a lot of money to have someone explain information. The Melia Cohiba is beautiful, I will not call it friendly. I have been counting the prostitutes; there are many standing outside this Hotel at night. This is probably the essential tourism of Cuba.
I was lucky, my Norwegian friend met me at the airport; arranged a room for 25 CUC per night in a private house called a Casa Particulare. I did not need money for the first day. I asked the owner of the Casa Particulars where to use the internet, she said,
Again, the locals point me at the Five Star Hotels.
There is tourist money called CUC, and there is local money used by normal people. There is nobody explaining this, they more or less want you to spend money, they do not want to help. They assume you already understand, all the tourists I have seen are Latinos at heart, maybe one generation away from Cuba. I believe the majority of tourist coming to Cuba already have a connection to the country established.