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Western Union: $30 to send any amount up to $300 and that only once every 3 months.

 TransCard: a Canadian firm with better rates: from $50 to $250, $12.69 fee; from $250 to $500, $16.90 fee. Check out their web site at The recipent in Cuba, including any Cuban citizen, gets a plastic debit card which can be fed in Canada via money order, wire transfers, bank checks, etc. That debit card is recognized in Cuba at many banks for cash withdrawals and merchants for direct purchases. This is the fastest way to work the transfer once you have a card set up for someone, which can take up to 2 weeks, especially outside of Havana. 905 305 -7703.

Antillas Express (514-385-9449, 514-385-9221) will do transfers via money order or cashiers check. They charge 8% per $100. Food & medicine can be handled in two ways: First, they have catalogue that they will send to you free of charge and you can pick out items to send. You can also send your own items, either way the cost is $10 per pound to Havana & $13 per pound outside of Havana and it will take from 1-2 weeks. Types of foods: (non-perishables) grains in plastic, powdered items (milk/formula), canned food etc...

 The firm claims to deliver the amount, to the door, anywhere in Cuba in 1-2 days, but it is safer to assume a 1 to 2 week period especially outside of Havana. Note: Primarily, they speak Spanish, but if you ask for an English speaker it's no problem, another plus is that they are open very late.

 As part of a joint venture Mexico's Banamex has permission to issue credit cards in Cuba. For money transfers try the Western Union office in Havana at Calle Obispo 335, Tel: 62-5297.

 ATMs allowing cash advances in Cuban convertible pesos are located in different places around Havana. Most Visa cards will work except those issued through the U.S.

Tipping used to be illegal, but now is widespread and recommended for good service. Standard tips range from 10% to 15% depending on the quality of service. Employees will also appreciate American-made goods in lieu of money for their services. Taxi drivers always expect to be tipped. Tour guides, waiters, guards who watch your car, maids or anyone who does you a favor beyond the usual call of duty expect to be tipped by foreigners. Service charges or taxes may or may not be included as part of the bill at restaurants. Be careful, some may try to take advantage of foreigners. You should be familiar with standard rates to avoid getting gypped.  It is best to talk to other expatriates to see when and how much to tip. Foreigners often over tip leading people to expect more for their services and feeling disappointed when you don’t give them the usual amount. In the rest of Latin America you may sometimes bribe someone for special services. This practice is not widespread in Cuba and is highly discouraged.


Official Guide to
Cuban Spanish

Official Guide to Cuban Spanish

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Information herein is authorized through the courtesy of Christopher Howard, author of the best selling Cuba information source, Living and Investing in the New Cuba. Please be aware that all information herein is protected by COPYRIGHT © and misuse of it will carry a penalty by law.