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best adapter(s) and cell phones for Americans to bring to Cuba?

best adapter(s) and cell phones for Americans to bring to Cuba?

Old May 6, 15, 3:16 pm
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best adapter(s) and cell phones for Americans to bring to Cuba?

Hi all
my wife is going to Cuba on a tour and I wondered what adapters for power she should bring, as well as cell phone since I know the iphone won't work there.
I'm not going, and I am clueless. Any help is suggested. All I know is that her travel agent suggested everyone in the group bring $1,500 in USDollars. Oh so should she bring $100 or $50 or $20 denominations? I didn't even think of that.

Any help here is suggested. I'm used to Europe and Asia, but Cuba is totally new for me.

Thank you and gracias :-)

Michael
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Old May 6, 15, 5:43 pm
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Unless one needs it as a camera or GPS or imperative ability to be reached, forget the phone. Expensive to use (rent a Cubacel GSM card) or pay high roaming charges (available to at least Canadian plan subscribers). Recommended adapter is a non-polarised U.S.-style 2 prong (earthed sockets are rare in Cuba). Voltage in the same style of socket is 110-220v which may be marked or not.

Remember there is a 10% surcharge for exchanging USD (unless one wants to do it on the black market which saves you the 10% - not suggested for the novice) so if she can get EUR, GBP or CAD, the rate will be better. The notes have to be unmarked, untorn, unripped, etc.

As for how much and denomination, it all depends on what's included in the tour. A CUC is a very generous tip. Not that much to buy except the holy trinity of rum (cheap and very good), tobacco and coffee (very good, hard to find the quality stuff except at the airport).
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Old May 6, 15, 5:57 pm
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Originally Posted by YVR Cockroach View Post
Remember there is a 10% surcharge for exchanging USD (unless one wants to do it on the black market which saves you the 10% - not suggested for the novice) so if she can get EUR, GBP or CAD, the rate will be better. The notes have to be unmarked, untorn, unripped, etc.

As for how much and denomination, it all depends on what's included in the tour. A CUC is a very generous tip. Not that much to buy except the holy trinity of rum (cheap and very good), tobacco and coffee (very good, hard to find the quality stuff except at the airport).
Thanks - this is very great to read. I appreciate your fast response!

Regarding denomination, I meant of the USD currency - do the official money change places prefer $100/50/20 or have rules about this? Maybe it doesn't matter, but I want to make sure.

Alas she will only exchange at official places because she is a novice, and it's not worth risking anything. She has no idea about black market currency swap, and I'm pretty sure the tour group will keep everyone in the tour pretty busy with very little free time. Any free time will probably be spent resting and reflecting.

And I love the suggestion about EUR, GBP, CAD, etc - except that for us to change from US$ to another currency means paying an extra bank upcharge fee since it's almost impossible to get the pure rate. So for the $150 loss (assuming 10% of $1500), we will save the hassle of getting another currency that could easily be torn or ripped, as well as the time of trying to procure it. I respect currency fluctuation and bank fees, and when we go to Europe, I've bought some euros ahead of time in the USA, so I know about the upcharge fees... then I get the rest of the euros at ATMs in Europe :-)

This is the first Cuba trip for my wife, and I just want her to enjoy herself, be comfortable, and have minimal hassles.

She would like to be able to phone me, our son, and her other family members during the trip. What's the best way for her to do it - can she use an old-school "candy bar" or flip phone, the type we used 2002-2006 before the iphone was invented? :-) Is it easy for Americans to make phone calls to the USA while in Cuba?
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Old May 6, 15, 6:18 pm
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No difference as far as denomination goes. Just get mint shape, brand new notes.

Cuba uses the GSM 900 band. AFAIK, U.S. plans do not work there as I already mentioned. You cannot buy a GSM card in Cuba as a foreigner. You can rent one from Cubacel (CUC 3/day) and have to buy credits. Phone costs are so high Cubans reportedly try not to use their cell phones but call back on landlines (much cheaper). Calling to the U.S. will be very expensive.

I'd just forget about communicating (just did that last month for 19 days).
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