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bholthof

Tipping, Etiquette, and other info!

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Hi folks,

 

I was hoping you could provide suggestions and so on that I can tell my guests about travelling to Cuba. Since I've never been there, I want to make sure my pre-travel packet has enough information for my guests about Cuba that they will not need to ask me all these questions.

 

Specifically - what is best for tipping in Cuba? I've heard that the Canadian money is no good, adn that the convertable pesos are hard for them to exchange. I've also heard that the Cuban people generally appreciate items and trinkets or useful items rather than cash. What sorts of items are good to bring? Also, its easy enough to tip maids with little items, but what about other staff? What is a good amount to tip?

 

What should you tip the wedding coordinator?

 

Is there a proper etiquette for behaviour while at the resorts? Towards staff, I mean. Are there any cultural things we should be aware of before going? (for example, greeting by shaking with only the left hand or something) I'm not really sure if anyone will be able to help with this - and I'm sure it really doesn't matter, after all the resorts cater to us uncivilized North American and European types - they don't expect us to know thier cultural specifics.

 

Any other info on travelling to Cuba would be AWESOME. Hope you can make good suggestions!!

 

Thank you.

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What you have heard is true it is preferred that you not tip in Canadian dollars, resort workers if they are lucky can convert small amounts at the CADECA (currency exchange) at the hotel but not loonies and toonies. If not many will have to travel a great distance and wait in line all day at a bank to exchange to a local currency. It is preferred that you tip in CUC's the currency that tourists use in Cuba. The best exchange rate is at the airport on arrival or at the bank.

 

As far as gifts vs. money it is a personal choice. The maids at the resorts I'm sure by this point have entire closets full of toothpaste, soap, and nail polish donated by Canadians, but can sell them on the black market for much needed cash. I used to bring toiletries as tips, but also have been nailed too many times by overweight luggage. Cash is very much appreciated.

 

As far as etiquette, not really different than you would behave here. Por Favor and gracias goes a long way.

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I am sure everyone has been on this site but just in case Reviews of vacations, hotels, resorts, vacation and travel packages - TripAdvisor is a great resource for your guests for everything Cuba including resorts, nightlife, tourist attractions, electricity at resorts and if you need a converter, the good, the bad and the ugly wink.gif Either type in Cuba or plug in the specific area you are staying ie; Varadero, Cayo Coco ect. They have information on excursions and the forums (much like this one) can be a great source for information.

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They do expect to be tipped. My family goes to Cuba every year so I've been there many times. You can pay in Canadian or US $$,but they do prefer to get paid in CUCs. Not sure where Salamander gets her info,but it is not true. They'll even take coins if you needed,but it is harder to exchange them in Cuba. Bills from US,Canada,UK and other popular currencies are gladly accepted and pretty easy to exchange for them

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I agree with the last poster that Cubans will be appreciative of any monetary tipping regardless of currency, but the banks in Cuba will not accept Canadian coins. What the resort staff have to do is find a tourist from Canada (or wherever the currency is from) and trade all of the coin tips to bills so they can exchange them at the bank (FYI they charge a 10% surcharge exchanging American money). What I mentioned above is that it is PREFERRED that you tip in CUC then they do not have to go to a bank/CADECA to exchange money.

I am getting my information from my fiancee who works at a resort in Cuba. If others have any questions please just PM me.

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I've been to Cuba a couple times. They do appreciate cash tips - take lots of US $1's. I also gave the maid a Clinique (perfume/lotion/makeup) each day last trip and she hugged me everytime she saw me. We always bring crayons & "dinky cars" (not sure what you call them these days) for the kids.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Salamander View Post
I agree with the last poster that Cubans will be appreciative of any monetary tipping regardless of currency, but the banks in Cuba will not accept Canadian coins. What the resort staff have to do is find a tourist from Canada (or wherever the currency is from) and trade all of the coin tips to bills so they can exchange them at the bank (FYI they charge a 10% surcharge exchanging American money). What I mentioned above is that it is PREFERRED that you tip in CUC then they do not have to go to a bank/CADECA to exchange money.
I am getting my information from my fiancee who works at a resort in Cuba. If others have any questions please just PM me.
Thanks for the info. I would think that loonies and twoonies would be heavy and awkward to carry anyway. A 10% surcharge on American money would suck, too- I wasn't aware of that. Good to know.

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There is nothing that you cannot give them or bring down that they will not find a use for. Money is always welcome as they can use it to buy food and other necessities. Extra toothbrushes, clothing dye, FEMININE HYGIENE PRODUCTS, laundry soap bars, reg. soap, tylenol, band-aids, benadryl advil, midol, lip gloss, paper note pads, pens/pencils. Really anything will do.

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