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Departure tax

hello everyone…we are heading down to Cuba on Monday and last year we were able to pay the $ 25.00 departure tax in Canadian funds. Do I understand correctly that it now has to be in CUC?

Thanks everyone!

Really, you paid the departure tax in Canadian funds? I’ve never seen that before - has that happened to others?

Safest thing is to put 25CUC in your passport as soon as possible after you arrive, then put it in the safe. That way, you’ll be sure not to have any problem when leaving.

I’ve never heard of departure tax being accepted in anything other than CUC either.

As Anne says, safest bet is to keep back 25 CUC per person.

I’ve departed Cuba from Havana and Varadero many times, and only CUC was ever accepted.

Just to add to the throng, I have always been told by any Travel Rep at the orientation that only CUC is accepted. Of course, several years ago US $'s were welcome but that all changed when the CUC was introduced.

I would never let this happen but can imagine younger people not having any money left over on their last day and not able to pay…

What would happen if you couldn’t pay ?

Has anyone witness this ?

We met a young couple in Santa Lucia who had a great week of partying but by the 5th day were out of money. They were heading merrily to the bank with Daddy’s credit card and a note signed by Daddy that said they could take money from it (Daddy was back in Toronto)…I felt very sorry for them when I told them that the girl would laugh them out of the bank if they tried to use it. We did lend them money for the rest of the week as well as their departure tax. The Dad sent us a cheque a week after we got home with a thank you card. I would hope that if my kids were in a situation like this that someone would help them too.

okay so I thought someone who good nature would help, so you answered the second part…

Interested to have info on the first question, what if you couldn’t pay :wink:

Honestly, I think you’re mistaken about paying the departure tax in CAD. Even of you were down to your last 25 bucks and happened to run into the kindest tax collector on the Island he/she couldn’t accept the Canadian dollars because it’s less the 25 CUC you owe. If it did happen it was a one-in-a-million lightening strike and you should have bought a 6/49 ticket the instant you stepped off the airplane in Canada!

I’ve met at least a dozen people who’ve arrived at the airport broke. I’ve paid all their departure taxes and after the fact was only stiffed once.

Rfint, if you couldn’t pay it’d be easy enough to beg it from another passenger. If you didn’t pay then no question, you’d be put in detention until you did.

I’ve met people at the Varadero Airport with no CUCs left to pay the departure tax, and I’ve fronted the money on more than a few occasions to people on my return flight. When the plane landed in Halifax, they got cash from the ATM & repaid me. :slight_smile:

What goes around comes around … once I got stuck with no room at a hotel in Varadero, and a woman from Toronto shared her double room with me for two days! :-*

Pay it forward!

I’ve also seen people show up at the airport NSF for departure tax. I’ve witnessed the generosity of other passengers on these occasions…once there was a collection taken up! :smiley:

A few years ago my sister was at a resort in Cuba and there was a man there (a Canadian who was travelling alone) who neglected to bring much cash with him, assuming he could use his credit card for everything. He sooned learned he could not use his credit card (which must have been affiliated with the US) so he was starting to panic. My sister loaned him enough money to cover the departure tax and to buy a few souvenirs, etc at the resort. Shortly after returning home, she did receive the money back by mail.

On one of my trips to Cuba, we met a couple (from Ontario) who were shocked to learn of the departure tax once they reached the airport. They had spent all of their money, but luckily they had friends on the trip who paid the departure tax for them.

I suspect there have been a lot of incidents of travellers not having the money for the departure tax at the airport, and thus having to rely on the generosity of others.

Thank you to all that replied! I have just checked with the other four people we travelled with last year, and they all agreed that we did in fact pay our departure tax with Canadian dollars.
Once again you all have come through for me!!
Thanks again!

My travel documents always state very clearly that there is a 25 CUC departure tax payable upon departure - it can’t be only my travel agency who does that…?!

Kevster, with all due respect, I am highly skeptical that it was the Cuban departure tax you paid in Canadian dollars, especially after reading the answers written by people who have travelled to Cuba many times.

I would hate for anyone to “tempt fate” and think that they’ll be ok with only 25$ CDN.

I stand by my initial advice now more than ever: put 25 CUC aside as soon as possible after arriving in Cuba!

Hello Anne. I have just double checked with one of the four we travelled with ( she is a travel agent) and she informed me that what we in fact did do, was buy 50 CUC at the airport on the day of departure back to London.
I am very, very sorry for having misled anyone on this forum. Anne, your advice is well founded.
Once again, Sorry!

[quote=@kevster]Hello Anne. I have just double checked with one of the four we travelled with ( she is a travel agent) and she informed me that what we in fact did do, was buy 50 CUC at the airport on the day of departure back to London.
I am very, very sorry for having misled anyone on this forum. Anne, your advice is well founded.
Once again, Sorry![/quote]

Thanks for the additional info, kevster, much appreciated!

I the unlikely event that one of us got stuck at a Cuban airport with no money for the exit visa and didn’t find out until until after we had done something so obnoxious that it alienated every potential donor in the line up for the home-bound plane, I think you’d want the phone number for the Canadian Embassy in Havana to come (however grudgingly) to your rescue.

It might be a good idea to travel with this contact info:

Embassy of Canada
Address: Calle 30, No. 518 esquina a 7ma, Miramar, Havana
Tel.: (53-7) 204-2516
Fax: (53-7) 204-2044
E-Mail: havan-cs@international.gc.ca
Internet: http://www.cuba.gc.ca

Consulate of Canada
Address: Calle 13 e/Avenida Primera y Camino del Mar, Varadero, Matanzas
Tel.: 53 (45) 61-2078
Fax: 53 (45) 66-7395
E-Mail: honconvdero@canada.com

Consulate of Canada
Address: Hotel Atlantico, Suite 1, Guardalavaca, Holguín
Tel.: (53-24) 430-320
Fax: (53-24) 430-321
E-Mail: honcongvaca@canada.com

See also this info re emergency contact: