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Cuban Barber Shop

…Two bits?  Actually, it’s more like “Afeitado y un corte…”  At this barberia (barber shop), the afeitado (shave) is $15, and the corte (haircut) is $10, for a total of $25.  The precios (prices) are in MN, which stands for Moneda Nacional, or the “National Peso.”   How much is that in US dollars, you ask.

Good question, and the answer is that I’m not exactly sure.  Do you want the short answer, or the long answer?   The short answer is roughly around a dollar, give or take.

If you wanted the short answer, stop reading here.  If you want the long answer, continue at your own risk.

Cuban Barber Shop 3

You may be wondering why I don’t know the exchange rate if I was just in Cuba less than a month ago.  The answer is because Cuba has two completely different forms of currency.

Tourists are not allowed to change their money into National Pesos, but must instead change it into CUCs (pronounced “kooks”).  A CUC is a peso cubano convertible, or a “Cuban Convertible Peso.”  A CUC is worth roughly 25 National Pesos.

A CUC is worth close to a US dollar, except that there’s a 10% tax plus an additional “commission” for the money changers, so you wind up with about 85 CUC for every $100 US dollars you exchange.

Long answer people:  are you still with me?

Two bits equal an US quarter–don’t ask me why… this post is already too long and confusing!–so in Cuba the ditty would go “Shave and a haircut:  eight bits!”  Got that?  Me neither!

Cuban Barber Shop 2


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