Cuba: Common Scams Played Against Tourists

Posted on November 10, 2015 • Filed under: Crime, Cuba, Latin America Travel Van Der Meer reported on common scams used on tourists visiting Cuba.


The scammer will approach a tourist and ask them to buy a bag of milk powder for them from a nearby store. After the tourist has paid for it and left, the local and the store owner split the money, and the bag goes back on the shelf ready for the next unsuspecting person.


This scam banks on tourists getting mixed up about the two different currencies in Cuba: the CUC, which is what tourists use for most transactions, and the national peso (CUP), which is worth 1/24th of a CUC.

The scammer will offer to change a tourist’s money at the Casa de Cambia (house of change), saying that as a local they get a better exchange rate. They then give the tourist back CUP, not CUC. Always check that you get your change back in the right currency after making a purchase.


Only ever buy cigars from official stores (called La Casa de Habanos) otherwise they’re certain to be fake. There are several legitimate stores in Havana, Trinidad, and other centres around the country. You’ll get plenty of offers from people on the street trying to sell you ‘real’ cigars for discount prices. You know the old adage: if it seems too good to be true …


It’s common for tourists to stay in ‘casa particulars’ — rooms inside or connected to a family home. Outside airports and bus stations there are often locals who want to show you to their casa in the hope you’ll stay.

Usually these offers are legitimate, but scammers have been known to take tourists to a house that’s not theirs, and then demand a finder’s fee from the homeowner for bringing you there. The real casa owner is then forced to pass this fee onto you, pushing up the price of your accommodation. Read Full Article

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