How Do I Get to a Bank?

One of the first things you’ll need when you arrive at Marina Hemingway is money.  You may be able to exchange a few US Dollars at the Ship Chandlery next door to the Dockmaster’s Office.  You’ll get the standard exchange rate of $87 CUC for $100US.  If this option fails, you may be able to exchange a few dollars at the Hotel Acuario lobby if they have money available.

“Our” bank in Jaimanitas.

But eventually you’ll need to go to a bank.  Havana banks are typically very crowded and you may wait hours. Someone told us there’s a bank in Santa Fe (the other way and farther than Jaimanitas) but we walked that way and didn’t find it. Or you can wander over to the Jaimanitas bank, which is closest, but it’s not well marked, so here’s how to get there.

Marina Hemingway diagram

Marina Hemingway diagram

Here’s the diagram for the marina.  Walking out of any of the canals, you’ll turn right to head for the main entrance.

Marina Hemingway Main Entrance

Marina Hemingway Main Entrance

At the main entrance, turn left and walk down the sidewalk toward Jaimanitas.

Out of the marina entrance, over the little bridge - the view.

Out of the marina entrance, over the little bridge – the view as you walk over the bridge.

Walking over the bridge, looking to the left there’s a small fishing spot.  Keep walking a little farther until you see this sign.  You’ll walk past it and look back.  You’ve arrived at your turn.

Welcome to Jaimanitas sign on the street corner.

Welcome to Jaimanitas sign on the street corner.

Here’s what the turn looks like – it’s a “Y” – the street you want is to the right of the blue building looking at this intersection.

Street Y's. See the Bienvenidos a Jaimanitas sign to the far left.

Street Y’s just off the main road which is to the left in this photo out of the picture. See the Bienvenidos a Jaimanitas sign on the far left.

Walk down the street to the right of the “Y” – to the right of the blue building.  It’s a picturesque little street … old cars, veggie vendors and horse carts.

Typical street scene on the way to the bank.

Typical street scene on the way to the bank.

You’ll walk past a bank on the left, but the armed guard waved us away and no other cruisers use this bank so maybe it doesn’t exchange money.  Keep walking a bit farther until you see another bank on your right – look for the checkerboard flooring.   Next to it there’s a small restaurant and then an empty dirt lot.  In the empty dirt lot on Saturdays there’s a farmers market.

“Our” bank in Jaimanitas.

You’ll need to wait outside until the guard motions that it’s OK for you to enter.  This bank will exchange money for CUCs and will also exchange CUCs for CUP (Cuban National Pesos).

Good luck & enjoy!  Other ways to exchange money near Marina Hemingway?  Please leave a comment and share!   Cheers!  Jan

Comments

  1. How difficult is it to connect with cruisers planning to leave Cuba who might have unused CUCs?

    • No idea — I guess if you’re someplace like Marathon you could ask on the morning VHF net. In Stock Island Marina, you could ask on their Facebook page. We had 330 CUC left over and sold it at a discount to other cruisers in Marina Hemingway before we left. Good luck! Jan

  2. When we checked in with the Dock Master at Marina Hemingway, we asked where we could exchange money. “Oh, I can do that for you,” he replied. Since he was an official, we figured “why not.” He insisted on coming to our boat, and then wanted to come below so no one could see him doing it. We received the standard 87 CUC per $100 USD official rate, so we weren’t being ripped off. But it all seemed just a bit odd. We received a similar story from several Cubans who offered to exchange money for us – they have relatives that travel to Panama or other Central American countries to buy things, and prefer USD, especially crisp $100 bills for their shopping trips. I guess their pesos are worthless outside Cuba, and I don’t imagine they can just walk into a bank and exchange pesos for dollars. It was all very different from Varadero. At Marina Gaviota Varadero there’s an actual teller in an office that you go to that exchanges your currency.

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