When travelling in Cuba, the best budget accommodation options are Casa Particulares. These are government approved private houses that generally rent rooms in the family home and sometimes apartments or other self-contained options.
By all accounts the host families are extremely lovely, friendly and helpful and will do everything in their power to make your stay as welcoming and comfortable as possible.
Costs and Facilities in Cuban Casa Particulares
Most of the families provide large, healthy meals on request at an additional cost (breakfast $3-4 CUC, dinner $5-10 CUC). Cuba is not renowned for its food and we found it hard to beat the quality and quantity of the meals lovingly prepared at the Casa Particulares. This especially rings true for vegetarians.
Most are also happy to provide packed lunches for long bus journeys (we recommend this), or day trips, snacks, lunches, laundry services, tea and coffee or ice cream if they have it. The prices for these extras are very reasonable.
Rooms in Casa Particulares range from $15-35 depending on where you are and what you get and you usually get what you pay for – a room with a terrace will be more than a room without etc.
You will find facilities like bathrooms, hot water, air conditioning in almost every room and then other fixtures like televisions (no ads!), fridges, balconies and terraces depend on the property and the host.
The Casa Network
There is a whole network of Casa owners and they will generally ring ahead and book you into your next destination, where someone will more often than not be waiting to receive you as you hop off the bus.
Note: Be open minded about your bookings – things work a little differently in Cuba.
It helps to understand the culture and responsibilities of the Casa owners. If one of their guests decides to stay longer than planned you may find yourself arriving only to be walked a few minutes down the road to another host. This happens a lot – and we were more than happy with all of our replacements.
Unlike a hotel or hostel, Casa owners may only have 1, 2 or 3 rooms for rent and if someone stays on at the last minute, they no longer have the room for you, even if you have booked and confirmed the day before.
This can be a little disconcerting at first until you realise that the next host will be the same price and will be just as lovely!
Remember – you will arrive for accommodation and often leave as family!
Note: Casa Particulars pay a hefty fee to the government – approximately $150 CUC per month per room for rent (and more in Varadero) in order to keep their licence – even if they have quiet months.
Although it seems like they will be making the big bucks (compared to other Cubans) their costs are proportionately astronomical, so enjoy the wonderful service but be sensitive to the precarious position that most people are in.
More about travel in Cuba…
- Photo blog: Fun on Varadero Beach, Cuba
- Review: La Hostal Terraza, Havana
- Travel by Viazul bus in Cuba
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- Travel Tips: How to find Vegetarian Restaurants - October 26, 2015
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