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Luxury Villa Rentals Cuba
✅ Sleeping in Cuban homes, how does it work and how much does it cost to stay in Cuba?
If you are thinking of going to Cuba, you will have read or heard that the best, most authentic and most economical way is to stay in Cuban homes. But what exactly does “sleeping in Cuban houses” mean? How are those houses situated? Are they safe? How much do they cost? These are the questions I answer in this article, hence the title sleeping in Cuban homes, how does it work and how much does it cost to stay in Cuba? Discover our luxury villa rentals in Cuba and live a dream.
In case you like to take well organized trips, you want to have a reference, or you don’t feel like searching, comparing and fighting for your accommodation during your trip to Cuba, I leave you also the contacts (addresses, telephones and e-mails) of the Cuban houses where I stayed in Trinidad, Cienfuegos and Havana between November and December 2016. I hope that they are useful to you and that, if you spend the night in them, your experience will be as good as mine.
✅ Services in our luxury villas in Cuba
“Sleeping in Cuban homes”, also called “casas particulares”, means in 90 percent of the cases to stay in a private room with bath and towels in the real house of a person from Cuba. During your stay, the host does not leave the house because that is his or her normal home, you are his or her guest, and that is the point.
This type of accommodation allows you to come into direct contact with people from Cuba in a particular space, a space where only those inside can be heard, a space to share impressions, opinions and laughter in a freer way than in the street. It will allow you to ask more questions and the Cubans to answer them more sincerely if they wish.
But let’s go back to the specific issue of finding homes for Cubans to stay in Cuba. When a Cuban offers a room in his home, he must be officially registered as a landlord and indicate this on his door or front. Normally, this distinction is a plaque, poster or graffiti that says “foreign currency lessor” and has a purple drawing as you see on the left of the door of the photo that is just below this paragraph.
The streets of Havana, Trinidad, and virtually every other tourist-relevant town are filled with “arrendador divisas” signs. Wherever you see this sign, at least one room is rented there.
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✅ Our selection of luxury villa rentals Cuba
There are several ways to find Cuban homes to stay and, like everything else, they have evolved over time. In the old days, the most common way was by word of mouth (someone giving you a contact like the ones I give you below) or on the ground (looking for them yourself on the street), but nowadays you can find Cuban homes comfortably in Booking (there’s even a tab that says “show houses first”, so imagine!) and in AirBnB (yes, AirBnB has such long tentacles that they already reach Cuba).
Normally, you’ll get the cheapest prices by going recommended or negotiating directly with the landlord, i.e. via word of mouth or on the spot.
If you use Booking you can organize in advance, manage your accommodation as a “normal accommodation from another country” and you’ll get fewer surprises (ideal for booking the first night’s accommodation, and then decide how you want to continue as you see fit); and if you’re using AirBnB and you’re doing it for the first time, sign up using my link and get 35 euros free to stay in Cuba.
✅ Our selection of accommodations in Cuba
When tasting Cuban food, can be denoted the mix of Spanish, African, Aboriginal, Yucatan and even Asiatic traditions.
Some of the traditional typical tasted by visitors are the ajiaco, cassava, doughnut, tamale, croutons, roasted pork and rice; about the typical Cuban drinks, are characterized by for showing common elements with respect to the creole foods because they count with an Hispanic, African, Arabian, Yucatan, Chinese and other mixtures…
Also with some distinctive characteristics associated to the tropical weather and to the production of the sugar cane, resulting a mixture of iced and sweet drinks at the same time; being between the most representative in the world; Cuban drinks have gained an international prestige, some of them are: coffee, champola, Oriental pru, Cuba Libre, Daiquiri, Mojito and Pinna Colada.
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✅ Luxury Rentals in Cuba
Cuba is the biggest island in The Caribbean and it’s also a great place to vacation, with a warm weather, dreamed beaches, mysterious mangroves, coral reefs and a rich story like almost anyone.
This amazing destiny fulfills every visitor in every possible way with a Cuban rhythm, music everywhere, dances, antique and classic cars, rum, sugar cane and kind people.
One of the biggest pleasures of vacations in Cuba are enjoy of its heavenly beaches, practice nautical sports and explore a landscape of beaches defended by coral reefs, abundant wooded vegetation and a rich biodiversity.
✅ The Best Casas Particulares in Havana Cuba
The price for sleeping in Cuban homes varies and depends largely on your negotiating skills. Negotiate, negotiate to the death, they’re going to do it. To give you a reference, I tried to pay 20 CUCs (20 euros) for two people per night always in a room with a bathroom and almost always with two beds (sometimes two huge beds). In some places I paid more (for example, in Havana) and in others I think I could have paid less.
My recommendation is that you set yourself prices that you consider fair and try to find accommodation according to them. To me, 10 euros per person per night seemed a reasonable amount.
I didn’t want to be swindled, but neither did I want to haggle over four dollars with people who, even as a client, are opening their doors to you and, many times, making your life easier.
✅ Breakfast in Cuban Houses
In addition to accommodation, the Cubans usually offer you the possibility to have breakfast in the house. They usually say that this is where they earn money, I understand that because breakfast is not registered anywhere and that money is taken raw (your stay if it is registered in a book and that book is presented to the corresponding authority, in charge of collecting the taxes that come. Normally when you arrive at a Cuban house you will have to show your passport and sign that book).
For breakfast I was always asked for 5 CUCs (5 euros). I was once served breakfast for 4, but I didn’t really feel like haggling over breakfast in Cuba. When I ordered them, I paid the price they told me and that was it. The man who left them for me at 4 made a mess of it himself, I didn’t ask him.
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✅ Casas particulares in Havana Cuba
This beautiful country, full of towns and interesting cities, being some of them recognized worldwide by its splendor and different options, represents what for many years has been a strong contributor to the economic state of the country: tourism, which commercializes principally with the popular hospitality and quality of its people, exceptional natural attractive…
Also with its autochthonous historical patrimonies and the rest of the Cuban charms, which has conditioned a proper environment for thousands of tourists that come from different parts of the world, making them feel comfortable, carrying with them unforgettable memories of places and moments, besides of beautiful souvenirs and sharing with family and friends these memories. Feel at home in one of our luxury villa rentals in Cuba.
In the 500 anniversary of the foundation of Havana (founded in 1514, initially on the south coast of the island, by the conqueror Panfilo de Narvaez), the Cuban capital will be an improved touristic destiny. Havana with its inhabitant sand visitors, is the biggest city, the principal port, its economic and cultural center and the principal touristic polo in Cuba.
It is the most populated city of the country and the third most populated in the entire Caribbean. As capital of Cuba, this city is the official main site of the superior organs of State and Government; is also the main site of the majority of the national associations and enterprises, gathering the biggest quantity of branch offices and headquarters of the foreigner entities that lie in Cuba. Discover our luxury villa rentals in Cuba and live a dream.
✅ Accommodation in Cuba for business trips
Breakfasts usually include a coffee with milk, a smoothie or juice, a plate of fruit, a ham sandwich, some kind of bread or biscuit with jam or butter and eggs (in an omelette, scrambled, etc.). Now, breakfast is something offered by the houses if they want it, and they offer it as they see fit. There are better and worse. Sometimes, breakfast is very worthwhile.
Other times, not so much. Sometimes I took them and sometimes I went to the bar for breakfast. Whatever you do, remember that you don’t have to eat breakfast in the house no matter how much they insist on it. It may also be that the house offers you lunch and dinner, or that they invite you to something like that just for the hell of it. Don’t rule it out.
Depending on the atmosphere of the house and the prices of the place, it can be interesting culturally and economically. Among the places where you are going to try to bleed in Cuba, that is, in almost all of them, the houses are the best. My experience tells me that in the houses of Cubans they tend to take care of you and help you in whatever you need. I don’t know if they do that with all the guests. I like to think they do.
✅ Cuba Houses Security
On the issue of security, my opinion and my experience tell me that yes, sleeping in Cuban homes is totally safe. All my rooms had their own lock and many even had a safe. Only once did I have problems with a horrible place that I rented on the spot, henceforth the house of horror, and more because it was a horror than because it was unsafe. Because of the rush, the excitement, and not wanting to waste time, we got into an unventilated apartment on an old Havana basement. At night we realized that the smell of humidity was tremendous, almost unbearable. We ran away in the morning, leaving behind a night’s worth of money and a note under false names. Oddly enough, this house of horror was the only house we weren’t searched when we entered, which didn’t give me a good feeling.
Will you take my advice? If you’re going to look for Cuban homes to sleep in on the go, take your time before deciding which one you’re going to stay in. Don’t be shy, ask to see the rooms and negotiate prices. It will be for Cuban houses! Discover our luxury villa rentals in Cuba and live a dream.
✅ Good, nice and cheap casas particulares in Havana Cuba
During my trip to Cuba I spent nights in Havana, Varadero, Cienfuegos and Trinidad. Those three weeks I always slept in Cuban homes, with the exception of the first two nights I rented an apartment through AirBnB (which I include in this article because I think it was very good) and a couple of days in an all-inclusive hotel (which now, in the past, I think I would have done without).
Here are the names and contacts of the Cuban homes I liked, with their addresses, phone numbers and e-mails. In all of them I was very happy and they treated me very well. If you go, I hope the same thing happens to you too.
✅ Questions about luxury villas in Cuba
If you are preparing your trip, you have surely asked yourself many questions regarding accommodation in Cuba: how to look for private houses? how much is a room in a private house in Cuba worth? do they offer breakfast?
In this article we try to solve some of those questions about accommodation in Cuba in private houses, which are nothing more than houses or apartments with rooms for tourists. Usually these rooms have a private bathroom and air conditioning, they almost always have a refrigerator and sometimes a television. In some houses they have ‘split’, which is the most modern and silent air-conditioning device and in which the temperature can be regulated.
These rental houses are marked with the icon in the image in blue. The houses that have the same icon but in red are only to accommodate Cubans.
Cubans in general are great hosts. Beyond the fact that the subject of rental houses is a business, for them it is also the opportunity to meet people from different countries, other cultures and other languages. In a country where internet access costs two dollars an hour, the possibility of hosting tourists at home is a window to the world. And for you it will be a great way to discover them, the Cubans, at home, with their stories. It is the best way to get to know the people of Cuba, entering their homes and giving them conversation.
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✅ How to find accommodation in Havana
In the most touristy cities, some Cubans tend to gather outside the bus stations to offer you their house for rent, transport or whatever. They can get a little heavy, so the best solution is not to give rise to a conversation.
If when you arrive in a city, whether it’s a tourist town or not, you don’t have accommodation, our personal recommendation is that you follow these steps:
Walk down some streets near the center, knock on the door of some rental house and ask if they have availability.
If they do, they will let you in to see the rooms.
If you like what you see, ask for the price. They will always give you a high price. Negotiate.
If you come to an agreement, congratulations, you already have a room. If not, keep looking.
✅ How to find accommodation in Cuba?
When I last traveled to Cuba in 2016 there were already rental houses on Airbnb. In fact we booked the first accommodation in Holguin through Airbnb. Today there are many more houses on this room reservation application, so I recommend you to have a look at it.
It works especially well in three cases:
If you’re travelling around Cuba for a short time and you can’t waste time knocking on doors.
In case you travel in high season and you want to have all the accommodations contracted so you don’t take any risks.
If you do not want to travel with too much cash. In Airbnb you can pay through bank account or paypal. It is much more practical in that sense.
Before my trip to Cuba in 2018 I was very clear that I did not want to go to hotels or resorts. I preferred the option of sleeping in Cuban homes. I thought it would be the best way to get a little closer to the complex Cuban society.
After returning, I can say that it is one of the best travel experiences I have had. We found friendly and attentive hosts and comfortable, simple and clean houses.
Still not convinced? Keep reading because I’m going to explain how my experience was and if you dare I’ll leave you the details of the houses I stayed in so that you can contact the owners. Discover our luxury villa rentals in Cuba and live a dream.
✅ Why to stay in private houses in Cuba
A real experience to meet local people
In many other cities around the world platforms like Airbnb promote the service as an opportunity to get closer to local people.
However, my experience with these types of platforms has been quite disappointing. In most cases the guest in question leaves the house or they are really just tourist apartments. Many of these apartments are unlicensed and cause a serious problem of gentrification and urban pressure.
In Cuba the experience was totally different. Those were family or private houses and we lived with them all. It may be that the peculiarities of Cuba, with a lot of government regulation, have influenced the experience.
Sometimes the individuals were one or two people, but we also found families with children. There, on their couch, with their TV and their cd’s of Cuban music they want you to listen to.
Cubans love to talk and most of the time we ended the day talking to the owner of a little bit of everything. Keep in mind that it is forbidden for Cubans to have WiFi at home and that they are bored with the official television, so open up to conversation.
There is no doubt that knowing Spanish makes this experience much easier. Many Cubans do not know English and prefer travelers who know Spanish to be able to understand each other well. All I can say is that on our last day we ended up singing our hearts out together with our family in Havana.
Clean, well-kept houses, even with air conditioning
Other things I don’t like about Airbnb-type platforms (besides the fact that you can be cancelled at any time) is that sometimes the house was not clean or you had to pay an additional fee to have the room cleaned.
In my experience, houses in Cuba are simple and do not have great luxuries, but as hosts the government makes sure that they offer a good service and do not take advantage of the guest.
Usually you will find clean houses. Many of them can even have air conditioning or a fan.
Most of the private houses licensed to accommodate tourists offer a breakfast service which is charged separately and costs between 4-5 CUC. The breakfasts are quite splendid and it won’t always be easy to find open places on the street or with an extensive offer of food for breakfast.
If the price seems expensive to you, keep in mind that in order to provide guests with juice, cookies, eggs and coffee every morning, a Cuban may have to wait in line at a supermarket or exchange food with his neighbors.
Scarcity is the main problem in the daily life of Cubans. Discover our luxury villa rentals in Cuba and live a dream.
✅ Private home rentals in Cuba
How to find private homes and make reservations in Cuba
Can all private houses in Cuba accommodate tourists? The answer is NO. By law, Cubans cannot accommodate foreigners in their homes. Nor can they use their vehicles to transport them without a tourist license.
To accommodate foreigners, the owners of private houses must get a license and pay taxes according to the number of people and rooms they offer. Apartments and houses authorized to accommodate foreigners have a blue sign in the form of a capital “I” somewhere on the front of the house.
It has to be well visible and it is also mandatory that they have an official registration book as in hotels to later take it to immigration and report their official arrival to the Cuban government.
Sleeping in unauthorized houses is a serious crime for both foreigners and Cubans. Normally a room is authorized for at least 2 adults and a minor under 16 years old. Discover our luxury villa rentals in Cuba and live a dream.
This type of accommodation must be paid for in cash and in CUCs. CUPs are not valid to pay for tourist accommodation. Neither can you pay by credit card (as almost nothing in the country) and neither in advance.
✅ Luxury Rentals in Cuba
To find private houses you have several options:
Official website: www.casas-cuba.org is the official government website.
Here you will find the list of all the official houses by population. In the profiles an email or the web of each house is published so that you can contact them directly. I sent an e-mail to a house and after four days they answered me (don’t be impatient if they don’t answer right away. Remember that the Internet is restricted).
Airbnb: It also exists in Cuba, but I don’t recommend it to avoid finding simple apartments if you don’t want that experience.
Mouth-to-Ear: Cubans have an extensive network of contacts for everything you need. So if you stay in a house it is very likely that they will ask you where you are going to go the next few days to give you a reference from another official private house wherever you go. Many times they will take care of calling and booking for you.
At the stations: At the bus stations you will find people waiting for the arrival of the tourist buses to offer houses. Make sure that they are official houses so as not to commit a crime and not to put Cubans in a greater predicament.
At destination: You can simply arrive at a town and walk around in search of official houses. This may mean having to put up with pressure from the jineteros (a kind of public relations firm) to go to the houses that give them a commission for bringing tourists, which increases the price a little.
In my experience, you can book a house the first night and then improvise as you go along, following your host’s recommendations.
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