Casas particulares: staying local in Cuba - Breathe With Us

Casas particulares: staying local in Cuba

Casa Particular Santiago De Cuba

33 Comments

  1. Elizabeth

    We stayed in casa particulares when we visited Cuba 2 years ago and we would recommend Casa Vieja 1840 in Havana Vieja (http://www.casavieja1840.com/) and Beny’s House in Varadero (http://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Review-g147275-d2078012-Reviews-Beny_s_House-Varadero_Matanzas_Province_Cuba.html). We communicated with them by e-mail before going and everything went smoothly!

    Staying in a casa particulare was especially great in Varadero because it is normally such a tourist town but our casa was a 5 minute walk from the beach, the same beach that you pay a fortune to stay on when you stay at an all-inclusive!

    1. Breathe With Us

      Thank you for sharing your experience. Those two places look really good! We didn’t go to Varadero precisely because of what you mentioned. Instead, we went to Cayo Coco (no casas particulares there) and other beach places as well.

  2. Katie Kenney

    Seriously helpful post!! I tend to favor long-term travel, which means meeting locals is usually a part of the equation. I know my trip to Cuba will be a shorter one, however — sounds like the perfect way to get to know locals in a shorter time frame 🙂

    1. Breathe With Us

      Thank you, Katie!

      We wish we could have a stayed a bit longer but since we don’t travel full-time we only stayed a couple of weeks. Cuba seems small, but there’s lots to see and do.

      Casas particulares are definitely a great way to do that!

  3. Stefan

    Love your photos of Old Havana town – it captures what I remember perfectly – those run down houses. Every single road just had it’s own little thing going on.

    Definitely agree Casa Particulares are the best form of accommodation in Cuba – as well as being easy on the wallet, it’s such a great way to meet and interact with locals, which made the experience for me in Havana.

  4. Ludek

    The most important thing is to book your casa particular for the first night in Cuba. You can find them online just google casas particulares. You don’t have to book all your nights in advance, the owners usually have contacts in other towns, so if you tell them your next destination, they will set you up with another casa.

    In Santiago and Baracoa there are casas particulares that are way cheaper than in Havana or Vinales. You can find a room for 15 CUC (read: USD) and food is as well cheaper.

    P.s. Santiago de Cuba is the best city of Cuba

  5. Ludek

    Staying in casas particulares is an awesome experience. I would recommend it to everybody. Just the mattresses can be sometimes a bit used.

    The most important thing is to book a casa particular for the first night in Cuba (especially in high season – November – March).

    In Havana expect to pay 30 – 40 CUC/room.

    You don’t have to book all your nights in advance, the owners usually have contacts in other towns, so if you tell them your next destination, they will set you up with another casa.

    In Baracoa and Santiago there are way cheaper casas than in Havana or Vinales, you can find room there for 15 CUC (read:USD) and food is as well cheaper.

    P.s.Santiago de cuba is the best city of Cuba

    1. Breathe With Us

      Cheers for your input, Ludek. It aligns with what we say in the article.

      Guess we were lucky with the mattresses! Obviously, if it’s a cheap place, the quality tends to be in line with the price. And yes, Havana is definitely more expensive but at the same time there are plenty of casas there, which is not the case in rural areas.

      Booking vs non-booking in advance is a travel style. Some people like to do it, others don’t. We also say in the article that casa owners can refer other casas in different places. This is nice but you clearly don’t know what to expect about the house they send you to. Again, in line with what we said about travel styles and preferences. We travelled in May (mid-low season) and to guarantee the casas we wanted, booking in advance was essential.

      To be honest, Santiago was probably our least favourite city. The historical centre is nice, but not as nice as other colonial towns. Also, it was very chaotic! The part we liked the most was the fortress – recommended.

  6. aliceteacake

    I thought this was going to be more expensive than a hotel at first but am pleasantly surprised to see it’s actually cheaper. It seems like the perfect way to go if you really want to immerse yourself in the culture and I’m always down for some homecooked food! Your photographs are really awesome by the way – the colours and architecture here are really my kind of thing 🙂

    1. Breathe With Us

      A lot of people opt to choose casas particulares because of the price. Yes, that’s a an important thing, but staying with someone local with a different perspective of things was really nice. We learned a lot!

      Glad you like our pictures! Thank you 🙂

  7. Melody Pittman

    Very interesting read about the casas. I talked with some folks at the NY Times Travel Show who were itching to get to Cuba and they were discussing this. I had no idea since I’m not considering traveling there. Very informative.

  8. brimiers18

    This is a fascinating post! Thanks so much for sharing… As an American we still don’t get a lot of news & information about Cuba, even though the restrictions have been slightly lifted (It was big news when AirBnB expanded there though!). I love staying in small and locally owned places when traveling, so I hope someday I get to experience a casa particulare someday.

    1. Breathe With Us

      Thank you so much, Brianne!

      We’re sure that In the coming months a lot more stuff is going to happen regarding the US-CUBA situation.

      Unfortunately, seems that AirBnB (or someone else) is taking advantage of this and adding a premium on top of the regular price. Which is a shame.

      If you like staying local, then casas particulares are definitely for you!

  9. Natalie

    Oh, this is definitely where I would want to stay if I visited Cuba. I’m sure it’s super interesting to hear the stories from the Cubans and eat their delicious food! A totally different experience than if you would stay at a hote..!

  10. Cherri Megasko

    Cuba is on our list, and I would absolutely love to do this. Unfortunately, neither Greg nor I speak Spanish. We’ve also never done a home stay, although we’ve considered it a few times. Thanks for the insights!

    1. Breathe With Us

      I believe in some places they will speak some English but not enough. With Spanish you definitely get a lot more from the experience.

      These were some of the finest home stays we’ve ever been to.

      Our pleasure 🙂

  11. Blossom

    we are going to Cuba in a few weeks time. We understand that some casa particulars will collect you from Havana airport. Can anyone throw any light on this?

    1. Breathe With Us

      Hi,

      That’s correct but you need to arrange that with the casa you’re staying at. They will get a taxi to collect you from the airport and that should cost you 25 CUC. It’s very convenient to have that option.

  12. emjohan

    About casas particulares in 2018, in high season. You only need to book your first casa, do not worry about the next , your hosts take care of that and you will come to casas of the same standard in the next city. We have been to Cuba three times, 4 weeks each time, and never had any problems with the standard. If they are overbooked, which we have experienced only twice, they send you to the neighbour. Don’t worry about that either, it is an experience I would not miss. The casas are not only a place to sleep, it is a small travel agency that arrange everything for you, If you so wish, excursions, drivers, bus, and do everything they can to make you feel comfortable. Regarding Santiago de Cuba, do not miss it! It is our absolute favourite, far better than Havana and Trinidad, more relaxed and more interesting. Music and dance everywhere. Never a dull moment.

    1. Breathe With Us

      Hi,

      Thank you for sharing your experience. We have also been to Cuba a few times now (last visit just a few months ago)!

      Not booking is definitely an option but, in our opinion, while there are casas particulares for every taste, the best ones, namely location-wise, are rarely available short notice. To avoid any disappointments, we still recommend booking ahead. In the end, this comes down to what style of travel one prefers.

      Surprisingly, the standard is still pretty good bearing in the mind the increase in numbers of casas particulares.

      You’re right. The hosts are very helpful in finding activities and transportation.

      Eastern Cuba is a great place to visit. Not just Santiago, also Sierra Maestra, Baracoa, etc.

      Cheers.

Leave a comment