When it comes to accommodation in Cuba, there are a couple of options: hotels and casa particulares. Hotels are government-owned and -run while casa particulares are owned and operated by private Cuban citizens. This is your guide on how accommodation in Cuba works and information about each type.
A casa particular is a type of accommodation in Cuba that is similar to a guesthouse or bed and breakfast. You can find casa particulares in most large to mid-sized cities and in some smaller, more well-traveled towns in Cuba. You can identify a casa particular by the mandatory sticker with a blue anchor on the door. This indicates that it is a legal place of accommodation for tourists.
They are generally very safe and most casas have a small safe inside each room where you can securely store your valuables.
Casa particulares are owned and operated by private Cuban citizens who often live on the property. A casa may consist of up to 5 – 7 rooms or as little as 2 – 3 rooms. On our 9 day trip, we only stay at casa particulares.
The families who own and work at the casas will try their best to make you feel at home. Most Cubans are very friendly and love to talk to guests. In some houses, the family members speak English well while in others, they are practiced at communicating with their non-Spanish speaking guests simply by gesturing and smiling. Most see overcoming these communication challenges as part of the fun!
Many of our travelers have said that the casa particular accommodation in Cuba was a highlight of their trip. The casas provide you with a great opportunity to interact with everyday Cubans. They also offer a different experience than staying in hotels.
It’s important to keep in mind that in Cuba, replacement parts for basic things such as TVs, air-conditioning units, beds, etc. are hard to come by. If a part is needed, Cubans have to improvise with whatever they have and cannot simply order it online. Please understand that things might break and there is almost never an ‘easy’ way to fix it in Cuba.
In most casa particulares in Cuba, each room is air-conditioned and has 1 – 2 beds as well as its own en suite bathroom with a toilet, sink and shower. The rooms are comfortable and clean, but basic and will vary from casa to casa. Some provide shampoo, soap and a hair dryer while others do not. So you may consider bringing these things with you from home for your travels in Cuba. Check out our blog on what to pack for Cuba to find out more about what to bring for your trip.
Casa particulares in Cuba are generally much more affordable than government-owned hotels. The cost per night of rooms can vary. There are some with very basic rooms for about $25 – $30 USD per night while others are private and much more high-end. These can cost $100 – $200 or more per night. The casas we select on our 9 day trips are on the nicer end, but are not the most luxurious ones out there.
Most casas will offer breakfast for an extra fee of anywhere from $5 – $10 USD per person. This is included every morning on our trips. The breakfast usually includes eggs and bread, seasonal fruit, fresh fruit juice (i.e. guava, papaya, mango, etc.), coffee and tea. Please keep in mind that there are shortages on the island so the quantity and what’s available will vary. Please also be mindful of the amount of food you waste.
PRO TIP: Bring a couple of sealable plastic baggies with you to take some breakfast “to go” or as a snack for the road during your travels in Cuba!
Yes! Travelers from the US visiting Cuba can stay in a casa particular. This is because they are owned by private citizens and not by the Cuban government/military which is prohibited by the US’ OFAC.
PRO TIP: If traveling independently to Cuba, you can easily find a casa particular on Airbnb.com. Note that we do not vouch for the quality or safety of any casas you may find on the internet.
Nearly all hotels in Cuba are operated in conjunction with the Cuban military or one of its affiliated entities. This means that travelers from the US to Cuba cannot legally stay at most hotels in Cuba. We do not stay at hotel accommodations on our trips, but rather in casa particulares. This is the list of prohibited entities according to the US Department of State.
We suggest all travelers stay at a casa particular in Cuba to support the Cuban people and local economy. It’s also a way to have more authentic interaction with local Cuban people.
Accommodation in Cuba is pretty straightforward and your best bet for a more affordable and authentic visit is to stay at a casa particular which we highly recommend. Happy travels!