If you are thinking about traveling to Cuba, surely someone has told you about the privat lodging in Cuba, and you should have thought about saving money on accommodation. Of course that’s a wise decision, but do you know how to avoid getting stolen in Cuba? ..do you have a way to differentiate a good house from a bad one to guarantee yourself the best possible holydays? With this simple guide you will guarantee you have no worries when booking a private lodging in Cuba
Well, I dont think I’m the first to tell you, but anyway I will say it, Cuba is in fashion! And you must travel immediately to this island of virgin beauty, before all corporations invade it and leave back nothing else of the Authentic Cuba!. All right, that was a little alarmist, it is not so, but you can be sure that tourism has grown a lot in the last two years. Imagine that up to 2014 the country was annually visited by around 2 million tourists and suddenly in 2016 a record of about 4 million visitors was established. For an island with 11.2 million inhabitants, this is a huge challenge and even more when this country is just beginning to emerge from a bloody economic crisis dating back to the early 1990s. But, is Cuba really prepared to receive so many visitors with a Quality service? … the answer is simple: NO
Although the human development index (HDI) of Cuba, is the 4th in Latin America, with indicators of Health and Education comparable to those of the 1st world (lol, if I don’t say it I am not Cuban) the truth is that the economy, over 70% controlled by the state, is simply a disaster and the hotel infrastructure it’s not enough to deal with this situation.
For this reason since the nineties it is allowed the rental of private houses to foreigners, the so-called “casas particulares”, and although not all of them offer a 5 star service (there are very good ones, good ones, bad ones, and some are just like the Cuban Soccer Team, terrible), most of them are adjusted to the standard of hotels in Cuba. Another advantage of these rental houses in Cuba is the price, which currently does not represent even 1/3 of the cost of state hotels.
I imagine that by now you are in suspicious reader mode, and asking yourself the following: if there are 4 million annual tourists in Cuba, there is a crisis in half world, prices at the casas particulares are very good, but there are good and bad lodgings.. Should I just suddenly arrive in Cuba, and hope that with my super-luck I will find a house with good prices and that satisfies all my wishes?
In this Post I will tell you 8 techniques to find your ideal home and how to book it.
In Cuba, it is very difficult to get a license to open a casa particular to rent to foreigners. Not everyone can turn their home into a hostel, and owners who manage to acquire this kind of license are required to show a Sign with a blue anchor and the text “Arrendador en Divisas”. They are also required to have a daily updated guest book with the client’s name and passport number. If you are taken to a house that does not meet these 2 requirements, you are in an illegal rental house, which can lead to legal problems becausse you are not registered in any place authorized by the tourist visa.
In Cuba every private lodging tries hard to specialize itself and provide quality services, to the point that today there are some Casas Particulares that are even like luxury hotels, but we can classify all the Casas Particulares in 2 large categories.
These are the must you are going to find. A Cuban family rents one or several rooms in their home, but they share with you several of the common areas. Although if you want, you do not have contact with the owners, because the rooms are generally spacious, have their own bathroom and mini bar, it’s difficult not to make friends in the house, because the Cuban people are friendly by nature and will try to make you feel like at home. If you want to discover Cuba and its people in depth, this is the best option that you have.
It is middle point between the previous option and a hotel. They are usually a little more expensive but you will be like the owner of the house, and you will have more privacy, with access to all areas of the house without sharing with other guests. You may still have contact with the owners, but you decide how to do it.
Cuba is a tropical country. Average temperatures around 25 ° -30 ° C with a dry period from November to April (high season of tourism) and another rainy from May to October (low season). From June to November is the hurricane season and although it is not very frequent for a hurricane to cross Cuba, eventually it happens.
In Cuba there are currently two currencies. The Cuban Peso (CUP) and the Convertible Peso (CUC). 1CUC = 25CUP. This monetary duality dates back to the nineties, when the government decided to collect foreign currency and banned the use of those foreign currencies in the commercial network, all foreigners had to change to CUC.
But, why do we still have both currencies? … Nobody understands it, and although from 2013 the government says that they work to solve this problem, when you arrive in Cuba we recommend to change to CUC because with this currency you pay almost everything on the island.
It is advisable to bring American Dollars to Cuba ?.IT IS NOT. The dollar in Cuba is penalized when changing it by CUC, reason why it is always advisable to bring to Cuba Euros. The Euro exchange rate is definitely better than the dollar exchange rate, and many businesses accept payment with that currency
The prices of the rooms per night in the casas particulares oscillate from 20-30 CUC / EUR depending on several factors. The main factor is the neighborhood or the city where you want to rent a casa particular, for example booking a Casa Particular in Baracoa will cost you less than booking a Casa Particular in El Vedado in Havana. Within a neighborhood, prices are usually similar and fluctuate only according to the comfort they offer (privacy, swimming pool, internet, safe, hair dryer etc.) but even you can be sure that the casas particulares are on average 75% cheaper than Hotels. You will be able to find casas that seems like luxury hostels even for less than 150 CUC / EUR
YES. In years of experience in this branch I have not almost heard about cases of security problems. Although not all Casas do have a deposit box to guard your properties, owners pay close attention to this issue, since if there is the slightest problem they may lose their license to operate, which is their biggest source of incomes. As a rule you will be the only one, with the keys of the apartment / bedroom and the owner will ask you when you want the cleaning done. However, there have been cases of robbery problems in houses that are illegal, but tourists get there because they arrive in the country without a reservation and are cheated by people who promise better prices of lodging. This will never happen to you if you manage your accommodation through a serious reservation site of Casas Particulares like Rental Cuba-Rooms or Airbnb.
This is one of the most important issues for me. If you are planning a tour around the wholeIsland, you will discover that there are very small cities in which there is no big distance between the different lodgings. But there are others that are huge, like Havana, Camaguey and Santiago de Cuba, but we always recommend choosing those which are close to exchange houses, shopping centers or gas stations, because the most frequent things that tourists do in Cuba are money exchange and buy water.
In big cities it is a good idea to choose a house in a central neighborhood where you can walk to the historic center of the city, if you come only to know this area. But if you come to Havana for example to make contracts or study, perhaps it is not a good idea to stay in the historic center because every day you will have to spend what you saved on accommodation, for transportation to other parts of the city.
Therefore when booking a private house make sure you see on the map the attractions that are nearby and also those facilities that make your stay more economical.
There are several options to book a casa particular in Cuba.There are Internet portals that provide this service, through a friend who knows someone in Cuba and there is the most daring option (crazy?) That would be to reach Cuba and after flying Hours and without even adapting to the weather, than choosing the first house that offers you a bed, to discover the next day that a house only 50 meters away was much better.
If you are lucky enough to know someone who was recently in Cuba, and stayed in a casa particular, they should be able to recommend you a House according to their own experiences and maybe they still even have the email from the owner so you can make a reservation by your own, if you are not “so lucky” … I will recommend you to find the accommodation that satisfies you on a website like RoomsRentalCuba or Airbnb, because you can choose before flying the best prices, locations and conditions among the several casas particulares and you can also compare them through photos, opinions, etc. Here I recommend you to book your lodging in these 2 Professional Sites that manage the booking process, because in Cuba internet is not accessible for all people and the House owners many times don’t even read their email and you have to contact them by telephone.
Is a portal managed by specialists in the tourism sector, operating from Cuba. It has a catalog of casas to choose from, in all the tourist centers of Cuba.
– When booking a house, you must wait a maximum of 24 Hours to confirm the availability with the owners, and once confirmed, you will receive a voucher with all the data of your reservation together with the guarantee of the owner that he waits for your visit.
-You pay the price of your reservation once you arrive at the Casa Particular.
It is the world leader in this activity based in the United States and from there manage the reserves. It has a catalog of houses to choose from, in all the tourist centers of Cuba.
-When reserving a house, you must wait a maximum of 24 Hours to confirm availability with the tenants, and once confirmed, you must pay 100% of the price of the reservation.
– Tenants sometimes take up to 35 days to receive the money of your reservation, due to limitations of the US economic embargo, but they always receive it.
Well, I hope these 8 tips will help you to choose and book the perfect Casa Particular for your holydays in Cuba, in the next posts I will be recommending some great houses ….Until then, I hope this Post helps you