Cuba has recently become a popular tourist destination, and for good reason. Whether you are looking for a cultural experience, have an appreciation for colonial architecture, or just want to relax next to the ocean on a sandy beach; Cuba will have something to fulfill you.
This Caribbean island is located in the Northern Caribbean region where the Gulf of Mexico, Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea meet. The country’s location makes it ideal for North American based travelers.
Since the revolution in the 1950s, Cuba has been economically and politically isolated from most of the world. Unsurprisingly, this isolation has shaped the Cuban people into strong, self reliant people. Cubans have learned to appreciate the true value of goods. This means nothing is wasted.
As you explore the colonial streets of popular towns, such as Havana, Trinidad and Vinales, you will see heritage buildings with grammar phones playing in the window, refurbished furnishings from the 50s and plenty of vintage cars driving around the cobbled streets. Exploring Cuba can really feel like you’re stepping back in time. While there, try staying in a Casa Particular to complete this authentic Cuban experience and to learn a little bit more about local life.
What is a Casa Particular?
A Casa Particular is a home, turned guesthouse. The guesthouse is owned and run by a local family and offers a great opportunity to get an insight into the real, Cuban culture, and a feel for what it is like living on the island.
Why should you stay at a Casa Particular?
Casa Particulares are great value for money. They provide an authentic country experience, and usually serve up the best tasting food in town. Staying in a Casa also means that your money will go straight into the local economy and to the people.
What to expect from a Casa Particular while in Cuba
At a minimum, you will have a private room, a private or shared bathroom with hot water, and access to common areas, such as a dinning area or lounge area. Air conditioning is considered a luxury item and not all Casas will have it. There will always be fans available and extra blankets if it’s cold.
A Cuban family usually lives in the home as well. You will have the opportunity to chat with them, learn about their lives and the Cuban culture. If you prefer to keep to yourself, they will respect your privacy and let you get on with your holiday in peace. While Spanish is always the household language, most Casa owners speak some English.
The Casa meals are one of highlights of staying in a Casa. Breakfast and dinner are typically offered. Sometimes the meals are included in the price, and sometimes they are additional. It’s best to confirm this with the owners when you first arrive. Either way, eating at a casa should not be missed. The food is plentiful, traditional, fresh and delicious.
All meals provided in the casas are traditional Cuban, home-cooked meals. Meals are served separate to the family. Most Casas are happy to cater to dietary requirements, however be aware that dietary requirements are not common in the Cuban culture, so you may have to explain in detail exactly what you can and cannot eat.
Breakfast will include an assortment of home grown, organic fruit, freshly baked bread, local eggs and a mouth-watering selection of homemade jams and jellies. Fresh fruit juice and an unlimited supply of strong, local coffee will always be offered with breakfast.
For dinner you can expect typical Cuban food, which is locally sourced, home grown and/or homemade and absolutely scrumptious. A typical Cuban dinner would include roast chicken, rice, black beans and plantains.
How do you book a Casa Particular?
The best thing about staying at a Casa is that you only have to worry about booking your first couple of night’s accommodation. This can be arranged through a travel agent or online through one of the many websites or directories specifically for booking Casas. One popular website is Casa Particular. Airbnb is relatively new to the island, but is growing in popularity. Prices range anywhere from $25USD to $75USD+ per room, per night.
Once you’ve arrived in Cuba the owner of the Casa Particular will help you arrange your accommodation for the next town or city. Casas are well connected! It’s how they ensure they get business. It won’t belong before your see this magical “Casa network” at work.