If you’re just beginning your research on travel to Cuba and looking for accommodations, one term might pop up frequently: Casa Particular. Translated as “private house,” this term refers to a unique option for a place to stay: private homestays in Cuba. The easiest way to answer the question of what is a casa particular is to compare it to a bed and breakfast. You will be staying in someone’s private home, in rooms they have set up for guests. Not every casa particular follows this format though, some can also take the form of completely private vacation rentals.
Booking a Casa Particular
Booking Casa Particular
When it comes to accommodation, some independent travelers are more drawn to homestays in Cuba than massive resorts, and there is actually a wide variety of options that fall under this category, including private bedrooms, full apartments, and studios with separate entrances, but they all offer a great chance to interact with the local culture on a deeper level. By choosing a mini-apartment in Cuba, for instance, you will be much closer to the culture than at a hotel. Here you can interact with local people, discover what they eat and drink, and generally scratch beneath the surface in Cuba. In addition, staying at a casa particular offers a lot of flexibility for a trip; if you don't want to plan an itinerary ahead of time, simply head for the crowd when you get off the bus at a local station—there will likely be a lot of casa particular owners waiting to meet the bus and clamoring for guests to stay at their homes.
Casa Particular in Havana
Casa Particular Havana
One area of Cuba where choosing a Casa Particular is especially popular is in Havana. Travelers who want to see Old Havana are drawn to these homes that offer classic architecture, cuisine, and music. The Casa Humberto, for instance, is an example of this type of accommodation in Old Havana. The one drawback about choosing these homestays in Cuba is the fact that in Havana, the rooms are for rent are usually rooms in a family apartment, though you can also find a smaller number of independent houses or mini-apartments for rent. Havana has by far the largest number of casas particulares for travelers, with at least 150 different options for room rentals in various parts of the city.
Trinidad Cuba Casas Particulares
Beyond asking about the definition of a casa particular, many travelers wonder why they should stay in one. There are many answers to this question, but one of the most significant for travelers is the ability to support local and independent businesses. By choosing a casa particular, you are directly supporting families and small businesses. If you want to explore historic Trinidad, choosing a casa particular will expose you to more culture than a generic hotel. The colonial houses in Trinidad are beautiful options for this type of lodging, and the casas particulares in the suburb of La Boca are good quality choices; the Casa Colonial Munoz, for instance, is a colonial house built in 1800 that was once featured in National Geographic. There are more than a dozen choices in Trinidad, so it shouldn’t be difficult to find one that suits you.
Santiago de Cuba Casas Particulars
Santiago de Cuba is often called Cuba’s second city, and is considered the birthplace of the Revolution. For historical reasons, many travelers are drawn to Santiago de Cuba. Here there are many options for clean, comfortable, and affordable homestays. There is no better way to learn about Cuban history and the revolution than by talking to those people who lived through it. These homestays will provide that rare opportunity. Santiago is one of the best places to stay if you’d really like a homestay; there are at least 25 different options in town, catering to a variety of travelers with respect to the size of their group or the number of rooms.
Homestays in Holguin
Travelers looking to experience the heavenly beaches in Cuba should check out homestays in Holguin. This city offers an area popular with tourists on the outskirts, including beach resorts. While some travelers choose to stay in resorts right on the beach, others are willing to forego an oceanfront location for the chance to get to know the Cuban culture during a visit. By choosing a casa particular, you will meet more Cubans and add some authenticity to your trip. The three best-known casas in Holguin are the Villa Liba, Daniel & Vivian, and Villa Dayi, though they’re by no means the only options.
Many travelers will be surprised by the sheer number of homestays that are available across Cuba. No matter where you want to travel, you will find options for affordable casas particulares. Now that options for legal travel to Cuba have changed, these homestays might be experiencing a lot more business from American travelers. If you'd rather have something set up in advance when looking for a casa particular, it’s possible to book online, as you would with a hotel, but it’s sometimes hard to find out a lot of information about smaller establishments. In this case, a discussion area with other travelers, such as the Destination360 Travel Forum, can be invaluable.