Casa particular literally means private house, but in Cuba, an entire industry has sprung up around this phrase. In the late 90s, the Cuban government began allowing individuals to rent out rooms in their houses. Of course, these people still have to pay taxes and fees to the government, but this type of B&B set-up is privately run as opposed to the government-run hotels.
For us, staying in a casa particular was a no-brainer. Casas are cheaper and offer more chances to talk to the Cubans who run them. In Havana, we paid 30 CUC (US$30) per night for a private room with bathroom. In Trinidad it was only 25 CUC. Breakfast was also inexpensive, and the amount of food we got everywhere we stayed was crazy! Bread, fruit, fresh juice, veggies and eggs made to order – not a bad start to the day.
We’d heard that eating at your casa particular is a way to get good food on a budget. Our first casa in Havana didn’t offer dinner, so we were excited when our casa owner in Trinidad gave us the option. OH. MY. GOD. Best decision of my life. For 10 CUC, I got incredible lobster, Rodolfo paid 8 CUC for fish, and we had enormous platters of rice, beans, yucca, plantain, vegetables and salad. Plus dessert! It was slightly overwhelming…so of course we did it again the next night.
I reserved our first casa particular online before we left, but after that we decided to go where inspiration took us. Another benefit of staying at a casa is that owners often have friends in other towns. We asked Fabio, the owner of our first casa, to suggest a place to stay in Trinidad. Obviously that worked out well. When we came back to Havana, Fabio was full but sent us around the corner. So much easier than having to research hotels on your own.
If you’re traveling to Cuba, here are our recommendations for where to stay. None of these places know I have a blog, I just really liked them all and want to support them – and help future tourists enjoy Cuba as much as we did!
Casa Eugenio Barral Garcia also known as Casa Eugenio y Fabio or Casa Greenhouse
Despite the somewhat schizophrenic naming, this place is well-located in Havana Vieja. You do have to make it up some serious stairs, but the common areas are filled with antiques, and our room was comfortable. 30 CUC private room with air conditioning, double bed and private bathroom, 5 CUC per person breakfast. Contact: email@example.com, (537) 862 9877, San Ignacio 656 between Jesús María and Merced.
Just around the corner from Fabio’s, Rolando and Marisol’s casa particular offers pretty much the same thing. No antiques, but we again had a nice room and those crazy stairs. 30 CUC per night, 5 CUC breakfast. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org, 866 5805 or 05 249 6382, Merced 60 between San Ignacio and Cuba.
I am kind of obsessed with the adorable old couple that runs this place. Nilda is a little firecracker, and Luis enjoys meeting new people from around the world. This casa particular is fabulously located very close to the Plaza Mayor in Trinidad and on the same block as the tourist office where all the taxis park. And the food is AMAZING. 25 CUC per night for the largest room we had (and no stairs!), 4 CUC breakfast. Contact: email@example.com (this is from a website, not their business card, so it may be incorrect), 62600, Zerquera 270 between Maceo and Martí.
More in this series:
We’re going to…
Preparing for Cuba
Snapshots from Cuba
La Bodeguita del Medio: following Hemingway in Cuba
The heart of Havana Vieja
Communist Cuba: seeing it for ourselves
Our Havana tour
Trinidad, a colonial gem
Cuba’s best beaches
Getting adventurous in Cuba
One day in Viñales