Casa Particulares, commonly known as ‘casas’, are a form of accommodation quite unique to travel in Cuba. As Cuba travel specialists, many of our Destination Experts have stayed in these cosy Cuban homes whilst exploring the fascinating country, so we thought we’d share our first-hand knowledge with you:
There are plenty of quirks to travelling in Cuba. It’s only since the 1990s that Westerners have been visiting the Caribbean country’s shores in any significant numbers, and many parts of the vast island are relatively untouched by the tourist trail – meaning there aren’t conventional hotels or resorts in some areas that the discerning traveller might like to visit.
In many Cuban destinations, then, accommodation is provided in the form of casa particulares. Since 1997 there has been a government scheme in which locals can apply for a licence to rent out rooms, or in some cases entire apartments, to tourists. Much like a ‘bed and breakfast’ in the UK, these ‘casas’ are located in residential areas amidst the bustle and life of everyday Cuba. For this reason, some travellers will choose to stay in casa particulares even when hotel accommodation is available; they prefer the authenticity experienced when staying in a private home.
David Pointer, our Cuba Product Manager, highly recommends a stay in a casa as part of your Cuba multi-centre holiday:
“Although the accommodation offered in casas is quite basic, and not for everyone, the vast majority of our clients come home saying that staying at a casa and the unique interaction they have with the family is the highlight of their holiday.”
Casa particulares can be recognised by blue signs reading 'Arrendador Divisa’, which by law all licenced casas have to display, so they’re easy to spot. Though many owners will promote their casa by distributing business cards, it can be difficult to gage the quality and nerve-wracking for travellers unfamiliar with these systems. With many Destination Experts having travelled extensively through Cuba, we have tried and tested many casa particulares at Western & Oriental and have connections in the country that mean we can arrange casa accommodation wherever you would like to go.
Rooms in casas are sometimes within the main home, with a shared living room and outdoor courtyard, whilst others might be an annex with all your own private facilities. In almost all cases the casas we recommend at Western & Oriental have en suite facilities, are clean and comfortable and include a fan or air-conditioning.
“I loved staying at the casa particular in Trinidad. Our hosts were warm and friendly and welcomed us into their home with cold beers and olives on arrival. I found the accommodation comfortable and ideally located to get out and explore. Of course, being in a local house, rather than a hotel, meant I really felt “in amongst it all” too.”
You can read Anna’s full blog on her Cuba holiday experience here.