If you, like me, prefer to stay in smaller hotels, then you may like a Casa Particular and stay with a local Cuban family.
By our Cuban specialist Susanne Muskita
Instead of residing in a big, anonymous hotel or resort, you might feel more at home in a private homestay (or B&B) when you’re travelling in Cuba. You’d be killing two (or three) birds with one stone, as not only is this a lot cheaper, you also get to know the owner and locals a lot better and you’re able to practice your Spanish.
Like the different standards of hotels, there are also different types of Casas Particulares. There’s, for example, the beautifully restored boutique-style Casa Vitrales in the old part of Havana. Housed in an old colonial building and built around a central courtyard, it still has most of its original features.
Each of the 9 rooms is elegantly furnished and decorated with artwork created by various Cuban artists. The piece the resistance is the rooftop terrace where you’ll have the most amazing views of Habana Vieja, which was declared a World Heritage Site a few years ago.
For a more rural experience, there’s the Casa La Casona on the outskirts of Trinidad in the centre of the island. This particular homestay is set in its own grounds and the gardens are a little paradise for birdwatchers and botanists. The thoroughbred horses that live on the hacienda would make any horse lover want to saddle up and ride off into the valley.
Breakfast will always be included, and as food can be quite bland or uninspiring in some hotels, the owners of these casas can either point you in the right direction to a local restaurant or rustle up a nice home-cooked meal for you.
For evening entertainment too, they’ll be able to recommend the best music and dance venues. Or if you’d rather chill, you could always pull up a chair and share the porch or roof terrace with the owners and their neighbours, which will undoubtedly result in some intriguing, insightful and interesting conversations.
If this all appeals to you, then do contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org or ring me for a chat on 017687 21040.
Hasta la vista