Lodging in Cuba

There are three main options for lodging in Cuba: casa particulars, hotels, and resorts.  

Casa Particulars

Casa particulars are private homestays in Cuba. They are very similar to a bed and breakfast or an Airbnb experience.  The majority of travelers to Cuba stay in casa particulares to get a local experience and because hotels and resorts in Cuba are very expensive due to a low supply.  

Here are some pros and cons:

Pros

  • You get a real, local sense of Cuban neighborhoods and culture. 
  • Support local Cubans directly.  You may even get an invite to a family gathering.  
  • The food at casas are generally better and cheaper than most restaurants.  
  • The average casa in Havana is $45/night and $25/night elsewhere in Cuba. Compare this to $200-600/night for hotels.
  • Many allow you to have kitchen access.
  • Local recommendations for things to do.
  • Support making reservations for dinner, taxi rides or other excursions.

Cons

  • It's recommended, though not necessary, to confirm a casa around 48 hours in advance. Sometimes they will say yes to the first physical person at their door and confirming 24-48 hours in advance helps prevent this.  Don't worry, the casa community is tight-knit and they always find you a place to stay that's equivalent.  
  • Not all casas have A/C, though most have bedroom units
  • Beds in casas often have thin or soft mattresses.  

How to Book

  • About 60% of casas are up on Airbnb and this is a great way to pay for your casa ahead of time, limiting the amount of cash needed. 
  • To book a casa directly, including on the go, download the Cuba Junky app. From here, you can easily search their directory and contact casas via email or phone, usually getting a cheaper price.  

Other

  • All legal casas have a little blue sign posted outside with the words Arrendador Divisa, which makes them easier to find.  
  • All casa owners are going to need your passport number for the first night, which they take to the Tourism Ministry.  Generally a copy of your passport is helpful to hand them, this way you can hold on to your passport.  

Hotels

Hotels in Cuba have a few differences from hotels throughout the world.  Here's what you need to know.

Pros

  • Most have a front desk clerk that speaks English and is helpful for practical questions and arranging taxis.
  • Most have A/C and a lockbox for valuables.
  • A maid will clean your room daily.
  • You can exchange money at many hotels.
  • You can reserve ahead of time and pay with credit card at the counter, with Americans as the exception. 

Cons

  • Americans cannot stay at hotels under Gaviota administration.
  • The hotel standards in Cuba are much lower than in North America or Europe.  A 4-star hotel in Cuba equates to a 2-star hotel elsewhere, with a few exceptions in Havana.  
  • Hotels cost 5+ times what an equivalent casa particular costs, due to a limited inventory.  A nice hotel in Havana will run you $300-600/night for a standard room.  
  • The beds can often be hard.
  • The internet costs $5-15 per hour. 

How to Book

  • With many hotels, you can book direct on their website or through email.  
  • Cuba Travel Network or Trivago have the best inventory of hotels in Cuba currently.  

Resorts

Most of the beach destinations in Cuba have decent resorts and this is where you'll find the nicest accommodations in Cuba.  The most popular spots for resorts are Varadero, Cayo Coco, Cayo Largo del Sur, Cayo Santa Maria, and Holguin.  

Pros

  • Most resorts are all-inclusive so you don't have to worry about deciding where to eat dinner or budgeting for it.
  • Direct beach access
  • Most have a staff that speak English.
  • Most have A/C and a lockbox for valuables.
  • A maid will clean your room daily.
  • You can exchange money at many resorts.
  • You can reserve ahead of time and pay with credit card at the counter, with Americans as the exception. 
  • The resort standards are on par with many resorts throughout the world and they cost less than many nice hotels in Havana.

Cons

How to Book

  • Hotels Combined seems to have the best inventory of hotels in Cuba currently.