Experience the authentic Cuban way of life
Staying in a hotel is fine, but it’s a bit generic. I mean, wherever you go on holiday, likelihood is you’ll be staying in a hotel – and they don’t exactly vary that much. Could you really tell the difference between staying in a Hilton hotel in London versus in Istanbul? Apart from the one in London probably costing a lot more. Staying in a hotel in Cuba is the same; there are a number of luxury hotels, and these are all great places to lay your head at night – but that’s all they are, and they don’t give you the true, authentic Cuban experience.
When you stay in a Casa Particular, you’re staying with an actual Cuban family, in an actual Cuban home. As a guest in their home, it’s easy to develop genuine Cuban relationships with the owners, and experience their way of life and the culture of their country. Guests truly become part of the family for their stay, with the opportunity to make friends with real people.
Enjoy comfort and excellent service
Casas Particulares have to meet a certain standard before home owners are able to rent a room to travellers; this includes the availability of a private bathroom, as well as air conditioning in the room. As a result, the majority of casas can easily be compared with hotel rooms in terms of level of comfort, but with the added bonus of exceptional service. While hotels will have the typical level of service expected of the service industry, it’s unlikely that they’ll go above and beyond their day to day jobs. Commercial interests just don’t exist for the crew – they get paid the same amount no matter how much work they do – whereas the service level in a casa will typically be a lot higher because they rely on your business, and your recommendations to future potential customers.
Get insider’s tips into the place you’re staying
Cubans love their country, and they’re always looking for opportunities to share their inside knowledge about their country and culture with as many people as possible. Your hosts will likely have lived in the same place for years, if not their whole lives, so they’ll know it like the back of their hands – maybe even better.
Staying with a local will get you insider tips that you won’t find in any guidebook. Want to find a good quality but cheap restaurant? Need a fun place for your kids to play? Want to stay off the beaten track and away from the tourists? Trust me, your hosts will have you covered with all this and more.
Support the locals
Staying in a casa particular directly helps locals – not big corporations. You will be directly contributing to the salary – and, therefore, quality of life – of a local family or household, in a country where the average salary is around $20 a month.
Like pretty much any business, part of the revenue people can make from running a small business – like a casa particular – will go to the state in the form of taxes, but a large portion of it will still go to the home owners themselves. It might not seem like you’re paying a lot, but this small amount for bed and breakfast is extremely helpful to the small businesses that a lot of Cubans run to supplement their incomes.
Enjoy a level of freedom you don’t get from traditional types of accommodation
Staying in a casa allows you the freedom of staying in a home. Hotels often have restrictions on when you can come and go, check in and check out times, meal times, what you’re allowed in your room, etc. Casas Particulares don’t have any of this; by renting a casa, travellers get to enjoy the free and easy atmosphere, while feeling completely at home with the ability to invite friends over.
Save money on your trip
Unsurprisingly, it’s almost always cheaper to stay in a casa than it is to stay in a hotel. Sure, the price of a casa will vary a LOT depending on where abouts in Cuba you’re staying, but even those close to all the action and in the centre of the city will be typically cheaper than staying in a hotel in the same location. Thus, leaving you with loads of money left over for taxis, restaurants, nights out, and museums.
Enjoy a traditional Cuban breakfast
Pretty much every Casa Particular is a bed and breakfast – even if you have to pay extra for the breakfast part. And sure, you can get a typical Cuban breakfast at any restaurant or café in the city – but it won’t come with the traditional Cuban hospitality that you only get in a Cuban household. Plus, you’ll probably be stuffed with so much food you won’t be hungry for the rest of the day, saving you money on snacks.