Casas Particulares in Cuba
Casas Particulares

A different Cuban accommodation option many choose as an alternative to a hotel or hostel are the casas particulares. Cuba is known for having extremely friendly and hospitable natives and many of them rent out rooms in their homes to visitors.

Cuba

A casa particular must come up to certain standards in order to receive its license. The home you stay in will be both clean and safe and fully equipped. Different price ranges often indicate different levels of equipment. A maximum of 2 rooms in a private home can be rented out to foreigners.

Mostly when you see a casa particular advertised it is for a private room, although some offer more facilities as per the table below. If you are expecting to have a telephone, private fridge or TV available in your room, expect to pay a higher price. Rooms with sea views are also usually priced higher.

Almost every property will have air conditioned rooms and hot water for your shower, as you would expect as a minimum for a property that takes in tourists. Some properties offer meals to guests with prices depending upon where you are staying and which meal you are requesting. If you are interested in having meals at your casa particular, check what is on the menu, as you may end up eating the same thing every day.

Casa particular type Description
Private room A room in a shared property, very often with a private bathroom. Usually the owner of the property lives there too
Private room with separate entrance A room in a shared property with a separate entrance from the main property entrance
Apartment A separate apartment offering more privacy and independence than private rooms, but the price reflects this. Very often an independent apartment within a family home, with a private entry, private bathroom and cooking facilities
Studio apartment A smaller version of an apartment
House Some owners rent out a whole house. This is the most expensive option, but you have more space and privacy

Reserving a Casa Particular
When making reservations for casas particulares in Cuba, confirm that the price you have been quoted is definitely the price per room and not per person.

Upon arrival you will be required to show your passport and pay for your stay in cash. Alternative payment methods will not be accepted.

Cuba

Keep in mind that when booking a casa particular you are not required to pay any deposit. Due to the high license fees for the casas particulares, Cubans need to keep their rooms filled as much as possible in order to be able to afford the fee. In the event that you wish to cancel your reservation, call to advise this so the owner knows they could accept a walk-in or alternative reservation.

Equally, to ensure that your reservation is honoured by the owner, call 1-2 days in advance to reconfirm your reservation. If you do not reconfirm, you may find that your reservation gets given to a walk-in instead.

If you do not have a reservation at a casa particular, the owner will do their utmost to assist you in finding an alternative casa to stay at.

How do you know the casa particular you are staying in is legal?
All Cuban casas particulares have a sign by their front door or in a clearly visible place. Due to the high fees involved and the minimum standards, legal properties are proud to show off their signage. You can recognize the sign for its 2 blue roofs, saying Arrendador Divisa underneath.

As a valid government license is required in order to run a casa particular and the fees to apply for the license are not cheap, this has led to some Cubans offering rooms illegally.

Certain areas in Cuba, such as Varadero, do not have any legal casas particulares, at all.

What happens if you stay in an illegal casa?
If you get caught at an illegal property, expect to be thrown out onto the street directly by the inspecting officers. Any money you have paid will not be refunded. Cubans caught illegal renting risk losing their property.

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