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Staying with the Locals in Cuba: Casa Particular

Staying with the Locals in Cuba: Casa Particular

CARIBBEAN, CUBA, HOTELS

Staying in a Casa Particular in Cuba with a local family, eating traditional Cuban food, drinking Mojitos is the best way to experience an authentic Cuba for those looking to travel independently in Cuba.

Most of the state-run hotels throughout Cuba are old colonial buildings that were the height of luxury back in the day.  As much as I really enjoy all these comforts, you can’t compare it to the experience of staying in a Casa Particular.

 

Example of a Casa Particular in Trinidad Cuba
Example of a Casa Particular in Trinidad Cuba

 

On my last trip to Cuba, we stayed at a Casa Particular in Trinidad called Hostal Casa Ariana. Each Casas Particular can be recognized by the small sign on the door: two blue triangles (‘roofs’) against a white background, which the owners obtain after paying the annual tax.

 

Casa Particular Signs all through Trinidad
Casa Particular Signs all through Trinidad

 

What is a Casa Particular?

Casa Particular in Spanish means “private house”.  The Casa Particular started back in 1997, when the Cuban government started to allow Cuban families to register their home as privately owned businesses and rent out rooms to foreigners.

 

Front view of Casa Ariana Particular in Trinidad Cuba
Front view of Casa Ariana Particular in Trinidad Cuba
Inside Casa Ariana Particular in Trinidad Cuba
Inside Casa Ariana Particular in Trinidad Cuba

 

A Casa Particular is quite similar to a B&B (Bed and Breakfast). They are privately managed, most of the time, by the families living there.  They rent out a section of the house or rooms for tourists to stay in.

 

Areal view of Casa Ariana Trinidad and some of the other rooms
Areal view of Casa Ariana Trinidad and some of the other rooms

 

The families also provide home cooked meals like breakfasts and dinners for a fraction of what you would pay in a restaurant.  A typical dinner meal might cost between $7-$10 CUC, and drinks anywhere from $2-3 CUC.

 

 

Delicious pork chop dinner at Casa Ariana
Delicious pork chop dinner at Casa Ariana

 

It’s the perfect way to stay with a local family and explore the city on your own which is what we did.

 

Exploring the cobblestone streets of Trinidad Cuba
Exploring the cobblestone streets of Trinidad Cuba

 

How Much Do Casa Particulars Cost?

Normally a Casa Particular will cost around $25CUC per night which is equivalent to $25 USD.  It all depends on the season, high season you might pay anywhere from $30-$35 CUC.  Which is a bargain if you ask me!

 

Relax, enjoy a Cuban cigar and take a ride in an old antique Chevrolet
Relax, enjoy a Cuban cigar and take a ride in an old antique Chevrolet

 

How Do I Book a Casa Particular?

We found our casa particular online just by googling Trinidad Cuba, and booked it directly through the owners.  You can find many casa particulars online through online booking sites like AirBNB.com, and Casaparticular.com but some simply don’t include listings for all of Cuba.

 

How Do I Find My Pre-Booked Casa In Each Town?

We suggest calling or emailing each casa owner before you arrive to reconfirm your reservations. They can arrange transportation to pick you up and meet you at the bus station in Trinidad with a sign that has your name on it.  Otherwise you can hop on a bicitaxi for a few CUC’s that will take you and your luggage to your casa particular.  Most casa particulars don’t have a sign on them, so make sure when you arrive to confirm you are at the right place.  Many people steak out tourist at bus stations and will offer stays at different homes that might be cheaper but not the best.  These runners get a commission from the home owners, so definitely try to arrange pick-up to avoid being scammed!

 

A BiciTaxi at the Bus Terminal in Trinidad Cuba
A BiciTaxi at the Bus Terminal in Trinidad Cuba

 

Disclosure: This blog is affiliated with the Casa Ariana, the Casa Particular used as an example in this article. It is in the old section of Trinidad, perhaps the most beautiful town in Cuba.  You can book a room at Hostal Casa Ariana  or email them direct hostalcasaariana@gmail.com 

 

Thinking of going to Cuba? Would you stay at a Casa Particular?

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About the author

Carmen Edelson is the Founder and Senior Editor of Carmen's Luxury Travel. Carmen has been traveling the world for over a decade. Our travels allows her the opportunity to pursuit her itch to travel to the best luxury destinations, and experience those first class tastes from around the world.

2 Comments

  1. Suze - Luxury Columnist
    March 25, 2016 at 2:35 pm
    Reply

    How nice to have stayed with the locals and sampled their cuisine, thanks for the tip Carmen!

    • Carmen Edelson
      March 25, 2016 at 5:04 pm

      Thanks Suze, as much as I like having all the comforts of home in a country like Cuba it quite the experience to stay with a family, and see how they struggle each day just to get food, and supplies.

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