Planning a trip to Cuba and can’t decide where to stay? While Cuba is home to some of the most amazing beach resorts in the Caribbean, you may want to explore a different and more authentic side to the island by getting off the beaten path and booking a room at one of the best casas particulares in Cuba.
Casas particulares (which is Spanish for ‘private houses’) are like family-run B&Bs. In 1997, the Cuban government introduced a law that allows families to rent out rooms in their house to tourists.
Staying at casas particulares when visiting Cuba is a great way of meeting locals and allows you to immerse yourself in local culture. This type of accommodation is also budget-friendly and many casas particulares are located in non-touristy areas. So I’ve asked fellow travel bloggers to recommend a casa particular that they stayed at and loved.
From the colourful streets of Havana to the lush green Cuban countryside, here are some of the best casas particulares in Cuba.
Casas Particulares in Havana
“Most people who visit Havana opt to stay in Havana Vieja for easy access to all the city attractions. I recommend staying in Vedado, which is a bit more residential and a whole lot more local. In Vedado, my go-to place is Casa Particular Abalidia, of the lovely Lidia and Felix. They are two real stars, incredibly friendly, kind and knowledgeable about anything Cuban.
The house is a beautiful colonial building with just two rooms for guests, both of them very large. The lush back garden has trees of guavas, so the entire house has a subtle, delicious smell of it. Lidia is a fabulous cook who will put together the best breakfast and the most delicious dinner upon request. Felix is a great conversant, a professor at the local university and a lover of Italian literature.
Casa Particular Abalidia is a great place to stay, where you’ll feel safe and welcome, and while you won’t be in the heart of town, you’ll be minutes away from the Malecon and the Hotel Nacional, and at a short cab ride to the main attractions.”
Claudia from My Adventures Across the World
“I’ll admit that I was skeptical about staying in a casa particular in Cuba. As a hotel-loving traveller, I really appreciate all the amenities that come with high-end accommodation. But I was pleasantly surprised when I walked into the penthouse of an apartment building in Havana, then was led upstairs to my room and discovered that I’d be enjoying an ocean view for the next four days.
Casa Alicia offers several rooms, most with great views of the Malecon and the ocean. Its location close to the Hotel Nacional and Old Havana is terrific. A two-block walk took me to a park that offers internet, so I made a few trips here to catch up on email and social media.
Each room in this casa is clean, comfortable and comes with its own bathroom. The breakfast prepared each morning is large and delicious. I hope to return to Havana in the near future, and I definitely plan to stay here again!”
Wendy from Empty Nesters
“I stayed at Casa Tamara in Vedado on my trip to Havana and loved it. Vedado is mainly a residential neighbourhood a few miles west of La Habana Vieja. While it is too far to walk, you are just a short taxi ride away ($5 to $10).
I really loved staying in Vedado because of all the beautiful old houses and the neighbourhood feel. The casa particular itself was also a big highlight. Casa Tamara is spotlessly clean, bright, and comfortable. The air conditioning in the bedroom worked great and was always welcome after a long day walking around in the Havana heat. There was also a beautiful balcony overlooking the quiet, tree-lined street below.
Our host was very warm and hospitable and prepared a huge, delicious breakfast for us every morning for $5 extra. Like many people in Cuba, he didn’t speak any English so it’s helpful if you know some Spanish or learn a little before you go!”
Dale from Wander Her Way
“Casa Madelyn is in an exceptional location. It sits just a stone’s throw from Capitolio Nacional, Parque Central and the Gran Teatro, the gateway to Havana Vieja. The casa itself is situated in a beautiful 4-story old colonial building with some of the original 1940s features still intact. There are only 3 rooms, all have high ceilings and one (Ernest Hemingway) has a private bathroom. In the bedrooms themselves, the furniture is in keeping with the colonial, vintage style.
All the rooms surround an atrium meaning that despite the busy and central location, inside offers a quiet and restful night’s sleep. The whole place is exceptionally clean &nd the breakfast they serve is filling and delicious.
If you fancy a local night out, you don’t have to go far as just down the road is the Siá Kará Café, a friendly bar with great live music. Overall, Casa Madelyn is a perfect place to base yourself to explore this fascinating, chaotic & beautiful city.”
Sue from Sue Where? Why? What?
Check out these amazing things to do in Havana.
“The Villa La Mar is ideally located in Cienfuegos right on the waterfront about a 20-minute walk from the town centre. There were many taxis passing by if you did not want to walk the distance. Villa La Mar turned out to be one of our favourites. Our bedroom had a small terrace where you could enjoy the sunrise or sunset or even take a swim to cool down after a day of sightseeing. A breakfast of fruit, eggs and fruit smoothies were served each morning on the terrace.
There were three of us travelling and the room was large and comfortable enough for all three of us. Because of its unique location it is a popular accommodation for travellers so I would recommend booking well in advance.”
Jane from To Travel Too
Casas Particulares in Varadero
Casa Teresa y Bartolo
“Whilst in Cuba be sure to check out Teresa and Bartolo’s house. Located in Varadero, this casa particular was a delight and one of the most comfortable stays I had in Cuba. Their apartment is situated just across the street from the main bus station, so need to walk far. You literally walk across the grass and you are there.
The property has an outside yard where they milk goats for fresh milk. Bartolo would explain to me every morning how healthy fresh goat milk is and how it is used for many food dishes that they prepare in the kitchen. Knowing what to pack for Cuba is important because in Varadero I found it was difficult to find certain provisions, so ensure you pack well.”
Address: Calle 35 y final, no.128, Varadero.
Daniel from Layer Culture
Puntillazo Ocean View (Boca la Camaroica)
“This casa particular is owned by a married couple. He is a trained chef with 5-star hotel experience, while she is a concert violinist. Their casa particular is a two-bedroom, one bathroom house located in Boca la Camaroica, about halfway between Varadero and Matanzas. Boca la Camaroica is a small village, with a few places to eat during the day and a few stores that stock mainly rum. The house is directly opposite a small sandy cove that has a good amount of sea life and clear water. It’s amazing for snorkelling at any time of the day, but especially before breakfast and in the early evening.
It goes without saying that with a 5-star chef in the house the food here is amazing. We were greeted with cocktails and canapes and ate on the roof terrace during our stay. Dinners were enormous, 5-course affairs, with cocktails, wine and the most incredible ice cream desserts. There were lobster, fresh fish and superbly cooked vegetables. Breakfast, also on the terrace was full of fresh fruit, eggs and fabulous coffee. On our final evening, Julia also serenaded up as we ate.
I cannot recommend this casa enough. They are the most attentive of hosts and their home is wonderfully comfortable and amazingly located. We arrived into Varadero on the Viazul Bus and then took a taxi to Boca la Camaroica and carried onto to Matanzas after our stay here.”
Sarah from A Social Nomad
“When I decided to go to Varadero during my trip to Cuba, I didn’t want to spend my time in a resort. I always prefer to experience the local life, so I booked a casa particular. Martha and Roberto’s casa was highly recommended on TripAdvisor and, even if it was quite a process to book it online, I got my confirmation a few days later.
Located in the quite part of Varadero, the village, Casa Roberto & Martha is just across the street from the beach. As I arrived quite late in the evening, I stumbled upon the birthday party thrown by Martha and Roberto for their son. I was straightaway invited to join and was offered cake and a drink. My room at the casa was the most beautiful I had during my stay in Cuba. It was a proper apartment with a lounge, a kitchen, a bedroom and a bathroom. All the furniture and appliances were modern and looked new. It had a separate entrance as well.
Roberto is famous around the area for making the best pancakes for breakfast, which I can confirm. Breakfast was always a treat, with stacks of pancakes, bread and butter, eggs and fresh fruits. If you can’t eat everything, Martha will make sure to put the fruits in the fridge for you. With such a big breakfast, my next meal was always dinner.”
Joanna from The World in My Pocket
“Casa Torres is a casa particular in a residential colony, about two minutes’ walk away from the charming white-sand beach of Varadero. There are two apartment units, one on the ground floor and the other on the first floor, that the tourists can choose from. The owner’s family live in the same house on the ground floor. That provided us a good opportunity of sharing good times with a local Cuban family.
We stayed in the apartment upstairs. A flight of stairs leads up to a private entrance of the cozy suite. The living room has a sofa, a dining table with chairs and a television. To quench your thirst on a hot sunny afternoon, you can head towards the fully stocked minibar in the kitchen. The bedroom is spacious and has air-conditioning. A private bathroom, with hot shower, bathroom linen and toiletries, lies next to the bedroom.
Also, the apartment is equipped with a WiFi router – a near luxury in Cuba (you still need to buy the internet card, but at least you have the router). Although it is not a hotel, this Casa Particular offers some little extras, like beach towels and town navigation maps. What we liked most about Casa Torres in Varadero was the grand breakfast every morning, served with oodles of warmth from the host family.”
Pubali and Indranil from Paradise Catchers
“One of the best things you can experience during your travel to Cuba is the kindness of local people. In the casas particulares you can establish a relationship with the owners, and we will never forget the long conversations we had with them about Cuba and other things.
Amongst the casas particulares, Casa Esther, where we stayed in Viñales, a small village in Western Cuba, deserves special mention. In addition to enjoying a clean house or some of the best breakfasts we had in Cuba, Casa Esther is especially recommendable for the way Esther, her husband, the rest of the family or even the neighbours received us. Spending hours on their terrace staring at how local life flows day by day or talking with these people will always be amongst the greatest memories from this lovely country.”
Gabor from Surfing the Planet
Tip: Make sure you visit a tobacco farm in Viñales and buy some organic Cuban cigars.
“There is no shortage of lovely casas and casa owners in Trinidad so we left our planning hats at home and went with the wind, booking up on arrival. Our taxi driver stopped off at Yaquelín’s casa close to Casa de la Música, the hotbed for salsa in Trinidad. Yaquelín luckily had availability for three nights. Our room was clean and simple. It had a fan and an ensuite bathroom.
The best thing about the stay was the garden. We ate breakfast every morning amongst the flowers. One morning Yaquelín was very apologetic because there was no margarine with breakfast. You have to understand that this happens often in Cuba, sometimes food items just aren’t available in the shops!
There’s plenty of things to do in Trinidad such as wonder around the colourful colonial houses, watch the sun set over Church of the Holy Trinity at Plaza Mayor and then grab a mojito and a dance as night falls.”
Gemma from Two Scots Abroad
Santiago de Cuba
“When we arrived at Casa Marta Sierra I was immediately impressed and knew straight away that we had chosen well. We were led through a large colonial home full of antiques and up the stairs to the rooftop where our room was located off a terrace. We had great views over the city. Our room was the largest of our travels in Cuba.
Marta and her daughter were delightful, both being teachers, and very passionate about sharing their knowledge of Santiago de Cuba. They even arranged a tour of the city in a classic American Car for us, including a visit to the cemetery where Fidel Castro is buried. This was a highlight for us. The casa is located about a short walk from the main pedestrian street of Santiago with restaurants and shops.”
Jane from To Travel Too
“Playa Larga is a small place 35 kilometers from Girón, close to the famous Bay of Pigs. The village itself is small and scattered, but lays by a beautiful white sandy beach. Playa Larga is a great base for a lot of unique things to do in Cuba, like exploring Zapata National Park and diving in Cueva de los Peces.
Silvia & Homero is a well kept casa particular with three rooms only a few minutes walk from the beach. The couple has built a pleasant rooftop terrace where they serve breakfast and dinner when the weather allows it. As they are close to the park, they also pick up wifi signals on the roof terrace which is pretty unique to have access to in Cuba.
In addition to making you feel at home, being super-friendly, helping with any tours and cooking incredible food, they also make sure the house is clean and tidy at all times.”
Linn from Brainy Backpackers
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