Lots of tourists go on a package deal to areas such as Varadero, Jardines del Rey (Cayo Coco, Cayo Guillermo) or Holguin and stay in an all inclusive hotel resort. My best advice to you is to travel around the country, stay in Casas Particulares, where you will be a guest in a Cuban family's home. Hire a car or take the Viazul Bus, whatever, Cuba is easy to do on your own and much cheaper when you arrange it yourself, trust me. Have dinner in the casas, talk to the Cuban people, mingle with the locals and feel ... La Vida Cubana.
Why stay in a private house?
It is much cheaper than staying in a hotel.
It allows you to know firsthand how to live in Cuba.
You can count on the owners of the houses to indicate places to visit or activities that do not appear in the tourist guides.
Many of the houses offer meals and dinners that are better than the ones you can find in restaurants.
The hosts will give you tips on how to avoid certain areas of the city or be alert ant and potential scams.
If you stay during a long stay or if you have a special affinity with the family, they will start to treat you like a good friend and even as a member of the family.
In order to be impregnated with recent history: Chatting with homeowners about the Revolution or politics will enrich your point of view and is a fantastic way to discover aspects that textbooks do not have.
You are helping small Cuban entrepreneurs to make her business.
You can meet other travelers like you who also stay in the house.
Let the music beats move you as you enjoy a fun-filled stay in Cuba. Cuba has a broad cultural heritage that makes for a fascinating visit. Be sure to visit the dance halls and pick your favourite, from the cha-cha and mambo to the rumba and salsa, all born here. Go snorkelling and diving in the crystal clear waters, relax on the white sand beaches, and feast on local cuisine like moros y cristianos (black beans and rice) and plantains. Whilst you’ll probably be based in Havana, there are plenty of other attractions on Cuba you’ll want to visit, from forts to bio-diverse swamps.
Advisory: Legal aspectAdvisory: All the personal information that you bring us will be only for subjects of your reservation in Cuba, we will never send an email like SPAM, only those with answers for questions you ask us and your mail address as well as any other information who offer us will maintain strictly confidential. Your email address, personal data and any other data provided by you, never will not be provided third persons, nor to other organizations, groups or companies.
Advisory: Travels to Cuba for US citizens may be eligible under the “General License”, which is a do it yourself authorization, no further application is required.
This web is the largest and friendly place to guarantee unforgettable holidays in Cuba. No reservation fees, no online payments. The payment will be done once you arrive your destination, directly to the people that will give you the services. Lots of tourists go on a package deal to areas such as Varadero, Jardines del Rey (Cayo Coco, Cayo Guillermo) or Holguin and stay in an all inclusive hotel resort. My best advice to you is to travel around the country, stay in Casas Particulares, where you will be a guest in a Cuban family's home. Hire a car or take the Viazul Bus, whatever, Cuba is easy to do on your own and much cheaper when you arrange it yourself, trust me. Have dinner in the casas, talk to the Cuban people, mingle with the locals and feel ... La Vida Cubana [Cuban Life].
Money provokes a certain sense of confusion in Cuba as the dual-economy takes some getting used to. Two currencies circulate in Cuba: convertible pesos (CUC$) and Cuban pesos (referred to as moneda nacional, abbreviated MN). The currency situation is made more confusing since Cubans will refer to both CUCs and Moneda Nacional as Pesos. For the average Cuban it will be obvious which they are referring to, but this may lead to confusion for tourists who consider that they are bargaining in local currency only to find that their counter-party expects payment in CUCs! For most tourists moneda nacional has little relevance since most, if not all of their expenditure will be in CUCs. This includes accommodation, food in most restaurants, taxis, bus tickets, nightclub entrances, tips and so on. Things, which can be paid for in local currency, include fruit and vegetables at the agricultural market, street food (such as pizza and peanuts) as well as local buses. Even at the agricultural market the prices are such that a pound of tomatoes may cost CUC 1 or 24 Cuban Pesos (i.e. the same). There are some restaurants and bars/cafes, which charge in Cuban Pesos although the quality is generally poor.
Try and avoid US dollars since you will be subject to a 10% special additional tax/commission.
The best currencies are Euros, Canadian Dollars, or Sterling since these are the most common and the exchange rates are generally quire reasonable. Bear in mind that the CUC is pegged to the US Dollar (at 1:1) so a stronger US Dollar means a stronger CUC (and hence less CUCs for your Euros/Sterling etc.). Other currencies, which are universally accepted at banks or Cadecas, include the Swiss Francs (CHF), Mexican Pesos (MXN) and Japanese Yen (JPY).
There is no outright commission charged on transactions in cash although the exchange rate will generally be 3% worse than you would be charged on your credit card (for which you pay a 3% processing fee) so net you receive the same CUCs for changing 100 Euros in cash or 100 Euros on your credit card.
The easiest place to change money is at a CADECA (change bureau) or at a Cuban *BFI Bank. The exchange rates in all CADECAS and all banks are identical so there is no need to shop around. Hotels often have CADECAS within their premises. If you change money at the hotel front desk you will generally receive a worse exchange rate then elsewhere.
Note: It is generally very easy to find the nearest CADECA and you should be aware that any Cuban who tries to persuade you that it is complicated or that he can provide you a better rate of exchange will probably be engaged in some sort of scam which is best avoided.
* There are 4 main banks in Cuba. BFI is the most reliable. You may be able to use other Cubans banks but these are less likely to be able to meet your needs since most operate mainly in Cuban Pesos. Always bring new bank notes, with no rips, tears or markings. All foreign coins are useless.
Make sure that you get a printed receipt when changing money.
Cash is king in Cuba. Except in major hotels you should not count on paying for goods or services with a credit card anywhere in Cuba.
Cuba is a sub-tropical country so pack for summer. Bikinis, shorts, sandals, short-sleeved cotton dresses and shirts are the order of the day. But, bear in mind that Cuban men would never wear shorts in the City! A night out at Tropicana or La Guarida restaurant needs something smart if not overly formal.
If you are coming in the winter don’t assume that it will be hot all the time, especially in the evenings. Bring some warm clothing (long sleeves, a sweater or fleece), since there is nothing more frustrating then being frozen to death in a tropical country! Lightweight rain gear is suggested if you are coming in the summer.
Books & magazines
There are basically no magazines or books available in Cuba (excepting some Latin American literature.) Bring reading material or load up the Kindle/IPad. It can be a nice gesture to leave behind some gossip magazines for Cubans you meet along the way.
As in many countries a fully stocked medical kit should be packed as part of your travel luggage. This should include Anti diarrhea (Imodium) some form of antacid (Rolaids or Tums) for stomach problems. The Cuban health care system works pretty well but there is no harm in bringing more than you absolutely may need.
Generally Cuban electricity is 110V with the square American plug socket. Into the hostels the electricity is 110v & 220v. Some hotels have predominantly 220V and round sockets.
What's a casa particular?
Casa particular (Spanish for "private house", casas particulares for plural) is a phrase meaning private accommodation or private homestays in Cuba, very similar to bed and breakfast although it can take the form of vacation rental. When the meaning is clear the term is often shortened to simply casa or casa particular that is basically a private family establishment that provides paid lodging, usually on a short-term basis. In general under this term you can find full apartments and houses, rooms inside people's homes, mini-apartments or rooms with separate entrance.
Why book a Casa Particular with us?
Our service is reliable and personal. Online reservations are not common in Cuba, that is why we guarantee a fast reply within 24 hours of your request. We have direct contact with our Casa Particular owners who will honor your reservation if it has been confirmed. You will never feel loss with our services; once you have reserved a room, we will give you all the information needed and will be ready to answer any questions.
How is our service?
Our service is free and legal, there are no online payments, no hidden fees. We have direct contact with the owners of the Casas Particulares we announce and assure they are all properly authorized by the Cuban government.
Casas particulares Cuba (Private homes)
Casas Particulares are a recent lodging option in Cuba. In some Casas the visitor will share common areas with the Cuban family, there are however many Casas in which the room is connected to the house but completely independent from the host family; in these cases you will enjoy the company of a Cuban family. There are other Casas in which the host does not live in the house and the space is private for the guest, these can be either houses or apartments. Casas particulares can be recognised by a small sign on the door, with two blue triangles (roofs) against a white background, which the owners obtain after paying a fixed per-room annual tax.
Rooms are generally clean and upgraded to tourist standards. It ranges from basic accommodation of a room with a bed, a closet, a small table to full furnished independent apartments upgraded to western standards. Other features found may be a telephone, an alarm clock, TV, audio and video player and others. Food and drink may be supplied by a mini-bar (which often includes a small refrigerator) containing snacks and drinks (to be paid for on departure). It is also considered a type of boarding house typically operated out of a single family residence where guests can be accommodated at night in private bedrooms with private baths and where breakfast, sometimes continental and sometimes the full English variety, is served in the morning. The business may be operated either as a primary occupation or as a secondary source of income, and the staff often consists of the house's owners and members of their family who live there.
In keeping with the similarity to B&B's, breakfast is usually included in the price, although one should ask first. Dinner is often also served, but not included in the price. However, if it becomes clear that one plans to generally eat out, the price may go up because this is an important second source of income. The owners will offer you extra services like laundry service, breakfast & meals...
Types of casas particulares rentals:
Private Room: A room, with a private bathroom. A key to the apartment-house is usually given to the guest.
Private Room with independent entrance: Sometimes the house-apartment is split in order to allow this.
Apartment: The privacy and independence of a full furnished apartment. Sometimes this apartment is part of a house, being split by a wall usually with a connecting door
Studio-type or mini-apartment: Single bedroom-kitchen-living-dining room and bathroom. Sometimes this apartment is part of house being split by a wall usually with a connecting door.
Villa-type or Independent House: An independent property with several rooms such as a bedroom, kitchen, dining room, living room, and bathroom. Some have other conveniences, such as a swimming pool.
Cuba has all the ingredients for a happy and pleasant stay, Cuba's history and nature, party and music, is rhythm and dance, is the most safe and peaceful destination in America and the world!! The pretty island of Cuba is in the northern Caribbean, just south of Florida. Cuba has flat rolling plains with some beautiful forest covered mountains along with pristine beaches. The rocky north coast has some of the best natural harbours in the world.! Home of the Salsa, Rumba and Cha Cha Cha, Cuba’s musical tradition infiltrates every part of the island; across the fields and mountains and onto the Caribbean beaches and bars. Cuba plays host to many music events and festivals throughout the year including the Festival of the Caribbean, the Jazz Plaza and the Guitar Festival. Because Cuba is a multicultural society, there are many historic influences in the nightlife in Cuba is something special with plenty of live music pulsing in street corners and buildings. It is said that children in Cuba learn to dance before they can talk, but it is never too late for you to learn the moves and get the rhythm. Many of the resorts offer dance lessons and there is always the friendly local person to teach you. In most of our resorts, there is a selected on-site entertainment provided and you will also find recommendations of where to go and what to see elsewhere around the island. Cuba has a choice to suit everyone, from a glitzy Cabaret show to a Ballet performance or a baseball game in one of its stadiums for you to enjoy and make your stay a memorable one.