Casa particulares are the best-value accommodation in the world – find out how you can find an air-conditioned room anywhere in Cuba for CUC$15.

Your best choice for accommodation in Cuba is staying in a casa particular.

Apart from 3 hostels in Havana, there are none elsewhere in the country.

There are hotels but they’re almost all government-run & notoriously bad value for money. By staying at casa particulares, you can support the local economy.

In 30 days in Cuba, we here at DIY Travel HQ stayed at 18 casa particulares in 16 different cities.

In this ultimate budget guide, we share everything we know, including how to find a casa, how to negotiate the best rate & more.

For extreme shoestring travellers like us, eating peso street food & traveling in camiones, accommodation was by far the biggest cost – if Couchsurfing was allowed, you could travel in Cuba for almost nothing!

Nevertheless, casa particulares are arguably the best value for money you can find for accommodation anywhere in the world – and we were glad that there were no cheaper options so we could indulge in a bit of budget luxury!

Simple clean rooms in cases

You can easily find lovely, simple rooms for CUC$15

How to Find Casa Particulares in Cuba

There’s no need to book ahead or book online – when you first arrive in a new city, just walk around & look for the blue anchor.

This is the sign for a casa particular.

Casa Particulares Red & Blue Signs

Look out for the blue anchor, that symbolises a place as a casa particular

A red anchor means it accepts Cuban guests only – standards in these casas are lower but prices are cheaper in MN$ pesos.

Visit a few casas until you find one you like, for the price you’re willing to pay.

Use Lonely Planet as a guide but they generally list places above CUC$20 – you can always find a casa for CUC$15.

It’s also good to spread the love around & support places other than those listed in guidebooks.

Room in Casa Particular in Cuba

Don’t stick to guidebook recommendations, there are plenty of casas to choose from in every town

What to Expect in Casa Particulares

After you’ve chosen a casa & agreed on the price, you’ll need to give your passport to the owner.

As you’d expect, there’s a lot of bureaucracy to follow in operating a business in Cuba. The owner will fill out your details in a receipt book & you’ll be required to sign it.

You can pay at any time. Casas seem to prefer you to pay at the end of your stay, in case you make additional expenses like meals, tours, etc. However there’s no problem if you want to pay in the beginning, too.

All casas are very clean, tidy & friendly. You can have as much or as little contact with the host family as you like. Note that most will only speak Spanish.

Me with casa particular owner

Me with the casa owner from Bayamo – does she remind you of a particular Disney character…?!

What to Look For in Casa Particulares

The most important thing to look for in a casa is that it has its own entrance – cuartos independientes (independent quarters).

This was you have more privacy & can come & go as you please.

Independent private casa particular

Independent, detached rooms are the best for privacy – here, we got the whole roof to ourselves!

How Much Should I Pay for Casa Particulares?

At the beginning of our trip, we were sometimes paying CUC$20 a night, however we quickly discovered that you can find a room for CUC$15 anywhere in Cuba.

At a bare minimum, your room will include a double bed & air-conditioning.

Usually you’ll have your own bathroom but occasionally for a CUC$15 room, it’ll be located just outside your room (and can be shared or private).

Sometimes your room will have a fridge or cable tv too.

Lovely casa particular in Cuba

Most of our photos don’t do the rooms justices

What’s in a Room in Casa Particulares?

In Communist Cuba, rooms in casas found anywhere on the island all look very similar.

As a rule, they must include the following:

  • Double bed
  • Air-conditioner
  • Side table
  • Hangers
  • Mirror
  • Wall art
Typical room in casa particular

A typical room in a casa particular

Sometimes a room will include 2 double beds, a fridge and/or cable tv with a couple of English channels.

For CUC$15, you will usually have your own bathroom – for CUC$20, it’s a guarantee. There’s always hot water.

You’ll be provided with towels & toilet paper.

There’s absolutely no chance of wi-fi!

Bathroom in casa particular

Bathrooms are always nice & clean

Casa Particulares Services

Most casas offer meals, for an additional prices:

  • Breakfast – CUC$3-5
  • Lunch – CUC$6-8
  • Dinner – CUC$6-8

We didn’t take any meals in casas but they generally have excellent reviews in terms of taste & quantity.

Casa particulares are also the only places in Cuba that provide laundry service – there are no laundromats.

They’re very relaxed with prices – one casa suggested CUC$2-3 depending on the pile of clothes, another casa insisted that we pay what we felt like (she was happy with CUC$3 for a big load of clothes).

Casa particulares can organize tours, guides, transport, etc.

Our casa owner in Havana helped me to send some postcards as I couldn’t find any post boxes – he kept his word as they arrived to my friends & family in Australia 30 days later!

Casa Particular in Finales

Skip the government hotels & stay in nice, clean & cheap cases with locals

How to Negotiate the Best Rate for Casa Particulares

Most casa particulares are very similar, charging the same prices, so try to negotiate to get a little more for your CUC.

Sometimes all you need to do is ask politely.

Most casas will offer their rooms for a starting price of CUC$25 – if you seem hesitant, this will quickly drop to CUC$20 or even CUC$15.

If you’re staying multiple nights, there’s even less reason why you shouldn’t be able to get a room for CUC$15. You could also try to negotiate breakfast into the price.

We got a room with breakfast for CUC$15 in Trinidad & Bayamo.

Casa Particulares Breakfast in Trinidad

Can’t believe we got this awesome breakfast spread & accommodation for CUC$15! In Trinidad!

Breakfast usually costs CUC$3-5 extra per person.

We usually grabbed a couple of pan con tortilla (bread with omelette) from a local peso stall for breakfast – they are usually 3-4 pesos each. For more information, see our post Peso Street Food in Cuba: Eat for $1 a Day.

However, if you’re keen on breakfast at the casa, negotiate it into your room rate rather than paying separately, and you can save a few pesos.

Adding CUC$5 for breakfast for 2 people is reasonable – this way the casa makes a few extra dollars & you save a few dollars. Win-win!

If you’d like to have lunch or dinner at the casa, negotiate this beforehand, too. This may leave you with a little less flexibility & spontaneity but the trade-off is you save a few convertibles.

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Casa particulares are the best-value accommodation in the world – find out how you can find an air-conditioned room anywhere in Cuba for CUC$15. There are hotels but they’re almost all government-run & notoriously bad value for money. By staying at casa particulares, you can support the local economy. In this ultimate budget guide, we share everything we know, including how to find a casa, how to negotiate the best rate & more.

*** The Final Word – Never pay more than CUC$15 for a casa particular anywhere in Cuba! ***

What’s the best casa you’ve stayed in?

5 Shovels-2

Super easy DIY travel around city centres

Visited in May-June 2016