A Casa Particular is a Cuban Homestay or B&B. Staying in a Casa Particular is a brilliant way of immersing yourself in the life and culture of fascinating Cuba. When you choose a Casa Particular for your accommodation, you will meet the local people on a one-to-one basis and get a rare glimpse into the everyday life of ordinary people in Cuba. In addition, your host or hostess will be able to advise you on all things Cuban – the best restaurants, the best music and Salsa venues and any seasonal attractions that are only known to the locals!
What is a Casa Particular?
Casa Particular (or Casa Particulares in the plural form) is Spanish for ‘private home’. In 1997 the Cuban government allowed local people to rent out their properties to visitors for the first time; prior to this all accommodation on the island was owned by the government, and this is why these Cuban-styled B&B’s or rental apartments are called Casa Particulares to distinguish them as privately run establishments.
Owners of a Casa Particular have to pay an annual per-room tax to the government and are entitled to “advertise” their establishment by placing a small sign on the door – two blue triangles – “roofs”- against a white background. Most of the owners/operators are fiercely proud of their businesses and really strive to give holiday makers a brilliant and authentic Cuban home-stay experience.
What kind of accommodation can you expect?
There are different categories of Casa Particulares in Cuba. In most instances you will be renting a private en-suite room within a family dwelling on a bed and breakfast basis – sometimes with a shared kitchen, lounge and terrace in the traditional B&B style.
Some Casa’s have self-contained apartments with all you need for self-catering, and these are a particularly attractive option for families who would prefer a little more freedom and space than you generally get in a hotel room. The Cubans love children and your little ones will be warmly welcomed.
In the countryside, your Casa Particular could be on a working farm, or perhaps in a little traditional village, allowing you to live the Cuban rural life for a few days. Your hosts will be happy to arrange local guides for hiking or horse-riding, and you will be able to sample real home-cooked meals using farm-fresh ingredients and freshly caught fish and seafood at the coast.
Above: The Casa Particular sign in Cuba