Cuba's main cities and destinations.

We guarantee find a particular house in the mains cities Cuba: Habana, Pinar del Rio, Matanzas, Cienfuegos, Trinidad, Camaguey, Holguin, Santiago de Cuba and Baracoa. The shortest way to rent a particular house in every place in Cuba.

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Nature destinations.

Private lodging in Casas Particulares in all nature destinations in Cuba. Experience and learn about the process of Tabaco in Valle de Viñales and enjoy guided bird watching and scuba diving in the Peninsula de Zapata National Park.

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Beach destinations

Casas Particulares on the beaches of Guanabo(East Habana), Varadero or Playa Larga in the Bay of Pigs. Houses just from the beach. 600+ casas particulares around Cuba, the shortest way to book one.

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Activities in cuba: watching birds, dive, fly fishing...

Enjoy beaches, bird watching, hiking, sports fishing, scuba diving and much more, while staying at one of our Casas Particulares (particular houses) on the island.

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Our service

Our service is reliable and personal. 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.

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CaribeSol Travels Cuba
Free OnLine bookings in particular houses (private homes) in Cuba. Bed and breakfast rentals. The shortest way to a private house.



This web is the largest and friendly place to guarantee unforgettable holidays lodged in Casas particulares (private homes) in Cuba. No reservation fees, no online payments. The payment will be done once you arrive your destination, directly to the Casa Owners.



Houses Cuba All casas shown are Legal Services registered as Cuban Taxpayer (Office ONAT) by pertinent Licences
Houses Cuba Check this seal on the door or wall outside (Seal identify legal service)Seal Taxpayer
Houses Cuba No online payments. The payment will be done once you arrive your destination, directly to the Casa Owners
Houses Cuba The prices are per room per night
Houses Cuba Max Adults per room depend of Casa rules
Houses Cuba All prices and information given to you directly from Casa Owners



Tour4Cuba brings you the largest selection of Cuban budget accommodations available to book online, and facilitates an efficient and secure confirmed booking service for hostels, homestay, private homes, guesthouses, Bed and Breakfast, casas particulares, vacation rentals... across Cuba. Go there and fell this country! Do Cuba on your own, it's easy! Round your trip with us!


travel To CubaOur woman in Canada (Lana-Havana). Explore the arts, architecture, culture and sustainable communities. With an additional focus on personal wellness through yoga, paddleboarding and other health related experiences.


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.

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.



Insurance CubaAdvisory: 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.

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.

  1.  Mains Havana destinations. Vedado, Habana Vieja, Miramar, Havana Center... Havana Sights and Night Life


        Dance, theatre, museums, history, architecture, nightlife, beaches – the Caribbean’s largest and most cosmopolitan city really does have it all. Take in a dazzling floorshow at the famous Tropicana nightclub, cruise along the picturesque Malecón Seawall Drive for unrivalled views of the city and the sea, or stroll through the heart of Vieja Habana [Old Havana] to explore architectural and historic landmarks such as Cathedral Square and the Presidential Palace. Experience the magic that has inspired renowned writers from Ernest Hemingway to Federico Garcia Lorca, right here in Cuba’s legendary capital.

        Havana, the capital of Cuba, is the largest city in the Caribbean, and one of the most culturally rich urban centres in the world. The city’s appreciation of its glorious colonial past is on display at a dizzying array of castles, cathedrals, mansions and museums. The historic neighborhood of Vieja Habana (Old Havana) is a fascinating UNESCO World Heritage site, with over 900 landmarks, including the Presidential Palace and Cathedral Square.

        La Torre. Bar and Restaurant (Focsa Building, Calle 17 % M y N, Vedado) The best panoramic view of Havana bar-none. Have a drink here and take in the city and the Gulf Stream.

        Roof Bar of Hotel Ambos Mundos (End of Obisbo at Plaza de Armas) Provides a great view of Habana Vieja. You can combine a drink on the roof bar with a visit to Hemingway's old room #511.

        Roof Bar of Museum of Natural History (End of Obisbo at Plaza de Armas) Provides a great view of the Harbor and offers good Piña Coladas, Mojitos, and Daiquiris all at a fair price.

        Casa de la Amistad (Paseo % 17 y 19, Vedado) Great live concerts are performed on Tuesday evenings starting at 9 pm. Part of the $5 per person cover can be applied to drinks. This place also has a great dance floor!!

        Casa de la Trova (San Lazaro # 661; 879-3373) This place is the real McCoy. It has live Cuban folk music (son, trova, nueva trova, and feelin') from Thursday thru Sunday evenings beginning at 7 p.m. There is no bar or restaurant but drinks are welcome (BYOB). It is free, but performers appreciate tips. Hours & quality sporadic.



        El Hurón Azul (UNEAC) (Calle 17 y H, Vedado; 832-4551) This is the UNEAC (Union of Cuban Writers and Artists) cultural center. It is housed in an old mansion and has a very attractive side patio where music is occasionally performed. Catch the Bolero show (ballads) on Saturday evenings from 9 pm on. Also be sure to catch the peña of Afro-Cuban dance and music on Wednesdays at 5 p.m. Admission is $5 for foreigners/tourists. In the back of the building there is also a "cinemateca / salon de video" where a variety of surprisingly recent films (many from the US) are shown. Lifetime membership in the video club is 10 pesos (.50¢) and movies cost 2 pesos each (.10¢, yes, ten cents!). Stop by to get a schedule of showings.

        Callejón de Hamel (Off of San Lázaro % Animas y Soledad, Centro Habana; 878-1661) Catch the colorful murals and the Carnivalesque rumba dance-jam here on Saturdays & Sundays. Other activities during the week. Casa de la Cultura de la Habana Vieja (Aguiar #509; 863-4860) Often over-crowded with many eager jinetero/as, this open-air dance patio in Habana Vieja has live music on most nights from 7 p.m. on. The entrance fee is fairly cheap between $2-$3, and very cheap for Cubans since they pay just 2-3 pesos. Drinks are served from two bars in the patio but watch out for 'false friends'.

        Casa de la Musica (Av 35 y Calle 20, Miramar; 204-0447) Run by Cuba's national recording company Egrem, this place has excellent but pricey concerts & free afternoon jam sessions. Also has a good selection of CDs for sale.

        El Comodoro (Calle 1 y 84, Miramar; 204-5551) Fashionable dance club with pricey drinks & hordes of touts.

        El Tunel (10 de Octubre) Ask around La Coppelia as to the location of this 'far out' dance club that was originally designed to be a fall-out bunker when the Yanquis attack again.

        Papa's (Marina Hemingway Disco) (West of Havana near Santa Fe; 204-6336) A great disco with a live floorshow and open dance floor. The $10 per person cover includes all-you-can-drink!!

        Piano Bar "Delirio Habanero" (Paseo y 39) On the third floor of the Teatro Nacional building on the Plaza de la Revolución, this place has live music and a variety show from Tuesday thru Saturday nights. The $5 cover can be applied to drinks from the bar. The live music is good and the dance floor is open following the show.

        Jazz Café (in the shopping center across from Hotel Meliá Cohiba) This place has great live jazz music on weekends and some weeknights. It has good food and drinks and there's no cover except that you are required to spend $10 minimum per couple (consumo mínimo). Watch out for hustlers and jineteras.

        Jazz Club La Zorra y El Cuervo (23rd y O, Vedado; 866-2402) Open nightly at 10 p.m. with a cover of $5-10. Check the board outside to see what the line up holds for that evening. Amor's "Peña de Elda" (Calle 23 #759, 3rd floor, % B y C; 833-8150) This place is located on the azotea (roof). Hundreds of people jammed and jamming to good times, cheesy comedy routines, lounge singers, and Cuban son. This musical celebration only takes place on first Sunday of each month from 2-6 p.m. No alcohol.

        El Gato Tuerto (Calle O % 17 y 19) Once a famous hang-out for Cuban poets and intellectuals, the 'one-eyed cat' is now a renovated bar-restaurant catering to the tourist clientele issuing from the nearby Hotel Nacional. Despite all this, it still has a great musical show that features some of Cuba's classic boleros and sones. Surprisingly, the drinks are not overpriced (not sure about the food).

        Macumba Habana (Calle 222, esq. 37, La Coronela, La Lisa; 303-0568) Open every evening from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. The cover is normally $10 per person and on weekends this goes up to $15 per head. This has become THE place to go out lately in Havana (of course, if you have dollars). It can get a bit sticky with jineteras. Drinks are priced above average, but the place is one of a kind with a memorable floorshow, a great 'animador,' and dancing 'till the wee hours.

        El Cañonazo (La Cabaña; across the bay from Habana Vieja) Each night at 9 p.m. Cuban soldiers reenact the colonial cannon firing that signaled the closing of the harbor. Take a cab (and a significant other) over and try to catch the ferryboat back across the harbor. $3-$5 fee.



Havana Vieja
Old Havana

  1.  Mains nature destinations. Vinales (Valley of Vinales), Playa Larga, Playa Girón in Bay of Pigs...


        Cuba’s ample rainfall nourishes its fertile land, contributing to its status as one of the most important natural habitats in the insular Caribbean in terms of size, biodiversity, number of endemic species and conservation. Its rolling plains are punctuated by four mountain ranges: to the west, the Guaniguanico cordillera, which includes the Sierra de los Organos and the Sierra del Rosario; in the central region, the Guamuahaya mountain range, made up of the Sierra de Trinidad and the Sierra de Sancti Spiritús; to the east, the Sierra Maestra and Sagua-Baracoa. These mountain chains are unconnected to each other, which contributes to the island's great bio-diversity. Pico Turquino in the Sierra Maestra is Cuba's highest mountain peak. Cuba is home to 4% of the world’s land species, including 6,700 different plants, 14,000 invertebrate species and 650 vertebrates. Highlights unique to Cuba include the world’s smallest frog – just 12 mm long, and the tiniest bird, the bee hummingbird. Cuba is also known for the wealth of rare orchids sprinkled throughout its lush tropical forests, as well as prehistoric cacti in the arid southeast, mangrove-lined everglades and one of the world’s longest coral reefs.


Vinales
Vinales Valley
Playa Larga, bahía de cochinos
Playa Larga (Bay of Pigs)
Playa Giron
Playa Girón(Bay of Pigs)

  1.  Mains beaches destinations. Varadero (North of Matanzas), Guanabo Beach and Cojímar (Playas del Este)...


        Cuba is renowned for its spectacular beaches, which are kissed by the Atlantic Ocean on the north coast and the Caribbean Sea to the south. The country offers sun-seekers more than 300 beautifully clean natural beaches spread out along 588 km of its expansive 5,700 km coastline. Swimming and diving in the calm, clear waters can be enjoyed year-round thanks to a pleasant, subtropical climate. In fact, Cuba averages an enviable 330 days of sunshine a year.

        Cuba's beaches are unique for the varied tones of their sand, from dazzling white at Varadero to glittering gold at Holguin’s Guardalavaca, to distinctive black at the remote Playa Duaba near Baracoa. Stunning cliffs and limestone rock formations frame the beaches along the higher parts of Cuba’s coastline, such as Playa Siboney near Santiago; while lush mangrove thickets line the lower-lying beaches, like Cayo Levisa in Pinar del Rio.

        Varadero Beach is the country’s most famous, with 20 km of pristine white sand melting into the tranquil turquoise waters. Further east, famed author Ernest Hemingway was enchanted by the towering dunes of Playa Pilar, perched on Cayo Guillermo in the gorgeous Jardines del Rey archipelago. Just south of Trinidad you’ll find Playa Ancón, which is arguably the best beach on Cuba’s southern coast. It features sparkling white sands leading into glistening, clear Caribbean waters that are perfect for snorkeling.


Varadero, Cuba
Varadero beach
Guanabo, Habana
Guanabo beach, Havana
Playa Larga, Bay of Pigs
Bay of Pigs, Long beach

  1.  Most popular destinations: Centro Habana, Matanzas (20 min. from Varadero), Cienfuegos...


        When you have booked a package deal to an all inclusive resort you can skip this page, however ... you can also read what you will miss :)

        Havana is a stunning and unforgetable city, with colonial mansions, museums, art deco architecture,cigar factories, old American cars on the streets, and a welcoming and kind population.

        Old Havana Habana Vieja, the Old City is the center of the tourist activity, the colonial heart, with the harbour, city walls, castles, the cathedral. Old Havana is declared Unesco World Heritage.

        Central Havana
        The Centro Habana district starting from the Paseo del Prado and Parque Central has a lot of crumbling buildings and is less interesting for tourists.

        Vedado
        The Vedado district is the cultural and political heart of the city, with big hotels and wide avenues. The center of the district is La Rampa, the 23th street with the ice-cream parlour Coppelia, cinema Yara, hotel Habana Libre and hotel Nacional de Cuba. Nearby are the Havana University, Plaza de la Revolucion, José Marti Memorial and Cementerio de Colon.

        Miramar
        Beyond the Rio Almedares, west of Vedado is the residential Miramar district with wide avenues and luxury mansions situated. In this area live diplomats, expats and businessmen. Most embassies, shopping malls and luxury restaurants are situated in this area.

        Viñales Valley
        The Viñales valley is the pearl and most visited part of the Pinar del Rio province. The unique "Mogotes", lime stone hill formations, caused by erosion and covered with vegatation create a unique view. The Viñales landscape is added to the Unesco World Heritage list. The most photographed scène is the Dos Hermanas mogote. (Two Sisters Mogote)

        Pinar del Rio
        The Pinar del Rio province West of Havana is known for the cultivation of high quality tobacco. Visit the Fabrica de Tobaco Fransisco Donatién and the Cueva de Santo Tomás an extensive underground cave system in the Viñales valley. Also worth a visit is Maria La Gorda, a beach resort and a paradise for fishing, snorkeling and scuba diving.

        Varadero
        Varadero in the Matanzas province is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Cuba. The white sand beaches are considered as the best of the island. A large number of tourist hotels is situated on the peninsula, most of them all-inclusives for the sun and fun tourists. Before the revolution Varadero was already an exclusive beach resort for the happy few. The famous Xanadu Mansion in Varadero, former property of the billionaire Irenee Dupont de Nemours is now operated as the Varadero Golf Club.

        Cayo Coco
        Cayo Coco (Coco key) is a small island situated in the Ciego de Avila province and is part of the islands group named Jardines del Rey. With more than 20 km of white sands, coral reefs and beautiful wildlife (Flamencos and Iguanas) the island has become an emerging tourist destination.

        Santiago de Cuba
        Santiago de Cuba is the second largest city in the country with a unique Caribbean culture due to African, Spanish and French influences. Among the tourist attractions in Cuba, Santigo offers the museum of Emilio Bacardi, the museo del Ron and the Santigo Carnival held in July. The city of Santiago is listed as an Unesco World Heritage site because of the San Pedro castle.

        Trinidad
        Trinidad city in Cuba was founded by the Spanish conqueror Velázquez. Trinidad Cuba is one of the famous tourist attractions on the island, because of its marvellous colonial architecture and its unspoiled status due to a listing as Unesco World Heritage site.



Centro Habana
Havana Center
Matanzas
Matanzas, 20 min. to Varadero
Cienfuegos
Cienfuegos, top destination

  1.  Best turistics destinations. Trinidad, Santiago de Cuba, Baracoa and more...


        Santiago de Cuba has soul. Cuba’s second-largest city is justifiably proud of its heroes, beautiful plazas and vibrant musical tradition. Proximity to Jamaica and other tropical isles has infused the city with a distinctly Caribbean spirit that is seen in its art and architecture, heard in its music, and celebrated in its exuberant festivals – including the Festival del Caribe and the renowned Carnaval.

        Petite and romantic, Trinidad is one of the most charming Colonial-era cities in the whole of the Americas. It’s home to the largest church in the country (Iglesia Parroquial de la Santísima Trinidad) and a spectacular blend of Moorish, Neo Classical and Baroque architecture in the old part of town. Trinidad is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Just out of town there are some stunning beaches (including Playa Ancón) and the San Luis Valley - an idyllic piece of countryside dotted with fascinating castles, slave houses and rustic haciendas.

        Baracoa is a sleepy colonial town located on a tropical headland in the northeast of Guantanamo. It’s possibly the most picturesque spot in all of Cuba. There’s beaches, hiking and one of Cuba’s top national parks, all close by. The town itself is a maze of narrow little streets literally sprinkled with charming casas particulares. If you love wave riding, probably you will stay longer in a casa particular in Baracoa and visit the surf beaches here with the best waves in Cuba. This magical little town was founded by the Spanish conquistador Diego Velázquez de Cuéllar way back in the year 1511. It’s the oldest Spanish settlement in Cuba and where Christopher Columbus landed on his first voyage to the country. One of the best times to visit Baracoa is during the first week of April. The town explodes with street parties every night that carry on well into the early hours. This is when they celebrate the beginning of the War of Independence. - When General Antonio Maceo disembarked at nearby Playa Duaba in 1895. Getting here is easy. There are two flights per week from Havana airport and a lot of busses from VIAZUL.



Trinidad de Cuba
Trinity of Cuba, city museum
Santiago de Cuba
Santiago de Cuba, city of the fire
Baracoa
Baracoa, story city

  1.  Cuba at a Glance. This big Island in a few lines...


        Cuba is a big island -- the largest in the Caribbean -- and its attractions and charms run the gamut from the hustle and bustle of Havana, to the colonial grandeur of Trinidad and a host of other small and well-preserved old cities and towns, to the steamy, vibrant streets of Santiago, and the sparkling waters and white sands of a half-dozen or more top-notch beach destinations. So, you will need to plan well to make the most out of any trip here. Other options include specialized itineraries focused on a particular interest or activity. Bird-watchers could design an itinerary that visits a series of prime bird-watching sites. Latin dance or art enthusiasts could arrange a specialized trip to focus on these interests. And revolutionary history buffs could build a trip around visits to the Moncada barracks (Cuartel de Moncada) in Santiago, the Che Guevara Memorial (Monumento Ernesto Che Guevara) in Santa Clara, and the Bay of Pigs (Playa Larga, Ciénaga de Zapata). Feel free to pick and choose -- you can combine a bit of one, with a smidgen of another, or come up with something entirely on your own.

        History: It was discovered by Christopher Columbus on October 27th, 1492. Conquest and colonization brought about the extermination of the aboriginal inhabitants, and then they brought blacks from Africa as slaves. This mixture defined Cuban population and culture. On October 10th, 1868 began the struggle for independence against Spain, whose domination was kept for four centuries. The United States intervened in the conflict and established a pseudo republic in 1902 until January 1st, 1959, when the Revolution led by Fidel Castro triumphed, bringing in essential transformations for the country.

        State and Government: The National Assembly of People´s Power (Parliament) is the State's supreme power, represented by the Council of State, between session periods; and with representation at provincial, municipal and circumscription levels. The Council of Ministers is the supreme executive and administrative organ and constitutes the government of the Republic of Cuba.

        Political-Administrative Division and Main cities: The country is divided into 14 provinces and a special municipality. The most important cities according to their economic development and population are: Havana, Santiago de Cuba, Santa Clara, Holguín, Camagüey, Cienfuegos, Matanzas, Pinar del Río, Ciego de Ávila, Bayamo and Guantánamo.

        National Symbols: The Flag - It was first raised in the city of Cárdenas (Matanzas Province), when in 1850 a group of insurrectionist took up arms against the Spanish colonial power. The three blue stripes represent the departments that the Island was divided into at that time. The two white stripes evoke the purity in the intentions for independence of our people. The equilateral triangle stands for freedom, equality and fraternity. Its red colour is the announcement of the blood that would be necessary to shed in order to achieve our independence. The white and lone star is the symbol of absolute freedom. When the War of Independence started on October 10th, 1868, Carlos Manuel de Céspedes ordered another flag with a different design; that one now stands next to the national emblem during sessions of the Cuban Parliament. The Coat of Arms It is shaped like an oval shield. Its upper section portrays a golden key that symbolizes Cuba's key position between the two Americas, therefore the name "The Key to the Gulf". The rising sun stands for the emergence of a new nation. The three blue stripes, separated by two white ones, represent the departments that Cuba was divided into, during the colonial period. The Royal Palm that appears in the third space or quarter represents the noble and serene firmness of the Cuban people. National Anthem - It was the patriot Perucho Figueredo who composed, in 1867, the music of the Anthem. Later, in 1868, when the independence forces seized the city of Bayamo (Granma Province), Figueredo himself wrote the lyrics: People of Bayamo, up on arms to go into battle for the Homeland contemplates you with proud Fear not a glorious death, for dying for the Homeland is like living. To remain in chains is to live in dishonour and vile subjugation O, hark to the call of your nation take up arms, all ye brave sons, The National Flower The White Mariposa or Butterfly Lily (Hedychium Coronarium Koenig). An endemic jasmine species used by the Cuban women in the wars of independence to pass messages on to the battlefields. It symbolizes purity, rebelliousness and independence. It grows in humid places as river banks and lagoons, but it is also cultivated in yards and gardens of many Cuban houses. National Tree - It is the Royal Palm. Although it is not indigenous of Cuba, it is present in the country's whole landscape.

        Cuban archipelago extends itself on the north of the central and west Caribbean Sea and closes the great Antilles arch. Due to its high biological diversity and endemic flora and fauna, besides its high historical and patrimonial values, 35 protected areas, seven national parks, six Ramsar wetland sites, six world Biosphere Reserves and nine sites that have been proclaimed World Heritage are worth mentioning.

        Climate: In relation to its geographical position and location, in Cuba a tropical climate with humid maritime influence is predominant. Average annual temperature is 25,4º C and 26º C in the eastern region.

        Flora and fauna: In the Cuban archipelago there are not dangerous animals or plants. It is considered a real habitat mosaic that allows the development of a great biodiversity, among the best varied, preserved and attractive in the Caribbean. Among the many species registered there are 963 fish, 1100 crustaceans, 350 birds and 1468 mollusks. Some species, very-well known for their small size are also registered; among them we have the Cuban little frog (eleutherodactylus iberia), the butterfly bat (Matalus lepidus) and the world´s smallest hummingbird (Mellisuga helenae). Cuban flora is considered one of the richest insular floras in the world, with 4% of all the species reported on the planet.

        Population: More than eleven million inhabitants make up Cuban population, in a peculiar Spanish, African and Asian race mixture.

        Language: Spanish is the official language.

        Currency: Peso is the national currency, with the equivalence of 100 cents. There are 1, 3, 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100 pesos notes in circulation. There are 1 and 3 pesos coins and 1, 2, 5 and 20 cents coins. There is also the Peso Cubano Convertible (CUC) in circulation, which is exchanged for foreign currencies according to the officially established exchange rates.


  1.  Traveling along Cuba’s casas particulares is an ideal, affordable way to meet ordinary Cubans...


        Most visitors to Cuba, wishing to escape the dark and long winters in their own countries, book into all-inclusive beach resorts promising sun, sea, and cheap mojitos, far away from where real Cuban life enfolds. At best, they may sign up for an escorted daytrip to Cuba’s capital Havana, to stroll through the touristy and spruced up part of the historic center, and ride along the 8km (5-mile) long Malecón esplanade in a classic American car from the 50’s.

        There are, however, a growing number of travelers discovering there is much more to Cuba than beautiful beaches alone: picturesque colonial towns like Trinidad, Camaguey and Santiago de Cuba. The adventurous traveler can enjoy hiking, rock climbing, bird watching in National Parks and the Viñales Valley, white-water rafting, scuba diving or snorkeling, and not to forget, the intoxicating rhythms of Cuban music one can find on street corners, in dance clubs, or at other music venues. However, the biggest draw of all is undoubtedly the Cubans themselves, who are trying to play the limited cards they are dealt with an admirable resourcefulness, perseverance, and zest for life.

        Traveling along Cuba’s casas particulares is an ideal, affordable way to meet ordinary Cubans and get more insight into their daily lives. Privately owned single family residences, but strictly licensed and regulated by the government, the casas are the Cuban version of our bed and breakfasts and one of the few ways Cubans can make a couple of extra bucks to supplement their minimal incomes. Although simple, the rooms are clean and air-conditioned, have an annex private bathroom with shower. Often there is a fridge in the room as well. Best of all, you get this great sense of being part of their family, since the slogan "mi casa es su casa" invariably reigns. Once tapped into their network, you’ll be free of accommodation and transport problems for the rest of your travel in Cuba: casa owners, happy to help you out, will simply refer you to family members, friends, or contacts of contacts all over the island.



        Article by Lies Ouwerkerk. Independent Travel Columnist


  1.  Travellers' comments about their experiences staying in homestay accommodation in Cuba


        Cindy -(United States)

        Every place we stayed was unique yet consistently immaculate and comfortable. THe breakfasts and dinners we ate there were the best of the trip. Our hosts, with and without English, were helpful and friendly, and patiently tried to communicate with our broken Spanish. One bathroom in Trinidad had next to no hot water but the other bathroom that was part of the apartment we shared was fine. These hosts also had a refrigerator stocked with soda, water, and beer at our disposal which they charged us for when we checked out. That was a real convenience that others might want to adopt.


        Kristina -(Australia)

        I cannot commend strongly enough the hard work that the casa particular operators did in providing comfortable, clean and welcoming accommodation. They are doing the best that they can given the unreliability of access to resources (like parts to fix a toilet or shower, for example) that, if staying in hotels in Australia, we would expect, even DEMAND (!!). Big deal that the pillows weren`t always fantastic, that the pressure in the shower was never great ... it`s Cuba. It`s Cuban life. The things that really mattered were universal - a smile, a laugh, a warm environment and a feeling of safety and security. However, I do wonder why we stayed at a hotel in Camaguey. Although it was clean the hospitality was nowhere near as good and I found the whole hotel experience sterile and artificial. I would recommend that the tour only stay in hotels if homestays were not available.


        Mark -(UK)

        The accommodation was much better than we expected which was a nice surprise.


        Tina -(Australia)

        With the exception of the hotel in Camaguey we were happy with our accommodation. We recommend you dump the hotel and continue with casa particulars, noting there were several in close proximity. We didn`t find it particularly difficult to navigate the town and for a much more pleasant stay, family homes are a great way to do.


        Stephen -(United States)

        I was pleasantly surprised. Every room had a private bath and air-conditioning. The rooms were modest, clean and comfortable (as advertised on your website). Our stay at the 3-Anna’s (in Santiago) was particularly nice---the host and hostess (Oscar and Rafaela) were so friendly and engaging they immediately felt like friends. Home stays are absolutely the way to go.


        Kylie -(Australia)

        Our home stay in Vinales was particularly good. Our hosts (Daniella?? and her husband) were so lovely and happy.


        Joel -(United States)

        Although every stay was wonderful, I do need to single out Rafaela and Oscar in Santiago for extra recognition. We were so impressed with their friendliness and attentiveness that we wanted them to adopt us.


        Linda -(Australia)

        Hosts varied considerably - some were keen to offer dinners cooked in the cases, others did not seem interested in this. Breakfasts were pretty much the same everywhere - good and plentiful. Similarly, the houses varied, with the base houses usually having attractive and large sitting areas which we could use. All hosts were honest and tried to be helpful.


        Liz -(UK)

        really enjoyed staying in the Casas - one of the benefits of the group tour. Was best when I was sharing the casa with others and there was an ensuite bathroom but they were all really good and the people co-ordinating the accommodation were friendly and helpful.


        David -(UK)

        The casas that we stayed in were all fantastic. I wish i spoke a little more spanish so that i could chat with the hosts but they did the best they could to communicate with us and were all very friendly (especially our hosts in trinidad!). The breakfasts were always vast and the meal that we ate at the casa in Vinales was delicious. I liked that at each location we were all in casas that were very close together and had a central meeting spot. The one in Havana was especially good and had a lovely rooftop bar and a casa owner that was happy to give salsa lessons!


        Anne & Lloyd -(Australia)

        We could not have asked for more with our accommodation. Noharis & El Chino in Vinales set the bar extremely high with their great casa, an over-abundance of beautiful food and mohito making lesson. Wenceslao in Cienfuegos, we loved your accommodation. We wish we had more than one night with you. The boys in Trinidad at Los Hermanos - thank you. It was a "home to come home to" at the end of a busy day. We felt were very spoilt and we did not expect the standard of accommodation we did stay at.


        Linda -(Australia)

        Besides the fact that I initially struggled with culture shock, Baracoa was a fascinating place, the casa particulares in which we stayed Williams Montoyer? was very welcoming, interesting and enjoyable. My least favourite were Santiago de Cuba although the hostess Anna was a very kind woman. And the hotel in Camaguey where I did not sleep for the noise of the disco right next door. Jesus`s house in Trinidad was another good casa in which to stay.


        Renae -(Australia)

        For the vast majority of all the casas we stayed were lovely, and the hosts were amazing. Although it was however a little difficult in Havana to stay in the casas, a hotel may have been better. I do have to add the first casa we stayed in in Havana were friendly and it was lovely.


        Jodi -(New Zealand)

        I paid for the single supplement but I am going to I thought the accommodations - casa particulares - were fantastic. I came to Cuba to experience the real thing (or as close to it as tourists can get) and so I was very happy with all the casas we stayed in. I am super happy we did not get a hotel anywhere. back for another tour and it's so easy at the homestays that I don't mind sharing with another single female traveller.


        Rowena -(UK)

        Very very good, just please a few more pillows on the comfort stakes (but a minor niggle). Staying in casas was a huge integrating part of the holiday, thro which we both got the 'inside' story of how Cuban people live and tick. Unfortunately the hotel in Camaguey was poor (flooding loo cistern) and road works all night outside our room, breakfast was plentiful but burnt coffee 2nd morning. It didn't mar our holiday as we laughed about it but it needs pointing out.


        Naava -(Canada)

        Lots of variation in the homestays and in the food offerings but overall the accommodations were good and the families/hosts very friendly. Unfortunately in one place the pillow was so hard that it was difficult to sleep. The homestays provided a great opportunity to see another layer of Cuban life and it was really interesting to see the differences in lifestyles and relative economics of the different hosts.


        Anne & Barbara -(Switzerland)

        We liked our stays in the casa particulares. The hosts were always very friendly and attentive. The breakfast was much better than in the hotels we stayed. Fortunately they were always centrally located, which was very important for us! The only thing we missed sometimes was a window in our room for having natural daylight.


        Jon -(USA)

        We absolutely LOVED the hosts that we were set up with. Our favorite was definitely Mirta and Blanco in Vinales. We felt SO welcomed from the moment we walked in. We sat with their son Rolle (age 24) on the front porch in the evenings and talked (in mixed english/spanish). We met his friend who took us on a tour to places we wanted to see and it was so comfortable; like friends going out for the day. The room was clean, the house was spotless and we felt comfortable coming and going as we pleased. A close second on my list was our hosts in Trinidad, Otmara and Alberto (Casa Torrado). Alberto's hospitality is superb. He is polite, courtious and the consoment gentleman. He is always there to serve and be of service and his english is very good (a help for me). Otmara, his wife, was so much fun. She loves to laugh and made us feel so welcomed in her home. She helped me learn that Legendario is great for sore throats (I hope hers gets better...LOL!) and I loved chatti ng with her and her family while she worked in the kitchen. They have a pretty little courtyard patio with water features and lots of greenary and like me, Alberto collects antique items from previous wars which he is glad to show you if you only ask.


        Margaret -(Canada)

        We found most of the accommodations very good. They were all very clean with comfortable beds. Our hosts were very helpful and friendly. We enjoyed the meals that we had in our Casas.


        Richard -(USA)

        Each accommodation was delightful and a meaningful experience for us at each home. The homes were always clean and always comfortable, safe, private. Each host family treated us warmly and made sure our needs were met. We enjoyed eating all the nightly meals and breakfasts in the home and the food was very good. Maida in Vinales cared for Kim as if she was her own daughter! Wonderful people! We loved that we stayed in homes rather than hotels. Delightful experience always including last Havana night!!


        Jeanine -(Australia)

        Loved all of my accommodation. I had a bad cough and my casa mothers made sure I was looked after even though we could hardly speak each others' languages. It was a pleasure to live in their homes.


        Sarah -(UK)

        I loved each of the homestays - each one was different and special and gave me a unique insight into Cuba. I wasn't sure how we ended up at The Nacional given that it was a budget tour? Fun to see the hotel given the history but personally would have been fine with somewhere more low-key (and cheaper?).


        Francesca -(UK)

        We were downgraded to the Hotel Victoria for the tour (from Hotel Nacional) and our room was on the main road and very noisy. We stayed in cabins in Maria La Gorda, which were lovely, but our favourite accommodation was in Vinales where we stayed with Dianeles. Dianeles and her family were extremely welcoming and friendly, even though they spoke little English and we spoke little Spanish! The accommodation was very comfortable and clean and we were overwhelmed with the food they gave us. Staying there really was one of the highlights of our tour.


        Naranee -(UK)

        Accommodation was really good - always clean with great breakfasts, especially in the homestays which were one of the best things about the tour and a great chance to practise Spanish with some very patient people! I got my laundry done in some of the homestays at very reasonable rates. I especially liked the one in Vinales where our small group of 5 were in the same complex and where the families shared out the meals throughout our three nights. They were really friendly and the food was great. Dinners at the 3 Anas in Santiago were probably my favourite meals on the island (though Baracoa came close) and I loved the cooking lesson (and Spanish practice) they kindly gave me one evening. Berta's in Havana was great too - was the perfect location for my Spanish lessons and salsa lessons and she really made me feel looked after in my first week in Havana before the tour started. To be honest, after staying in the homestays, hotels were always a bit disappointing, but they were all clean and in good locations. Hotel Nacional was obviously interesting to stay in, but they were very disorganised and wouldn't be my choice for another stay in Havana.


        Holly -(UK)

        The quality of the homestays was really good. The hosts were always friendly and accommodating and the rooms were clean. I liked the Hotel Nacional because it is steeped in history. However I don't think the rooms were as nice as other hotels and casas we stayed in during our visit to Cuba. It is okay for 1 or 2 night's stay.


        Donelda -(Canada)

        I loved the home stays. Each host went out of their way to ensure that we had everything we wanted. The home stays were one of the most memorable parts of the tour as I was able to have a glimpse into the day to day life in Cuba. I will never forget them especially Mirta in Vinales who said to us "Mi casa es su casa." That was how we were made to feel and it was a wonderful experience.


        Kym -(Australia)

        All of our Casa parents (that's what we called the casa owners) were super lovely! Their houses were beautiful and I ate some of the yummiest food I had in Cuba was in the casas. In fact, the casa where we stayed in Santiago De Cuba was where I had the tastiest food of the entire trip.


        Natalie and Georgia -(UK)

        The casas were simple, very clean and were one of the highlights of the trip. The best way to experience Cuba is by interacting with the people and this is a great way to do that. As vegetarians they were very accommodating and the food was great on the whole (usually better in the casas than in the restaurants)


        Jessica -(Australia)

        Homestays were a fantastic way to stay in Cuba. By far the best food can be found in the casas - especially the 3 Ana's in Santiago! Rooms were always clean, with air con, towels, bathroom etc. Slightly dodgy showers on occasion but you get that everywhere! Breakfasts were great at the homestays - fresh fruit, bread, cheese, juice, coffee, tea.


alquilerencuba.com

Now, from your mobile (smartphone), booking online of particular houses.

Insurance CubaAdvisory: Insurance for travel to Cuba!


Cuban authorities demand from travelers (foreigners and Cubans living abroad) a travel insurance as a requirement for entering the country.

Download Insurance details.

For more details (travelers assistance and insurance cuban company) Visit Asistur.

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WARNING: Be wary of jineteros (hustlers), who may try to dupe you into staying in a casa that they recommend so that they earn a commission. Sometimes jineteros will just tell you that the casa you have a reservation in is full; others will take you to the door, put the key in and pretend it's locked, saying that the owner is away; others will tell you the owner of the casa you have a reservation in has moved, died, or gone abroad and they can take you to a similar house nearby (from which they'll receive a commission). In this desperate economic climate, jineteros will stop at nothing until they collect a commission. Be on guard, and do not be deterred by these scams. If you have a reservation, be confident and insistent that you stay at the casa particular where you have a room reserved. Please make sure you have the exact address of your Casa or a map of the place with the exact location (e.g. Google Maps). The hustlers will try to carry on to the Bars and so to receive a commission, by this, all will be more expensive for you. My best advice for you is that you walk alone, ask to the people...

See in the map the mains destinations in Cuba.


Map selection Cuba

Cuba Weather, climate and geography


Weather and climate


Best time to visit:


Hot, sub-tropical climate all year. Most rain falls between May and October and the hurricane season officially runs from July to November, with most storms historically occurring in October and November. Humidity varies between 75% and 95%. Cooler months are January to April when the least rain falls.


Required clothing:


Lightweight clothes most of the year; the high humidity makes it unwise to wear synthetics close to the skin. A light sweater is advisable even during the hottest months for installations with air conditioning (e.g. the Viazul bus which is always frigid) and a heavier sweater or jacket for December through March when cold fronts can drop the mercury to 10 degrees Celsius. Light waterproofs are advisable all year round.


Geography:


Cuba is the largest Caribbean island, about the size of England, and the most westerly of the Greater Antilles group, lying a mere 145km (90 miles) south of Florida. A quarter of the country is fairly mountainous. West of Havana is the narrow Sierra de los Órganos, rising to 750m (2,461ft) and containing the Guaniguanico hills in the west. South of the Sierra is a narrow strip of 2,320 sq km (860 sq miles) where the finest Cuban tobacco is grown. The Sierra de Escambray and Montañas de Guamuhaya behind Trinidad in the centre of the country rise to 1140m (3,740ft) Encircling the port of Santiago are the rugged mountains of the Sierra Maestra. A quarter of the island is covered with mountain forests of pine and mahogany. Cuba has few rivers of note, the exception being the Río Cauto in the east. The country has 3735km (2321 miles) of coastline and thousands of offshore islands.


Cuba Food and Drink


Surprisingly for an island so rich in marine life, fish and seafood rarely top the menu - most seafood is exported. Cuisine is a mix of Spanish and Afro-Caribbean, heavily reliant on rice, beans, chicken and pork. Depending on the season, fresh vegetables may be hard to come by - as a rule, the hotter the month, the more limited the selection. Furthermore, flavours are limited by the lack of available herbs and spices and many visitors are surprised that Cubans shun spicy food of all kinds. Food preparation relies heavily on the frying pan and deep fat fryer. Some of the best cooking, and often an illegal lobster or two, is found in paladares (small, private restaurants). In state-run establishments, service can be painfully slow and sometimes even surly.


Specialities:


Soup made of chicken or black beans.


Congrís (black beans and rice known locally as Moors and Christians).


Chicken or pork with rice, or French fries.


Plantains, fried.


Fish in coconut milk (in the Baracoa area only).


Regional drinks:


Mojito (potent national cocktail made from rum, soda water, crushed mint, lime juice, and chopped ice)


Daiquiri (blended cocktail of rum, ice, sugar, lime juice, and a dash of maraschino)


Guarapo (sugar cane juice)


Rum


Cafe Cubano (espresso)


Information so important!


This is a legal and free service?


Yes, we are a legal and free of charge (no online payments) service, no hidden fees, with connection with the owner of the house you choice and all casas(houses) registered like Taxpayer in Cuban Tax Office.


Legal note!!!


All Casas shown are Legal Services registered as Cuban Taxpayer (in Cuba Taxs Office ONAT) by pertinent Licences


How to identify legal Casas registered in Tax Office?


Seal TaxpayerCheck this seal on the door or wall outside (Seal identify legal service)


How to pay?


No online payments. The payment will be done once you arrive your destination, directly to the Casa Owners. The price shown is per room per night


Migration and Customs regulations


Persons traveling to Cuba should bear a valid passport with the relevant visa or tourist card issued by a travel agent or by the Cuban Consulate in the country of origin. Customs Offices at the 11 international airports in the country use the internationally renowned Red Channel and Green Channel system. Personal effects are allowed in the country duty-free. Tourists can also import new or used articles for a value up to $250.00 CUC. Articles under $50.00 CUC are allowed in duty-free. Travelers shall pay tax equal to 100% of the value of articles over %50.00 CUC. Although the amount of freely convertible currency that can be imported to the country either in cash, bank transfers, checks and in other forms of payment is unlimited, travelers who import -for the purpose of re-exporting- money or effects for a value of more than $5, 000 (five thousand) CUC, shall fill-in a Customs Declaration Form. The import-export and consumption of drugs and narcotics is prohibited. Import and export of explosives; objects, photos, literature and other forms of pornography; animals, plants (whole or parts) and species considered protected or endangered is prohibited. Persons who violate this regulation may be subject to criminal prosecution. The import and export of firearms without the expressed authorization of the Public Security Division of the Ministry of Interior is prohibited. Permits shall be obtained before arrival to the country.


Forms of payment


You can find detailed information about forms of payment in Cuba here. El Cuban Peso(CUP) is the national currency. However, payments for goods and services can be made preferably in Convertible Peso (CUC). Payments can also be made in Euro in Varadero, Cayo Coco, Cayo Guillermo, Cayo Santa Maria, Cayo Largo del Sur, Santa Lucia, Playa Covarrubias and at the beaches on the northern coast of Holguín. Travelers can also pay for goods and services with VISA INTERNATIONAL, MASTERCARD, ACCESS, BANCOMER INTERNATIONAL, BANAMEX, DINNERS CLUB INTERNATIONAL, JCB and CARNET credit cards or with those issued in the country (BFI and RED). Credit cards issued by banks of the United States of America and their branches are not accepted.



Medical services


Travelers from countries where diseases such as Yellow Fever and Cholera are endemic or from areas that have been declared infected zones by the WHO must present a vaccination certificate issued at least 10 days before traveling and not more than 10 years after the date of entry to the island. Medical services are available in all the hotels. There are international clinics in all of the major tourist resorts in the country.


Regarding export


When leaving Cuba, you may carry with you up to 23 Habanos without having to show the official purchase receipt. If you exceed that amount, you will be obliged to claim the original purchase receipt and of it at the shop, and hand the copy in at the Customs Office at the exit point from where you'll be leaving with cigars, which must be contained in original cases with all official seals, including the new holographic seal. Any failure to abide by the basic requirement of a legal purchase, the product will be seized by Cuba's Customs Office. The export of goods not considered national heritage shall be permitted only after prior presentation of an expressed authorization by the National Register of Cultural Goods. Books or other publications more than 50 years old, books published by Ediciones R, Publishing House or others stamped by libraries or other entities shall not be exported.


More about Cuba


Freedom of Religion is guaranteed by the Constitution of the Republic. Due to the country's climate , travelers are advised to wear clothes made of light fabrics preferably cotton. Don't forget to pack your bathing suit and sun blocker. A sweater or light jacket will come in handy when travelling in winter or to the mountain areas. Electricity: 110 volts, 60 cycles. Most hotels and Casa Particular also have 220 volt and sockets for flat plugs. Cuba is located on the 5th Greenwich Time Meridian (Eastern Standard Time in USA and Canada). Daylight Savings Time is from April to October (the clock is advanced one hour) in order to take advantage of daylight.


Cuba Traveler's Information for US Citizens


Americans are for all intents and purposes, not allowed to travel to Cuba. Heavy fines are being imposed and at a much greater frequency under the Bush administration. If you yet didn't, please check out the OFAC website


OK fine. How do I go to Cuba? (for US citizens)?


"When unlicensed travelers go to Cuba from the US they normally have to go through a third country. You will frequently see this referred to as the "Gateway" on various boards. The most common gateways to Cuba for unlicensed US travelers are Toronto, Montreal, Nassau (Bahamas), Cancun and Mexico City, and less frequently used Santo Domingo (Dominican Republic) and Montego Bay. In my opinion Mexico and in particular Cancun are the gateways that offer the least risk of detection I say that because:


Unlike Canada and the Bahamas, a traveller leaving from Mexico does not pre-clear US Customs and Immigration. You will not clear Customs/Immigration until you arrive back in the US. In Canada and the Bahamas you will go through US Customs and Immigration at the airport in Toronto, Montreal or Nassau.


Cancun is the most popular destination for US tourists in the Caribbean. There is absolutely no reason why US Customs/Immigration would suspect you have been anywhere else but Cancun.


You should take the following steps in traveling back/forth:


Enter Mexico from the US


Mexico does not stamp passports on exit, although you will need a passport to enter Cuba.


Cuban Immigration does not stamp the passport at the present time, so do not worry about a Cuban stamp.


When you arrive back in Mexico from Cuba you will probably have to present your passport. The entry stamp that is placed there should be the only stamp you receive on your trip. Some people recommend presenting the passport with a $10 bill inside to avoid the Mexican entry stamp.


After you arrive in Mexico make sure you strip all HAV luggage tags from you checked baggage.


Throw away your Cuban tickets, boarding passes and any other paper evidence of your Cuban trip.


Do not list Cuba as a Country visited on the Customs Declaration form.


Do not bring back any high profile Cuban souvenirs like cigars, rum, t-shirts.


The fine by the way if you are unlucky or careless enough to get caught can be negotiated down to $1000 or less.



Travel Documents For a US citizen



Passport (US related)


Make no mistake about it ... you need a "valid" passport to get into Cuba. Whereas in some countries you can get in with a US birth certificate (Mexico, Canada) or even an expired passport (Bahamas), you will NOT be admitted into Cuba with these credentials. Make sure its valid and current.
Passport Stamping - Fortunately, the Cubans know that returning to the US with a Cuba stamp can be trouble if you're not there with a General or Specific License from OFAC. It used to be that if you slipped the immigration official a $5 or $10 with your passport, it was no problem. However, now there are posted signs in the Immigration Department discouraging such practices.
Either way, the best thing to do is smile, say something nice then ask them in Spanish to please not stamp your passport. "Por favor, no empuje mi pasaporte" should do fine. This is still no guarantee that they won't however.


Holy crap ... they stamped my passport! (US related)


Immediately wire home and have them send you enough money to hide out in Cuba for the rest of your life!! You will need to ... just kidding.
If you check the OFAC papers (see link on navigation panel), I'm sure you'll probably find a sanctioned way to go and not have to worry about it. If not, the chances of actually being assessed a fine are pretty remote anyway.
If you feel the need to bypass the system and go anyway, well ...
CAREFUL: Lying to an Immigration Official is a Federal Offense. If you lie, you'll probably get through. Then again, if they decide to question you, well ... If you tell them the truth, they'll probably just wave you on through. However, if not, read the above OFAC section.
If you get through, there's always that stamped passport you have to contend with. Again, the absolute best way to go about it is under the OFAC guidelines. A little reading can go a long way.



Visa / Tourist card



Cuban rules say: you have to book an accommodation for the first night. If you booked a flight, no accommodation and ready to fill in your visa, this visa will ask you in which hotel you are staying ... fill in any address of a hotel or casa particular and look real innocent going through customs. The experience tells, it is also ok to fill in an address of a licensed casa particular. However, if customs has a strict day they can demand to book a hotel, if you didn't, they will make a reservation for you.
You can buy your tourist card at the airport of you departure to Cuba.


From your country:


If you are reading this information is because surely you have reserved with us a Casa Particular in Cuba. We will take this opportunity to pass along some valuable information that we have acquired through years of work in tourism.


If you have reserved a Casa Particular with plenty of time in advance, be sure to confirm your stay around 10 days before your arrival. Nonetheless, we will send you an email reminding you to do so.


In case you’re travel plans have changed and you are no longer going to stay in a Casa you have reserved, or your dates change, please inform us of this change through our website.


In case your flight is delayed, your hosts at the Casa Particular reserved will be waiting for you.


At the airport.


Upon your arrival at the airport in Cuba, immigration control will ask for:


Your passport and visa of entry to Cuba.


Confirmation of flight out of Cuba.


Insurance of Medical assistance. (We recommend you obtain this before leaving home, otherwise you can buy one at the airport).


Confirmation of Casa Particular in Cuba. If you are staying in a Casa Particular you will need to provide the name of owner and address. The Casas that we advertise here are properly authorized to host tourists, therefore you will have no problems.


There are no fees or taxed to pay at the airport for staying at a Casa Particular.


Luggage:


Leaving immigration control you should collect your luggage. There are two conveyor belts and both can be used to transport luggage from the same flight. Therefore pay close attention to both belts to avoid loosing or confusing luggage.


You must not pay for over-weight luggage if it is under 30 kg.


Currency exchange:


In the airport you will find an official currency exchange office (CADECA). We recommend you change currency here before leaving the airport as you will need Cuban Convertible Pesos (CUC) to pay the taxi.


Getting to your Casa Particular:


If you wish for a taxi to pick you up at the airport, please contact us requesting this service and a driver will be waiting for you. The price from the airport to anywhere in Habana (capita city) is 25 CUC. The minimum fare for Guanabo (Playas del Este) is 40 CUC. For other destinations settle on a price with the driver before leaving the airport.


If you wish to take a taxi, we suggest the following:


Official taxis are waiting outside the arrival gates. Don’t accept a ride from drivers offering inside the airport gates, these tend to be illegal and overpriced. Take one of the official taxis and take into account the prices mentioned above.


Don’t allow the driver to change destination, hotel or Casa Particular. Again, it might be an illegal Casa (without working license) or you might take unnecessary risks.


Make sure you have arrived at your reserved Casa Particular, the owners should be waiting for you and know your name.


Some taxis may trick tourists into taking another Casa (for their benefit) by saying that the casa you reserved is full. Make sure of this by personally talking to the owner of the casa you reserved once you arrive.


Arriving at your Casa Particular:


The Casas that we advertise on our website have all legal requirements and security conditions to assure you will have a confortable and peaceful visit.


The owner of the Casa Particular will require your passport and visa documentation upon your arrival. This is a regular registration procedure that all Casas must follow. The fee for your stay must be paid directly to the owner of the Casa in cash and CUC currency (Cuban convertible pesos), they might accept another currency but this is very rare.


In cuba, tourists MUST stay at a hotel or a registered Casa Particular. Staying at friends or unauthorized Casas is illegal and could pose problems for you when exiting the country.


Currency:


In the airport you will find an official currency exchange office (CADECA). We recommend you change currency here before leaving the airport, as you will need Cuban Convertible Pesos (CUC). It is better to have 1, 3, 5, 10 and 20 CUC bills when you change money as taxi drivers and other services might not carry change for bigger bills (50, 100 CUC).


The best currencies to bring in Cuba are Euros or Canadian Dollars as US dollars are charged an extra penalty tax.


Don’t change money on the street; always do so at banks or CADECA offices.


Remember that Cuba has two currencies that circulate: Cuban Convertible pesos (CUC) and Cuban pesos (CUP) also referred to as Moneda Nacional. Cuban Pesos sell at 25 per 1 CUC. Most things tourists need to pay will be charged in CUC so there is no need to buy CUP (Cuban pesos “Modena nacional”). When accepting change make sure the bills received say “Pesos Convertibles” as it is easy to be confused and get tricked into accepting the lower valued national currency.


Information so important!


Low season: May 1-Jun 30 & Sept 1-Oct 31


High demand for Christmas and New Year at Nov-Dec


Popular parties (Carnivals) Schedule in destinations:


Camaguey Carnival (San Juan - Saint John festivities) June 23-29. Book a casa now


Santiago de Cuba Festival of Fire July 2-8 - Popular Carnival July 18-26. Book a casa now


Havana Carnival August 1-30. Book a casa now


Baracoa 500th Anniversary Party August 1- 7. Book a casa now


Cienfuegos Carnival August 1- 7. Book a casa now


Remedios Carnival (Famous Parrandas) December 19-24. Book a casa now



Cellular Mobile Telephony in Cuba


In Cuba you can bring your phone there is a wide coverage to customers of any operator with which CUBACEL have roaming agreements, you will be automatically active service since arriving in Cuba, if the client is POSTPAID and is active with its attendant International Roaming service, and if the terminal you use is compatible with the characteristics of our network, ie that supports the 900 MHz band, upon arriving in Cuba and turn on your phone, this should be recorded in our network automatically and display at 368-01 display / CU-CCOM / CUBACEL, depending on your phone settings. But, in case of failure to achieve automatic registration, indicate the visitor to perform manual network selection through the phone menu options. For more information visit www.cubacel.cu


Money


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.


Currency


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.


Exchanging currency


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.


Credit cards


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.


Packing


Cuba is many things—a tropical paradise full of passion, soul, warmth, music, good coffee, great cigars and fine rum. Shopping nirvana it is not, however and while you can get most basic stuff in Cuba typically it is overpriced and very poor quality. So bring what you need unless it is a Cuban specialty.


Clothes


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 atTropicana 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.


Medical kit


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.


Electricity


Generally Cuban electricity is 110V with the square American plug socket. Some hotels have predominantly 220V and round sockets and the particular houses too.


Other


Bring insect repellent, sun tan cream, a wide brimmed hat, plug converter, spare batteries and anything else you need to function. For specialized sport (cycling, climbing, fishing etc.) there are very few (if any) spare parts available so bring your own.


Havana

Havana

Havana is probably the most splendid example of Spanish colonial architecture in Latin America. Much of the historic centre has been carefully restored. The absence of the outward manifestations of international commerce - advertising billboards, burger chains, neon lights - helps create a subtle and haunting atmosphere missing in the other capitals of the Spanish colonial domain. Museums, forts and lively squares add to the attraction.


Viñales

Vinales

Around Viñales, in the western province of Pinar del Rio, are a unique string of rounded limestone mountains called mogotes; in their shadows are the lush green fields that produce the world's finest tobacco leaves, the dream of cigar connoisseurs from Paris to New York.


Trinidad

Trinidad

Trinidad is a small and peaceful city located between the sea and a range of rolling verdant hills. It pays homage to an illustrious past by remaining perfectly preserved since colonial times. There are fine churches and red-tiled mansions lining the cobbled streets, many of which are open to visitors. To savour the richness of this culture, visit the half-dozen museums or music clubs (casas de la trova), or a cigar factory whilst staying at nearby Playa Ancón.


Varadero

Varadero

The resort of Varadero, some 32 km NE of Matanzas, is the closest you'll get to finding Miami Beach in Cuba. If you are looking for a straightforward beach holiday in a good modern hotel with cable TV, air-conditioning, a pool and a jacuzzi, then this is the place for you although the best options is a particular house, we offers severals. The seas are warm and crystal blue - and it is one of the few places in Cuba where women can sunbathe topless.


Cienfuegos

Cienfuegos

Cienfuegos City is called "The Pearl of the South" because of the impressive beauty of its bay; because of its seductive city which provokes the wonder of all who know it, and because of that innate nobility which characterizes those born in Cienfuegos.
The history of Cienfuegos possesses interesting antecedents and is rich in aborigine and Hispanic legends. Before the Spanish came to America, the zone was settled by indigenous people and was known as the Cacicazgo de Jagua.


Santiago de Cuba

Santiago de Cuba

Nestled alongside a sweeping bay at the foothills of the Sierra Maestra mountains, Santiago is Cuba's most exotic and ethnically diverse city. Santiago is renowned for producing much of Cuba's most important music, and this rich musical tradition, mingled with the remnants of French customs, gives the city a sensual, even sleazy, New Orleans-like atmosphere.


Baracoa

Baracoa

Baracoa is a land of great rainfall and many rivers. The lush vegetation, the high mountains covered with long-lived forest, the customs that have been handed down from one generation to another and the appearance of a town that has remained unchanged over a long time are, undoubtly, key ingredients in the special attraction of this tiny city on the shores of Miel (Honey) Bay.


Beaches

Beaches

Cuban beaches are sparkling and unlittered - hotels are not luxurious but seldom blot the shoreline. The bright turquoise waters of the Caribbean, often fringed with palm groves, do not disappoint. The visitor can choose between the isolated and unstructured charms of Las Brujas and the island of Cayo Levisa, or a more sophisticated resort such as Playa Ancon, close to Trinidad or the beaches of the south of Matanzas, Bay of Pigs.


Rural Cuba

Rural cuba

Alongside the plantations of tobacco, sugar cane or pineapples, rural Cuba - with its tranquil, bucolic lifestyle - rewards the visitor with some gorgeous mountain scenery. Close to Viñales in the west is a dramatic landscape of sheer limestone monoliths, fertile valleys and underground waterways. The historically significant Sierra Maestra, where Castro and his fellow rebels plotted revolution, offers fine hiking in forested hills in the east. You can see rural Cuba by bike and take in both coastal and mountainous scenery.


Nature, Zapata Peninsula

Peninsule of Zapata

The best-known of Cuba's wildlife havens, the Zapata Peninsula, 156 km southeast of Havana, is a refuge for many bird and animal species. The scenery is spectacular: flamingos swoop across the milky lagoons, and crocodiles meander out across the dirt roads. The entire region is now a nature reserve.


Nature, Sierra Del Escambray

The majestic Sierra del Escambray is Cuba's second most famous mountain range after the Sierra Maestra in the Oriente, with its highest peak - the Pico San Juan - topping 1,100 metres. Some of the heaviest rainfall in Cuba feeds the Escambray's lush jungle, where trees are laden with bromeliads and delicate waterfalls greet you at every turn; look out for the giant umbrella-like ferns, a prehistoric species.


Sierra Maestra Mountains

To experience fully the rugged beauty of the southeastern mountains, the best base is the Villa Santo Domingo, in the hills south of the road linking Bayamo and Manzanillo on the coast. Guides accompany visitors to the area through the wilderness and lead hikes up Cuba's highest mountain, Pico Turquino (1,970 metres), 16 km away. The trail is exciting and beautiful: between outcroppings of mineral and volcanic rocks, deep green conifers stand alongside precious cedar, mahogany and trumpetwood trees.


Escambray Mountains

... or massif of Guamuhaya: mountain range that is characterized by steep peaks and deep valleys, the exuberance of vegetation, endemism of species of flora and fauna, cave systems, beautiful landscapes, pure and transparent rives and streams that make up picturesque waterfalss and crystalline ponds. The visit to this mountains also allow to know about the rural life associated to the growing of coffee and other agricultural activities.


Cuba is a land of taste and music; warmth and desire; goodness and aroma; palms and tobacco...


Rum and Guaracha; authenticity and friends; coffee and nobility; spontaneity and love. Enigmatic as back in the day, beautiful Cuba remains captivated Grand Admiral Christopher Columbus when he made landfall on the eastern shores of Bariay October 27, 1492 The attractive geographical figure sneaks into the beauty and serenity. Its green fields and blue beaches make it special in the eyes of those who have discovered each other end. The location of Cuba between the two Americas, at the entrance of the Gulf of Mexico, has the virtue of being the center of the Caribbean. Most land next to it are North Florida; East, Haiti; South, and West Jamaica, Mexico. Cuba is an island of well marked contrasts: nature of tropical, colonial cities, beautiful seabed, multifaceted culture and outstanding people. The whole charm of this extraordinary island made available to the avid traveler to discover that Cuba itself is an earthly paradise. The joy of the people, witty and expressive adds that note of warmth that identifies Cuba.



Pictures of Cuba. Citiies, beaches, activities and more...





Rent a private car with us, Car + Driver + Guide. We can round your trip for all Cuba.


We offer rent cars with driver + guide, ideal in order that you only take care of having a good times in this beautiful country. Ideal for couples and groups. We can organize his itinerary for all the island, always lodging in particular houses. We pick up and gave up in the place that you decide. Round your trip with us!



Rent private car in Cuba
  1.  A few importants questions and answers about your trip to Cuba.


        Q. How much will I spend in one week, visiting Cuba?

        A. There are two currency systems in Cuba. Firstly there is the "Peso Nacional", the Cuban money system for local use between Cubans, and secondly the "Peso Convertible" (CUC) which is the tourist money. Tourists or foreigners have to use the Peso Convertible. Of course a lot depends on how much you want to spent: for some people 400 to 500 CUC ( +/- 600-700 US$ ) will be sufficient, while others will need 1000 CUC or more. To give you an idea of prices: a beer costs 1 CUC, a cocktail 3CUC, a meal in a restaurant between 6 and 12 CUC, a taxi 0.8 to 1CUC / km. It's customary to give a 5% tip in restaurants. Cover charge for a nightclub amounts to 10 - 25 CUC.

        Q. What is the best way to fly to Cuba from the USA?

        A. Due to the embargo it is illegal for US citizens to travel to Cuba. Some however fly via Toronto, Canada or Cancun, Mexico, but this is illegal without a license provided by the US Treasury Department, as described above.

        Q. What should I bring along for the Cubans?

        A. There is a shortage of products for daily use, such as soap, deodorant, shampoo, perfume and Cosmetics and these are therefore highly desirable. Clothing and shoes are expensive for Cubans and gladly accepted. Some over-the-counter medicines such as Aspirin, Paracetamol, etc are welcome too. Note: you are allowed to bring in up to 10 kg of medicines in their original package. It is strictly forbidden to import any food substances, especially meat or fruit.

        Q. Do I need a visa to enter Cuba?

        A. Yes, you need a valid passport and a Tourist Card ( Tarjeta Tourista) to enter the country. The tourist card is stamped and valid for 30 days (cost 25 CUC) and extendable to 60 days. After 60 days you have to leave the country, except with a special visa for students or medical treatment.

        Q. Is a DVD player allowed in Cuba?

        A. Yes, a DVD player is allowed, but the Cuban customs can ask you to pay import duties if the DVD player is intended to remain in Cuba. In certain cases it is cheaper to buy a DVD player locally than importing one.

        Q. May I export a vintage car from Cuba?

        A. The export of vintage cars is not permitted and they are considered as part of the National heritage. All vintage cars must be registered in the name of a Cuban citizen.

        Q. Will I have problems entering the US after visiting Cuba?

        A. If you are a foreigner to the US, you should normally not encounter any problems. For a US citizen it is however illegal to travel to Cuba due to the embargo. Only US citizens with a special license from the US Treasury Department are permitted to travel to Cuba. US immigration officers may inspect the luggage and any indication that the US citizen has been there may lead to further investigation and sanctions. Check the Governmental website: http://www.treas.gov/

        Disclaimer: We try to give the best answers but does not guarantee the accuracy of the answers provided.


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Destinations to enjoy: Cayo Santa Maria and Cayo Coco.                       Casas most wanted.

Cayo Santa María. Playa Periquillo Follow the causeway across the lagoon to get to this warm and inviting beach. Divers can explore the colourful coral reefs and shipwrecks dotting the shallow waters. Perla Blanca Bask in the rays on this sunny beach situated on the tip of Cayo Santa María.

Cayo Coco. With its turquoise waters and shimmering white sand, this undeveloped Cayo Coco beach will feel like your own little secret. Your only encounter may be with the graceful pink birds this beach is named after. Connected to Cayo Coco by a causeway, Cayo Guillermo spans 13 square km, with 6 km of sun-kissed beaches. The sport fishing here is unrivalled anywhere in Cuba.
Caibarien

Caibarien

Near to Cayo Santa Maria
Moron

Morón

Near to Cayo Coco.
Casa Capelita y Yaima

Casa Capelita (Playa Larga)

Casa in Bay of Pigs
Rooms: 2
Rate per room: 25 cuc
Casa Yolanda en el Vedado

Su casa en Cuba (Vedado)

Sra. Yolanda, en el Vedado.
Rooms: 3
Rate per room: 35 cuc

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.


Cuba is music, tradition, nature, beaches and more

Cuba, La HabanaCuba 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.



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.


These are the benefits of choosing to stay at a Casa Particular over other types of lodgings:


The guest can quickly develop genuine Cuban relationships and become deeply involved in the culture of the country. Before you knows it, the guest will be part of the family. In a big resort one may only meet hotel workers and other tourists.

The guest will, probably, enjoy the usually free and easy atmosphere, feel at home in the casa particular and will be able to invite friends over. Current regulations for state-run hotels don’t allow Cuban guests to be invited to hotel rooms.

It is almost always cheaper to stay in a private room than in a hotel.

Renting a casa particular, the guest will be directly contributing to a person or family's standard of living.


More info and some useful tips for your travel by Independent Travel Columnist



Reconfirm casa bookings at least two days before arrival (your current casa owner will call for you; U.S. cell phones do not work in Cuba), otherwise there is a chance your room may be rented out to someone else. Although this might look as if casa owners are unreliable, the reverse – travelers not showing up after having booked – is actually occurring more frequently. Not being able to demand a down payment from their prospective guests in advance and often relying desperately on their little extra income, Cubans find themselves in a vulnerable position.

Upon arriving at a bus station, stick to the directions and name of the casa you have arranged. Jineteros (hustlers) or taxi drivers may try to bring you to some other, often unlicensed casa instead.

Cuban currency can be a bit confusing, as there are two systems: Cuban Pesos for locals, and Cuban Convertible Pesos (CUC) for foreigners. 1 US$ = about 1 CUC. Changing money into CUCs can be done upon arrival in the airport, in hotels, at any bank or Casa de Cambio. To avoid long lines, the airport is by far the best option. The best exchange rates are for Euros and Pounds. Bringing traveler checks and American dollars is not recommended.

Visa and Master cards, if not issued by an American bank, might work occasionally, but the mode of payment in Cuba is CASH in most places, and certainly in casas particulares, paladares (privately owned small restaurants), and taxis.

Cubans are incredibly friendly, and you will feel quickly at ease with most of them. Caution with “friendships” that blossom in the street is advised, however, as some jineteros may take advantage of you by suggesting that you go to a café or restaurant that is far out of their own financial reach, and suddenly disappear when the bill arrives.

Although the general American traveler does not have easy access to Cuba due to travel restrictions imposed by the U.S. government, a large, and growing percentage of Americans is visiting Cuba anyhow, by either taking the legal route (type into your favorite search engine: "legal travel to Cuba"), and through arrangements made by foreign-based tour operators, or through the backdoor via Canada, Mexico, or the Bahamas. Cuba welcomes American visitors and will not stamp passports if so requested. The tourist card you get instead will be valid for 30 days.

Internet access is still in its infancy in Cuba. Every larger town or city these days has a state-run ETECSA office or fancy hotel where you can use computers for $5.50 per hour (expect some older equipment, and a wait in line). Unfortunately most casas particulares don’t offer Internet access, as personal computers and a permanent connection are out of reach for ordinary Cubans.

Of the main bus companies operating in Cuba (Viazul, Transtur, and Astro), the best option is Viazul (www.viazul.com) with its air-conditioned buses and relatively punctual departures. Private, shared taxis charge about the same fee as buses, but are faster, pick you up at your casa, and bring you to the doorstep of the next one. And if you speak Spanish, there is the additional bonus of conversing with drivers to hear their often-interesting views on Cuba and the world.

Casas particulares can sometimes be contacted directly, but the legal ones are often connected with a central agency that takes care of bookings. Typically, a casa has one, two till 4 rooms available, and charges $20 - $35 a night (or more). Lunch or dinner can be requested for an additional 7 - 15 cuc.

Upon leaving Cuba, everyone has to pay a departure tax of 25 CUC, in cash only.

Excursions in Viñales


Vinales Valley

Just walking or riding in the valley, talk to the farmers, look at the tobaco plants.

Botanical Garden. A lot of years ago two sisters began to collect a lot of plants and plant them arount there house. They cared all the plants in such a way that today around there house you will find a real botanical garden. Nowadays the family and friends of them will show you and explain you some of the plants. They don't ask for an entrance price but it's logical to give them a small gift, isn't it? You will find this botanical garden at the exit of Viñales in direction to Puerto de Esperanza - more or less opposite the building of the petrol station "Cupet")

Go for a ride with the bicycle. You can visit the small villages in the valley or just without destination getting to know the marvellous valley. There are various places in Viñales where you can hire a bike, for exemple at Casa don Tomas (beside the restaurant) or directly in Titos' casa particular. The price will depend of the time you want to rent the bicycle. You can rent it just a few hours or up to a week.

Visit the caves. There doesn't exist only the "Cueva del Indio" which the tourist mainly visit, there are also other famous caves near Viñales which are more or less untouristy (like "Paleolítico").

You can visit the famous "Aquáticos". For explaining in a short way, the aquáticos are a groupe of people living on a mogote in the valley of viñales who are sure, that their water source will help against every illness. You can visit them, reaching the hill by foot or by horse. When you're not so interested in the people believe you can also just enjoy the nice view from the hill to the valley.

Visit the north coast of Cuba, there you will find very nice beaches. Most of them are very quiet, there are only a few tourists. Specially recomendable are the excursions to the isle Cayo Jutías and to the isle Cayo Levisa. Last-mentioned is also very famous among divers. It's posibile to make a daily trip to this two places. If you like to go in the most agreeable way I recomend to organise the trip by a local tourist agency. Comparing the ofers in Viñales, Havanatur has the best (Their office is at the town centre of Viñales. They offer the trip to Cayo Jutías for 25 CUC (including Transfer, lunch, sunshade and tax for using the road to the isle). The trip to Cayo Levisa costs 40 CUC (including Transfer, lunch, snorkeling). Who want's to do this excursions by his own for exemple with a rented car or moto will be surprised about the price finally paid (Cayo Jutías: taxes for the road; Cayo Levisa: ship - and the high priced food at this places). If you like to go by public transport you need at least two days for this trips. The hotel at Cayo Levisa is not cheap and the last miles to Cayo Jutias are only posible to do by a hired transport!

Viñales BusTour. It's running a (Tourist)-bus, with a fixed timetable. The bus circuit give you the possibility to visit the most famous places in and around Viñales in a cheap way, specially if you're alone. You pay 5 CUC a day and can hop on and off as often you want to. Sometimes there's doing a bus with two floors the journey. Then you enjoy at the upper-deck a very nice view and get a lot of possibilitys to take good pictures. Please be aware, that this bus is running slower, so the timetable is not correct. Ask the bus driver when he will come back when you're leaving the bus.



Peninsule of Zapata one of the largest swamps in the Caribbean


Peninsule of Zapata

Activities and places to visit in the Peninsule of Zapata.



Peninsule of Zapata (Ciénaga de Zapata), considered a Biosphere Preserve and officially declared RAMSAR Site, is for sure one of the best places of the Island regarding beauty, biodiversity and historical values. Located to the southern coastline at Matanzas city,at 180 km to the south of Havana city,it is also the major humid area of the insular Caribbean, and a natural fragile ecosystems reservoir. With 4 520 km2,it is the place of the Parque Nacional de Ciénaga de Zapata, accessible by road.

Its inhabitant number is around nine thousand, with a density of barely six per Km2, the lowest in Cuba. Sea-freatic–tectonic caves area a special type of cave very abundant here, open all the long of a 70 km crack between the Bay of Pigs and Cienfuegos bay. In their surface there are semicircular lakes, which allow the access to flooded galleries, some of which serve as course for underground rivers. Another attraction is the Laguna del tesoro (treasure lake), with more than 4 m of average depth and almost 16 km of surface, which make it one of the major fresh water mirrors of the Island. According to an old legend, in the XIX century, when Spaniards went deep into that area, the first local inhabitants, being frightened, threw their riches to the water, which originated the name of the lake. Villa Guamá is also located here, and it is one of the most famous and visited of The Ciénaga de Zapata, due to its natural beauty and colorful architecture.

Birds of Zapata´s Peninsule, Cuba There, several sculptures of Rita Longa recreate the daily activities practiced by the first local inhabitants. There is also a peculiar flora, found under the water, floating over it and by the shore. Among its fauna, we find biajacas, trouts, the cebrita cubana (Cuban zebra), the cabezota, as well as turtles and bullfrogs. Manjuari, a living fossil found in the access channels, and the manati, another traditional Cuban species, are an example of the local preservation tasks carried out. All of these reasons have turned this area into a place more and more known and preferred by ecology, sport and recreational fishing lovers. In the same way,in the Parque Nacional Ciénaga de Zapata, considered one of the most important Cuban birds hibernation centers, there are important natural areas. An example of this are the Salinas de Brito, a relevant preserve for aquatic birds like sevillas,herons, flamingos and cranes, and ideal for tourism of observation. On winter, more than 65 bird species coincide here, while in the Ciénaga de Zapata are 16 types of reptile, among them the Cuban cocrodile, which can be observed at the local breeding farm. A wide eco-tourist offer and an efficient specialized guide and equipments service are available for visitors to be in direct contact with nature.




Zapata Swamp (Peninsule of Zapata, National Park)

To the south of the province of Matanzas Zapata Peninsula, one of the most important ecosystems in Cuba and the largest wetland reserve in the Caribbean islands is located. Its natural landscape is rich and provides habitat to an exceptional flora and fauna, characterized by high levels of endemism. Inside the Peninsula is located the Gran Parque Natural Montemar, allowing visitors to contact the beaches, exotic forests, mangrove forests, vast rivers and natural lakes, flooded caverns which communicate with the sea, natural pools and direct seabed beauty that facilitate initiation in diving and daytime and evening exercise and cave diving.

Among the landmarks of the park is open to the caving system along 70 kms., With caves in which, by partial collapse of the ceiling, semicircular gaps are formed on its surface, which are called cenotes.

Here you can also practiced various sports such as hiking, biking, trekking, hikking, horseback riding and boating, or go to the wildlife refuges and international corridors of birds to watch native and migratory species.

One of the most unique sites in Cuba's Zapata Swamp, where several types of marsh ecosystems are grouped, moderately or slightly modified by human action.Predominate there landscapes of low, marshy plains semipantanosas, on peat deposits and limestone, with hydromorphic soils and vegetation of natural grasslands of high aesthetic and landscape value, such as La Laguna del Tesoro and Hatiguanico River Basin, main waterway of the area as well as Playa Larga and Playa Giron. Overall, the vegetation of the Zapata Swamp is one of the most important green areas of Cuba and, by the very species of flora and fauna it represents a place of global concern.

Values of flora and fauna

In the Zapata swamp forests on limestone and poorly drained parts and mangroves predominate. In addition, there are large tracts where usually flooded marsh grassland, consisting cortadera, palmanaca, arraiján, yana and guanito, among other grows. For animal, place values transcend local boundaries. The Zapata Rail and Ferminia are unique birds in the area and are considered the most restricted habitat in the world. Overall, there have been over a hundred species of birds, including the Bee Hummingbird, Zapata Sparrow, Gundlach's Hawk, Catey, Parrot and Dove Partridge, of which high concentrations are formed throughout the year.Zapata Swamp is a natural refuge for thousands of migratory birds from North America.

Wide variety of wildlife

In the sixteen are Zapata swamp reptile species, among which the Cuban and American crocodiles, iguana, lizards, boa, and several types of frogs. Mammals are represented by a local endemic: the dwarf jutía addition to hutia as well as large populations of feral pigs and introduced deer. In estuaries and lagoons is possible to locate two species of aquatic vertebrates threatened by extinction: the manatee and manjuarí latter is a fish that is only found in Cuba in that region. So far in the Zapata Swamp have been able to identify more than a thousand species of insects, arachnids and arthropods, some very peculiar ways. As in all the swamps of the island, there abound several species of mosquitoes and gnats.

Bello ecosystem

To increase the attractiveness of the Zapata Swamp, there are very deep caverns near the south coast, where the waters above vary from sweet to savory totally deep.Live in them several representatives of the marine fauna, including corals and fish.The area is very wet or humid ecosystem lands that are now the subject of great interest for environmental protection, for the Zapata Swamp in Cuba and other coastal natural laboratories are real. Visiting the place is undoubtedly an extraordinary adventure for lovers of nature and life. Take care means a vital and unique responsibility.

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