Havana has some great accommodation options – you can either choose to stay in one of the ornate colonial hotels which are a sightseeing attraction in themselves, or a casa particular which is a local home.
Both options have positives and negatives depending on what is important to you. Hotels will likely have more facilities, though it is possible to find luxurious casas with features such as swimming pools too if you have the budget. We found that the price for a room in a good hotel started at around £200 per night, and casas were available for around half this price, though both seem expensive due to the high tourist demand in Cuba right now. Booking early is to be advised.
The benefit of a casa particular is you get a relaxed homestay feel where you can see how Cubans live, though some of the owners are friendlier than others. Casa Mi Terra worked out at around £123 per night and is luxurious by Cuban standards – the embargo has meant that having a decent shower and toilet could be defined as luxury in Cuba, while AC certainly counts as high spec. The latter is definitely worth paying for as even in the beginning of December, which should be less hot than other times of year, it was still sweltering! Best of all there are lovely high ceilings and colonial interiors, as well as rocking chairs in the sitting area and a balcony (though these look somewhat precarious in old Havana, as though they could give way at any moment). You can hear the thrum of the city all around but our room definitely provided an oasis of peace amidst the madness!
For that price you get breakfast included and ours was good (again lower your expectations for food in Cuba as there is simply not much available in the way of ingredients). A large fresh fruit platter, bread with guava jam and butter, coffee and an omelette were fairly standard fare but a decent way to start the day and the Cuban coffee is pretty good as long as the milk hasn’t turned.
The best thing about Casa Mi Terra was the bed linen, which was super comfortable, and the location. It’s a couple of blocks south of Havana Vieja which is one of the prettiest neighbourhoods if you want to see stunning colonial architecture. It’s also only a short walk away from the Hotel Santander where the private transfer buses stop and on the tourist buses route which offer a city tour where you get on and off. The casa particular owner Yaunika was very efficient and everything ran on time which is to be admired in Cuba. She also allowed us to store a bag with her while we went to Viñales and Trinidad which was really helpful.
Another shout out must go to the friendly doorman who provided a smiling face at the end of each day and was helpful to point out which apartment was ours.
As a good value option casa in Cuba, I can definitely recommend Casa Mi Terra which is at 113 Calle Jesus Maria, Havana, and can be booked through Cuba Direct.
Casa Particular Features
- Central location
- Budget accommodation
- Fresh towels daily