Travelers to Cuba have three main options for lodging: the large, historic government run hotels, rooms or small apartments via AirBnB and locally run casa particulars. Here are some of the best options for each.
The most authentic option is to stay at a true Cuban family in one of the many charming casa particulares. The best option to find a casa particulares is to show up and ask around to locals for it. Cubans typically have a wide network of friends and family and if one family is booked up, they’ll help refer you to someone with availability.
If choosing this option, here are a couple things to keep in mind:
Casa Particulars are not “unofficial” – they typically register with the government for the legal right to operate and will issue you a receipt for your stay. They’ll also ask for your passport number to write down for government records
Cubans rent out a spare room in the home and so rates are for the full room. Single travelers unfortunately don’t get a discount.
If you’re heading on from Havana, your host family can arrange for accommodation in the next couple towns you’ll visit. They’re savvy and will maintain the same price that you paid for the first night at each subsequent home so if you think you may have overpaid, just start the search over in the next town
By and large, most local rooms are of similar quality and rates are roughly 10 to 30 CUC per room, with a little more for homemade breakfast in the morning. Curious about Cuban wages and the dual currency system? Read this post for more info about daily life in Cuba.