Airbnb in Cuba

People are afraid of the unknown. Some people still don’t understand the concept of an Airbnb. As a result, many people are still afraid to use Airbnb. I recently read a Facebook post where somebody asked, “if they were going to be on an episode of CSI if they used an Airbnb”? One person who had never used Airbnb responded to the poster saying,” she would not suggest staying in an Airbnb alone because it was unsafe”. I quickly responded and let the poster know that Airbnb was perfectly safe to use alone or with a group.

While planning my trip to Cuba, I decided that I would stay in an Airbnb instead of a hotel. Airbnb allowed me to interact with the locals Cubans and it was financially cheaper.

When someone uses Airbnb for the first time they receive $40 off their first booking. I had each friend book an Airbnb in different cities that we would be staying at. As a result, we had a discount of $120. I stayed in Cuba 8 days, total lodging for the week was $578. Splitting the cost with 4 other people, I paid only $152.

La Habana, Cuba

The first Airbnb was located in La Habana, Cuba near the Malecon. I loved the location because of the Malecon: is an 8km seawall located on the coast of Havana stretching from Old Havana-Centro Havana and ending in Vedado. On any given night you could find the wall filled with thousands of people hanging out, listening to music, laughing, drinking, and eating.

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Malecon

We stayed here 3 nights. Please read the fine print before booking. We didn’t notice that this place charges $10 after the 2nd guest per night. At the last minute, we had to pay more money due to having 5 guest. Total $230 for 3 nights.

The room itself had 3 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, living room and balcony. While the rooms were a decent size, the beds were thin and small. All bedrooms had air condition, a nice relief from the heat and humidity.

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View from the Balcony

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The host name was Piti and he was great. Piti did not speak English, and we speak very little English, so it was very interesting to communicate. Despite our communication challenges are needs were met. We arranged for a taxi to pick us up from the airport. Soon after arriving at the Casa, Piti drove us to several destinations: Hotel Nacional in an attempt to exchange money, Paladar Vistamar for dinner reservations and Cabaret Parisien for a show. Down the street from this location is a small restaurant called Toke which has really cheap food.

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Hamging with Piti

Varadero, Cuba

The second Airbnb we stayed in was in Varadero. I absolutely loved this location, it was a 5-minute walk to Varadero Beach. The house was huge and had 3 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, 3 televisions, living room, dining room, kitchen, yard, and shower outside so that you can rinse off after coming from the beach. The house also had a house phone which is great if you need to make local phone calls. Total for 1 night $120.

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Bedroom
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Kitchen 
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Living Room 
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Bathroom 

Remember to bring a small washcloth because only large towels were provided.

Cooking Class 

In advance, I asked,” if we could have a cooking class by the host Maria”. She prepped the food in advance but she showed us how to cook the food. We had pork, rice & beans, plantains, cucumbers, tomatoes and flan for dessert. We paid $20 each. For drinks, Maria’s brother Jorge bought us beer. After telling him we did not drink beer he was shocked and wondered why we didn’t as he had bought lots of beer for us to consume.

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Pork

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Plaintains Chips
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Rice & Beans

In the morning, Maria also prepared breakfast for 5 CUC. It was the best breakfast as we had not had breakfast the first 4 days in Cuba. She cooked the following: omelets, ham and cheese slices, mini pancakes, fruit platter, bread and freshly squeezed juice.

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Scrambled eggs shaped like a pineapple with cucumbers & tomatoes
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Bread, ham & cheese slices
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Mini Pancakes
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Fruit Platter- Pineapple, Mango, Papaya & Banana

Maria and Jorge (siblings) were the best host and would highly recommend staying at this casa. Jorge spoke English and Maria only spoke Spanish. Maite is the owner of the Airbnb and responds promptly to booking request and questions.

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Host- Maria and Jorge

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Trinidad, Cuba 

The 3rd Airbnb was in Trinidad. Prior to arriving the host did not answer email or return calls but Cosme and his wife were terrific hosts. Upon arrival, we served freshly squeezed juice. The hosts also provide you with a pamphlet of things to do in the city and services you can get such as massage, laundry service etc. Total $108 for 2 nights.

We were shown to our rooms which had a twin and a queen bed inside. I loved the shower the best as it had a full shower head with hot water. They also had a fridge with drinks inside for sale. This is great as you don’t see convenience stores selling snacks and drinks.

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Bathroom Essentials such as soap and shampoo
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Loving the shower head and hot water

They also provided breakfast for 5 CUC- fresh fruit, cake, omelet, bread, and butter.

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Ham & Cheese Omelette: Cucumbers & tomato

Cosme was really helpful. Thursday night we decided to go out on the town, he made sure we had a taxi that picked us up from the house and promptly arrived when were ready to go back to the casa. He also found a taxi back to Havana for a cheaper price than what we paid to arrive in Trinidad.

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Cosme and his wife

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Old Havana

4th Airbnb was located in Old Havana. The room had 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, living room, dining room and wifi. Wifi did not work on the first day but did work during the evening on the second day. Total cost $120 for 2 nights.

Our host Santiago did not speak English but had an English/Spanish dictionary available. Our first day, Santiago walked around with us in town and showed us places to eat. He also made sure to find a driver to Vinales when our driver did not arrive.

Culturally the family often hangs together at the home. So every day we saw Santiago, his sister Gloria her husband and some cousins. This did not bother me at all but know even if you rent the house be prepared to have potential guests who may come over to cook breakfast or visit with one another.

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Santiago, Gloria, Husband, Cousin
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Selfies with the host family

Have you tried Airbnb before? If so, how was your experience?

 

 

 

 

39 Comments

    • Yes I loved receiving the discounts, we saved about $120. I was very pleased with the amount we paid for the entire week. If i went back I would use airbnb as it provides a different experience from a hotel.

    • Yes I hear some pretty bad things about Airbnb but i have had nothing but positive experiences, so I will continue to use them. Yes the best parts of the trip was hanging with locals. You have to make it your mission to get to Cuba, I think you would like it.

    • This is very true, thats why I opted for a Cuban experience vs. staying in a hotel with other tourist. They also had another cooking class at a local restaurant, that I would have loved to take and will be putting it on my to do list for next time.

    • Yes and the best part was the host were great and super helpful! Let me know if you need help planning when you decide to go.

  1. I never would of thought of Air BNB being in Cuba. I am loving all the recent travel to Cuba. I hope the local people are benefitting. It is a beautiful country.

    • Yes Airbnb is booming in Cuba! Hotels are so much more expensive and I’m a budget traveler. I hope they are too, I wonder how much money they have to give to the local government.? Now you have me thinking.

  2. I was looking at airbnbs for Cuba the other day just because I love searching on Airbnb for fun. These are great places that I will have to keep in mind. Looks like you all had a blast!

    • Yes we had a blast. I never thought to check out airbnb for fun. I might get in trouble if I do that because of course I cant see a great airbnb and not to travel to that particular destination. Hopefully you get the opportunity to visit Cuba!

  3. Awesom! Thanks for sharing. None of these places are available during my travel dates. If they were, I’d book them. I hope to also have good fortune with airbnb bookings during my visit later this month.

    • You’re very welcome. Oh no, these are some great places I wished they were available. Let me know how your trip goes once you get back. Have a great time.

  4. Great pics, and great experience. Air B-n-B is great and in a place like Cuba I think truly gives a more authentic feeling for the daily life of the Cuban people than any hotel could offer. Hope to get there myself one day!

    • It’s so true, I could have stayed a hotel but I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to get a local experience. Hope you have the chance to visit soon.

  5. Great post. I LOVED my casas in Cuba. One was right by calle 23 and the other was away from the city, but it was very relaxing to stay there. The only time I spent outside an airbnb was in Varadero because I wanted to stay on a resort.

    • Thank you very much! It looked like the resorts were nice in Varadero, but I love to save money so I opted for the Airbnb. I think Airbnb will be my go to in other countries as well.

  6. I’ve not tried AirBNB but I would. I’ve heard a lot of great things from a variety of people who have used it all over the place.

    I don’t believe in fearing something I’ve never experienced.

    • I agree, but I guess the unknown terrifies people which causes them to miss out on so many wonderful opportunities.

  7. You have all the tips! I’ve never stayed in an Airbnb, but I’m not afraid to. I see so many of my travel blogger boo’s staying in awesome places and they save so much money. We have to get out of our mindest of strictly hotels and motels.

    • It was definitely a big savings for me. I want to put more money into activities outside of accommodations. We have only known hotels and motels, so Airbnb is a new concept that will take some getting used to.

    • Although the cooking class was good, I wish it were more hands on but the food was good. In Cuba Airbnb is the best way to go!

  8. The salad and plantain fit my tastes and look pretty good. Wow, you stayed in Airbnb and had a good experience. That’s awesome!

  9. 1st can I come with you next time? Lol I love that you were bold enough to do Airbnb in Cuba and this just looked amazing. I particularly loved that one of your hosts, Maria, even provided a cooking class. What an authentic experience!

    • LOL, absolutely you can come next time. I wanted to save money. I knew that Airbnb could save me money while providing an experience. I took a cooking class in Thailand and want to take one in every country I visit.

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