Where to stay in Cuba
Tourism in Cuba is not in its infancy but the country still receives a fraction of the number of visitors of some of its Caribbean neighbours. However, this is all starting to change and with the increasing numbers of tourists there, is an increasing pressure on accommodation. Many of the more well known hotels book up many months in advance, particularly for peak season, so it is always worth booking as far in advance as possible.
What is the accommodation like in Cuba?
There are two main different types of accommodation in Cuba, standard hotels and casas particuliares. The latter are like Cuban-style B&Bs, where you stay in a room in someone’s house. The rooms are specifically prepared for tourists and usually have air-conditioning and private bathrooms. The hosts may not speak much English so it is useful to either speak a smattering of Spanish or bring a good phrase book with you. Failing that, a bit of mime works a treat. Invariably you will arrive as a guest and leave as a friend – sometimes accompanied by a big goodbye hug.
Each casa will usually only have one or two rooms which is perfect for those travelling with younger children as you can put the kids to bed and then sit outside the room or on the roof terrace for an evening cocktail. Many casas will also provide food so you could enjoy a delicious home cooked meal.
As each casa is small, they fill up quickly so we have a wide range of different casas in each location that we are able to suggest. Each has been visited personally by our local team so that we know you will receive a warm and comfortable welcome.
The alternative to a casa is a ‘standard’ hotel, many of which are housed in beautiful old colonial buildings and have a wonderful boutique feel. However, once you leave Havana (and the beach) behind, there is only a small handful of good boutique hotels and these book out a long way in advance. If you are keen to stay in hotels it is particularly important therefore to book in plenty of time.
For most of our itineraries we will suggest a combination of casas and hotels, often with a lovely colonial hotel in Havana and then smaller friendly casas once you get into the countryside. We will be able to advise you on what will best suit your family.
Please note that booking accommodation in Cuba is a remarkably lengthy procedure and it takes several weeks to get all of the accommodation for a tour confirmed. Don’t worry, we will manage the whole process for you but please don’t be concerned if it takes a while. We will usually ask you to confirm your tour (and pay your deposit) based on a range of ‘typical’ accommodation and then we will inform you about the exact hotels / casas as soon as we know this. We will always get your approval before confirming anything to ensure that you are happy with the selection.
What is a typical casa?
One of our favourite casas has to be Milagrosa, in Trinidad. The eponymous Mila is hugely charming and welcoming and will usher you in like a family member. Remember to look out for all Mila’s flags on her colourful rooftop terrace; if she doesn’t have your country’s flag on show then she may ask you to send it for the next time! Within walking distance of the town centre, casa Milagrosa is ‘home from home’ and they know how to mix a mean mojito. There is a lovely small garden terrace where you can take your breakfast and the rooms are all comfortably (if simply) furnished.
What is a typical hotel?
Hotel La Moka, in Las Terrazas, is one of our favourites and a great place for a family. It is found right in the heart of the small eco-community of Las Terrazas within an easy stroll of the little artists’ studios and market stalls, as well as the lush green terraces and the lake that make up this community. Just at the bottom of the steps on the outside of the hotel is the Café de Maria, serving the most delicious coffee you’ve ever had – don’t miss it. The hotel has a gorgeous pool, surrounded by shaded trees and a bar selling icy-cold drinks – perfect for children who want to cool off. See who can spot the most little lizards in the plants around the gardens.
Inside the hotel, there are views of the community and the lobby has a tree growing through the middle of it. There is live music every evening and if you befriend the band members you may be invited down the hill to the community disco. Here you can unveil your best salsa moves and dance alongside villagers of all ages, from toddlers up to great-grandparents.
Havana also has some wonderful hotels and one of our favourites is the Hotel Raquel. Situated right in the heart of old Havana, it is located within a few steps of Plaza Vieja and all the deliciously narrow alleyways and crumbling facades that give the city such charm and character. The hotel itself is utterly charming and as soon as you enter you feel as if you are transported back into an earlier era. Find your way to the bar where you can enjoy the plush seating and polished bar whilst you enjoy your drinks… then up to your room in the old fashioned elevator under an amazing domed stained-glass roof. Later seek out a cool breeze on the rooftop terrace.
What about on the beach?
The vast majority of the beach hotels in Cuba are large all-inclusive resorts. These offer comfortable accommodation, often several pools and a range of activities. They vary in standard (and some don’t accept younger children) but although there are some very good resorts, these are not on a par with the best of Caribbean luxury. Please remember that Cuban 5-star does not translate! However, if you are looking for some comfortable R and R at the end of a trip then these all-inclusives are perfect.
If you are not keen on the idea of an all-inclusive resort you may want to consider Cayo Levisa. This is one of only a very small handful of beach hotels in Cuba that buck the normal trend, retaining a laid-back low-key vibe where the emphasis is all on the beach and the views. Accommodation is in comfortable wooden beach bungalows and although it isn’t luxurious, the beach is superb. Cayo Levisa has only a limited number of rooms and therefore books up particularly far in advance. Book early!
Call us and we will be happy to provide you with a free-of-charge no obligation itinerary and quotation designed for you.
Cuba in pictures
Talk with our friendly team about your family travel needs.