Accommodation in Cuba - The Traveller


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Thursday, August 9, 2012

Accommodation in Cuba


What Cubans call campismo has nothing to do with our conception of the campsite. For them, a campground is a tourist complex with bungalows more or less hardy, more rarely with tents equipped. Moreover, they are mostly reserved for Cubans. In fact, almost no one with a tent camp in Cuba: Wild camping is not allowed.

Homestays (casas particulares)

In 1997, revolution of Cuban socialism: a law allowing individuals to host strangers in their own fee. Admittedly, this is a private trade gap in the state system, but the government is the first to enjoy! Indeed, owners of casas particulares have to pay a heavy tax: 200 CUC (or more) per month per room, whether occupied or not, and we will not mention social security contributions on wages of any employee ( about 35%).

Even if the government does not wish to unduly such housing, instead favoring the hotel district of State, he was forced to let go of nimble in 2011 by liberalizing the rental. At year end, another tax is applied on the sales this time. The casas particulares also pay a tax (too high) for the Dining.

Compared to hotels, the casa is about three times cheaper than a hotel. We spotted them through a kind of blue arrow on the door and the words arrendador divided. They are strictly forbidden to receive a couple "mixed - foreign / Cuban" unmarried. A red arrow indicates that the casa is for Cubans.

- Expect a little inconvenience: not always soap, sanitary sometimes outside of the room (it is reported that the toilet paper does not flow into the bowl), sometimes also problems with water flow or hot, or air conditioning a bit noisy ... but you may experience the same hassle in the larger hotels, the warm welcome and less and the price and more!

- Tips and warnings: make your reservation by mail or phone yourself, without going through an intermediary. It is rare that you request a guaranteed reservation so be legit, take the trouble to call if you must cancel. From one city to another, you can ask your guests contact "colleagues". For Trinidad, Cienfuegos and Santiago, although to clarify to the house that you call only to be hosted in his home and not in another. Practice is becoming widespread among renters, taking advantage of their privileged position in a tourist guide. They overbooked or reserve among friends, leaving you believes that you will stay at home ... while taking a commission. The other may prefer to rent the room (you have booked) in the first tourist who rings the doorbell when the evening. The landlord then takes you to a colleague, eventually pocketing a commission.

- The passport and tourist card are required in the casas particulares for registration.


For several years, an extensive renovation operation allows former hotels to find a second life, starting with those of the historical center of Havana, where many colonial palaces have been converted into splendid and delightful small luxury hotels.

- Five major hotel chains share the majority of the park Cuban: in order of importance are found Gran Caribe (luxury hotels), Cubanacan, Gaviota (which depends on the army) and Islazul. Habaguanex, the baby, especially manages hotels newly renovated Old Havana. All these channels are owned by the state. If a few large international chains like Melia, Accor and recently Barceló in Cuba are now 80% of the total hotel is managed by the Cubans.

- A few minor annoyances that we should expect: low lighting, hot water problems, maintenance can be a bit limited. The renovation of the big hotels are doing piecemeal and very late, or you are lucky enough to come across a recently remodeled facility, either on a decrepit building and tattles ...

- For most, Cuban hotels have a nightclub (or even two!), At least one restaurant, bars, shops and many services: car rental, currency exchange, excursions ... In the lobby of all these establishments, there are usually also offices Havanatur, Cubatur, Cubanacan, etc.., To book a hotel room, a walk, find flight schedules, buy tickets to a show .. .

- The hotels are a bit cheaper than in Havana province.

- Please note during school holidays, hotels in Havana and Varadero are usually full! It is therefore advisable to book ahead in summer and at Christmas.

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