Cuba is a fascinating country with a unique culture – a socialist state basking in the Caribbean sunshine. Life in Cuba is unlike any other Latin American or Caribbean country and indeed unlike most other countries in the world. At Explore we aim to bring you closer to real life in Cuba by spending some nights in local accommodation.
Casa Particular (Spanish for ‘private house’) is a Cuban term meaning private accommodation or private homestay where one or two modest rooms, mostly with en suite facilities, are rented out to visitors. Casas are generally run by the owner and members of the family that live there, thus offering the visitor a unique opportunity to experience Cuban hospitality.
We believe that staying in a Casa will be one of the most interesting experiences you will enjoy during your cycle around Cuba. Depending on your interests and the individual character of your hosts you will have the chance to ask questions and learn about local life. The group will be spread between a number of hand-picked Casas situated within a short distance of each other. Each house is unique and no two rooms are the same, but all the Casas we use are clean, safe and centrally located.
Casas are the main accommodation while visiting the city of Trinidad on Explore tours Cycle the Backroads of Cuba and Highlights of Cuba by Bicycle and will be used on Cycle Cuba! from Christmas 2013 onwards.
Quotes from Tour Leaders and customers
"This is the best way to get into the heart of Cuban life! Nothing compares to sitting at the breakfast table with landlord Lucio and his grandmother bringing fresh papaya from their own garden." (Gregorio Garrido, Tour Leader)
"I didn't expect to find locals speaking openly about their lives and social reality in Cuba but when stying in a casa particular I found my hosts talking freely about anything I'd ask them - very, very interesting!"
"What a great way of reconnecting with my Spanish learned years ago - those hosts were so outgoing and up for conversation all the time!"
"Bernardo spoke good English and it was just incredible having his home made mojitos whilst listening to his stories."
"Cuba is a unique and very approachable country for us cycling the back roads. But nothing was as overwhelming as staying in Yaimaras house where some uncle was telling stories all the time whilst pigs were running around in the garden and the granny was toasting coffee beans from the nearby Sierra on open fire "
Where will I be staying?
As we use a number of different Casas and each group is allocated by the Tour Leader according to its individual needs upon arrival in Trinidad, we cannot advise the contact details of your Casa before departure. You will be staying in an officially licensed Casa Particular in a central location.
Will there be other guests staying at the Casa?
Possibly, it depends on the number of rooms offered in each house. Most Casas offer only one or two rooms, though some have more. We try to keep the Explore group members together where possible but occasionally there may be another guest staying in another room.
What facilities are there?
Virtually all of the rooms have private facilities but on rare occasions it may be necessary to share a bathroom. While some Casas may extend use of the living room or a terrace to its guests and some rooms may be equipped with a television, it is generally best to assume that it will be simple and modestly decorated.
Will I need to pack anything different?
No. Just like in a hotel the beds will be made up with clean linen and you will be provided with basic toiletries and a towel.
Do I need to speak Spanish?
Do not worry if you don’t speak Spanish, your hosts will manage to make themselves understood. The standard of English spoken by your hosts will vary but it also gives any budding Spanish students a chance to practise!
Where will I eat?
Breakfast is provided by the Casas. Your Tour Leader will generally arrange an evening group meal for those interested in a local restaurant on at least one of the nights in Trinidad. Some Casas offer meals directly and you may choose to dine in if you wish.
Is it safe?
Yes. Just like in a hotel, all rooms have a lock and the house is securely protected from outsiders. Crime levels in Cuba are generally very low and crimes against visitors are extremely rare. To avoid petty crime in any destination in the world we recommend you lock up or look after any valuables while travelling.
What if there is a problem?
As is the case on all Explore tours, your Tour Leader will be readily contactable and able to assist with any problem should the need arise. Additionally you can express any interest or identify any need to the Tour Leader before you check in.