HOTELS vs B&Bs IN CUBA
When you plan your trip to Cuba, one of the big decisions you’ll have to make is: should you stay at a hotel or a B&B? We get a lot of questions about these options, so we’ve compiled a list of FAQs to help you make an informed decision.
Above: a private room at a B&B in Havana
Q: Are Americans allowed to stay at hotels in Cuba?
Yes, as long as they are not owned and operated by the Cuban government. We at CIT know which hotels are allowed and which are prohibited, so you can rest assured you’ll be compliant with all the current regulations.
Q: How do B&Bs work in Cuba?
B&Bs in Cuba are known locally as casas particulares. These are homestays or private accommodations offered by Cuban families under a government-approved system of private enterprise. Running a B&B in Cuba is one of the best gigs a person can have, so Cubans take great care in ensuring that their guests have a safe, comfortable stay and all around positive experience.
Q: How does CIT choose a B&B?
We have a hand selected list of B&Bs that we use regularly. These are places that have been tried and tested many times. Depending on your preference and group size, we can either do a private apartment/house, or rent a room in a homestay style B&B. Let us know if you need a certain bed size (full and queen are most common, but king is sometimes available), if you prefer first floor or a high rise, or if you have any other special requests or needs. We’ll always send you pictures of and details about the B&B before we book it for you. All B&Bs will have private bathrooms, AC, hot water, and a safe or your valuables.
**Please note: If you are leaning towards staying at a B&B, it’s always better to book sooner than later so we can reserve a trusted property for you. Our top choices can sometimes book up months in advance.**
Q: What are the main differences between the hotels in Havana?
There are two main 5 star hotels that we use in Havana: the Saratoga and the Iberostar Parque Central. Both are located in Old Havana; amenity-wise they are also very similar. Both have rooftop pools, gyms, concierge, etc.
The lobby of the 5 Star Iberostar Parque Central in Havana
Q: What are the pros/cons of staying at a hotel versus a B&B in Havana?
Pros of staying at a hotel in Havana:
– Old Havana location. The hotels that we use are mostly located in Old Havana, which is a fun and walkable area with top restaurants and venues close by.
– More amenities. All of the hotels we use have a pool, exercise room, restaurant, business center, money exchange, concierge service, etc.
The rooftop pool at the Hotel Saratoga overlooking Havana’s Capitol building
Pros of staying at a B&B in Havana:
– Value, value, value. Even a luxury B&B in Havana will be more affordable than a hotel. If you’re planning your trip on a budget, a B&B is the way to go.
– Authentic experience. Most of the B&Bs that we use in Havana are located in the popular Vedado neighborhood, which is slightly more residential than Old Havana though still very central. For people who want to be immersed in a real Cuban neighborhood, then a B&B in Vedado is for you.
– Interaction with your B&B host. Whether you’re doing a private apartment or a true “homestay” style B&B, you’ll definitely interact with your host at least upon arrival. Many people cherish the connections they make with their hosts and cite the interactions withtheir hosts as a highlight of their trip.
Cons of staying at a hotel in Havana:
– Price. People are often surprised at the cost of hotels in Cuba – they aren’t as cheap as you might think! Also, their star rating is not equivalent to the US. In other words, the best 5 star in Cuba is more akin to a 4 star in the States.
– Other tourists. Many CIT travelers head to Cuba with the goal to experience Cuba in an authentic way and can be put off by the presence of other tourists.
Cons of staying at a B&B in Havana:
– Fewer amenities. Every B&B is different, but if you’re someone who wants a pool, spa, gym, and restaurant available to you, then you should choose a hotel.
Q: What about hotels and B&Bs in other towns in Cuba?
Generally speaking the only other place we have travelers stay overnight is Trinidad, a charming colonial town on the southern shore of Cuba. Since it is a smaller town, the lodging options are more limited.
For hotels, there is the 5 star Iberostar, a very charming and upscale hotel right by the town’s main center. However, it is one of the most expensive properties in Cuba, and since it is so small, it does book up far in advance. There is also the newly renovated 4 star Memories, located right on Playa Ancón beach. This hotel is more basic, but less pricey than the Iberostar and many people do enjoy being located on the beach.
A room at the adults-only 5 star Iberostar Trinidad Hotel
For B&Bs in Trinidad, there are some gorgeous options, but they tend to fill up very far in advance. Overall the B&Bs in Trinidad are going to be more rustic and not as modern as the ones in Havana, but they all provide basic amenities like AC, hot water, and good breakfasts.
A private room at our favorite B&B in Trinidad
If you still have any questions about the different lodging options, feel free to reach out, and one of our friendly CIT representatives will be happy to help!