Visiting Cuba can be a fun, memorable and challenging experience. Where should stay the thousands of tourists which come every year from different parts of the world? Stay in a rent house or in a Hotel? Sometimes the lack of public knowledge or tips about Cuba makes them take less-better decisions. This guide discusses some approaches tourists can take to stay at Cuba.
Tourism in Cuba
The tourism in Cuba started to get noticed in the 90’s when Cuba opened new ways to generate income. By that time the fall of the Soviet Union, the United States Embargo against the country and other factors together made a hard economic situation in the country. One of the first things Cuban’s government did was to build Hotels and attract tourism to the island to generate income. Varadero always was the most important beach and touristic resort in Cuba, at the time this guide is written Varadero has thousands of tourists visitors per year.
Ways to stay in Cuba
There are a lot of hotels in Cuba especially in touristic areas like Havana, Varadero, North Keys, Holguin and others. (Refer to Cuba destinations) Hotels can be booked like anywhere else in the world, and some travel agencies offer packs for traveling to Cuba which includes a Hotel reservation.
Other ways to stay in Cuba are the Rent Houses. In early 90’s, given the high demand of tourism, the government authorized the creation of Rent Houses: private houses authorized to rent the house (or rooms) to tourists. Since then, rent houses have become an affordable way of stay in Cuba preferred by many visitors.
Hotels in Varadero
There are about 50 hotels in Varadero, 5 stars, all-inclusive, 4-3 stars, luxury, budget, etc. Hotels are located through the entire peninsula, although the biggest ones are by the end of the peninsula. While staying in a hotel you can benefit from all classic stuffs offered by a hotel, tours, meals, dinners, restaurants, bars, gym, SPAs… (if the hotel offers them of course).
Like in any country, hotels take care of your entertainment by offering shows, parties, tours and other attractions; city hotels (for example in Havana) may be less active in this way since the city takes care of the entertainment.
Prices in Hotels vary too much according to the Hotel’s category and other variables, but a room can be between: $25 - $300 per night. Small hotels like Pullman, Dos Mares, Ledo, Los delfines etc. are in the lower range, and others big hotels like Melia Las Americas, Sol Palmeras, Iberostar, Sandals Royal Hicacos, etc. are in the higher range. Check Cuba Hotels Reservation website for an insight of room prices and available hotels in Varadero and Cuba in general with book-online capabilities.
Rent houses in Varadero and Cuba
Rent houses are country wide and especially in touristic centers like Havana, Varadero, Matanzas, Cienfuegos, Trinidad, Santa Clara, Holguin, Santiago and others. There are about 100 rent houses just in Varadero at the time this guide was written. They are widely used by visitors and usually once a visitor has tried a rent house, he will continue coming to that one for next visits.
Rent house shape and services varies from rent house to rent house given its nature. But in general you can find comfortable rooms with a bed, air conditioner, bathroom, hot and cold water, good privacy and security. Some rent houses allow you cooking or others rent houses may offer breakfast and meals for an additional price.
The price of a room or house varies according to the characteristics of the house, its services and its location, but you can expect a rent house between $20 to $30 per night per room.
It’s important to know that a rent house owner should apply for a license from the government. He must meet hygiene and space conditions to get the license and pay a high fee for that. So a rent house owner should be authorized by the government to do so. You can identify a rent house by a blue triangle symbol displayed at the start of this guide. You cannot stay in an illegal rent house otherwise the owner and you will have troubles. Rent houses with red symbols are paid in CUP instead of CUC, and can host only Cubans, not foreign tourists.
So, where to stay? Rent house or hotel?
This highly depends on your budget and demands. Each approach has its own characteristics, pros and cons. There is no a “best choice” valid for everyone, some people prefer rent houses some others prefer hotels. Generally the main reason to decide for one or the other is the budget associated with price and occupancy.
Consult the following table for a chart-like comparison.
|Item||in a rent house||in a hotel|
|Price||$20-$45 (generally much lower than in hotels).||$20-$300 (generally much higher than in rent houses).|
|Occupancy||More than in a hotel room, adjustable with rent house owner and depending on the number of bedrooms and beds and the kind of beds.||Less than in a rent house, sometimes you will need to book more than one room or a larger suite which becomes expensive.|
|Security||Comparable with a hotel, although hotels offer legal warranties but rent houses are safe and secure||May be more secure than certain rent houses.|
|Cleaning services||Some rent houses offer cleaning services, others don’t, but generally they provide fresh towels and sheets every day.||Better than rent house.|
|Tours||Only few rent houses offers some limited tours, you have to build your tour yourself. Rent house owners can advise on everything you will need.||Most hotels offers guided tours with a dedicated experienced person, sometimes tours are included in price for all-inclusive hotels, others you will have to pay for them.|
|Meals||Many rent houses offers breakfast or meals, they can cook your food wishes and offer exotic dishes as well. There is nothing like the in-house “sazon”. You can go to any restaurant in the city while in a rent house. Meals in a rent house is much more cheaper than in a hotel.||Hotels offer meals, snacks, breakfasts and dinners according to their packages and promotions and its characteristics (all-inclusive, a package, etc.) they have restaurants as well. Meals in hotels are much more expensive than in a rent house.|
|Hygiene||Comparable with a hotel, it depends on rent house owners but generally rent house owners pay other person to clean or clean themselves.||Comparable with a rent house, no big difference in general.|
|Space||Rent houses are different but in the entire space rented (house or room) some ones are larger than others, many are larger than a hotel room, many are smaller.||The space of the room can be comparable with a rent house one, the hotel has the advantage of its surrounding areas.|
|Folk||Living with near a native family, get their advice, dishes, music, see how they behave, talk and live are a wonderful experience.||You can feel the folk by moving out there by the city or visiting other places.|
|Others||Everything is adjustable, you can communicate your needs to the rent house owner and get an agreement on anything.||Hotels have a lot of legal obligations with you, you can meet other people like you.|
So where will you stay on your next vacations? in case you decide to stay in a rent house, we can locate that rent house for you at no cost, browse the list of rent houses we have listed in the site and select the one you would like to stay, then fill the booking form and we will arrange your booking with rent house owners, you will be able to talk directly to rent house owners as well.