Color Your World 2017: Tropical Rainforest

Casa Particular

Facade, Havana, Cuba

Casa Maypu, Havana, Cuba

Tropical rainforest facade of Casa Maypu in Havana, Cuba.

Until 1997, all accommodation in Cuba was state-owned and operated. Beginning in1997, the Cuban government allowed Cuban families to register their homes as private businesses (casa particular) and rent out rooms or houses to foreigners, similar to a bed and breakfast. The casa particular is an affordable alternative to a hotel. Guests often mingle with the family but are also provided with privacy.  Cuban families can earn substantial income from rentals, and the money is often used to update the property. Common space is shared with the family. Rates are reasonable and other amenities are sometimes available. A casa particular is often called by the first name of its owner(s).

The quality and amenities of a casa can depend on its location and size.  The casa in which I stayed in Trinidad serve a nice breakfast and would prepare lunch or dinner if requested in advance; sold snacks and beverages were sold in a small bar. The owner and his family were available but didn’t mingle with the guests much because of limited English.  If traveling in Cuba in the high season (January and February) reserve a room online before arriving in Cuba. Demand is high during that period. The one drawback to a casa particular compared to a hotel—you won’t have Wi-Fi, though that may be slowly changing in Old Havana.  Have no fears about staying connected, though; about 200 Wi-Fi hotspots can be found throughout Cuba. Rates are not unreasonable, about $2 an hour.  Just look for a crowd of people with smart phones or computers.

Jennifer’s 2017 Color Your World Challenge: Tropical Rainforest

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