From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
particular (Spanish for "private house"; plural casas particulares) is a
phrase meaning private accommodation or private homestays in Cuba, very
similar to bed and breakfast although it can also take the form of vacation
rental. When the meaning is clear the term is often shortened to simply
A casa particular is basically a private family
establishment that provides paid lodging, usually on a short-term basis. In
general under this term you can find full apartment and houses, rooms inside
people homes, mini-apartments or rooms with separate entrance (studio or
efficiency type rooms).
It is also considered a type of boarding house
typically operated out of a single family residence where guests can be
accommodated at night in private bedrooms (which may or may not be equipped
with private baths) and where breakfast, sometimes continental and sometimes
the full English variety, is served in the morning. The business may be
operated either as a primary occupation or as a secondary source of income,
and the staff often consists of the house's owner(s) and members of their
family who live there.
Because they are usually small, rarely with
room for more than about 5-6 guests, it is advisable for anyone wanting to
stay at a particular casa particular during high season to make advance
reservations. However, outside the season there is no need because there are
often many such casas, causing competition and opening opportunities to
strike a deal. Prices can then drop to 15 euro or even less for longer stays.
During high season they can rise to over 30 euro. Many belong to
associations, have a web presence, and are described in various books and
Casas particulares can be recognised by a small
sign on the door, with two blue triangles ('roofs') against a white
background, which the owners obtain after paying a fixed per-room annual tax.
In some Cuban cities and tourist
resorts, like Varadero, Playa Santa Lucia and Guardalavaca, the local
municipal assemblies local authorities determined that casas particulares
would represent a threat to the hotel industry, and passed some legislation
placing regulations and limits on the industry forbidding the operation of
of the term
literally means "private house" but it started to be used to mean "private
accommodation" in 1997, when the Cuban government allowed Cubans to rent out
rooms in their houses or apartments to tourists, providing Cuban families
with new sources of income. As any other type of accommodation in Cuba such
as hotels, camping and motels were owned by the government, the term "casa
particular" stated that this kind of paid lodging was privately operated.
Services and facilities
generally clean and upgraded to tourist standards. It ranges from basic
accommodation of a room with a bed, a closet, a small table to full
furnished independent apartments upgraded to western standards. Other
features found may be a telephone, an alarm clock, and a TV. Food and drink
may be supplied by a mini-bar (which often includes a small refrigerator)
containing snacks and drinks (to be paid for on departure).
In keeping with the
similarity to B&B's, breakfast is usually included in the price, although
one should ask first. Dinner is often also served, but not included in the
price. However, if it becomes clear that one plans to generally eat out, the
price may go up because this is an important second source of income.
Casas particulares have several advantages over other types of
- The guest can quickly develop genuine Cuban
relationships and become deeply involved in the culture of the country.
Before he/she knows it, the guest will be part of the family. In a big
resort one may only meet hotel workers and other tourists.
- The guest will, probably, enjoy the usually
free and easy atmosphere, feel at home in the casa particular and will
be able to invite friends over. The current regulations for state-run
hotels don't allow to have Cuban guests invited to hotel rooms.
- It is almost always cheaper to stay in a
private room than in a hotel.
- "Guests" are not usually allowed into the
hotels. Usually one can take one local "guest" into his rented
- By renting a casa particular, the guest will
be directly contributing to a person or family's standard of living.
This is often obvious through the fact that casas particulares are
freshly painted. This has been heavily criticised in Cuba as it is
evidence of the reemergence of class divisions, since the early nineties
special period (where tourism was used to compensate the drop in trade
due to the collapse of the socialist bloc), that the Cuban revolution
did away with.
The cost and quality of casas
particulares are usually indicative of the accommodation type and type of
services available. Most of the casas particulares are rented for short term
to travellers. Long term accommodation is also provided by some casas,
especially for foreign students. In Havana, the casas particulares are
usually family apartments and a smaller number of them are houses. In other
cities, private accommodation is provided mainly in family houses.
of Casas Particulares rentals:
- Private Room: a room is rented out most of
the times with private bathroom and a key to the apartment/house is
usually given to the guest.
- Private Room with independent entrance.
Sometimes the house/apartment is split in order to allow this.
- Apartment: the guest can enjoy the privacy
and independence of a full furnished apartment for his/her vacations.
Sometimes this apartment is part of house being split by a wall usually
with a connecting door.
- Studio-type or mini-apartment: it is not an
apartment with several rooms but just the bedroom, a
kitchen-living-dining room and a bathroom.