Cuba has a range of hotels, but one of the most economical ways to spend an overnight is in a casa particular. NY1's Valarie D'Elia filed the following report.
Cuba is known for its mix of hotels, such as the iconic but shabby Nacional to several other boutique-style choices in Old Havana. But one of the best ways to get close to the culture is with a casa particular, or staying in a private house.
The residents are licensed to rent out a maximum of two rooms and in return pay a tax to the government. It's a concept that's been in effect for more than 10 years to give Cuban families another source of income. You can think of it as something similar to a bed and breakfast in the U.S.
"They can share more of their time with Cuban people and they get to know better about the country, about how people live, what they do, etc.," said Casa Particular manager Julio Viera.
Since there is no real network of casa particulars, the best way to find out about them is by searching the Internet or word of mouth. They are all over the island, especially in remote areas such as Vinales which has few hotels.
Besides one-on-one time with your Cuban hosts, the big appeal of staying in a casa particular is the cost. They are usually more affordable than staying in a hotel, averaging about $30 a night. It's customary to receive breakfast, but you can also arrange a home-cooked dinner for an extra charge. For more information, check out www.casaparticular.info.
Follow Val On Twitter