Where to Stay in Cuba for Every Budget: Airbnb, Casas, & Luxury Apartments

By: | March 13th, 2017 | 0 Comment

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We were so excited to visit to Cuba and experience this enchanting country with its back in time appeal. We traveled with our 2 preschoolers and my mom so we wanted to stay comfortably yet affordably, true to our style of experiencing luxury for less. Our typical method of booking luxury hotel suites for free or a fraction of the normal cost using points and hotel reward nights was not a good option in Cuba, so we did some research on where to stay in Cuba. We tried 3 different accommodations in Cuba during our visit: Airbnb, Casa particulares, and luxury apartments. We’re here to share our experience to help you make the best choice about where to stay in Cuba. There are great options for every budget.

Airbnb

In Havana, Bertaut found the perfect Airbnb for our family- a gorgeous 3 bedroom apartment with wall to wall windows looking out on the malecon and ocean in the historic Vedado district of Havana. This gem of an apartment books up several months in advance, which speaks to its appeal, so plan ahead if you would like to stay there. The OceanHavana Apartment costs $250/night, which seemed high for Cuba, but for 3 bedrooms, a full kitchen, 2 full baths, laundry room, and priceless ocean views, it was worth every dollar. For comparison, one night at Hotel Nacional, a few blocks away, costs about $500, and that is for just one bedroom. It is a great option for 3 couples traveling together as well, as it would only cost $67 per couple- a steal for a luxury apartment.

As a family with a 2 year old and a 4 year old, having separate bedrooms is not just a luxury, it is a necessity in order to get decent sleep. We were able to put them to bed while still enjoying ourselves in the rest of the apartment. Plus, the stress-free romantic vibes flow freely on vacation, which makes for some hot Havana nights. What couple, especially parents of young kids, wants to share a bedroom with their kids and mom and lose out on mind-blowing vacation sex? No thanks, not us 😉

My mom really appreciated having her own bedroom too since she often shares a bedroom with the kids on vacation, which means she’s squeezed into a small corner of a bed with one of our wild little sleepers. I think she slept more on this vacation that she ever has with us. Now that I think about it, this is the first vacation where we’ve had 3 separate bedrooms, and I have to say it really makes the difference between being comfortable and feeling like you are at home.

Another thing that makes this apartment stand out from other places we’ve rented is that it is cleaned every day, linens are exchanged daily, and they provide you with complimentary bottled water and toiletries (a rarity in Cuba). Even more surprising is that the apartment has wifi, so you can buy cards directly from the ladies who take care of the apartment ($4 per hour) to search the web from the comfort of your bed instead of needing to head out to a wifi hotspot. They even give you one card for free, which is a nice gesture. Having wifi in the apartment was especially helpful for us and allowed us to update our social media with fabulous photos of Cuba whenever we so pleased. Score! Check out photos of the apartment with its fanstastic ocean views.

3 bedroom apartment we rented through Airbnb in Havana with a large living room and gorgeous ocean views

View of malecon from our apartment in Vedado

One of 3 bedrooms at apartment we rented in Havana

Modern bathroom with toilet, bidet, shower/tub combo at apartment

Having a full kitchen is a lifesaver when traveling with young children

Casa Particulares

We were unsure of our plans for our last day in Havana so left our 3rd night up in the air, but decided to stay another night since Havana was so incredible. Unfortunately the apartment was booked that night, so we decided to try the authentic Cuban experience and stayed in a casa particulares in Old Havana that was recommended by a friend. Since we booked it so last minute, 2 bedrooms weren’t available in the same casa, so we all squeezed into one room with 3 beds in a magnificent old home in the heart of Havana Vieja (Old Havana). We were glad to experience this quintessential Cuban experience but next time will plan ahead better and make sure to get a 2 bedroom casa. Contact Gladys (gladysbf@nauta.cu) or Ernesto (riniysobrino@nauta.cu) for casas in the heart of Old Havana on Lamparilla street. For budget travelers the casa particulares is a fantastic option. They usually range from 25 CUC to 45 CUC per night, depending on the number of people. We loved staying in Old Havana for the beautiful views of the charming streets from the balconies.

View from balcony at Casa Particulares on Lamparilla Street

We opted to dine in for breakfast and devoured a delicious and bountiful breakfast for only 5 CUC per person, which included coffee, tea, milk, juice, eggs, bread, ham, and fresh fruit. We were full until dinner time, when we arrived in Varadero for the much-anticipated beach part of our vacation.

Luxury Apartments: Melia Marina Apartamentos

We stayed 2 nights in the Melia Marina Apartamentos in Varadero to relax on the beautiful beach, soak up the hot Caribbean sun, and splash around in the crystal clear ocean with the kids before heading back home. We were so impressed by the luxurious 2 bedroom apartment with its granite countertops, modern appliances, washing machine, and incredible balconies which wrapped around the building and offered sublime views of the sunset. Our kids had a blast playing in the apartment, pretending that their bed was a submarine (the window in the bedroom looked like a window on a ship). We savored drinking rum cocktails on the balcony with relaxing views of the marina.

Kids playing at Melia Marina Apartamentos Veradero

View of sunset from Malia Marina Apartamentos Varadero

The main Melia resort is all inclusive but we opted for the apartamentos because as a family of 5 it was considerably cheaper and more spacious (about $150/night as compared to nearly $700/night for all inclusive for 5 people). We were able to save money by eating breakfast in the apartment each morning, packing our lunch for the beach, and then dining out for dinner each night. The pool bar served tasty hamburgers and pizzas that were quick and cheap and hit the spot for both us and our picky preschoolers. There are also several restaurants within walking distance in the marina, as well as a liquor store where you can buy a bottle of rum for only $5. We bought mixers at the grocery store in the marina and made ourselves cocktails for far less than the cost of all-inclusive, which we brought with us to the beach on our last day.

When traveling as a family, we like to save money where we can and then splurge on other things that are more important to us, like excursions and guided tours. We wished we had more time to enjoy the sun-kissed town of Varadero, where we could have spent a week being lazy on the beach as our kids collected sea shells, made sand castles, found lobsters in the ocean, and played in the gentle waves. We know we will be back again someday, hopefully sooner than later. Check out more photos below of the luxury apartment in Varadero at Club Melia Cuba.

Gorgeous sunset experienced from the open air lobby at Malia Marina Apartamentos Varadero

Living room and dining room at Melia Marina Apartamentos in Varadero

Full kitchen with stove, microwave, refrigerator, coffee maker, and washing machine at Melia Marina Apartamentos in Varadero

One of 2 full luxurious bathrooms in Melia Marina Apartamentos in Varadero

Master bedroom at Melia Marina Apartamentos in Varadero with balcony overlooking the pool

One of 2 balconies in 2 bedroom apartment at Melia Marina Apartamentos with view of the pool lit up at night

Pool at Melia Marina Apartamentos in Varadero

Melia Marina Apartamentos in Varadero, Cuba

Open air lobby at Melia Marina Apartamentos in Varadero, Cuba

Beach at Melia Marina Apartamentos in Varadero Cuba

Fountain at Marina in Varadero where kids can play, just a short walk from the Melia Marina Apartamentos

This beautiful beach is a 15 minute walk from Melia Marina Apartamentos in Varadero, Cuba

We hope we have inspired you to visit Cuba and try some of the different styles of accommodations, depending on your budget and privacy needs. Stay away from the overpriced hotels and instead splurge on a luxurious apartment with spectacular ocean views. If you’re on a tight budget or want to save your money for mojitos and Cuban cigars, stay like a local in a casa particulares for as little as 25 CUC per night. Either way, you can’t go wrong and will fall head over heels in love with this charming island. For more on Cuba, check out our 25 photos that will put Cuba on your bucket list, 12 things to know when visiting Cuba, and 10 must-do’s in Cuba. If you liked this post, please consider subscribing to our RSS feed and weekly email newsletter for travel tips and inspiration for world travel adventures.

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Where to Stay in Cuba

Where to Stay in Cuba

About Bertaut & Alexis

Where to Stay in Cuba for Every Budget: Airbnb, Casas, & Luxury Apartments
Travel addicts and proud parents of two young kids who make exploring the world a priority while working full time. Bertaut & Alexis enjoy traveling like millionaires without spending a fortune and share their tips on how to get luxury for less.

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