Casa Particulares in Havana, Cuba // Everything You Need to Know // Decoding Airbnb Listings

, Casa Particulares in Havana, Cuba // Everything You Need to Know // Decoding Airbnb Listings

Reading an Airbnb listing for a casa particulare, or private accommodation, in Cuba is an interesting experience. Between the translation and local idiom, it’s a delightful mix of charm and, sometimes, confusion! Here are some things we learned about casa particulars in Cuba, and a few things you need to know in advance.

, Casa Particulares in Havana, Cuba // Everything You Need to Know // Decoding Airbnb Listings

Typical Amenities and Procedures

I found an absolutely charming listing for an Airbnb in Havana, La Habana Vieja listed as “ANGLES – My Proud Havana.” It is a very typical rental for the area – very uncluttered furnishings, open and airy, small balconies onto a street, marble floors. The reservations manager, Idekich, includes every possible detail you may need about the listing. Because the listing is so inclusive, I’m using excerpts here with our experiences noted.

, Casa Particulares in Havana, Cuba // Everything You Need to Know // Decoding Airbnb Listings

Matrimonial Bed

Listings on Airbnb for casas in Cuba reference the bedrooms and size of beds. It’s very quaint, how they are listed. You will see “matrimonial” in place of double or queen beds. King beds usually are listed as “king.” We never learned how a “single” bed was described.

Interestingly enough, in Cuba, many people state that they are married, and have an esposo or esposa – husband or wife – but actually have not been through a ceremony. It seemed to be more of a self-declared state. That added to my mirth at double beds being called “matrimonial.”

, Casa Particulares in Havana, Cuba // Everything You Need to Know // Decoding Airbnb Listings

Mini Bars

Most Airbnb listings for Cuba include “mini bars.” What we found that really means is there probably is a small fridge, and inside probably lies bottled water, soda, and maybe beer.

Some are on an honor system where you mark how many you take. Some hostesses count after you, others do not. It’s a means for the hostess to earn just a little more money while they have the opportunity.

For us, it meant not having to spend a lot of time looking for water. One day, we watched as our host went to four different stores before finding water.

When we stayed in a casa particular where we had access to the kitchen, we boiled our own water. Then we filtered it, and used it to fill our multi-use bottles. We even made ice cubes from that water, saving us from buying water in single-use plastic containers.

, Casa Particulares in Havana, Cuba // Everything You Need to Know // Decoding Airbnb Listings

Payments

“If you wish, we can supply you with fruit, soda and beers upon arrival. Payment can be made by Airbnb or cash upon arrival.”

We found that payment through Airbnb was accepted, as was a small deposit in advance, and the balance in cash upon arrival. Here’s an article about Cuban Pesos // What We Learned About Exchanging Money in Cuba.

, Casa Particulares in Havana, Cuba // Everything You Need to Know // Decoding Airbnb Listings

Elevators

“Apartment located in a third floor (60 steps) of an old building two steps away from the Plazuela del Angel. Please try to travel light, or let us know if you are carrying too much weight to have some help waiting for you.”

This listing means there is not an elevator. No translation needed! But do be sure to determine on which floor you will stay, and plan accordingly. We were prepared to haul our bags to the fifth floor, and were thrilled to find an elevator at our accommodations.

, Casa Particulares in Havana, Cuba // Everything You Need to Know // Decoding Airbnb Listings

Cleaning

“The cleaning is made in a daily basis, but frequently the person in charge will take a day off the day after the arrival of new guests. The name of the person in charge of the cleaning is Dunia, and she lives in the same building, at number 15 (different entrance), and she is available in case guests needed some extra supply (towels, sheets, toilet paper).”

We found this to be quite usual, for the person running the listing to live close by, if not on the property. We even learned that if there was a huge problem, like air conditioning not functioning, they had access to other properties and would host us elsewhere until it was fixed.

, Casa Particulares in Havana, Cuba // Everything You Need to Know // Decoding Airbnb Listings

Toilets Seats and Toilet Paper

In the four casa particulars in which we stayed, every one had toilet paper and toilet seats. That was not the case with public restrooms. Do take your moistened wipes. Even the fanciest spots sometimes were a surprise with their lack of seat and paper.

Each of our four casa particulares had shampoo in travel sizes, but not conditioner. If you are flying in, it’s best to know in advance if you need to bring several of each. You can always leave for the house what you don’t use. I’m sure every bit helps.

We don’t like to use the tiny, single-use plastic bottles, however, I used to collect them from hotels and cruises before my “enlightenment” about single-use plastics. When all of mine are consumed, I’ll be using bar soap and conditioner. 12 Plastic-Free Vacation Tips will give you more ideas.

, Casa Particulares in Havana, Cuba // Everything You Need to Know // Decoding Airbnb Listings

Toiletries

Bring your own toiletries. Make sure they are in biodegradable containers. Avoid the hotel minis if there is any question of recycle-ability.

This Reef Sentinel Kit has everything you need for travel; sunscreen, shampoo/bodywash, leave-in conditioner, and sting relief. Perfect sizes and the tubes are made of sugar cane resin; completely biodegradable, TSA-approved.

Stream2Sea has generously given me a discount code “KimW” for you to use at the checkout at checkout to save 10%. Using my link does not increase your price. You actually get a discount, and I receive a small portion of the sale. This allows me to buy more sunscreen for myself and my vacation crew. 

Use bar shampoo, conditioner, and deodorant if leaks concern you.

, Casa Particulares in Havana, Cuba // Everything You Need to Know // Decoding Airbnb Listings

Rest Room

“The plumbing of the apartment is new, but the building’s is not, therefore the plumbing of the building does not fulfill modern standards end does not admit, as pipes have never admitted in Cuba, the evacuation of toilet paper, sanitary napkins, waste, condoms, etc. It is forbidden to throw any of these objects into the WC. Please use the basket.”

When you see the buildings, you will understand this statement about “the pipes have never admitted.” It took me a bit of concentration to follow these requests. Yes, I accidentally tossed tp into the loo a few times on accident. Nothing horrific happened, but I did feel bad to have forgotten.

, Casa Particulares in Havana, Cuba // Everything You Need to Know // Decoding Airbnb Listings

Towels and Sheets

“There will be only one set of towels per incoming client and one set of sheets for the full size bed. This aims to avoid unnecessary use. The twin bed will not be dressed with sheets unless the guest specifically requests it in advance or at the time of check-in. However, at all times there will be clean sheets and towels available at Dunia’s, as well as toilet paper and extra soap. So if you more of any of these supplies just contact the owner or knock at Dunia’s and request it at any time. It is forbidden to use the towels to clean your shoes or to take them to the beach.”

Replacements are expensive and hard to find. Balancing guest needs with economic responsibility means sometimes, more strict-sounding house rules must be stated. They don’t mean to be off-putting; it’s just horrifically expensive to replace goods, that is, if they can even be obtained.

, Casa Particulares in Havana, Cuba // Everything You Need to Know // Decoding Airbnb Listings

Laundry Service

“There is a laundry service available upon request. Ask Dunia or call the owner. The apartment is not suited for washing your clothes so the only possibility is to request this service. If you need to wash or clean your shoes, you will have to use a brush located under the sink. In any case you can use the towels to clean your shoes. It is forbidden to take the towels to the beach.”

In our stays, we experienced everything from having a washer available to not. Because the Cubans are eager to augment their income, you can always ask if you need laundry processed. Most likely the answer will be “yes,” for a small fee. Once given the fee, if you think it’s too high, you can always bargain…

, Casa Particulares in Havana, Cuba // Everything You Need to Know // Decoding Airbnb Listings

Kitchen

“The kitchen is equipped with a refrigerator, a microwaves oven, a gas cooker, an American coffee maker, an Italian coffee maker, cookware, knifes, tableware, cutlery, glasses, opener, cooking pots, frying pans, etc.”

In one of our casas, we had access to the kitchen. An Italian coffee maker means a Moka pot – you should learn how to use one, because they are fantastic! They save a lot of counter space, don’t result in waste from filters or pods, and produce great coffee.

One note; you may find that Cubans do not offer the volume of coffee at breakfast to which you are used to consuming. That is because usually they are preparing Cuban coffee for you in a Moka pot. A cup the size of a votive candle holder is equal to a 16 ounce coffee! Sip slowly and appreciate.

, Casa Particulares in Havana, Cuba // Everything You Need to Know // Decoding Airbnb Listings

Beverages and Food

“Your host will make sure that every guest receives a 500 ml bottle of water upon arrival, if there is no water, demand it to the person who welcomes you. You will also fin at the apartment ground coffee, sugar, salt, oil and pepper. You will need to buy every other food and beverages necessaries for your stay in a close by market. Ask for a market’s location to the person that welcomes you.”

There are long lines at grocery stores, and often you must go to several to find what you seek. So, unlike Airbnb’s in the States where you might find fully stocked cabinet with snacks; you probably will not in Cuba.

At our casa with a kitchen, our cook Lisu brought with her every morning the ingredients for that day’s breakfast. Otherwise, the fridge was empty of much more than some butter and some guava paste. Also, she budgeted for one cup of coffee for each of us, and brought the grounds with her daily. For our second visit to Casa Urquiza, we planned to bring our own ground coffee.

, Casa Particulares in Havana, Cuba // Everything You Need to Know // Decoding Airbnb Listings

Water

“The running water is officially drinkable, however the health authorities recommend to boil it for three minutes before drinking it, but it is still a very hard water that could cause digestive system disarrangements before getting fully adapted to it. Therefore we advise all our guests to buy and drink natural bottled water exclusively. Your host will provide a 500 ml bottle of water per client for your arrival. For the rest, you have cold and hot water in the kitchen and the bathroom. It is forbidden to wash any clothes at the apartment.”

Ask. When it comes to the water, ask. We did, and were told do not drink the water out of the tap. First, we boiled the water, then we filtered it. Some casas provide a bottle of water upon arrival, others do not, so plan ahead.

, Casa Particulares in Havana, Cuba // Everything You Need to Know // Decoding Airbnb Listings

Rooftop Terrace

“You can access the rooftop terrace at any time, but you should make sure not to disturb the neighbors when going up, you should not make any noise and it is forbidden to go to the terrace naked or wearing underwear. You cannot remain naked or wearing underwear inside the apartment when the balconies doors or the front door are open. If any neighbor complaints or calls the police, you and most of all your host will be in troubles.”

While these guidelines read like an etiquette manual, I suppose the obvious must be stated to some. When you are a guest in someone else’s home, it’s best to be quite mindful of the neighbors. It’s a privilege to have the opportunity to visit in such a personal manner. I suppose many people are not used to having rooftop access, and don’t realize the buildings around them also have views of anyone adjacent.

, Casa Particulares in Havana, Cuba // Everything You Need to Know // Decoding Airbnb Listings

Smoking

“The areas destined to smoking are the balconies and the rooftop terrace. You should not smoke inside the apartment.”

We did find that when workers came to service the air conditioning unit, they quite freely stepped onto the balcony for a smoke. As guests in their country, we just went with the flow. Once or twice in restaurants, we chose to move further from smokers. Many places are wide open and airy, so there is less restrictions on smoking in public places in Cuba.

, Casa Particulares in Havana, Cuba // Everything You Need to Know // Decoding Airbnb Listings

Air Conditioning

“There is a Split system air conditioner for the whole apartment. Should it not cool properly, please let your host know. I you are spending a short time outside the apartment leave it on so it is cool when you come back. If you are spending more than one hour outside the apartment you should turn it off, not to waste energy nor shorten the life of the appliance. In any case you should smoke inside the apartment with the air conditioner on.”

We were delighted to see the introduction of mini split air conditioning systems in Cuba, as we have seen in other island countries where electricity is dear. Our own home now uses such a system; we can control temperatures room-by-room. In Cuba, mostly bedrooms are climate controlled, and only at night for sleeping. Otherwise, doors and windows are wide open, ceilings are high, and some fans are used.

The translation here gets a bit lost – I’m sure they do mean do not smoke inside the apartment with the ac running. Go outside. I like their proposed guidelines for more than one hour outside; turn it off, and the part about wearing out the unit. Very thrifty.

, Casa Particulares in Havana, Cuba // Everything You Need to Know // Decoding Airbnb Listings

Internet

“In ANGLES apartment you will be able to access through a Wi-Fi network connected to an ADSL modem to the national internet platform NAUTA. Very few locations offer this possibility. The NAUTA platform provides Internet access in the whole country in public Wi-Fi areas, in some houses through ADSL connection, and in surfing cyber rooms. It is the only official internet access service in the country and works with NAUTA Internet cards sold by ETECSA, the telecommunications Company, for any of the Access variants. Your host will do his best to provide you upon arrival with a one hour Internet card for your first connection as long as they are available in ETECSA selling points, sometimes they are hard to find. The rest of the cards for future connections must be bought by the guests at any of ETECSA’s selling points. Ask your host where to buy them.”

So, the Internet – even if you have access to wifi, you need the Internet cards. There are parks with wifi, but you still need a card. Our apartment had a wifi antenna, and every once in awhile, we could actually get a free signal and send out a quick text or two, or check email subject lines.

, Casa Particulares in Havana, Cuba // Everything You Need to Know // Decoding Airbnb Listings

Internet Hours

“As it is explained in our profile, there is only one way to access the internet through WiFi in Cuba: one national platform accessed with permanent or temporary username and password. We now give you the possibility to buy internet hours in advance for you to use them through a permanent account at the apartment or anywhere else where there is a WiFi internet connection but only during your stay in our apartment. The price of one internet hour is $2 US. The unused internet hours at the end of your stay will be automatically lost. There is no minimum purchase for the internet hours. You can pay in advance to have it ready for your arrival through Airbnb or (Hidden by Airbnb) pay! You can pay cash upon arrival for an availability the next day after check-in! This purchase will be added to the internet hour that your host will provide free of charge for your arrival!”

This casa has a very generous policy of providing you with a one hour card, and the option to purchase more. There are long lines where you wait to purchase these cards, if they are even available.

, Casa Particulares in Havana, Cuba // Everything You Need to Know // Decoding Airbnb Listings

Check-In

“Check-in time is 4 pm. The presence of guests is mandatory for registration purposes in the guests’ book and to receive the apartment. The owner or an employee will be there to welcome you, to remind you some of the rules of the house, and to provide you with some useful information. If you arrive before 4 pm to the city, you can use to use an early check-in service provided by Dunia in her house. If you are not getting on time for the check-in at 4 pm, you must notify your host the time of arrival. Whether you will be arriving at four o’clock or later, you host or the employee will only wait for two hours after your chosen check-in time. In case of mishap, please do your best to inform your host.”

The registration in the guest book is very important to the Cubans. They must write down your passport number, name, and dates of stay in their location.

, Casa Particulares in Havana, Cuba // Everything You Need to Know // Decoding Airbnb Listings

Passport Registration by Host

One of our hostesses told us about a man who was going to leave on a certain date. He decided to stay one day longer, and they neglected to record it in their record. Something happened with him and a taxi, and the police came to check what dates he had stayed at that casa.

They were terrified that, due to their error, they would lose their license and ability to rent out rooms. They had invested so much time and expense in their business, and thought they were going to lose it all. It turned out ok, but they learned the lesson about the registration book.

Your host or hostess will request your passports. They may take them away for a bit to photocopy them, or they might write everything down in front of you. Either way, it seems quite safe. The penalties for misconduct are huge, so your host or hostess will be quite careful with your documents.

, Casa Particulares in Havana, Cuba // Everything You Need to Know // Decoding Airbnb Listings

Check-Out

“Check-out time is noon at the latest. If you have to spend more time in the city you can request to keep your luggage at Dunia’s for a fee. If the host or the employee do not tell you know that one of them will be present at check-out, just leave the keys on the counter and close the door when going out, they will check short after you have left.”

Whenever you have a question, just ask. A couple dollars might go a long way toward inspiring someone to accommodate unusual requests.

, Casa Particulares in Havana, Cuba // Everything You Need to Know // Decoding Airbnb Listings

Early Check-In or Late Check-Out

“The apartment does not meet the conditions to ensure this service in it without affecting it’s preparation between reservations. However, Dunia and her family who live in the first floor of the same building but in a different door (number 15), will agree to keep the belongings of guests needing late check-out or early check-in for a fee. In order to use this service please request it in advance.”

Depending on the arrival date and time of the next guest, you can ask for an early check in or late check out almost anywhere. We found the Cuban hosts and hostesses to be very accommodating, as the fees from our stays brought a lot of income to them and their family.

One consideration is the requirement to record the guests and their passport numbers in the register. That could make a late check-in very inconvenient for the host or housekeeper. We did find that so much income is generated the the casa particulares, that they were very flexible, and sometimes would check on us long after what we would consider regular hours.

One time, Lisu remained at the casa until 10:00 p.m. to make sure that we were pleased with the air conditioning. If we had any idea she was waiting for us, we would not have stayed out so late!

, Casa Particulares in Havana, Cuba // Everything You Need to Know // Decoding Airbnb Listings

Television

“At the apartment there is a 32 inches LCD TV set compatible with the national Cuban television. The television signal is digital broadcasted by air and there are 9 free national public channels. On the TV the option Televisión Digital Áerea (Air Digital Television) must always be chosen as entry mode. There are no services of cable, satellite or Internet TV in Cuba.”

Well, we didn’t go to Cuba to watch tv, so, we never turned it on. In fact, there was so much to see and do that we didn’t even have time to read the books we brought! So, we can’t report much about this, other than we did notice in Trinidad, due to the configuration of living rooms being nearly right on the street, that locals seemed to tune into the evening news daily.

, Casa Particulares in Havana, Cuba // Everything You Need to Know // Decoding Airbnb Listings

Visitors and Events

“Occasional visitors are not allowed for any purposes. Only declared and registered guests will be admitted. Parties and gatherings are not allowed. The guests cannot make noise. Your host could be fined because of you.”

This might be more flexible at other locations than this one is, and since you are a guest, just check in advance. I had the feeling that if a friend popped in at our locations, it would have been fine with our hostesses. However, since we were a group of four, we took most of the rooms everywhere we went, and had the places to ourselves. When a casa particular has more than one room, they have to be cognizant of the privacy of the other guests.

Funny enough, at the end of our stay at Casa Urquiza, the entire family gathered. We got a glimpse of a “it takes a village” moment to understand just how many family members our stay supported. That was good to realize. We also realized it probably took two or three people just to go to various grocery stores and wait in line to maybe obtain the ingredients for our breakfast each morning.

, Casa Particulares in Havana, Cuba // Everything You Need to Know // Decoding Airbnb Listings

Communication

“If you want to contact the host you can use the land line available at the apartment and dial the number on the card that will be given to you when you arrive putting a 0 before the 5 and without dialing the country code (+53). If you need to receive calls during your stay please ask us in advance the phone number and forward it to the person who will call you.”

This was absolutely hilarious – we are so used to using cellular telephones, and we are so un-used-to using landlines! What a delight to remember that we could pick up the phone and call our hostess!

One important note – when you arrive at your casa, or even in advance, get the name, address, and phone number. You will need it when you come through customs at the airport. If you don’t speak Spanish, you can show it to a taxi driver so they can deliver you to the correct address. If they don’t know the address, they can call the number and check.

We had to do this once, when an address was confusing, and were so glad we had a card to just hand to the driver and let them speak to the other person who could give detailed instructions on how to reach them.

, Casa Particulares in Havana, Cuba // Everything You Need to Know // Decoding Airbnb Listings

Information

“General information: You will receive general information on the apartment, the neighborhood and some other of interest upon arrival. You will always have the possibility to contact the host by phone to request further information. Places of interest: Public Wi-Fi areas, ATM’s, banks and other places of interest appear on the Map your host will provide you with. Money Exchange: Credit and debit cards issued by US banks will not Work in Cuba. VISA and MasterCard cards issued by a non US institution will Work in Cuba. Please let your bank know that you are travelling to Cuba so it does not block your card as a security measure. Please think of bringing enough cash and take into account that the exchange of US dollar bills is affected, besides the normal bank commissions, by an extra 10% penalty charge.”

Just like elsewhere, some Airbnb’s will have a guest book with ideas for restaurants, money exchanges – cadecas. One thing you will not see are brochures for restaurants with delivery services.

, Casa Particulares in Havana, Cuba // Everything You Need to Know // Decoding Airbnb Listings

Power Supply

“The apartment is equipped with 110 volts and 220 volts power plugs complying with US and Europe standards. The guest is responsible for plugging appliances in the right plugs. All the 110 volts plugs are located to the left, and all the 220 V plugs are located to the right. Besides that, they all have 110 V and 220 V tags on, as well as the appliances.”

This is important, since any small appliances and chargers you bring might have specific requirements. I have destroyed a camera in South Africa by using an adaptor for 220 to 110. It was supposed to downstep the voltage, but failed.

, Casa Particulares in Havana, Cuba // Everything You Need to Know // Decoding Airbnb Listings

Keys and Security

“The apartment ANGLES has 2 doors giving access to common spaces. The entrance door through which you access the apartment at the end of the stairways and the exit door to the rooftop leading to the terrace. The rooftop terrace is a common area of the building but it is practically used exclusively by the guests. The entrance door to the apartment has two locks, one is a code lock and the other one a conventional key lock. The main door of the building also has a key lock and can also be opened from the apartment by video doorbell. The door to the rooftop is locked with a key from the inside and it is permanently in the lock to avoid losing it. You will receive a set of keys including 1 key for the door of the building and one key for the second lock of the entrance door to the apartment. Losing the keys implies the payment of a 50 CUC penalty.”

If you are staying somewhere with more than one bedroom that is rented to other people, you will have keys to your bedroom only, and keys to common areas. If there are two of you staying in one room, be sure to ask in advance for two sets of keys for that room. You might want to come and go at different times.

The cook who comes to prepare your breakfast will have their own key to access the main areas. There’s nothing better than awaking to the sound of someone in the kitchen getting Cuban coffee ready for you to drink on the balcony, terrace, porch, or rooftop.

, Casa Particulares in Havana, Cuba // Everything You Need to Know // Decoding Airbnb Listings

Video Door Bell

“Your host has installed a video doorbell at the entrance door of the building for the 4 existing apartments. This allows to see who is ringing at the door from each apartment and open it. It also helps from leaving the entrance door open if we are expecting someone, and also prevents visitors of our neighbors from having to cry out for someone to throw them a key. To avoid being bothered, you can completely shut off your…”

Well, we didn’t have anything this fancy. Our solution, when waiting for our driver each day, was to drink our coffee on the balcony, and watch for them to pull up. From the fifth floor, we could call a “Hallo! Good Morning!” and indicate that we were coming down.

, Casa Particulares in Havana, Cuba // Everything You Need to Know // Decoding Airbnb Listings

Basket of Fruits

“The basket of fruit is sold $12 US. It consists of tropical fruits of the season specially chosen for you. You can pay in advance to have it ready for your arrival through Airbnb or (Hidden by Airbnb) pay! You can pay cash the same amount in CUC upon arrival for an availability the next day after check-in!”

What a nice greeting! With Airbnb giving you the option to message your host or hostess, this is something that you could request. In fact, you could ask them to go ahead and stock all sorts of things that you would need. They might agree!

I wish we had messaged and asked in advance for a bottle of rum and some pineapple juice to be stocked so we could have had a sundowner on the balcony. It worked out fine – we hiked a couple blocks for the rum and juice, and by the time we returned, the ice was ready for our sunset salute.

, Casa Particulares in Havana, Cuba // Everything You Need to Know // Decoding Airbnb Listings

Water and Beverages

“You can have us make a minimum purchase of $15 US in water and beverages for you. The bottle of water of milliliters for $1.50 US; 1 beer for $2 US (according to availability); one sparkling softdrink for $1 US. You can pay in advance to have it ready for your arrival through Airbnb or (Hidden by Airbnb) pay! You can pay cash the same amount in CUC upon arrival for an availability the next day after check-in! This purchase will be added to the bottle of water that your host will provide free of charge for your arrival!”

When we are cruising, there are similar packages, which we always decline due to the availability of water and juice in the dining areas. However, in Cuba, where it might take several stops to even find what you want, this is a great offer.

Had we known that we were not close to any grocery stores, I’m sure we would have asked to have 12 beers chilled and waiting on us in the flat. Beer was $1.50 in the restaurant where we also could people watch and have a bite to eat, so it’s no savings, only a matter of convenience.

, Casa Particulares in Havana, Cuba // Everything You Need to Know // Decoding Airbnb Listings

Ironing

“You will have Access to an iron, to be connected to 110 Volts power supply, so you can iron your clothes. As you will most certainly iron on the bed, you should do your best not to burn it. Don’t forget to plug it to 110 volts power supply.”

We brought only items that did not need ironing. However, if the guys had needed to wash and wear their collared shirts a second time, access to an iron would be great. Or, ask the hostess about having a dress shirt ironed. They probably will be glad to earn a few more dollars.

In a pinch, here’s my favorite tip. I carry a flat iron for my hair when I travel. I have managed to iron entire shirts with it! At the least; if you iron the collar, the sleeve holes, and the placket; you can fake that it was ironed.

, Casa Particulares in Havana, Cuba // Everything You Need to Know // Decoding Airbnb Listings

Umbrellas

“There will be two umbrellas at your disposal at the apartment so can go out when it is raining or to protect yourself from the sun. Don’t lose them, they are hard to find in Cuba.”

And you will see umbrellas everywhere! People use them to keep the sun off them; not just for rain. What a thoughtful inclusion!

, Casa Particulares in Havana, Cuba // Everything You Need to Know // Decoding Airbnb Listings

Safe

“You will have at your disposal at the apartment a safe at the apartment that can be opened by code. You will set your own code and change it as many times as you wish. Pay attention to the explanation on how to operate the safe so you don’t block it. If you forget the code don’t try to open it more than three times or you will activate the alarm, just call your host. You should always leave your passports in the safe to avoid losing them when going out. Make and keep with you a copy of your Passport to go out unless you are making a transaction at the bank or at an Exchange office where an identification will be required.”

At our first casa particular, there was a safe in each room. However, they were not bolted to anything. We already had chosen to not bring valuables other than passport, pared-down essentials-only wallet, and cell phones. We simply kept them on our persons.

Our hostess cautioned us to leave our passports in the safe as well. We decided to carry them with us at all times. We did take photos of them on our phones, and brought photocopies. Someone thought they remembered that when traveling in a foreign country, we should have our passport on us at all times. We decided to follow that thought, and took them wherever we went.

If anyone has a suggestion about passports, please comment below! I’d like to know your thoughts on what to do with them when traveling. Which is worse – losing it or being without it?

, Casa Particulares in Havana, Cuba // Everything You Need to Know // Decoding Airbnb Listings

Where We Stayed – Cuban Airbnb Casa Particulares and Hostels

Cienfuegos: Hostel La Marina Room 2 and also the Hostel La Marina Room 1 link on Airbnb. Or, if you already are in Airbnb, typing in “Hostal La Marina Room 2” or “Hostel La Marina Room 1” will get you to the listing. The house is located on Avenue 6, in the city of Cienfuegos. The municipality is Punta Gorda, in the province of Cienfuegos. Also, the La Marina Hostel website.

Playa Larga: Diver’s House / Casa El Buzo link on Airbnb. Or, if you already are in Airbnb, typing in “Casa El Buzo – Osnedis – Habitacion Azul” will get you to the listing. The house is located on Caleton Street, in the city of Playa Larga. The municipality is Cienaga de Zapata, in the province of Matanzas.

Trinidad: Casa Colonial en el Centro Historico Lyosman y Yanin link on Airbnb. Or, if you already are in Airbnb, typing in “Casa Lyosman y Yanin” will get you to the listing. Casa Lyosman y Yanin is located in the municipality of Trinidad, the province of Sanctus Spiritus, Cuba at 475 Jose Mendoza Street.

Havana: Urquiza’s Apartment link on Airbnb. Or, if you already are in Airbnb, typing in “Urquiza’s apartment – HAV150” will get you to the listing. Casa Urzuiza is located at 20 Prado, Apartment 5-A, on the Paseo de Prado, municipality Central Havana, province Havana, Cuba. The apartment is on the fifth floor with views of the Prado, the bay, and the forts.

, Casa Particulares in Havana, Cuba // Everything You Need to Know // Decoding Airbnb Listings

Airbnb – Discount Code For You

Ok, so, here are two Airbnb discount codes. Try either one! The offerings from Airbnb change every couple months, so use whichever gives you the best deal. You can only use a code one time, so compare, choose whichever gives you the best deal since they change periodically, and make it count!

As of today, this one, Airbnb says, “Kimberly gave you up to $55 off your first trip.” Friends who sign up for Airbnb with my link will get $40 off their home booking. And they get $15 to use toward an experience worth $50 or more.

Also today, this one, Airbnb says, “Deep gave you up to $415 off your first adventure. I’m ready to book from this one right now! I’m thinking it’s a computer glitch – so jump on it fast!

Using my code does not increase your cost – I might receive a small compensation for providing you with the information.

What to Read Next:

My Method for Booking a Great Airbnb Property

Here on the blog are several articles about our travels to Cuba. Simply type “Cuba” into the search bar at the top. There are articles about changing USD to Cuban CUC, how to travel to Cuba as an American, and much more.

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