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Old 02-23-2005, 09:30 AM   #1
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Join Date: May 2003
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Cuba, a diferent way of having vacations

While buying an all-inclusive package may be the easiest way to organize a beach holiday in Cuba, others may feel they are not able to experience the real Cuba in the tourist-only resort areas. A casa particular may be the answer.
Staying at a casa particular, or private house, is the best way for visitors to learn more about Cuba and its people. There are thousands of these Bed & Breakfasts on the island.Including our group. Clean and bright, the rooms offer air conditioning, ceiling fans, separate bathrooms, double beds, hot water, telephones, security boxes and refrigerators. some of them also employs maids and a night guard for the at the house.
It is not difficult to find these private accommodations. Check out http://cubamigos.webcindario.com. This Web site is a portal to casa particular sites and provides a list of casas around the country, which are licensed by the Cuban government and often run around US$ 25-30 a night.
Casa owners that operate legally are allowed to advertise their place using little fliers that are mostly given to arriving tourists by young people. Or you may be approached by someone riding a motorbike, who will try to direct you to a particular casa.That is about the extent that advertising is allowed.
Independent travelers hungry for information about the casas in Cuba have been flocking to our site.There are no government statistics for how many tourists stay in casas particulares each year, but we estimate thousands choose to see Cuba this way. It is the only viable (and inexpensive) alternative lodging in Cuba. A casa will cost you half of a cheap hotel and will provide a better room and better meals. Beyond the low prices though there is an overwhelming desire with most people to experience Cuba. People that stay at an all-inclusive giant hotel have not seen the real Cuba.
Many of the tourists who visit Cuba and stay in anything less than a five-star rated resort are appalled by the service and food they experience in a lower rated accommodation.
Receiving sub-standard services in the hotel creates an image of uneducated and uncaring people. Staying at a casa particular will show you that the Cubans are actually the opposite. The service and care you will receive in a good casa will only create and reinforce the image of the Cubans as an open and helpful people.
The best casas are in the capital city. Tourists found the most luxuriouscasas in Havana, but there are some great casas in every town. Santiago can surprise you, and Trinidad with its historical buildings has some stunning casas.In most cases, staying at a casa includes the room and breakfast. Some casas will charge separately for breakfast and any other meals are always to be paid for separately. It is advisable to eat at your casa, or a paladar, a private restaurant, as the quality of the food is much better than it is in state restaurants, and the prices are lower.
If you want to rent a car or perhaps hire a car and driver for the duration of your stay, the owner of your casa can also help you with the latter. This option usually is cheaper than renting your own vehicle. Either way, staying at a casa particular will give you more freedom to explore the island and find the Cuba of your imagination.
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