Havana

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It’s been a little over a month since my trip to Cuba, and I’m missing the colorful streets and cheap rum!

The country just 90 miles offshore is a mystery to many Americans. I previously blogged about what you need to do to prep for a trip to Cuba, and also the best places for food and fun in Havana (so be sure to check that out!), but now, let’s talk about logistics: where to stay.

It can be so tempting to treat yourself to a stay at a luxurious resort hotel, complete with fluffy white pillows and a balcony. But in Havana, I highly recommend swapping that for an Airbnb.

4 nights for about 1/3 the price

Seriously. I cannot stress enough how much money you’ll save — and that’s more cash that can be used for Cuban cigars!

For four nights in central Havana, our Airbnb cost $269 (split by two people). In contrast, one night at a four-star hotel in Havana costs $189. And that’s on the more affordable end.

A bonus is that you can book your Airbnb with a U.S.-backed credit card, so if you have a travel rewards credit card, you can pile up some points. Currently, you cannot use U.S.-backed credit cards in Cuba, so paying for a hotel in Havana can be tricky and a downright hassle.

Havana, Cuba
The view from my Airbnb rental in Havana.

Safe and spacious

Personally, my experience with Airbnb in Havana was great. Our rental was spacious, safe and included coffee and milk. The hosts even cleaned the apartment every two days for us. It was just like staying in a hotel, minus the heftier price tag.

One thing to note: Don’t be alarmed if your host asks for your passport details. Legally, bed and breakfasts in Cuba are required to record every tourist’s passport info. They won’t need to hold onto your passport (in fact, they shouldn’t), but they’ll need to jot down a few details.

My best advice

The process for booking an Airbnb in Havana is seamless, and the website will walk you through the steps. Some quick tips to keep in mind:

  • Pick a place with a lot of reviews. The more people that have stayed there and have positive experiences to share, the better.
  • Research the neighborhood of the rental. You want to make sure it’s safe and in somewhat close proximity to a few restaurants or museums.
  • If there’s a little badge next to the rental host’s picture, that means he or she is a Superhost. Airbnb Superhosts have hosted at least 10 trips, respond to reservation requests the majority of the time, have received five-star reviews at least 80 percent of the time, and have completed each of their confirmed reservations without canceling. If given the option, book with a Superhost!
  • Airbnb does offer refunds for certain situations, so if you get to your rental and see that it was misrepresented in the listing, isn’t clean or is unsafe, you’re likely eligible for a refund. Airbnb’s Resolution Center enables you to send or receive money for hosting help, refunds or any damages.