Hi there, my name is Matthew Sellar and I founded CubaCasa in 2010 after finishing my masters degree. I had got a better mark than expected (I’d been a remarkably lazy student up to that point!) so decided to reward myself with a little holiday before finding a job. Little did I know that the Great Financial Crisis would just keep getting worse and make finding a job pretty difficult, but that’s another story! With the rest of my savings, I decided to visit Cuba – a small but fascinating country that constantly makes the headlines!
Preferring independent and more authentic travel, I tried to book a casa particular in Havana, but realised that no website offered an easy, quick and safe booking service. All the websites were very amateur, involved lengthy email exchanges, presented language difficulties and led to days of waiting for a response. On the Cuban side, casa owners complained about a lack of proper infrastructure and organisation, as there were no good websites tailored to their businesses.
I decided to try and fix this problem, so built a network of quality casas and created a reliable team on the ground. After a lot of work and perseverance we got the project off the ground and are now working with nearly 150 casas particulares in Cuba, constantly improving and expanding our network so you can easily and confidently book a casa particular in Cuba. We have a general manager in Havana, Yanara Fernandez, and a general manager in Brussels, Victor Lepoutre. They make everything work!
You might wonder why we use Sage Pay as an online payment software rather than the commonly used PayPal. Unfortunately, the US has had an embargo on Cuba since 1960 and this prevents US companies from working with any company associated to Cuba. This means that PayPal has at times frozen the accounts of companies, charities and civil society organisations that work with Cuba. Therefore, to avoid having our accounts frozen and interrupting the easy, quick and safe service we provide you, we use Sage Pay.
Our early photos were taken by Spanish photographer Jaume Albert Marti and our more recent ones by Cuban photographer Ana Lorena Gamboa – their work is of high quality and we recommend them without hesitation!
We are happy to facilitate the lives of tourists by providing a service which:
- is professional, easy and quick to use
- avoids language difficulties
- facilitates a care-free and pleasant stay in Cuba
- ensures that your hosts ready and waiting for you
- is trustworthy and constantly updated
- means that preparing your holiday doesn’t become a burden!
The casas we represent also benefit as we:
- promote their family run businesses
- organise and manage their bookings
- make sure they are informed of any booking cancellations or updates
- provide the cheapest and most reliable service of our kind in Cuba