A casa particular is essentially a private family establishment that provides paid lodging, like a bed-and-breakfast. In general this term also applies to full apartments and houses, rooms inside people’s homes, mini-apartments or rooms with separate entrance (studio or efficiency type rooms).
A casa particular may be operated as a primary occupation or as a secondary source of income, and the staff often consists of the casa’s owner(s) and members of their family who live there. However, some casas have grown quite large and now feel more like small hotels.
Casas are generally much cheaper than hotels, while also offering much better service and a much more authentic cultural experience.
Many casas belong to associations and are described in various books and travel guides. Moreover, in spite of the lack of reliable and cost effective internet access on the Island, many casas have some sort of web presence and some casa owners have built their own website. Others uploaded the description of their Casa in small directories and websites that manage casas booking for them, like we do at CubaCasa.
Casas particulares can be recognised by a small sign of blue anchor against a white background, usually stuck on the front door. This indicates that the casa owners have paid their fixed per-room annual tax.
All in all, casas particulares in Cuba are definitely the best type of accommodation for you to stay in as they are friendly, more authentic, better quality and cheaper!