Havana, Cuba: 5 places to stay and why

Hostal El Encinar, Havana


My advice?

Stay in a Casas Particular (private house) in Habana Viejo or Centro for a real Cuban experience and to put money back into the local community rather than a government-run hotel which looks grand but lacks atmosphere – here’s just five that come highly recommended by myself and other travellers.

Prices for these range from CUC $30 to $50 a night so very reasonable. You’ll meet other travellers and local families if you’re the sociable type plus be bang in the middle of atmospheric Havana


Balcony at Casa El Encinar in the beating heart of Havana. The door to my room is on the right


  1. Casa El Encinar, Habana Vieja (I stayed here this time) Located in the old town on Chacon No 60 Altos between Cuba and Aguair, perfect for a first-timer, and extremely atmospheric while providing everything you need (no wi-fi hotspot here or in any of these – see first time guide). Eight great en-suite rooms with shared living room/kitchen areas and a lovely terrace, complete with pond, high in the rooftops of Havana overlooking La Cabana Fort. Breakfast is provided, Cuban-style with a nod to international tastes at the communal dining table.
  2. Casa Peregrino Consulado, Habana Centro Big sister to El Encinar and run by the same family – Julio and Elsa Roque – who run a number of accommodations. This is HQ and I was put on the phone to Peregrino several times from El Encinar and offered help in English – they will organise trips, transfers and help at considerably lower costs than elsewhere. Three rooms available, I couldn’t get in here so book in advance. These people know their stuff. Located between Colon and Trocadero and includes breakfast.
  3. Jesus and Maria, Habana Vieja. This is an even more Cuban experience, you are literally staying in someone’s home, rooms are clean and have everything you need, I am reliably informed. Again breakfast in provided and there is a comfortable terrace. Located between Sol and Muralla, so perfect for a walking tour of the old town.
  4. Casa de Pepe and Rafaela, Habana Vieja. An Instagrammers bright-yellow dream of a colonial home with beautiful interior, just two rooms available and fellow travellers had a wonderful time. Again family-run. San Ignacio No 454, between Sol and Santa Clara.
  5. Casa Colonial del 1715, Habana Vieja. There are just three rooms at this lovely casa in Calle Lamparilla which boasts a memorable green exterior, a nice patio and a reputation for cleanliness and great breakfasts for its visitors. Situated between Acuagate and Compestel.


For a fine local knowledge and to tailor the trip you want travel with Cuba Direct, who only deal with Cuba and know what they are doing – plus they are extremely helpful.


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