“Are there any hostels in Cuba?” This is a question frequently asked by backpackers traveling to the Caribbean Island of Cuba. And indeed, hostel travelers and backpackers need to consider some important points in order to travel on a budget and in a social way. Here are 6 basic backpacker tips to make your Cuba travel experience an awesome one.
1. Check the correct type of property: hostel?
There are indeed shared dorms in a couple of hostels in Cuba, even just a few. Private houses renting private rooms are more common. Those houses are called “casas particulares”. These houses are usually managed by families that own licenses to legally rent rooms or beds to Cuba travelers and tend to be cozy and small.
Gomio calls these types of accommodation “Cuban Style Hostels” due to the atmosphere of an easy-going, cozy hostel. You can get in touch with Cuban locals, other travelers, and experience a fully hostel lifestyle. Therefore: Stay at a Casa Particular or Hostel, choose the correct room type, and let the Cuban experience begin. You can find all Hostels and Casas Particulares in Cuba here on Gomio.com.
2. Book your hostel in advance and pay less
It’s always recommended to book your hostel in Cuba in advance instead of arriving and hoping for good luck. This way your booking is secure, you pay less, and finally the hostel itself may offer a pick-up service from the airport, or bus station. This usually does not cost a lot of money and depending on your luggage, arrival time, stress level it will be worth it.
3. “This address no longer exists”
When you are jumping into a taxi asking for a specific hostel or address some taxi drivers might try to tell you “This address no longer exists” or “this hostel does not exist anymore”. Don’t let them fool you! They are working with other local accommodations and offer their help by bringing you to the property they are working with. It’s a common scam to fool tourists in Cuba; don’t fall for this!
4. Cuba is not cheap
You might think about Cuba as a cheap destination, but really, it’s not. The costs can be similar to costs in the United States, although Cuba is cheaper than any other Caribbean Island loaded with tourists. Anyhow, the minimum budget would be around $30-$40 U.S. dollars.
5. Learn to speak some Spanish
We are sure you’ve already read this in other forums, posts and websites; and yes, it’s a basic backpacker tip for Cuba. Try to learn some basic Spanish sentences, so you can verbally communicate exactly what you want and how much you want to pay for this type of service. After all, you value your travel budget and you don’t want to spend double the price just because you did not know the dollar figures in Spanish.
6. Don’t spend 24 times more
Cuba works with two currencies: the local currency for locals (CUP) and the currency for travelers (CUC). You can find more information about the currencies in Cuba here. Therefore it can be confusing if the prices are shown in CUP or CUC. Don’t be shy and ask! You don’t want to realize afterwards you spend 24 times more on the price than you assumed.
— This post was created by Gomio.com, the social hostel booking platform for backpackers and travelers. Gomio.com offers a free hostel booking service and the travel application Godashboard.