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Where to Stay in Cuba: 2021 Insider’s Guide

Cut-off from most of the world until the 90s, Cuba offers travelers the unique opportunity to visit a country not yet influenced by modern consumerism.

It feels like you’re stepping back in time: the classic cars and cobblestone streets will make you forget what year it is.

And the people are just as proud of their Cuban culture as ever, they’re extremely welcoming and love to lend a helping hand.

Your first visit to Cuba will be nothing short of eye-opening, but now begs the question: where to stay in Cuba?

Most visitors mainly stay in the vibrant Havana, home to most of Cuba’s people and cultural attractions. However, there’s so much more to see in Cuba that it would be a shame not to visit other areas.

To help you plan your time, this guide breaks down the best places to stay in Cuba and what to do there. Whether you want to dance the night away, visit Cuba’s beautiful natural reserves, or relax on a tropical beach – there’s a place for you.

Want to stay in a cool apartment or beautiful hotel without a specific town or city in mind? We’ve listed our best places for where to stay in Cuba below to give you an overview of what’s out there. Most backpackers will decide to stay in Havana for a while since it hosts some of the most awesome places in Cuba.

This is also where you’ll find most of the amazing backpacker accommodation options. Havana’s hostels and budget hotels are known for their amazing hospitality and comfy beds, so don’t hesitate to book one!

Best Airbnb in Cuba: Casa Nivia y Pepe en Aguacate

Casa Nivia y Pepe en Aguacate

A short walk from the historic centre of Trinidad, this one-bedroom flat is the perfect home away from home. Located on the second floor, this bright, spacious, and peaceful home has its own private entrance and two delightful terraces.

Enjoy modern amenities, comfortable accommodations, and delicious Cuban meals throughout your stay in Trinidad.

Best Hostel in Cuba: Hostal Hyggelig

Hostal Hyggelig

Hostal Hyggelig truly lives up to its name; guests rave about the welcoming atmosphere and comfortable accommodation provided by the owner and her family. All rooms come with a private bathroom, safe and minibar, and internet access is available. A full breakfast is also provided each morning for just 5CUC per day. Hostel Hyggelig is walking distance from various attractions including the Central Square, and the rooftop bar provides stunning views over the whole city.

Best Hotel in Cuba: Hostal Balcones Muralla

Hostal Balcones Muralla

This stunning hotel in Old Havana is authentic and full of character, and has everything you need for a comfortable stay. Guests can enjoy a complimentary breakfast each morning, as well as room service and free Wifi. The rooftop provides incredible views of the city, and balconies overlook the bustling streets. It’s close to a number of points of interest, including Old Square and Capitolio Nacional.

FIRST TIME IN CUBA

Old Havana, Cuba

FIRST TIME IN CUBA

Old Havana

Old Havana is the beating heart of the city. Located on the Bay of Havana, this section of the capital is where you’ll find the core of the original city. Made up of narrow streets and cobblestone lanes, Old Havana is bursting with charm and character and one of the best places to stay in Cuba for first-timers.

ON A BUDGET

Santa Clara, Cuba

ON A BUDGET

Santa Clara

Santa Clara is situated in the centre of Cuba. It is located more than 71 kilometres from the Caribbean Sea and nearly 52 kilometres from the Atlantic Ocean. Home to more than 230,000 people, it is the 5th most populous city in the country.

NIGHTLIFE

Centro Havana, Cuba

NIGHTLIFE

Centro Havana

Located in the epicentre of the Cuban capital is Centro Havana. Bordered by the Cerro, Vedado and Old Havana neighbourhoods, this region of the city is where you’ll find many charming historical and cultural sights. Centro Havana is the best area to stay in Cuba for nightlife.

COOLEST PLACE TO STAY

Trinidad in Cuba

COOLEST PLACE TO STAY

Trinidad

Located on the south coast of central Cuba is the town of Trinidad. It is one of the best-preserved colonial towns on the island and the old part of the city was a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1988.

FOR FAMILIES

Varadero in Cuba

FOR FAMILIES

Varadero

Varadero is a town on the northern coast of Cuba. Tourists from all over the world flock to this paradise peninsula to enjoy its fantastic beaches, clear blue waters, and glorious sundrenched sights. It’s hands down of the best places to stay in Cuba for families.

Cuba is a country with a rich and diverse history.

Unrest, instability and travel restrictions stopped many people from travelling here for nearly 30 years/ Since re-opening its doors in the early-1990s, the situation in Cuba has improved. Today, it is significantly safer than it once was, and offers travelers the opportunity to “step back in time,” and enjoy unspoiled culture.

As the largest island in the Caribbean, there is a lot to see and do here for intrepid travellers. From enjoying authentic Cuban cuisine and dancing salsa to experiencing the unique historical and cultural attractions, you won’t have a hard time filling your days in Cuba.

Havana and Old Havana are bustling and vibrant regions in the west. These vibrant neighbourhoods in the capital city are home to many of Cuba’s top historical and cultural attractions, and provide a great introduction to the country.

For a tropical vacation in paradise, look no further than Varadero. Boasting pristine sand beaches and crystal clear waters, you’ll find a myriad of activities perfect for the whole family.

Located in the centre of the country, Santa Clara is a city brimming with revolutionary history. Famous for its historical obsession with Che Guevara, this is also where you’ll find new trends and insatiable creativity.

Trinidad is one of the best preserved colonial towns, and one of Cuba’s best places to visit. Here, you will find cobblestone streets, vibrant colonial houses and authentic Cuban culture.

Still confused about where you should stay in Cuba? Don’t worry we’ll discuss each of these regions below.

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5 Best Regions to Stay in Cuba

No matter what your vacation goals are, there’s a region of Cuba that’s perfect for you.

1. Old Havana – Where to Stay in Cuba for a First Visit

Old Havana is the beating heart of the city. Located on the Bay of Havana, this section of the capital is where you’ll find the core of the original city. Made up of narrow streets and cobblestone lanes, Old Havana is bursting with charm and character.

Old Havana is also where you’ll find many of the city’s historical and cultural sights. From picturesque fortresses to castles and frescoed cathedrals, this region of Havana is a must-see for anyone visiting Cuba for the first time.

Enjoy the colourful colonial houses, gigantic mansions, and fascinating natural scenery as you explore this urban time capsule.

Old Havana, Cuba
Welcome to the 50’s.

Best Airbnb in Old Havana: Modern apartment with panoramic views

Modern apartment with panoramic views

A few meters from the famous Capitolio and the Saratoga Hotel, this Airbnb is centrally located and offers everything you would need during your stay. Sleeping two guests on the 7th floor of a modern block, you’ll also get incredible panoramic views of the whole city.

Best Hostel in Old Havana: Santa Maga Guesthouse

Santa Maga Guesthouse

Although it’s not technically a hostel, Santa Maga Guesthouse offers travelers a stunning location at an unbeatable price. Stay inside a piece of history in this traditional Colonial Cuban house in the heart of Old Havana, with dozens of cultural attractions on your doorstep. The guesthouse has been restored to give you all the comforts of home, including Wifi, self-catering and laundry facilities, and most importantly – aircon.

Best Hotel in Old Havana: Hostal Balcones Muralla

Hostal Balcones Muralla

This stunning hotel in Old Havana is authentic and full of character, and has everything you need for a comfortable stay. Guests can enjoy a complimentary breakfast each morning, as well as room service and free Wifi. The rooftop provides incredible views of the city, and balconies overlook the bustling streets. It’s close to a number of points of interest, including Old Square and Capitolio Nacional.

Things to See and Do in Old Havana

Old Havana ttd Cuba
  • Visit Castillo de Morro, a striking fortress and former guarding entrance to the city of Havana.
  • Explore the impressive 18th century La Cabana fortress, which sits on the east side of the Havana Bay.
  • Visit Catedral de San Cristobal, one of the most beautiful and prominent buildings in Havana.
  • Dive deep into Cuba’s history with a visit to the Museum of the Revolution.
  • Take in a show, ballet performance, or cultural event at the Gran Teatro de la Havana.
  • Browse works of art by local and international artists at the National Museum of Fine Arts.
  • Learn about the history of Cuban rum and how it’s made at the Museo del Ron Havana Club. Take the tour and you’ll even get to sample a shot of rum or two.
  • Enjoy stunning architecture and amazing views of the Plaza de la Cathedral.

2. Santa Clara – Where to Stay in Cuba on a Budget

Santa Clara is situated in the centre of Cuba. Home to more than 230,000 people, it is the 5th most populous city in the country.

Santa Clara is Cuba’s most revolutionary city, and the site of the last battle of the Cuban Revolution. It’s also where you’ll find the remains (as in body parts) of the iconic political figure, Che Guevera.

But there’s more to Santa Clara than a rich political past. The city is also home to eclectic buildings, numerous lush parks, and a bustling and vibrant creative community.

Santa Clara, Cuba

Best Hotel in Santa Clara: Suite Florencia Family Room

Suite Florencia Family Room

Situated in a boutique hotel, Suite Florencia provides a comfortable and stylish base for your trip to Santa Clara. There’s a beautiful patio space for you to relax on, and breakfast and dinner are served on the garden terrace daily. The location couldn’t be more central, so all of the best things to do in Santa Clara are within walking distance.

Best Airbnb in Santa Clara: Airy and bright apartment

Airy and bright apartment

Private one-bedroom apartment for 1 or two guests with panoramic views of central park. With modern amenities like a bathroom with a shower, fully equipped kitchen, living room and private terrace.

Best Hostel in Santa Clara: Hostal Hyggelig

Hostal Hyggelig

Hostal Hyggelig truly lives up to its name; guests rave about the welcoming atmosphere and comfortable accommodation provided by the owner and her family. All rooms come with a private bathroom, safe and minibar, and internet access is available. A full breakfast is also provided each morning for just 5CUC per day. Hostel Hyggelig is walking distance from various attractions including the Central Square, and the rooftop bar provides stunning views over the whole city.

Things to See and Do in Santa Clara

Things to See and Do in Santa Clara
source: Frank Bach (Shutterstock)
  • See the impressive Mausoleo del Che Guevara, a brilliant monument to the revolutionary figure.
  • Enjoy live music at Club Mejunje, an arty establishment with a rebellious vibe and local cocktails. Visit on a Saturday to see Cuba’s first official drag show.
  • Visit the Monumento a la Toma del Tren Blindado, a boxcar museum that marks the site of one of the most important battles in Cuban history.
  • Enjoy a relaxing afternoon people-watching in the central Parque Leoncio Vidal.
  • Grab an insta-worthy snap at the Melaito Murals, a series of comic book-style paintings by local graphic artists.
  • Take in a show at the marvellous Teatre La Caridad.
  • Enjoy a fresh, delicious and cheap espresso at the cafes on Main Street.
  • Take in the amazing panoramic views of Santa Clara from the Loma del Capiro.
  • See cigars being rolled at the Fabrica de Tabacos Costantino Perez Corrodegua.

3. Centro Havana – Where to Stay in Cuba for Nightlife

Located at the epicentre of the Cuban capital is Centro Havana. Bordered by the Cerro, Vedado and Old Havana neighbourhoods, this part of the city is where you’ll find many charming historical and cultural sights.

If bars and nightlife form a big part of your Cuba itinerary, Centro Havana is an ideal location. Here, you’ll find the hottest clubs and trendiest bars in Cuba. Brimming with energy, this district a is made up of fun, funky, quirky and ultra-hip establishments.

Whether you’re looking for a cool jazz bar or a vivacious dance club, there’s something for every taste in the Cuban capital. Stay here if you want to experience Cuban nightlife and dancing.

Centro Havana, Cuba

Best Airbnb in Centro Havana: Cuban House by the beach

Cuban House by the beach

A colonial traditional white house that is located on the famous seafront El Malecón-Havana, and offers stunning views from the Havana Bay. The apartment is perfect for 2 guests with one bedroom and bathroom. The decor of the house includes, among other things, some 19th-century Cuban furniture and huge mirrors from the 50th, combined with others of contemporary design and natural fiber fabrics.

Best Hostel in Centro Havana: Casa Caribe Havana Hostel

Casa Caribe Havana Hostel

Casa Caribe Havana Hostel is perfectly situated in the heart of Centro Havana, and just a few minutes walking distance from the areas top attractions, bars and clubs.

It boasts a terrace, kitchen, and common areas, and offers guests clean accommodations, air-conditioned rooms, and daily breakfast throughout their stay.

Best Hotel in Centro Havana: La Concordia

La Concordia

This hotel in Centro Havana comes fully equipped with a bar, room service, restaurant and more. From walking tours to yoga classes, and from pub crawls to stand-up comedy – this hotel provides every activity you could think of. If you’re traveling with kids, rest assured there’s no boredom to be had here! You’ll be close to museums, beaches and the famous Malecón – so you can easily experience the best of what Havana has to offer.

Things to See and Do in Centro Havana

Centro Havana ttd cuba
  • Enjoy dance performances at the Callejon de Hamel, a community centre preserving Afro-Cuban culture, which is located in a small graffiti and street art covered alley.
  • Take a stroll along the Malecón, a seawall that runs along the northern shore of the city.
  • Enjoy a daiquiri at El Floridita Bar, a Havana haunt where author Ernest Hemingway spent many a night in the early 20th century.
  • Spend a night at Havana’s most famous cabaret, Tropicana nightclub.
  • Explore the colourful buildings and cobblestone lanes that make up this central Havana neighbourhood.
  • Take in a baseball game at the Estadio Latino Americano.
  • Enjoy a night of great jazz at La Zorra y el Cuervo, a funky and cozy subterranean club.
  • Visit La Casa de la Música for the biggest and best party in Havana, where you can enjoy vibrant salsa music and great drinks.

4. Trinidad – Coolest Place to Stay in Cuba

Located on the south coast of central Cuba is the town of Trinidad. It’s one of the best-preserved colonial towns on the island, and the old part of the city became a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1988.

Travel just a few kilometres outside of Trinidad and you’ll discover stunning natural attractions. From pristine beaches and crystal clear seas to cascading waterfalls and lush forests, this region of Cuba has something to offer every adventure traveller.

Trinidad, Cuba

Best Airbnb in Trinidad: Casa Nivia y Pepe

Casa Nivia y Pepe en Aguacate

This private and spacious apartment with one bed and bathroom is located on the second floor with a private entrance that is great for up to three guests.

You’ll have everything you need for a comfortable stay, and the hosts will make you feel welcome. It’s an oasis in Trinidad that’s close enough to attractions, but removed enough so you can enjoy some peace and quiet.

Best Hostel in Trinidad: Hostal Escobar

Hostal Escobar

Set in a classic Cuban house and with views overlooking the ocean, you really can’t go wrong with this hostel in Trinidad. Breakfast is available for a small surcharge, and the hostel offers bike and car hire to help you explore the area. Bars are a short walk away, where you can enjoy live music and dancing each night. If you want to experience authentic Cuban life on your travels, this is the perfect place to stay.

Best Hotel in Trinidad: Hotel E La Ronda

Hotel E La Ronda

Each room in this 4-star hotel comes with a balcony, flatscreen TV, aircon and an ensuite. Guests can enjoy a continental or buffet breakfast on the gorgeous patio in the mornings, and dinner in the restaurant in the evenings. The Church of the Holy Trinity and House of Music are on your doorstep, and it’s not far from some of Cuba’s stunning hikes and scenery.

Things to See and Do in Trinidad

Trinidad ttd Cuba
Trinidad is a vibrant area
  • Take a walk through the Plaza Mayor, the beating heart of the city.
  • Climb to the top of the National Historic Museum tower and take in the amazing panoramic views of the city.
  • Visit the Iglesia Parroquial Mayor del Espiritu Santo, the largest church in Cuba.
  • Spend a day relaxing on the beach at Playa Ancon.
  • Visit Topes de Collantes, a massive nature preserve located outside of the city. The park is home to hiking trails, waterfalls, and lush natural scenery.
  • Learn all about the rich and diverse history of Trinidad at the Museo de Historia Municipal.
  • Explore the history of the counter-revolutionaries of Cuba at the Museo Nacional de la Lucha Contra Bandidos.

5. Varadero – Where to Stay in Cuba for Families

Varadero is a town on the northern coast of Cuba. Travelers from all over the world flock to this paradise peninsula to enjoy its fantastic beaches, clear blue waters, and glorious sun-drenched sights.

Varadero is also home to a wide variety of activities geared at children and families, providing an exciting way to experience Cuba. From world-class resorts and aquariums to parks and pristine beaches, there’s something to entertain travellers of all ages in Varadero.

Varadero, Cuba

Best Airbnb in Varadero: Pultillazo Ocean View

Puntillazo Ocean View

With sea views, a plunge pool and space for 8 guests, this Airbnb in Varadero is the ultimate location for a group-vacation in Cuba. The villa has four double beds, two bathrooms, and a full kitchen and barbeque area. There are three beaches within walking distance, and the town of Varadero is just 8km away. The hosts also offer meal services, airport transfers, and excursions at an additional cost.

Another Airbnb in Varadero: House Suarez Martinez

House Suarez Martinez

This family-friendly Airbnb sleeps six guests and is situated a short walk from the beach. There’s a full kitchen, laundry facilities, Wifi and a TV, so you can live comfortably in this home away from home. The Airbnb is surrounded by bars and restaurants, and a 10 minute drive will take you to popular diving and snorkelling locations. The hosts provide snorkelling gear, as well as two bicycles for you to get to know the area.

Best Hostel in Varadero: Casa Isis Playa Tropical

Casa Isis Playa Tropical

This hostel in Varadero is famed for its outstanding guest service and ideal location close to the beach. Each room comes with aircon, a mini-fridge, a safe and Wifi access, and laundry and kitchen facilities are also available. If you fancy a slower start to your morning, the hosts provide breakfast at 5CUC per day, which you can enjoy in the tropical garden. The guesthouse consists of two apartments in a traditional casa, so you’ll get to experience authentic Cuban life.

Things to See and Do in Varadero

Varadero ttd Cuba
Tropical paradise
  • Spend an afternoon in Parque Josone, a centrally located green space filled with birds, vendors, music and camel rides.
  • Head out on the water and enjoy an afternoon aboard a Catamaran
  • Explore beneath the waves by snorkelling the coral barrier reef.
  • Visit the oldest attraction in Cuba and explore the extensive and impressive Bellamar Caves.
  • Browse the Varadero Street Market and pick up a souvenir or two from your time in Cuba.
  • Grab an umbrella and spend a day lounging on the sand and soaking up the sun on Varadero Beach.
  • Visit the Varahicacos Ecological Reserve, a three square kilometre stretch of land that is home to Cuba’s oldest living cactus tree, two caves, animals, lakes, and more.

Final Thoughts on Where to Stay in Cuba

This vibrant, beautiful country has plenty of things to do and  places to be explored. Whether you want to explore the buzzing cities or beautiful landscapes, there’s something for every traveler in Cuba.

I would advise anyone considering a trip to Cuba to visit sooner rather than later. With increasing influence from the USA, traveling in the near future will ensure your trip will be as authentic as possible!

If you’re still unsure, you can’t go wrong with Hostal Hyggelig. With its great location and welcoming atmosphere, it makes the perfect base for your Cuban adventures.

That being said, wherever you stay in Cuba really depends on what you’re after on your travels. Now you know some of the best spots, all that’s left to do now is decide when to go, and start packing!

Still not sure where to stay in Cuba? Have we missed something out? Let us know in the comments!

And don’t forget to take out Travel Insurance for your trip! I have been using World Nomads for some time now and made a few claims over the years. They’re easy to use, professional and relatively affordable. They may also let you buy or extend a policy once you’ve started your trip and are already abroad which is super handy.

Getting an estimate from World Nomads is simple – just click the button or image below, fill out the necessary info, and you’re on your way!

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