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We (as two German tourists, with limited spanish language skills) are planing a vacation in Cuba for October. We want to cook for ourselves, so we are looking for flats with kitchen, not just hotel rooms.

Also, we prefer not to book the full vacation in advance, rather book each apartment a few days in advance, at max.

I know that there are a lot of private rooms for rent in cuba. However, I imaginge, most of them are quite rustic (5-20 CUC/USD class), which is not what we want. We'd rather like rooms as you can find them for 40-140 USD on AirBnb.

The problem with AirBnb we will probably face is the near to non-existant internet in Cuba.

I expect to have these options:

  • looking for rooms/flats without internet by watching out for signs, asking locals, etc. I expect that this means to see a lot of rather rustic places, a lot of effort to politely decline rooms which are not really appropriate, etc. You may wonder why I find this to be an issue. But I expect some (polite) pressure here to accept a room, especially because a lot of the people on the streets work as promoters for rooms.

  • booking via AirBnb in advance, from home. This would rip a lot of flexibility out of the trip.

  • regularly hunting for internet in Cuba to book over AirBnb. I guess this is not easy, as the access is probably poor, and also the host's internet access is limited, so his answers will take longer as normal.

Are these assumptions realistic? Is it feasible to use internet on Cuba? I'd be happy about any advice...

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    I highly dissuade you from using 1st option. Searching for an apartment "right here right now", i.e. just on arrival with your baggage in hands is not a best deal, and the probability to be scammed/fooled/robbed increases substantially in that case. I was in the same situation and it is not the quest I want to experience again :) But...if you lack adrenaline in your life, why not? – Suncatcher Jul 25 '17 at 13:46
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The mistake you are doing in your considerations is the segregation of Cuba apartments depending on renting platform into rustic/medium/premium et cetera.

The truth is that you can find a fabulous villa on Miramar (1, 2, 3)

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absolutely by any means: from locals, on forums, just on-site, from AirBNB, from renting sites. Just google for casas particulares and you will be flooded with the results.

It is true that Internet in Cuba is (was) uncommon, but the situation is changing rapidly: finding Internet-enabled house in Cuba is not like finding a unicorn anymore. They exists and moving to AirBNB looks very natural for modern hosts.

However, the more hosts are listed in ABNB, the more competition between them and faster they are booked. That's why the most marvelous private hosts, the true diamonds, are not listed on ABNB, but passed from mouth to mouth and they are booked in advance for years. For example, tourists in our community often share kind and lovely Cuban hosts hand-to-hand, along with personal recommendation.

My advice: do not stick to single way, try different means and approaches. The diamond is out there...

P.S. Pay special attention to reservation commitments, as Cuban hosts (of lower profile, dunno about premium ones) are widely known for their booking unreliability. I was reported oftentimes, how travelers arrived to their booked apartments, that were already re-booked by other travelers, who offered more. So up-front payment is highly appreciated, as it can be a steady assurance of your booking.

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