Experience authentic havana culture with a local family in their casa particular

Experience authentic Havana culture in the best casa particular Cuba has to offer

With over 90 brilliant reviews, Jorge and his family know a thing or two about being great homestay hosts. The family, who lives in the heart of Havana, have been hosting guests from all over the world for nearly a decade. We spoke to Jorge about his experience of hosting so far and where in Havana he'd recommend every visitor to see for themselves.

Why did you sign up with Homestay.com?

Our family really liked the concept of what Homestay is all about, we knew we'd enjoy hosting guests and being a part of the community that the company has created. We wanted to earn some extra money but didn't want anything too disruptive and Homestay was the perfect balance for us. Guests looking for this kind of accommodation are generally really lovely, we found they mix well with our family and they like to be travellers, not tourists, experiencing it for themselves.

The family with a previous homestay guest in their kitchen

Tell us about hosting: what is it you like about the experience?

Being a host has been marvellous! It's a great opportunity to have these guests in your home. Being able to exchange ideas and opinions with people from different countries, cultures and religions has been a huge highlight of the experience so far. It makes you question what you do in your own culture and why we do it, for both the host and the guest. We try to create an easy going atmosphere in our home and build the relationship with each day. As a result, we're still in contact with lots of our previous guests around the world. We've genuinely loved being homestay hosts so far.

Jorge's daughter who studies in the local university near their home

Describe your home

We try to create a welcoming, relaxed atmosphere in our home. Our daughter lives with us, she's a university student so she definitely adds a young energy. We have a balcony which overlooks the street below. We often sit there with our guests and have a coffee. It's a great place to people watch too! We've four bedrooms and two of these are just for our homestay guests. The kitchen is the heart of the home so we often have conversations for hours around the table.

Jorge with his daughter

How do you find hosting with Homestay differs from other companies?

Working with other companies is not comparable to working with Homestay. It's very professional and the website has a simple design so I think anyone would find it really easy to use. As a host, I need to respond to booking requests and update parts of my profile regularly. I can do all of this very simply. I also find the support team extremely friendly and they're always on hand to help me.

Do you have any interests and hobbies outside of hosting?

Having visitors who want to know more about our culture, the country's history and the city is our biggest interest. We find we spend hours having great conversations with our guests. It's become a hobby of sorts as I really feel it's enriched me as a person sharing my culture and learning more about theirs.

Waves crashing along Havana Pier

What is something that every guest should see or do in Havana?

Every visitor who comes to Havana needs to go to the pier, not just to see it but to sit on its walls, to enjoy the smell of the sea and the dance of its waves as they crash against the wall. It's one of my favourite places!

Tell us a bit about your area, what do you like most about where you live?

The city of Havana can be described in one word, magical! This magic is found in the walls, the people, in the street, the colours, the smells and the buildings, even though some have deteriorated over the years.

The street outside Jorge's homestay

What can a homestay offer that traditional accommodation cannot?

Only in a homestay with a local can you have the best conversations in a familiar, intimate atmosphere where you can have the warm welcome of a home. It's here you can you get a sense of the history, the folklore and see where two cultures or religions can come together.

What would you say to anyone thinking of signing up as a host?

If you want to have interesting guests who want to share in family life and you want to learn about different cultures then I'd definitely recommend you join the Homestay.com family!

Inspired to discover Cuba for yourself?

Find the Havana host that's right for you.

Homestays in Havana

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