Luxury villa rentals in cuba

Cuba is THE island. That place you’ll love with all its good things and bad things. An island that’s hard to understand and hard to explain. A place full of contradictions but with beautiful places, dreamy beaches, Cuban music, dancing and singing. Cuba is special, it is unique.

We toured Cuba to the rhythm of the island for a month. We did it on our own, on a small budget and using all kinds of public transport. And in this complete guide to travel around Cuba you will find practical information to organize your trip throughout the country, we hope you find it useful!

Our selection of luxury accommodation in Havana

The Republic of Cuba is a country located in the Caribbean Sea. It consists of the main island, the Isle of Youth and a thousand small islands and cays that surround it. The most populated city -and also the most tourist- is Havana.

Cuba is a country with scandalous landscapes: immense coffee, tobacco and sugar plantations, mogotes and paradisiacal beaches that surround the whole country. Its cities are a clear reflection of the country’s history. So if you decide to visit it, don’t forget to read a bit about its past and present to try to understand the economic, social and political circumstances of Cuba.

Services in our luxury villa rentals in Cuba

Varadero and Havana are usually on the minds of all travelers. So they couldn’t be missing from this complete guide to Cuba. Havana is a city that has evolved a lot in recent years but has not lost part of that decadence that makes it such a unique place. Besides, it’s easy to get lost in its narrow streets and get away from the crowds and tourism and experience Havana more locally.

Varadero, contrary to what many people think, is more than bracelets, cocktails and resorts. There is a low-cost Varadero, a backpacker’s Varadero and we discovered it for 6 days.

Havana is one of the most special cities I’ve ever been to. The truth is that my relationship with Cuba is special in itself, there are many things that I don’t like about the country, but whenever I am asked about this country I get an idiotic smile on my face. There are few places in the world that I like as much as Cuba.

House Rentals in Cuba.

The first time I visited Havana was in 2008 and yes, I think it has changed in 8 years of difference. There is more tourism and there are more businesses focused on tourism. The tourist attractions that already existed have increased their visits and now they charge twice as much. A clear example is the cemetery in Havana, which in 2008 cost 1CUC and now costs 5CUC.

But far from those predictable changes, Havana is still a city with a lot of essence and a lot of interesting places and corners that go unnoticed even for the Havana residents themselves. That’s why today I propose a list of things to do in Havana.

Accommodation in Cuba

In short, the secret of LuxuryCuba lies in the fact that we LOVE our work and help our clients to know and discover every corner of Cuba. The alma mater and consequent success of our business revolves around a fundamental pillar “the satisfaction and loyalty of our customers”.

*VIPluxuryvillas delegates the provision of services to the staff of our villas (butler-manager).

** All services will be paid directly by the client.


Luxury villa rentals in Cuba, what to do?

1. Walk Around Old Havana

Havana is one of the most special cities I’ve ever been to. The truth is that my relationship with Cuba is special in itself, there are many things that I don’t like about the country, but whenever I am asked about this country I get an idiotic smile on my face. There are few places in the world that I like as much as Cuba.

The first time I visited Havana was in 2008 and yes, I think it has changed in 8 years of difference. There is more tourism and there are more businesses focused on tourism. The tourist attractions that already existed have increased their visits and now they charge twice as much. A clear example is the cemetery in Havana, which in 2008 cost 1CUC and now costs 5CUC.

But far from those predictable changes, Havana is still a city with a lot of essence and a lot of interesting places and corners that go unnoticed even for the Havana residents themselves. That’s why today I propose a list of things to do in Havana.

2. Take a free tour of Havana

The truth is that one of the things I like to do most when I travel to cities is to do free tours. These ‘free’ tours work with a voluntary tip for the guide. You can do a free tour of Havana or a private tour. The price of the private tour is probably what you end up not tipping for the free tour, so you just have to think about what kind of tour you want to do and with how many people.

3. Visit the Plaza Vieja and casas particulares in Havana

The Plaza Vieja is one of the epicenters of social and tourist life in Havana. Although it is known as Plaza Vieja, it is one of the newest squares in Havana because it was restored not so long ago. The arcades and part of the original facades were preserved.

4. Have a beer at the Brewery

In this brewery they ferment and filter their own beer and serve it directly into the jug. All their varieties are made with Cuban products and raw materials.

When we visited them, they only had two types of beer. Also, depending on where you sit they charge you more or less for it, so ask first. At night, as in almost all the places mainly oriented to tourists, there is live music.

Prices start at 2CUC (a buccaneer can is 1CUC, so not bad).

The brewery is located in the Plaza Vieja.

5. Wander around Havana’s Cathedral Square

The Cathedral was designed to be built in the Plaza de Armas, although it was finally located in what is now known as the Plaza de la Catedral. They did not count on the fact that the space was not the same and that is why one of the bell towers is narrower than the other.

The Cathedral of the Virgin Mary of the Immaculate Conception of Havana is surrounded by large mansions. The great landowners of the time lived in them.

6. Learn about the history of the Plaza de Armas

Without a doubt, one of the most important squares in Havana. It was here that the city was founded and is also home to the former Palace of the Captains General, now converted into a museum.

Another of the most representative buildings is the Castillo de la Real Fuerza, one of the three defense castles of the city.

In this square it is also very common to see the book stalls. It is said that if they do not have what you are looking for, they will find it for you. Of course, they’ll charge you for it at the price of gold. You will mainly find books focused on the Revolution or books by Cuban writers or authors recognized in Cuba, like Hemingway.

7. Discover the Giraldilla, the symbol of Havana

Many are the tourists who do not know the legend of the Giraldilla or its location. It is a small statue placed at the top of the castle. The one we see today is a replica, the original is inside the castle. There are two versions of the story, the one that circulates around and the one our guide told us. I don’t know which of the two is the real one but they are very similar.

In the “official” story, Hernando de Soto was named Captain General of Cuba. That is, Governor of the colony in the name of Spain. By order of the King he left on an expedition to Florida and left his wife, Doña Isabel de Bobadilla, in charge of the administration of the country.

His wife, far from attending to the government, sat at the top of the castle waiting for de Soto, who never returned. But she was still waiting for him. The Havana sculptor Martín Pinzón was inspired by this passionate figure when he created La Giraldilla, a monument to love. The then new governor commissioned the statue to be placed at the top of the northwest bastion of the Castillo de la Real Fuerza.

In the ‘alternative’ version, the statue was given as a gift by a Frenchman to his beloved, a Havana girl from a good family. He left for Florida by order of the King and the Cuban woman sat down to wait for him but never returned.

The girl donated the statue to the Havana Cabildo, which placed it on the highest point of the castle overlooking the sea so that it would look out over the Bay for her and wait for her boyfriend.

Be that as it may, the Giraldilla has become a symbol. So much so, that it appears on Havana Club rum bottles and on the uniform of the Havana ‘pelota’ team.

8. Have your picture taken with ‘The Gentleman from Paris’

The Knight of Paris is located in the Place Saint Francis of Assisi. Legend has it that the knight was fleeing from the European wars but when he arrived in Cuba, the weather took away the madness inside him and he became a beggar, even though he was always well dressed. He is remembered for his eloquent speeches, because everything he said made sense.

Nowadays tourists take a picture with him because it is said that every woman who takes a picture with him with one hand on her beard and one foot on her foot, will get pregnant because the toe of the statue points towards the genitals.

9. Have a mojito in the middle Bodeguita

Can you take it somewhere else and it’ll be just as rich and half as cheap? Yes, without a doubt. The little bodega in the middle is one of those places that have not stopped gaining fame over the years. The owner of this small winery decided to create a different and refreshing ‘drink’ so that when the workers of the area left work, they would go to his winery to have a drink.

The mojito is not bad at all and there is always a lot of atmosphere and a live band.

But the character that has made Bodeguita del Medio famous worldwide was the writer Ernest Hemingway, a lover of Cuba: “my mojito in the bodeguita and my daiquiri, in the Floridita”. Hemingway spent 6 years of his life living in room 511 on the top floor of the Hotel Ambos Mundos. He knew the city perfectly and many businesses owe him their current fame.

9. Have a mojito in the middle Bodeguita

Can you take it somewhere else and it’ll be just as rich and half as cheap? Yes, without a doubt. The little bodega in the middle is one of those places that have not stopped gaining fame over the years. The owner of this small winery decided to create a different and refreshing ‘drink’ so that when the workers of the area left work, they would go to his winery to have a drink.

The mojito is not bad at all and there is always a lot of atmosphere and a live band.

10. And a Daiquiri at El Floridita

The Daiquiri as we know it today was invented at the Floridita and, once again, Hemingway was the one who made it famous. But did you know that the Daiquiri and the Floridita have a close relationship with Lloret de Mar?

The price of the Daiquiri is 6CUC and, as in La Bodeguita, there is also a live band playing. The venue is somewhat larger and at one end of the bar there is a statue of Hemingway observing the atmosphere.

11. Visit The Capitol

The Capitol is one of the most striking buildings in Havana. It is similar to the Capitol in Washington DC. However, Cubans can and do boast that their Capitol is one meter higher, one meter wider, one meter longer and has more details.

Construction began in 1926. From 1929 it was the seat of the legislative body of the Republic of Cuba until its dissolution in 1959. With the triumph of the Revolution, the Capitol became the headquarters of the Ministry of Science, Technology and Environment, the Museum of Natural History and the Cuban Academy of Sciences.

The Capitol has remained closed from 2003 to 2016 while being restored. In 2016 it reopened as the seat of the Cuban Parliament.

12. Move around the city by bus

Trying public transport is one of the things to do in Havana without a doubt. There is no special recommendation. In this case, the question is to get to the stop, ask questions and hope for the best. The buses are always full, they go around, many seats are broken and it is hot. But the journey is so cheap that, if you are not in a hurry, it is worth it. You will discover other Havana neighborhoods and probably have more than one interesting conversation on board.

13. Get to know the Havana Cemetery

Known as the Christopher Columbus Necropolis, this 57-hectare cemetery has been declared a National Monument.

On my last visit we ruled it out, but the first time I went to Havana I did. The truth is that it is an impressive cemetery with a lot of sculptural and architectural works. I recommend visiting it with someone who can tell you the stories and legends of some of the characters buried there.

14. Don’t miss Hamel’s Alley and its history

This time we did not visit him, but it is one of the visits that I keep with more affection from my first time in Havana. This alley pays homage to Afro-Cuban culture with painting, sculpture and the art of Salvador Gonzalez Escalona. It’s a place to go to take a few pictures, enjoy the atmosphere and have a mojito.

You can visit it on your own or take a tour in Spanish of Afro-Cuban Havana. It really is a place where it is worth having someone explain the history of the place and its curiosities. I visited it without a tour and, if I repeated it, it would be clear to me that will be with a guide.

15. Walk around the Revolution Square

On your list of things to do in Havana, you can’t miss getting to the Plaza de la Revolución. It is one of those mythical places that you will have seen a thousand and one times in photographs and guides of Cuba. But no matter how much you see it in pictures, you can’t imagine how huge the square is. An esplanade of 72,000 square meters. One of the largest public squares in the world.

It was built during the government of Fulgencio Batista but gained international fame with the Revolution. Great events have taken place in this square: from Fidel Castro’s long speeches, a mass offered by Pope Francisco in 2015 or the concentration in homage to Fidel after his death.

There are several points of interest in this square:

  • The José Martí Monument: this 112.75-meter monument has the José Martí Memorial at its base. It is a museum in honor of the Cuban thinker, poet, writer, journalist, philosopher and politician. You can climb the tower by means of an elevator and they say that on clear days you can see the landscape from 60km around.
  • The sculpture in relief of Che Guevara in the building of the Ministry of the Interior This work was made by Enrique Ávila.
  • The same artist made a similar work but by another of the heroes of the Revolution, Camilo Cienfuegos. This work was installed in 2009 on the facade of the telecommunications building.
  • Other important buildings: Behind the memorial to José Martí are the government offices, within the Central Committee of the
  • Cuban Communist Party. The José Martí National Library and the National Theatre of Cuba are also located in the square.

16. Rent an antique car and take a walk around the city

The tourist? Well, that’s what we thought. We came to ask out of curiosity and it turns out that in the low season (September-October) you can get very good prices. Besides, for us, who were travelling with four people, it worked out very well.

They give you the tour wherever you want, but they usually do a typical route in which you leave from Old Havana, visit the Revolution Square and return to the centre by walking along the Malecón from end to end. We also asked him to stop and take four pictures because we knew that something like this would probably not happen again.

The truth is that if you travel around Cuba as a backpacker and low cost, you will probably get into old cars all the time (car-sharing, taxis, etc.) but these cars are really special, well cared for and very nice.

If you don’t have enough money to rent a car, you can always take a Cocotaxi and drive along the Malecón from end to end. Cocotaxis are coconut-shaped motorcycles that can accommodate two people. The price is not exactly cheap, but if you are looking for a motorized experience and cheaper than the car, this can be yours.

17. Walk along the Paseo del Prado

Also known as Paseo de Martí, it stretches from the Parque de la Fraternidad to the Malecón. The walk was designed by French landscape architect Jean-Claude Nicolas Forestier. Trees were placed on both sides, marble benches and statues of lions guarding the walk.

During the second half of the 19th century, large buildings in neoclassical style were built on both sides of the promenade, cafes and ice cream parlors and the Teatro Tacón, today the Gran Teatro de La Habana.

Just before the Revolution, wealthy families moved to other residential neighborhoods and left the Paseo del Prado. In the early 1960s, middle-class and low-income families moved into this area. Today there are many buildings that are literally in ruins and others that are still standing.

18. Make a stop in Central Park

Central Park is one of the most unusual parks in Havana because it is not shaped like a park. It’s simply a part of the street that was taken from the Paseo del Prado because if New York had a Central Park, Havana had to have one too. This park has always been the place where Havana people would meet to talk about sport.

This park also has the peculiarity that it is surrounded by three hotels: the Inglaterra Hotel, the Telégrafo Hotel and the Parque Central Hotel. The first was founded by the Spanish, the second by the Americans and the third by the Revolution. It has three hotels founded during the three most recent historical processes of the island.

19. Luxury apartments in Cuba, enjoy the sunset on the Malecón, the perfect location

You can walk along the Malecón at any time of day, but you cannot leave Havana without having seen the sunset from there. The Malecón is a very long six-lane avenue and a wall that stretches along the 8km of the coast.

I recommend that you buy a Tukola (the Cuban cola) or a Bucanero beer and sit on the Malecón and watch the sun go down. It is a ritual for both tourists and Cubans. You always hear music on the horizon or on the speaker of some Cuban’s mobile phone, a street vendor comes by to buy you a mojito or anything else and in the sea you see some fisherman working during the last hours of the day.

20. Walk past the Anti-Imperialist Tribune

The José Martí Anti-Imperialist Tribune is a square that was built next to the Malecón at the request of Fidel Castro to “tell the world the truth”. The idea is that it would be a place for the Cuban people to gather and demonstrate, especially against the “maneuvers” or actions of the neighboring United States.

The main trigger for the creation of this space was the requests for the return of the child Elián González. And it was created right in front of USINT, a building known as the US Interest Section in Cuba (the US Embassy in Cuba). In fact, for a long time they waved more than 100 black flags, a symbol of the negative relationship between both countries.

The last political use of the building was to ask for the return of the ‘five heroes’, five young men who were imprisoned in the United States on charges of espionage. But the truth is that since Obama and Raul Castro announced the normalization of relations between Cuba and the US, this space has been left in disuse, at least as a political space. Since then it has been given a more playful use.

21. Attend the cannonade ceremony at 9pm

It is probably one of the most touristic events in Havana, and that is done every day. This ceremony takes us back to the times of colonial Cuba with a military parade that ends with the firing of a salute from one of the cannons at 9 pm.

The cannon shot reminds us of the curfew of the city in the times of the Spanish colony. A ceremony that is Cultural Patrimony of Cuba and that arose in the 18th century, when Havana was surrounded by walls.

The ceremony takes place every day at 9 pm in the colonial fortress San Carlos de la Cabaña. Since the entrance to the enclosure is paid, I personally recommend arriving a little earlier to tour it peacefully and watch the sunset from there. If you like photography, don’t forget the tripod, because from the fortress you can get impressive night views of the Havana coastline.

The entrance fee is 8CUC. On this last trip we don’t go up to the castle to see the cannonade, so I don’t know how to get there if it’s not by taxi. By taxi they usually charge between 10-15CUC.

22. Beach Houses Cuba: Take a guided tour to learn more about the city

In the last few years I’ve learned to value a good tour. And when I don’t, I’m left wanting to. The truth is that you can get to know Havana on your own, there’s a lot of information out there. But the tour we took was the one I enjoyed most in Havana.

We took a full morning tour of Old Havana and put the icing on the cake by drinking a mojito with Eddy, our guide. On this kind of tour the guide does 80% and the city the other 20%. If the person talking to you does it with love and passion for what he is doing, the easiest way is for him to transmit to you all that love for the city in question.

If you travel to Havana and want to take a tour, the company is called Different Cuba. Ask for Eddy and give him our regards 🙂

Here is another option for a tour of Havana. Whichever option you choose, I highly recommend a tour of Havana. It’s the best way to really get to know the city with someone who knows it very well.

23. Go out at night to listen to live music

Something that has been mainly relegated to the tourist public is live salsa. Tourists pay to listen to it, pay for the drinks and like to be taken out to dance. In our experience, Cubans -especially young people- have let themselves be carried away by raggaeton rhythms and less and less salsa is heard in the street spontaneously.

But don’t panic. That doesn’t mean you won’t hear trova bands in some venues, no. What it means is that the places where there is live music tend to have higher prices.

Anyway, as in this aspect I unfortunately have no idea (I wish I could have stayed a week in Havana to discover its nightlife), I leave you with this blog in which I have found a lot of updated recommendations.

24. Attend a show at the Cabaret Tropicana

Cabaret Tropicana is also very well known in Havana. We didn’t go because we were running out of money, but it has to be an incredible experience. A bit like the Havana Moulin Rouge. When I go back to Cuba (because I will be back) it will be on my list for sure!

25. Have a mojito on the terrace of the Hotel Inglaterra

One of the things to do in Havana is to try mojitos everywhere. They say that the one at the Hotel Inglaterra is one of the best mojitos in Cuba and I have my doubts, but the views are worth the 3CUC of each mojito. In fact, I think even cheap because I liked the views very much and when we went we were practically alone.

From the top you can see part of Old Havana, Central Park and also the Paseo del Prado.

26. Enjoy a show at the Buena Vista Social Club

If you have never been able to see the Buena Vista Social Club in concert, you have to go to the Buena Vista Social Club in Havana. It is one of those places of worship where you can enjoy salsa, rumba, bolero and guaguancó, the most typical genres of Cuban music.

I had the opportunity to see them in Barcelona, but I would definitely repeat in Havana. The atmosphere has to be incredible!

27. Take an excursion to Viñales

For me, Viñales is a must. It’s one of the most beautiful places in Cuba. If you have several days, you can visit Viñales on your own and spend a couple of days there. If not, make an excursion to Viñales for one day.

Accommodation in Havana Cuba

Useful information to travel to Havana

Remember that in this article you have all the practical information to travel to Cuba, but these are some facts to keep in mind in Havana:

  • If you fly directly to Havana, you’ll need to have already booked accommodation. There are already many accommodations in Airbnb. If you register through this link you will get a discount for your first booking.
  • Here you have all the information to sleep in rental houses in Cuba.
  • To enter the country you need a medical insurance. If you book with Iati Seguros through this link you will receive a 5% discount.
  • If you want Internet, you can check all the wifi points of ETECSA here.
  • Find the best tours and activities organized here.

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VILLA MAXIMA
7 Beds, 8 Baths

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VILLA COSTA
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6 Beds, 6 Baths

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VILLA CASTLE
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VILLA PALM TREE
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