is the Big Cuba Hotel News, Not Starwood

News flashes following President Obama’s trip to Cuba touted Starwood’s inking of 3 hotels to manage in Cuba, with Marriott in pursuit. They will go to Cuba and set up the least Cuban accommodations in the market. If you want a nice beach vacation, other Caribbean destinations have them and are leagues ahead of Cuba.

If you want to go to Cuba, the draw should be to taste the culture. The lack of massive tourism infrastructure and diversity of the island make it one of the easiest Caribbean islands to encounter locals in their daily lives.

Cuba’s network of B&Bs, casa particulares, welcome you into a local home with Cuban grandparents for your stay. Before the recent visitor surge it was easy enough to show up in a town, knock on the door, and have a room for the night.

Rooms are now often full and booking in advance is been a challenge. AirBNB is already active in Cuba. I am less a fan than many. I don’t want to spend the time on the back and forth to confirm bookings. My trips are often short stays booked last minute which doesn’t work well with the AirBNB model. is a favorite of mine (it is owned by Priceline). I used it for much of my West Africa trip last month. The listing are among the most extensive of any website, especially for Europe, Africa and Latin America, covering all price range and type of accommodation. They also have thoughtful touches such as options for local language printer-friendly confirmations with GPS coordinates listed. has many B&Bs and properties that may appear on AirBNB, yet everything is set up for instant confirmation. Book and done. Off the to-do list.

Great news, then, that’s entrance to Cuba is imminent.

Rapid Travel Chai, April 5, 2016

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