• Visit Cuba

    - CUBA -

    Come with us and experience our neighbor's way of life.
  • Visit Cuba

    - PEOPLE TO PEOPLE -

    Explore the roots of the Cuban culture
  • Visit Cuba

    - In Touch with Cuba -

    The way to get in touch with the real Cuban people.
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Travel to Cuba - Private home stay

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Your home away from home – Private lodging in Cuba

By Laura Álvarez 

Here is a Caribbean island that is constantly reinventing itself, a place where its impressive sun can blaze, and yet, nurture.  Most foreign destinations wish to emulate our dazzling glow.  In Cuba, the course of events runs at an incredible speed; and like in other parts of the world, its economy permeates its social dynamics.  Private business initiative has sprung in an unusual, and at times, troubling fashion.  The public mindset, however, is still struggling with its memories of the ban on private property that was imposed many years ago.  Notwithstanding, the economic crisis that befell Cuba in the nineties accelerated a shift in favor of private enterprise as a way to satisfy household shortages.  In this context, informal home rentals to foreigners began to proliferate.  But this business model was also helping to foster a sort of “sex tourism,” since the formal hotel sector was out of bounds for locals.  Up until then, international tourism had not been promoted, but the growing numbers of foreign visitors that followed the collapse of the Eastern European socialist community encouraged an increasing number of Cubans to rent their homes as a means to bolster their personal income.          

In 1997, the lease of private homes was legalized; however, excessive taxation drove many of the initial micro entrepreneurs to bankruptcy, and only the most established operations managed to stay in business.   This result was also attributed to a lack of expertise and experience among these proprietors, as well as a poor foresight by the Cuban State that had failed to develop an infrastructure in support of its private sector as a sustainable source of living for Cubans and a steady generator of foreign-exchange streams.

Travel to Cuba - Casa Trinidad

While the lease of private homes had a confusing origin, its current picture is bright.  Cuba is implementing an economic and legal restructure that has stimulated both ownership and operation of private businesses.  In other words, a public need eventually prevailed over a reluctant official stance, and now, the government is showing interest.  The Cuban State has found this new business model desirable.  The sector constitutes a pool of tax revenue, and its establishment and/or operation do not require government investment.  In addition, jobs are being created.  Each establishment needs employees to look after cleaning, laundry and food services, and some home lessors have included taxi and tour-guide services to their offers.  The regulatory environment to incorporate a new leasing venture has been relaxed, and the existing lower tax burden is helping home-rental businesses to stay afloat, to the satisfaction of their operators.  

The diversity of present-day Cuba travelers is quite different from the nineties. Now, the country is witnessing more visitors who come with their families or who are seeking health treatment, natural attractions and/or sport events.  In particular, foreign travelers want to experience Cuba’s hopes and transition, as the country opens up to foreign direct investment and mends political ties with the US. 

Casa Vinales CubaThe best way to get a firsthand look at the changes in Cuba is to embark on a personal discovery journey.  For this reason, a lot of foreign visitors are choosing to stay in private homes.   Samples of the day-to-day life in a Cuban neighborhood, these homes welcome their guests warmly and professionally.   Many rental managers have academic qualifications and can speak several foreign languages; hence, they can successfully engage in cultural exchanges with their guests. Furthermore, given their price-quality ratio and tailored services, private homes are a preferred option over their hotel competitors.  

Just like in other parts of Cuba, each section of Havana is distinct for its socio-cultural, natural and development characteristics, and these traits influence the nature of its lodging services.  For instance, Havana features contrasting architectures: in its old town (Habana Vieja), the buildings are colonial; while luxury residences from the fifties rise in its Vedado and Miramar neighborhoods.  In other regions, like Viñales and Trinidad, the hotel accommodation capacity is not large enough to cater for the high influx of tourists who are keen to see the unique scenery there.  Most of the homeowners in those two towns are in the rental business that in turn helps support the local tourist activity.


In Cuba, the lease of private homes has gone through various phases before its current condition that exhibits a great potential for further development.  The increase in tourist inflows that is expected for the next few years will put the sustainability of this sector to the test.

Tags: casas particulares cuba, private home, legal travel to cuba, travel to cuba

Articles Gallery

  • Can I Travel to Cuba?
  • Travel to Cuba - All Inclusive Tours
  • Travel to Cuba - General Information
  • Travel to Cuba - Private home stay
  • Travel to Cuba - Faces
  • Travel to Cuba - Organic Farming

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Can I visit Cuba?

Yes, you can visit Cuba legally under one of 12 categories authorized by the US Department of the Treasury, although tourism in Cuba remains forbidden for Americans.

The Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) lifted some of the travel restrictions to Cuba after January 2015. There are several tour organizers and Non Profit Organizations operating travel to Cuba under general License for People to People contact.  

In Touch Travel has been licensed to organize trips to Cuba since 2012. We have granted the specific license to travel to Cuba for certain educational exchanges not involving academic study pursuant to a degree program – 31 C.F.R. § 515.565(b)(2) from OFAC...

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Our packages to Cuba are all inclusive. Unlike other tour organizers, we include flight, hotel, tours, meals...  You only need to bring your willingness to have a wonderful time when you travel to Cuba. 

The  Cuban Visa and the Departure Fee are payable to the charter are an extra charge of $85 and $25 respectively. 

Please note one or two drinks are included during lunch and dinner, depending on the venue. Extra drinks are on your own. Price for water is 1CUC, beers, mojitos, sodas, juices range from 1.5 to 3CUC. 

All prices, fees and deposits are per person and based in double occupancy. Depending on the tour, there is a single supplement for solo travelers 

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In Touch Travel Services has been licensed by The U.S. Department of Treasury, Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) authorizing us to organize and operate People to People programs to Cuba.

All programs under this license include a full-time schedule of educational exchange activities designed to promote meaningful interactions between Americans and Cubans. People to people travel is not tourist-oriented or self-directed but is a great experience to get in touch with real people, living how they live, visiting a wide scope of organizations, institutions, and community projects that provide a better understanding of the Cuban people. 

A few years ago the US Government implemented people-to-people educational travel, an initiative that allows Americans to travel to Cuba, using a specific license, issued by the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s OFAC. Today it is possible to travel legally to Cuba under 12 categories of general licenses. In order to comply with OFAC rules for visiting Cuba, travelers should keep a travel journal as a record of the trip. This journal will serve as proof that you have traveled to Cuba for educational purposes and should be kept for a period of five years as proof of the educational nature of your trip. 

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Your home away from home – Private lodging in Cuba

By Laura Álvarez 

Here is a Caribbean island that is constantly reinventing itself, a place where its impressive sun can blaze, and yet, nurture.  Most foreign destinations wish to emulate our dazzling glow.  In Cuba, the course of events runs at an incredible speed; and like in other parts of the world, its economy permeates its social dynamics.  Private business initiative has sprung in an unusual, and at times, troubling fashion.  The public mindset, however, is still struggling with its memories of the ban on private property that was imposed many years ago.  Notwithstanding, the economic crisis that befell Cuba in the nineties accelerated a shift in favor of private enterprise as a way to satisfy household shortages.  In this context, informal home rentals to foreigners began to proliferate.  But this business model was also helping to foster a sort of “sex tourism,” since the formal hotel sector was out of bounds for locals.  Up until then, international tourism had not been promoted, but the growing numbers of foreign visitors that followed the collapse of the Eastern European socialist community encouraged an increasing number of Cubans to rent their homes as a means to bolster their personal income.          

In 1997, the lease of private homes was legalized; however, excessive taxation drove many of the initial micro entrepreneurs to bankruptcy, and only the most established operations managed to stay in business.   This result was also attributed to a lack of expertise and experience among these proprietors, as well as a poor foresight by the Cuban State that had failed to develop an infrastructure in support of its private sector as a sustainable source of living for Cubans and a steady generator of foreign-exchange streams.

Read More

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Faces of Cuba Today

by Gary Topper

Born and raised in Los Angeles, I first started traveling with camera in hand at the age of 21, on a 7 month solo journey around the world. This was in the early 60’s when tourism had not really reached most of the planet.  The opportunity to see a multitude of cultures sparked a lifelong interest in travel and photography, documenting a mysterious world few had seen.  The passion to find places both spiritual and secular led to years of continuous travel, including this recent journey to Cuba in January 2015.  

Several years ago I joined the Marin Photo Club, where I met a community of wonderful photographers, who were open to sharing their knowledge and expertise.  The stimulation of exploring a shared interest with like-minded colleagues has continued to refine my “shutter eye”.   Recently awarded the Best Color Photograph at the 2015 Marin County Fair and Best in Show photograph by the Mill Valley photography studio, The Image Flow, my enthusiasm and excitement for photography has fueled a driving passion to capture “moments in time” in a rapidly changing world.

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Organic Farming in Cuba

By Loly García de León and Yunior Crespo

In 2014 Tripadvisor included Cuba among the first 10 places of major increase as world tourist destination.  Moreover, after the announcements made by US President Barack Obama to lift some of the travelling limitations for American citizens to visit the island, Cuba has boomed in 2015 as a cultural and educational destination.

Due to a world trend for good feeding habits and also as part of the concern for the environment, a culture for ecologic agriculture and consumption of organic produce, mainly vegetables and legumes, is growing in Cuba.

An important precedent of organic farming in Cuba has been the coffee plantations located in the mountains of Guantánamo and Baracoa since 1900, where the Altoserra company grows gourmet quality coffee exported mainly to Japan and some European countries.

Among the attractions offered by the major companies especialized in educational and cultural people-to-people trips are the guided visits to the ecological farms “La Yoandra” in Havana and “Paraiso” in Viñales.

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Why to Travel In Touch with Cuba?

  • Americans can visit Cuba legally
  • Licensed people to people tours
  • Experience the real Cuban People
  • In Touch Travel is based in Miami, FL
  • Tours departing every Thursday
  • Check in assistance at Miami Airport
  • Professional Tour Directors in Cuba
  • It's Fun and Legal to Travel to Cuba 
  • Delicious Cuban food 
  • Best restaurants in Havana  
  • Fantastic party with a Cuban family
  • Lot of fun and cultural activities
  • Visit the countryside of Cuba
  • Exclusive educational activities
  • Learn about UNESCO World Heritage
  • More than 4 years of experience
  • Weekend tours in Havana
  • 9 days tours in 4 cities
  • Tours for professional photographers
  • Luxury tours in private planes
  • Customized trips for artists 
  • Special tours for colleges 
  • Experts in Cuban topics
  • Real support to the Cuban people

About us

In Touch Travel was founded in 2012 in Hartford, CT by Elme Castillo who is actually the president and one of the tour directors of the company.

We have been licensed by OFAC Department of Treasury to organize trips to Cuba under the people to people program and we have brought more than 500 Americans to visit the big island during 4 years. Our Cuban tour leaders, expertise, relations and contacts in Cuba make us an unrivaled tour company to count on when planning your trip.

In 2016 we have opened our new office in Miami where you are welcome to visit us.

Contact us

Polimita Cuba Travel LLC
dba In Touch Travel

4401 W Flagler Street. Suite 2 

Coral Gables - FL - 33143

+1 855.546.2822

+1 860.819.3737

Mon-Fri: 9:00AM - 6.00PM
Sat:       9:30AM - 1:00PM

Downloads

> Required Paperwork

> OFAC General License 

> FAQs on Cuban Topics

> Application for Travel Insurance

> Itinerary 90 Miles Weekend

> Itinerary Soul of Havana

> Itinerary Colonial Heritage

POLIMITA CUBA TRAVEL LLC dba IN TOUCH TRAVEL is Registered with the State of Florida as a Seller of Travel. Registration No. ST40093.