As if the food, weather, music and vintage cars weren't tempting enough, Americans considering travel to Cuba can now book their stays through Airbnb. The popular home rental service's expansion into the Caribbean country is the most visible example yet of a U.S. business entering Cuba since the governments announced last year they would normalize diplomatic relations and economic ties.
More than 1,000 properties are available in Cuba, located mostly in Havana and other tourist hotspots like Cienfuegos, the Associated Press reported Thursday. Cuba has passed popular Latin American destinations like Mexico City and Rio de Janeiro as a search item from Americans, the company told the Wall Street Journal.
Founded in 2008, Airbnb allows users around the world to rent out their home or apartment to travelers. Listings are frequently cheaper than hotels, helping Airbnb become the second most valuable travel startup behind Uber. A round of funding raised last month valued Airbnb at $20 billion.
“We believe that Cuba could become one of Airbnb's biggest markets in Latin America,” Kay Kuehne, regional director for the company, told the AP. “We are actually plugging into an existing culture of micro-enterprise in Cuba. The hosts in Cuba have been doing for decades what we just started doing seven years ago.”