More than 1,000 Cuban homes were listed on Airbn in the first two months that the home-rental service expanded to the island nation, according to a CNBC report. That total far exceeds the number of listings in San Francisco and Berlin, both of which took two years to reach 1,000 listings.
It shouldn’t be a surprise.
Even a quick look through Cuba’s Airbnb listings is enough to make wannabe tourists trash their office and sprint to the nearest airport. And the Cubans have been waiting.
Two decades before the U.S. government reopened relations with Cuba last year, the Castro government allowed citizens to rent out private homes to international travelers. As one of the only legal forms of private enterprise, Cubans were incentivized to make their home as appealing as possible for potential guests.
Americans can only travel there legally if their trip falls under one of 12 conditions, or if they pay a small fee for a generally easy-to-obtain travel visa. But now there are more than 1,000 Airbnb listings with a nightly rate of $10 to almost $1,200, with an average rate of $45.
The listing on the Plaza Vieja in historic Old Havana has enough space for four people in two rooms. Host Leonel speaks English and owns a number of similar listings. The space runs just $70, roughly half the price of a single room over crowded, busy Times Square.
Explore the Malecon Habanero roadway along the north side of the Havana coast. When you’re done, retreat to this private room for two in a Cuban house that overlooks the ocean. Your host, Yosvany, charges just $40 a night and only has five-star reviews.
An all-inclusive Caribbean vacation this is not. This house on the southern tip of Cuba, 30 minutes from Santiago, accommodates six and charges $1,000 per week for a full rental. There aren’t any reviews yet, but host Christian is billing the three-bedroom property as the way to experience the true Cuba from your own fishing lodge.
How’s this for a view? It’s certainly worth $252 a week. The Hostal Las Arecas offers four beds and two bathrooms with an onsite host who will greet you with a drink upon arrival. The house, located at Trinidad beach on the southern coast of central Cuba, includes a waterfront deck behind the house and scuba diving down the street.
Tony and Mile describe themselves as a happy couple with a young child. They have several rooms for rent in Old Havana ($102 a night) with a beautiful view of the Havana Port and what looks like an incredible balcony perspective of Paseo del Prado, the dividing line between old and new Havana.