By now, most of you have heard of Airbnb. We're particularly partial to the lodging website, which is beautifully designed for people looking to list and find lodging for various amounts of time ranging from a single night to several weeks. The site currently boasts 1,500,00 listings in 34,000 cities and 190 countries, and by all accounts, that number will only continue to grow. Case in point: as of April 2016 Airbnb plans to add listings in Cuba [video below].
During President Obama’s high profile visit to the country, Airbnb announced that the rentals will now be available for travelers around the globe. Airbnbs do especially well in Cuba because of the laws that support casas particulares, which allow visitors to lodge in private homes as long as the proprietors register the names and passport numbers of all guests (a common practice of Airbnb’s listings in countries like Italy and Greece). The going rate of these casas particulares are about $25-35 per night. Because of the casas particulares laws Airbnb has a readymade structure to support their rental model. Furthermore, there are very few hotels in Cuba overall, so lodging for travelers is always in demand, especially with U.S. citizens now able to travel more freely to the country since President Obama lifted the trade embargo and reestablished diplomatic relations.
It should be noted, however, that travel to Cuba isn't entirely free and open. Travelers may only visit Cuba for one of 12 specific reasons as outlined by The U.S. Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control. These scenarios include: family visits, journalistic activity, religious activities, and humanitarian processes. You can read about the laws surrounding travel to Cuba in more depth here.
In almost all cases, you should be able to find SOME way of gaining permission to travel to the long-stigmatized Caribbean nation (and we highly encourage you to do so!) under these 12 scenarios. Just remember to set up your Airbnb accommodations beforehand so you don't get left out in the cold!