You never really know what to expect when you’re booking an Airbnb stay in another country, especially if you’ve never traveled there before. Your decision relies heavily on reviews, amenities and trusting your gut. I didn’t make the decision of where our group was staying on this trip, regardless of always trusting my best friend’s taste and judgement, this Airbnb experience in Havana was one for the books.
The customer service was fantastic off the bat. All of the questions about our stay were answered quickly and our host gave us some pretty amazing tips about the area we were staying in. She even offered to arrange transportation to pick us up from the airport! Everyone in our group was so excited about the stay and we hadn’t even reached our destination yet.
Vista Al Mar is a very spacious, clean and modern house on the water in Vedado, a popping neighborhood in Havana with a lot to offer. It’s located directly across the street from Bar Colonial 1830 and Torreón de la Chorrera, two really awesome restaurants and bars. We actually ended up hanging out at Torreón de la Chorrera daily before we started our adventures.
The house has a beautiful gated front porch area that offers beautiful sunset views and the chance to watch fisherman cast lines from the rocks across the street. Our host met us outside as we arrived. She was very happy and pleased to meet us! Entering the house I could immediately see how clean and well kept it was. Everything was spotless. The entire house was well furnished and filled with beautiful art. The vibe was amazing.
Each bedroom had its own bathroom, shower, fridge, safe and AC unit. All huge pluses. It didn’t take us long to find out how great this stay was going to be. We settled in quickly and our wonderful host had recommended a really cool restaurant to check out for our first night in Cuba. She recommended El Cocinero, a highly-rated restaurant that just happens to share the same block as the famous Fábrica de Arte Cubano (a must visit).
Just when I thought our stay couldn’t possibly have gotten better, it did. We woke up the next day after a night of drinking and good food to breakfast and coffee. I’ve stayed at quite a few Air BnBs before but I’ve never had a host that made breakfast for us. There was fresh fruit, eggs, bread, coffee, fresh juice and water. This happened every day of our stay. In addition, when we got home from our long days the beds were been made, the trash was taken out, we had clean towels and things were tidied up.
One night our host even went out with us. It was one of our friend’s birthdays and she had arranged a night out at a very popular club in the neighborhood that played live salsa music. She had us guest listed and showed us one of the greatest times we had while we were there. In addition to an awesome night out, our host surprised the birthday girl with flowers, cake and an epic singing of “Happy Birthday”. We were blown away.
By the time our stay came to an end, I didn’t want to leave. Our host completely went above and beyond all expectations. It’s hard to imagine I’ll stay anywhere else but there next time I head to Havana, Cuba. The location of the house was perfect. It was a great balance of avoiding any kind of traffic and crowded areas, having easy access to a couple of cool restaurants and bars, but also not getting too far off the beaten path so you can hang out with the locals and experience the true culture of Havana. The value of our stay was extremely good and for a group of 6, we felt comfortable and at home every single day. I can’t stress how important that feeling is when you’re away from home. It truly makes traveling so much more enjoyable.
There are plenty of Airbnb options and hotels to choose from when you visit Cuba but no matter how cool those spots look or where they’re at, stay a night at Vista Al Mar, you will not be disappointed.