Reviews by Travelers Casa de Ania
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June 1 2011
Name: Reinhart Van Simaeys
I stayed here at: 2/22/2011
Casa de Ania, Centro Habana
My review: I absolutely loved Casa de Ania and spent some of the best times of my life there. My trip to Cuba was my first time outside of Europe, I went solo, and didnt know what to expect. It was amazing. First of all I think (hearing the same thing from the owners and other travellers) that this is the most 'hostel' alike casa particular in Cuba. There's a big sleeping room with five beds, and upstairs there's another room which was occupied by 3 studying girls the time I visited. There's a shared living room, kitchen and bathroom so you naturally start knowing the other people staying there, + other backpackers pass by lots of times, to get help with a room in Habana, to get tips or just to hang out. The atmosphere is amazing and I met some of the genuinly best people ever, backpackers from! Canada, France, Brasil, the States, Norway, Switzerland...
The owners are awesome people who treat you like family, I never felt so welcome in someone's house. They have lots of connections in Habana and the rest of Cuba so they can help travellers out with other casas. One day my eye got infected and Ania saved the day by decisively cooking and sterilizing water and helping me clean my eye until it got better, just a small example of her commitment haha! She speaks some English but if you want to enjoy your stay in Habana - at least learn some basic Spanish! (especially when in the city, in the casa it's not much of a problem). Ania was a professor in Habana's university and can provide Spanish lessons at any level!
The hostel was cleaned every day and was super clean, didn't see one 'bicho' my entire stay. Every person has his own closet (with key), and you get keys for 5 different doors to enter the casa, so you can say it's pretty safe haha. There's a fan above every bed and a small balcony in the big sleeping room, a TV in the living room, American power plugs and one European power plug - hard to find in Cuba apparantly -. Also it's one of the few places in Cuba that have free internet, yes that's right! It's oldschool and not really fast but hey, you're connected to the outside world! You can use the internet at certain hours a day and that works out fine.
I'm a vegetarian and cooked for myself, but you can enjoy meals made by Ania every day. I ate breakfast couple of times and I guess it's a bit too expensive for what you get (I think I paid 5 CUC, maybe 4), but on the other hand the room was really cheap so that made up alot, and with all the taxes they have to pay to the goverment, + all the expenses they make in order to satisfy the guests (while I was there they repainted the facade, repared the sink, instelled a fan above my bed...) it's normal they're trying to make some extra money! I had stomach aches after every breakfast though haha, a fellow traveller said it's a normal thing to happen for backpackers in an exotic country. Also you can find street food and small restaurants everywhere but you're never sure what you're gonna get so basically eating in the casa is an easy option and a support for the casa.
I also absolutely love the neighborhood, Centro Habana. Way more than Vedado or the old city. It's basically a pretty run down, working class, non touristy copy of Habana vieja, in other words authentic Cuban reality. The casa is close to the famous Malecon, the more upscale Vedado neighorhood and a small park with several small supermarkets and shops around it. The first night when I strolled through the dark, run down neighborhood I had the feeling I was gonna get jumped, but police control everything discretely but firmly and it's safe. We walked around at night drunk couple of times (not recommended though) and nothing ever happened. Also if you dress down and don't act like an obnoxious tourist you will barely be bothered by hustlers (unlike in the old centre and on the malecon.) People are living their lives, minding their own business. Dress down, use common sense and enjoy one of the most authentic neighborhoods in Cuba.
I think I said it all... an absolute recommendation, I felt heartbroke leaving this place and all the awesome people staying there. If you're going to Cuba, and you want an authentic, warm, cheap and awesome place to stay and not some fancy hotel, choose Casa de Ania!
Casa specifics: Fantastic hosts, Comfortable, Colonial, Cozy, Charming, Safe
Amenities: Internet, TV, Safety box, Laundry service, Balcony, Ceiling fan, Breakfast service, Bathroom with shower
How was your room?: A 5 bed room, clean, pretty spacious and not crammed. Everybody has a fan, a closet with lock, and there's a small balcony.
How was the food they offer?: Didn't really try it, cooked for myself but heard it was good!
Other services they offer: Helping out with other hostels. Laundry. Free internet. Saving eyeballs (see review).
Other comments: Absolute recommendation. Can't wait to go back one day.
I recently went to Cuba to learn Spanish and stayed at Casa de Ania for 2 months. I have to say I had great time in this house. The hosts were very hospitable and I’m definitely going to go back when I return to Cuba next year. It’s one of the few casas with internet service. I didn´t actually know internet was so scarce when I came to Cuba, but in fact it was a huge help because I had to send a lot of emails for work purposes during my stay and as I was in this casa and I avoided having to pay 10 dollars per hour for internet in the hotels. The other great thing was that I met so many great Cubans through the hosts Ania and Alex. The main purpose of my trip was to learn Spanish and I was having 2hrs of lessons a day with the landlady Ania who was a Spanish lecturer in the University for some time. She’s a very good teacher and forces you to use Spanish all the time even outside the classes if you really want to learn. After 2 months I’m very happy with my level of Spanish and I’m able to communicate well. I recommend this casa very highly!!
Author: Dorte og Kim
Hello everybody, we just came home after a fantastic vacation i Cuba. Havana was great and we had a lovely stay in the casa of Ania and Alex, who were great hostess and very helpful to make this an unforgettable experience.
The room was big and very clean. Ask Ania to cook for you..., the best meal we had in Cuba!!!!! Sometimes you get a bit fed up with people in the streets hustling, but in Ania and AlexÂ´s home you meet real, decent, friendly and reliable Cubans.
We can highly recommend this Casa Particular if you need a central and pleasant base in Havana
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