We know the best accommodation at reasonable prices close to the birds and will advise you on where to stay. However, we cannot guarantee availability until a firm booking is made through Havanatour UK and confirmation is received from the hotel in Cuba.
People often choose to stay in a private guest house or "casa particulare" at some point during their trip. Casas particulares are booked direct with the owners and are not ATOL protected. Reservations can be made through Cuba Birding Tours at a cost of £5 per person per night.
West of Havana
We usually recommend Hotel Los Jazmines in Viñales – the rates are reasonable, it's in the right place and the views are simply stunning. Not far away and similar in style is Hotel La Ermita, also a good place to stay. Down in the valley beyond the village is Rancho San Vicente – no sweeping views from your balcony but plenty of birds around your cabin.
All the hotels on Cayo Coco cater for the "beach 'n' sun" holidaymaker. They are large, luxurious, noisy, full of people and all-inclusive – even the drinks. Wherever you stay, you have to travel around the cay to get to the birds.
Our favourites – which means least noisy! – are Hotel Sol Cayo Coco and Hotel Playa Coco. The Sol Cayo Coco is five-star whilst the Playa Coco is only four-star – but it’s cheaper and has better birding around the grounds and nearby.
In terms of being near the birds, the only option is the accommodation at La Belen beyond the village of Najasa – a group of ten cabins around a swimming pool in what is a large nature reserve and horse riding centre. You wake up amongst the birds but it is very basic.
The only other option is to use one of the hotels in Camagüey city itself, some 45 minutes drive away. The best choice for getting to La Belen for birding is Hotel Camagüey because it is on the side of the city you want to be. It may not be the prettiest of hotels but it does have all the facilities you need. The other options are: Hotel Plaza, which is very good but suffers from being next to the railway line where trains pass (and sound their horns) throughout the night; Hotel Gran, again an acceptable hotel but difficult to get to by car; Hotel Colon, also difficult to get to by car.
Of the three hotels in the National Park there is no doubt that Hotel Playa Larga is the best for birders, with its central location for birding and proximity to the local guides. It also has an excellent beach, a swimming pool and tennis court (for non-birding partners). Playa Larga was refurbished in 2009 and the individual cabins set in the grounds are air-conditioned and comfortable. The other options are Hotel Playa Giron, all-inclusive and some 33km away, and Hotel Villa Guama, an interesting arrangement of cabins on stilts over the waters of Treasure Lake. Unfortunately, the only way to access it is by boat and they don't run to birders' timetables!