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Authentic stays

Authentic stays

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Mi Casa es Su Casa

Everyone’s heard the phrase ‘mi casa es su casa’ but since returning from a holiday travelling through Mexico, Cuba and NYC, I’ve been reflecting on the true meaning of hospitality. I say holiday but it was also our honeymoon, so we wanted it to be an unforgettable experience.

My husband and I thoroughly researched our trip – we wanted an exciting itinerary full of authentic experiences with proximity to urban hotspots, city centres, restaurants and nightlife. We’ve both travelled a lot, usually opting for boutique hotels and hostels but this time, we were looking for something different and we decided on casas (a hybrid B&B/homestay).

Our verdict

Casas are often in the best locations, are more affordable than boutique hotels and more comfortable than hostels. Casas are often in residential neighbourhoods near popular tourist areas, allowing you to truly live local and access the “must see” tourist sites. Often, everything you want to do or see is within walking distance of your casa. But, let’s be honest, you can get this experience from a well placed hotel or hostel. What makes casa accommodation different is the people. They’re local, they’re friendly and they’re excited to share the best bits of their home and culture. Some of our most memorable experiences came from time spent with our casa hosts’ over rum and coffee and their passionate list of recommendations.

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Our casa hosts made us feel like part of their families. As happens when you travel, you can strike up an unshakable bond with a total stranger within hours. This happens instantaneously when you casa stay. In Mexico City we were invited to join in a private dinner party at the owners’ apartment with a few other guests. In Havana there were hugs, kisses and tears when we left – looking back from our taxi, our Cuban family leaned over the balcony waving us goodbye.

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These families opened their homes to strangers, set up the communal dining tables and served breakfast, helped with bookings, language translations and recommendations; they welcomed us with wide arms and even wider smiles.  They opened up about their cities to show us what life was really like for them, the good and the challenging. They wanted us to love their cities the way they loved their cities, with passion and energy and generosity. Mi casa es su casa – make yourself at home.

Kitty March

Images: Kitty March

 

 

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