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“Lovely back patio”

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Casa Maria Luisa Diaz
Ranked #153 of 202 Vinales B&B and Inns
Reviewed December 20, 2012

During our backpacking in Western Cuba, we spent two nights at Casa Maria Luisa, and found it quite fine. Maria Luisa met us at the bus, which made our arrival easy. Although we have no Spanish, and she has very minimal English, we communicated through smiles, gestures, and her son when he was there. The back patio was truly lovely, and we enjoyed reading our books surrounded by her flowers (the orchids were amazing) plants, and the odd chicken which wandered through.
The room was very basic, the problem being there was a huge bed taking up most of the space. It was actually two double beds pushed together to make one, and we would have done better with only one bed and more storage space. That said, it was clean, and the bathroom was fine. It had an electric shower head, so we had plenty of hot water, and they are always entertaining for us North Americans who rarely see such a thing.
We had the smaller of the two rooms, the other one would be better. Ask for the one at the back.
The location was convenient for the town, you could be in a bar listening to great music in a few minutes. When we first arrived I was concerned about the large restaurant next door, wondering if it would be loud in the night, but no worries there.
And the food….it was wonderful! We ate breakfasts and dinners there, and enjoyed all the meals. They were too big! When we departed, very early one morning, Maria Luisa had no problem getting up early and making us breakfast, and also made us sandwiches to take on the bus.
Maria Luisa may be a bit shy and reserved, especially given the language barrier, but we found her extremely pleasant and caring, sending us on our way with hugs and well wishes.
Gracias to you Maria Luisa!

  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Travelingteam2011
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed September 18, 2012

We liked Maria Luisas casa a lot. She was really nice and gave us some great advices where to go. We wanted to have a private guide, who she organized for us. The food was one of the best we had in cuba and it was a lot. We also got to talk to her mother, who told us some interesting stories about the old times in cuba. The casa looks great with its wonderful backyard. We had the room in the back which was pretty big. The only thing that could have been better, was the strong smell coming out of toilet sometimes. But besides that it was a great casa, which is definitely recommendable!

  • Stayed: April 2012, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Mira_Ger
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 24, 2012

After a few casas, you start to get an idea of what you should be able to expect staying in one. Generally, you get an immaculately cleaned bathroom with hot water, no soap, no AC, (I don't mean this to sound critical; I'm just setting a baseline) and a bedroom with a lock, AC, a fan, and a pretty uncomfortable bed. We ate breakfast prepared by our hosts every day. They tend to consist of a mighty plate of astonishingly delicious fruit (banana, papaya, mango, pineapple), a pitcher of fruit juice, a pitcher of warm milk, a thermos of coffee, a basket of bread, a plate of ham and cheese, and eggs cooked to order. The family is generally a little shy. I am not sure if this is because our Spanish is not much better than their English, that they think we want privacy, plain shyness or they're irritated by having us in their houses. I think it's some combo of the first three. While you are out and about during the day, they make the bed, clean the bathroom, tidy up. They'll help you with directions, recommendations, and your onward reservations. It's a pretty awesome deal.

Casa Dra. Maria Luisa was the worst casa we stayed in. It is the only one that we left to find another casa within the same town. When we did so we realized another fascinating aspect of casas: within a town they seem to be pretty uniformly priced. Which made Dra. Maria Luisa a way worse deal and the casa we moved into an unbelievably sweet deal!

The problems:
1. She was surly. I think she was just in a bad mood because her sister- who is lovely- greeted us and was super nice and helpful and talkative and went on with us at great length patiently slowing her pace so that we could keep up with her Spanish. She made a face when her sister arrived so I think she really was just in a bad mood. She was charging 25CUC for each room, but the rooms were totally different. One is in a separate building behind the house and is big with a fridge and several windows. The other is miniscule with one window that looks right at the neighbor's house and no fridge. If you get the one in back I guess that's fair, but you're definitely getting substandard accommodation if you stay in the smaller room. Oh, then when we left, my husband forgot that he had the key to the room in his pocket. He found it a half hour later and took it back to her and she was a total meany about it. She rolled her eyes and didn't even say thank you. I know it's annoying that he left with the key, but he brought it back even though you were a terrible hostess. Why would you be rude about it?
2. Breakfast: the norm is listed above. This one lacked cheese and ham (a pretty key part of a solid breakfast) and the eggs were greasy. No big deal. Everyone said the food in Cuba was terrible. It just was such a downgrade from the quality we had gotten in the other casas that it was surprising.
3. She did not clean the rooms. We spent two nights there (my husband is blessed with boundless optimism). She did not even empty the trashcan in the bathroom. Now if this were the US that would be fine, but she instructed us not to dispose of our TP in the commode so our used toilet tissue was steeping in the bathroom all day. I can live with my bed not getting made, too, but that also is substandard based on the experiences we had and those of our fellow travelers we spoke with throughout our trip.
4. I have never smelled such an unbearable bathroom stench. The shower was, by night 2, holding about 2 inches of standing water that my husband posits - based on the unbearable stench- might be backed up sewage. Vile.
5. It's loud. Yes, main streets are loud. It was loud. I'm just saying.
6. The sheets are made of polyester or something that feels awful on your skin and at night you can see the flashes of static electricity in them when you roll over.
7. No view. No balcony. No pool. No view. The point of Vinales is the pool. Half the casas in town have a great view. When we got disgusted and went out in search of new accommodations we walked through a dozen casas. Many of them had rooftop decks or wide porches with great views and rocking chairs. This one does not. In our 12 we viewed we also saw three swimming pools. Why wouldn't you stay there instead? No good reason at all.
8. The windows are slats which means they don't hold the AC well because she does not have panes in them. When we moved, we still had slats for the cool mornings, but we also had panes that turned in over the slats so the AC actually cooled the room.

Here's the thing about Vinales. It seems that half the houses in town welcome guests. The town is tiny so it's not like you have to walk far to get a different one. You can literally go next door. In a market like that I do not understand enduring substandard accommodation. Especially when you will pay the EXACT same thing (25 CUC for your room, 4 CUC for your breakfast and 10CUC for your dinner) wherever you stay. You can have a clean room that is cleaned during the day, that has super friendly hosts, rockers, a view, GREAT food, is off the main street and has a pool.

Room Tip: You shouldn't stay here, but if you do, only do so if you get the back room. Otherwise, you are...
  • Stayed: July 2012, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank BoldlyGoing
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 27, 2012

This casa should be listed under Vinales and not Pinar del Rio. It's located on the main street in Vinales just 2 short blocks from the town square. The hosts are Maria, her son and Maria's mother. Maria met us as we came off the bus so we wouldn't have a problem finding the house.
We don't speak Spanish but communication wasn't really a problem. We stayed in the detached room which is not part of the main house and ate our meals right outside the entrance to our room. There is a fridge in the detached room.

The breakfast and dinner meals were cooked by Maria's mom. We had the best lobster dinner we have ever had here and for the lowest price as well. Breakfast was 5 CUC per person and dinner was 10 CUC per person. Both were well worth it.
Having the big restaurant next door was great as there would be live Cuban music every evening.

The only drawback were the mosquitoes that showed up a couple of times so make sure you spray yourself if you plan to sit out in the evening.
One other thing to mention is try not to be the last one to shower in the morning as the hot water tends to run out.

  • Stayed: January 2012, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank jandr84
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 6, 2012

We stayed with Maria Luisa for 2 nights after having stayed at at another casa in Viñales for 1 night.

Maria Luisa's place is located on the main street a couple of blocks from the town square (where the buses arrive and the tourist offices are). The upside is you're close to everything (not that you can be that far our in Viñales) but far enough out to be quiet and relaxed.

Maria Luisa puts on substantial breakfasts and dinners and each morning you would be asked whether you would like pork, chicken or fish for dinner. The rooms are large and clean, and there is a nice courtyard outside the rooms for meals.

One observation is that by being on the main road we did seem to miss some of the 'local action' which we'd seen at another Viñales casa which was a few streets back from the main road. In the 'back streets' you'd sit on the verandah and watch farmers some past selling at manners of goods - eggs, live pigs, vegetables, butter.

I'd recommend Casa Maria Louisa, however if you wanted to go for the totally laid back version of Viñales I'd possibly look for somewhere back off the main street.

  • Stayed: September 2011, traveled with friends
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Thank dazza1979
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 11, 2011

Vinales is a must and this Casa was great. The people in Vinales seem to be the friendliest and most genuine in Cuba. Casa looked out on to the Tabacco plantation next to a great restaurant. Stunning scenery and great breakfasts.

  • Stayed: May 2011, traveled with friends
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2  Thank musicteacher123
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 4, 2017
Google Translation

Room Tip: Las habitaciones son amplias y limpias.
  • Stayed: June 2017, traveled with friends
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Thank jequima
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Casa Maria Luisa Diaz

Address: Calle Salvador Cisnero # 142, Vinales 22400, Cuba
Location: Caribbean > Cuba > Pinar del Rio Province > Vinales
Hotel Style:
Ranked #153 of 202 B&Bs / Inns in Vinales
Number of rooms: 2

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