Airbnb now books stays in Cuba for everyone

You no longer have to be a US traveler to get an affordable rental in Havana.

Yamil Lage/AFP/Getty Images

Airbnb was quick to open its doors to Cuba once the country enjoyed warmer relations with the US, but there was a big gotcha: you could only book a stay if you were a US traveler. That ruled out... well, most visitors to Cuba at the time. Today, though, it's a different story. In sync with President Obama's trip to the island nation, Airbnb has received a special exception that lets its Cuban hosts accommodate anyone, whether they're locals or Canadians on snowbird vacations. The expanded service starts April 2nd, or a year to the day when the company first set foot in Cuba.

It's a big deal, even if you're an American who took advantage of the relaxed rules in the past. The country is already Airbnb's fastest-growing market, with roughly 4,000 homes added since April 2015. That rapid growth is only likely to continue now that Cubans can host anyone -- and that, in turn, will increase the chances that you find a prime location without breaking the bank. This could be particularly crucial in Cuba, where your choices used to be limited to either mediocre state-run hotels or their pricey, foreign-run counterparts.