When travelers ask me if Cuba is an appropriate destination to travel as a family or to travel with children, my answer is always the same, YES IT IS, Cuba is undoubtedly one of the safest destinations in Latin America and a very authentic place to enjoy your family vacations.
I am passionate about Cuba, its culture and its people. I travel to the island regularly due to my job, because, as travel designer I like to personally know all the routes that I design. And sometimes I have the opportunity to take my family with me.
I assure you that, for me, family vacations in Cuba are always an exciting experience, an authentic journey of sensations. full of contrasts and colors, of history and culture, of music and dance; adventure and fun, an enriching and fun experience for everyone.
My family vacations in Cuba
Three years ago we decided to travel again with my husband and my two daughters to Cuba, as they were already older (7 and 10 years old) and we thought it was a good time to show them this island and the immense affection we feel for it.
We actually weren't wrong, it was one of the best family trips we've done together.
On this occasion we chose to do an inland trip and not stay at an all-inclusive beach resort, as we preferred to get into the local culture, although I included several beach routes along the way, because going with children you always need some time to chill.
As I write, the memories come back to me, what a good time we had and how fondly we remember it! I felt happy and at the same time proud of my family, to see the joy with which they took advantage of each day, but above all to see how they connected with people, I recognize that it was a perfect trip in every way.
We landed in Havana a December 7 full of illusion and eager for adventure. We chose to stay at hotel Iberostar Parque Central. We wanted to be in the city center and we needed a pool for the children.
In Havana we did not stop for a minute. To avoid hearing the classic "mom, I'm tired" over and over, we decided to use different typical Cuban transports to tour the city.
We also traveled by coco-taxi, which the girls particularly found hilarious, and then we got into a vintage American car, but "how is it possible that they still work?" they asked.
To make the tour of Old Havana more fun for them, we stopped at the Planetarium located in Plaza Vieja and in Chocolate Museum, which is not the best museum, but it was the excuse to sweeten their day a bit.
However, it is not something that worried me excessively, because I think that they are also very positive learnings. In the end our children live in bubbles in Europe and it is necessary for them to know other realities.
Of course we made the typical stop at a bar with live music where in addition to dancing we chatted with the musicians.
There, to the rhythm of the rumba, we became immersed in the Afro-Cuban culture. It was very inspiring to appreciate up close such a diverse and nuanced culture.
As we were close, we had lunch at paladar el Cuarto de Tula, a small gastronomic treasure that we have included in our selection of the best restaurants in Havana for a good, nice and cheap bite.
When the girls got tired of touring, we stopped and got them afro braids in their hairs. They were really happy about it, and i was a drooling mom!
We really enjoyed savoring a Creole meal by the sea, cooked right there by some locals who were friends of our guide.
The nights in Old Havana are always magical. The first day we had dinner at the Antojos restaurant and strolled through its charming squares in Old Havana. The second night we decided to go to the Tropicana show, a universe of tropical colors and rhythms which never disappoints.
2 PLAYA LARGA
We said goodbye to Havana with regret, because the magic of this city always catches me and we began our route towards Playa Larga.
It also allows you to take the opportunity to visit the Natural Park Ciénaga de Zapata, the Crocodile Farm, or the Parque Guamá with a boat tour through the treasure lagoon and a typical Taino village.
We choose to rest in this simple private house in a privileged location. The family who runs it makes its most to make your stay pleasant. The price is very affordable, so we were even with the hotel in Havana.
Our next stop also lived up to the trip we wanted. Cienfuegos is a very beautiful colonial city, where we always like to stop to visit our great friends, Cocuiche family. When you meet a Cuban family from the inside, you can't help but admire them for their tenacity, their humility and their ability to enjoy the little things.The Cocuiche, in addition to being old friends, are collaborators of my travel agency, a most endearing family who rents rooms and turns the stay of all our travelers into a delight.
They are fighters. Enjoying family and home life, and improving that home by themselves, to every last detail, so turists have maximum comfort. As always, we had a great time with them. Their three children were playing and laughing with ours non-stop. And we were delighted to enjoy the good conversation and the good cuisine of our favorite Cuban family, who attended us in the best possible way.
With them, we took a tour around Cienfuegos on a horse carriage, which our daughters loved, as it was almost like a trip back in time for them.
Trinidad is one of my favourite cities because it offers you everything: the sea, the mountains and one of the most bohemian colonial jewels of Cuba.
The first day we took the horseback excursion through Valle de los Ingenios . We had never ridden a horse before, but we loved the adventure. Especially my little daughter who is a "wild soul", the guide had to hold her horse because she kept pushing him to gallop.
We stopped on the way at a peasant farm where we ate charcoal-cooked Creole food and tasted guarapo juice. And of course we did not miss the bath in the waterfall.
The next day it was sun and beach again, so we decided to take an excursion on a catamaran to Cayo Iguanas. Cayo Macho is a small unspoilt island populated by hermit crabs, jutías, iguanas and other species which go along with you on the island.
The nights were also lovely. Nice memories in the restaurant El Secreto @Trinidad, which is like an art and antique museum with also very good cuisine. There, we enjoyed listening to the guitar to an exceptional Cuban musician who played covers of great songs of all time to the rhythm of son.
Cuba as a destination to travel with your family
- Cuba is a very safe country. In 2018, it was awarded the Excellence Award for the safest destination for tourism at FITUR in Spain.
- Cuba takes care of children. Local children play freely on the streets, away from technology. There, children always feel welcome. The climate, the sea and the beach help -no doubt-, but also the kindness and affection with which the Cubans address them.
- There are endless fun activities to do with your kids. Keep in mind that Cuba, in addition to being a very active cultural destination, has the best beaches in the Caribbean. With beach and sun, 50% of your trip is already sorted out if you travel with children.
- Cuab can be an enriching experience for your children, because it shows them another face of the world where there is a lot of joy and few resources. A learning that they will not forget easily.
- Cuba has a good medical system throughout the island and specialized hospitals for foreigners with excellent services, it is always good to take this into account, just in case!
Traveling with children to Cuba, what to do?
- In the city: a simple walk, ride a bike-taxi, coconut-taxi, horse cart, old American car, visit playgrounds, zoos, listen to live music, dance, go to the theater ...
- In nature: riding a boat, visiting a cave, riding a horse or an old train, hiking and bird watching, feeding crocodiles ...
- At sea: enjoy its crystal clear waters, snorkel by the colorful fishes, catch starfish with your hands, swim with dolphins, visit turtle farms, watch iguanas living freely in their habitat ...
What accommodations are recommended for family travel?
In Cuba you can choose all kinds of accommodations , from apartments and private villas with pools just for your family, to state hotels (of all categories) and private inns, known as private houses.
They are houses of families who rent rooms on a hotel basis, with comfort and privacy. In some, you live with them and in others you are simply attended by the contracted staff, as in a hotel.
The level of comfort can be whatever you want, simple, charming or boutique, better than many state hotels, and you will have total privacy for your family, with the added value of enjoying the warmth of a Cuban family.
Today the amount of charming private houses around the island is growing.
In beach destinations I always recommend an all-inclusive resort. There are fantastic hotels that accept children and that have entertainment services and activities for the whole family, it will be the most relaxed part of the trip and you will all appreciate it.
When is the best time of the year to travel to Cuba?
Luckily, the weather in Cuba is very stable, and the temperatures are mild throughout the year, so you can bathe in the sea all year round. Here, you can find some tips about paradisiacal beaches and cays .
Personally, I love travelling to Cuba between November and March, they are highly recommended months because in addition to being a dry season, the temperature drops a bit and is very pleasant.
The hottest months are from June to September, the humidity is higher and can be overwhelming at times, so having a pool or beach nearby is really useful.
In these months it is more likely that you meet rains in Cuba, from May to October. If it rains, it does it quite torrentially, you know, tropical rain, but the advantage is that the sun comes out right away again.
A large majority of our travelers take their family vacations of course in July and August, and normally the rain is never a problem, sometimes it is even appreciated!
October is the most likely month for tropical cyclones, so it is the only month that I would avoid in principle, but nevertheless you simply have to look at the weather forecast, because luckily hurricanes are easily predicted and not all have the same intensity.
What route around Cuba is recommended to travel as a family?
Depending on the ages of your children, or how they deal with road trips, as well as the experiences you are looking for, whether it is beach, nature or culture, you can take multiple routes in Cuba.
Varadero is 2 hours away by car and allows you a quick getaway combining the immense cultural life of Havana and the fantastic beaches of Varadero. Here you can read more about the pros and cons of Varadero.
There are more wild and quieter cays in other areas of the island, which I certainly recommend, such as Cayo Santa María, which for facilities and proximity to Havana is also recommended, taking about 6 hours by car.
In addition to impressive landscapes, it has interesting horseback riding excrusions through the tobacco fields, also suitable for children, and beach options such as Cayo Jutías or Cayo Levisa. But for this you need to take a route of at least 10 days in Cuba.
You can get inspiration in our most popular circuits or leave us to it, so we will design personalized routes and tours fitting your interests.
I leave you some final tips for your vacations with children to Cuba:
- Get all the information you need about required documents to enter the country or requirements due to COVID-19 in Cuba
- No vaccines are necessary.
- Always drink bottled water.
- Food is not a problem for children because there is a great variety of fruits, pasta, meat and fish.
- Take the most basic things you need for your children because they can be difficult to buy there: medicines, diapers, swimsuits, diving glasses ...
- The cars do not have safety seats for children, so you either take an elevator seat or go "old school" with a simple belt. Depending on the age of the kids, i suggest more or less hours on the road.
- The traffic in cities is somewhat chaotic, so lookout when crossing streets.
- The streets are high and quite bumpy, so take a good trolley or a baby carrier.
- Of course, Cuba is not a country to travel with the family in an improvised way, it is better to have everything well organized beforehand.
Choose your family vacation with CubaUnique!
If you need us to design your family trip, contact us without any commitment, we are specialists in the destination Cuba:
- Customised private trips
- Experiences and attractive activities for children and adults
- Fine selection of accommodations with swimming pools and entertainment
- Accompanying guides for children and adults. If one day you want to visit a museum or go out to dinner at night.
- You can stay with Cuban families with children
- Babysitters services