Cuba is a phenomenal country for family travel. First, Cubans absolutely adore children. This is evident in everyday life, as well as in the works of venerated Cuban national hero José Martí. In his short life as poet, essayist, journalist and revolutionary philosopher, he published a widely popular children’s book called The Golden Age (La Edad de Oro). Originally a monthly magazine for children, La Edad de Oro is still taught in Cuban schools and can be found on almost every bookshelf of every house.
Traveling with kids here opens doors, generates smiles, and initiates contact with locals.
Beach hotels and resorts are perfect for family vacations since the warm, tranquil seas and (mostly) gradually sloped beach are child-friendly. Pools specifically for kids add to the fun. The Hotel Memories Varadero, for example, has a meters-long spiral waterslide which provides endless entertainment for (older) children. All-inclusive hotels catering to families almost always have a kids club, and often, even a baby club. Here, your child is lovingly and responsibly cared for by enthusiastic, specially-trained Cuban staff. Entertainment designed for children includes excursions, dances – even performances of e.g. Snow White.
All-inclusive packages are also practical since children can go for food, drinks and snacks independently, without their parents having to interrupt their relaxation in order to pay.
But child-friendly activities are not limited to resorts. Parents with (small) children who want to explore Cuba’s culture, nature and history will also delight in the options. Old Havana, for instance, can be fun for kids since it’s a living museum, with traditions and history playing out in the picturesque streets, parks and plazas. In these public spaces, your family can mix with local families in cheerful, colorful surroundings, often with a live music soundtrack.
Tooling around town in a red double decker tour bus, a cute yellow coco-taxi or a convertible (pink) vintage car is fun for children of all ages. Book a city hotel with a pool and you have on-site fun for the whole family – spend the morning sightseeing and the afternoon beside the pool.
There are extraordinary destinations for family travel farther afield including Viñales and Trinidad and in the central and eastern regions as well. Driving distances can be long however, a factor to consider. No matter where you go, you’ll find friendly people greeting you like family.
In the countryside especially, food can lack variety – rice, chicken and pork are staples. Pack kid-friendly food like a jar of peanut butter and cereal bars already in your country. Bananas (in season year round), cookies, soda crackers, and fruit juices (fresh and boxed) are available in Cuba. Bottled water, ice cream, fresh fruit, and crackers are sold everywhere on the island.
If you are traveling with infants, you should consider bringing diapers, formula, and baby food from home; milk is available in stores island-wide.
If you plan on renting a car, it’s worth noting that finding a car seat can be very complicated. Bring your own or contact Cuba Travel Network for free use of a child-safety seat.
Be aware that temperatures in July and August can be sweltering, with plenty of sunshine. This makes for awesome swimming and terrific water temperatures but you’ll want to bring sun protection and be sure to remain hydrated.
In the unlikely case that you need medical care for your child, you can count on highly qualified medical advice and treatment everywhere in Cuba.
One of the great things about Cuba is that kids are encouraged to be seen, heard, and participate. Kids, as well as their parents, will feel welcome and wanted here.