Travelling Cuba as a family

Travelling Cuba as a family has been on my bucket list for a while. I felt the pressure was on to get there before it changes forever. Presuming other avid travellers would feel similar, I was surprised to get on a half empty Havana bound plane. Especially as there is only one direct flight per week! I booked a trip through Cuba Holidays for the three of us, our daughter Esmé was nearly two. We wanted a variety of Cuban experiences and that’s exactly what we got. From the vibrant buzz of Havana to staying in a casa (house) with a local family in the Viñales countryside, we got a good cross section of life in Cuba. If you want to go without a tour operator you can check out our complete guide to Cuba with kids or check out this road trip guide to Cuba. So, can I convince you to get it on your bucket list? 

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Travelling Cuba As A Family

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Viñales

When we arrived in Viñales, a cute little town in north central Cuba, it was like stepping back in time. Locals live in one-story wooden houses and many have a horse and cart out front. Locals open their homes up to tourists as the main source of accommodation in the town. We stayed with Tatty and Renee who were amazing hosts. As with many houses in Viñales, it was equipped with the iconic rocking chairs on the porch to sit and watch the world go by! 

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THINGS TO DO IN VINALES, CUBA

Viñales is encircled by mountains and dramatic rock formations; perfect for the adventurous hikers and climbers. It is also known for tobacco growing, the fields look incredible with the mountainous backdrop and Cuban’s trekking through on horses. We went horse riding with a local, which our daughter loved. My partner and I agreed it was the most stunning scenery we had ever seen. Our thoughtful tour guide Yaniel tailored to our needs with a toddler and took us in a classic car stopping at non-touristy tobacco farms and an underground cave!  We saw ancient stalactite and stalagmite formations and drifted along in a boat on the underwater river. It was incredibly tranquil and cooling from the hot day above ground. If you are travelling Cuba as a family and looking for a guide, Yaniel can be found online at: discover-vinales.com

Whilst in Viñales we also had a family salsa lesson in the town hall. They specifically assigned us to a teacher who also had a little girl with her. Our daughter was shaking her maracas with the teachers little one whilst we awkwardly stood on each other’s feet and laughed aloud.

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WHERE TO EAT IN VINALES, CUBA

The town has many restaurants with a good standard of food compared to Cuba’s culinary reputation. Many of which are casa paladors (in peoples own homes). Our favourite was El Paradiso, which is an organic farm with incredible views and good quality food. It is advised to book in advance of arriving to avoid disappointment.

Read more about “Vinales, our favourite place in Cuba”.

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Varadero

The next stop was Varadero, renowned for its pristine white sandy beaches and glorious aqua blue water. Many of the accommodation options are all-inclusive on the beach, one of which is the Iberostar where we stayed. I have always been an ‘all-inclusive snob’. I don’t really feel you get an authentic experience. However, since we were travelling Cuba as a family, my mind was changed due to the addition of a toddler. I can see why so many families choose this option due to the endless activities, entertainment and amazing swimming pools! Our little one had so much fun. The entertainment always had a Cuban theme to it so we didn’t feel too far removed. We enjoyed our fair share of cheeky mojito’s whilst soaking up the rays and relaxing.  

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Havana

The last and final stop was in the colourful and vibrant Havana! If you are travelling Cuba, it is a must! There are so many things to do in La Habana. The crumbly paint on old buildings with intricately detailed windows and classic cars are a photographer’s wonderland. Live salsa music can be heard everywhere. Locals can be seen spontaneously dancing on the street; our daughter had no problem getting involved! In Havana, we stayed in the Iberostar, which has the most amazing roof top pool. The views over the city are spectacular. We definitely needed the pool to escape the dense heat of the city. Not to mention our little one would spend the whole day in the pool if we let her!  

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With a female majority in our family, we were compelled to hire a tour-guide with a pink classic convertible to whip us around the sites of Havana. Making stops at places such as Revolution Square and the National Hotel we brushed up on our Cuban history. We took a trip for two hours to ensure it wasn’t too long for our busy toddler. However, she was quite reluctant to get out of the pink car at the end of the trip! 

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We availed of the hotels babysitting service on the last evening. We strolled along the popular pedestrian only Obispo Street. We listened to amazing live music coming from every restaurant and watched professional salsa dancer’s show off their moves whilst sipping on rum-based cocktails. It was a perfect finish to a perfect trip.

When travelling Cuba with a young family, I feel it is best to go by private transfer for both comfort and reliability reasons. Unless of course, you want to hitch-hike. Apparently it is mandatory for vehicles to pick up hitchhikers if there is space!

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Top tips for parents travelling Cuba:

  • Bring as many baby supplies as possible. Nappies and branded products are not easy to find. This also includes sun cream. However if you do run into trouble there is baby shop in the Savillas Hotel in Havana.
  • Pre-arrange your visas.
  • Ensure to bring proof of your travel insurance.
  • Bring plenty of the local currency
  • Check also other tips for travel to Cuba

A friend of mine wrote an amazing guide to Cuba, aimed at couples rather than families. It is an amazing read with some great tips that may be of interest to you.

Thank you to the amazing Cuba Holidays for having us as their guests. This post is sponsored however as always, all opinions are honest and our own.

Have you found this information helpful? We would be so grateful if you could give a small token of appreciation by becoming a patreon which you can check out here. What is a patreon you may ask? In this digital age there is a demand for immediate information online. Being a patreon is a new-age way of giving back for the information, which takes time to put together with no financial return. It’s the very same as GoFundMe. 

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By |2019-02-28T16:54:54+00:00August 29th, 2016|Cuba, Uncategorized|8 Comments

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Sam
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Sam

Hello! My husband needs some convincing to go travelling with our 18 month old (despite us both doing several trips alone and together when we were younger (?!). I was thinking of copying this wonderful trip to Cuba as a gentle introduction for him. It looks amazing and a perfect mix of city, farms, locals and beaches! Is the description above the order that you did it in? How many days did you spend in each location and do you think it was enough? How did you travel between Viñales, Varadero and Havana? Also, I appreciate that you are a… Read more »

Victoria
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Victoria

Our family is going to Cuba for a month in July/aug and your blog had gotten me so excited! Thanks for sharing this info. My daughter will be 10-11 months when we go… do we need to bring a car seat??

Grissel Cavada
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Grissel Cavada

What tour company did you use for the pink convertible 2 hour tour around Havana? Do you have the contact info?

FAye
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FAye

Hi, My family and I are off to Cuba visiting Havana and Varadero in a couple of weeks time eeekkk. Our son is nearly 2 years old and I wondered if you could what the milk situation is there (he currently has two bottles a day of whole milk) and what brand of water is best for children? At home he drinks tap water but I know that this isn’t advised in Cuba. Therefore I’m assuming that I need to go for a brand of bottle water that has a low % of floride? Is this correct? I loved reading… Read more »

Victoria
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Victoria

Hello, I am thinking to go to Cuba and bring my 3 year old daughter. Do I need any special vaccinations shots to get done for her before the trip? Did your daughter received anything like this?
TIA