Now that visiting Cuba is legal for Americans, it opens up a whole new horizon for travelers who want to share the delights and mysteries of this enchanting country with their families.
Cuba’s rich history, the welcoming locals, and still-undiscovered status make it a wonderful choice for your next family trip. Create lifelong memories with your loved ones strolling down the Malecón, Havana’s world-famous seaside esplanade, enjoying a sundae from Coppelia ice cream parlor, and interacting with local Cubans, who will enrich your experience along every step of the way.
Ice cream cart in Havana, Cuba
However, Cuba isn’t your ordinary Caribbean island – although it’s rapidly changing, it’s still vastly different from the United States, and most likely, from any other destination you’ve ever visited. That’s part of what makes it so special, but it also means that families wanting to travel there should have a good idea of what to expect – and how to prepare. Here, a few guidelines to keep in mind.
Consider traveling with a highly respected tour operator. Travel to Cuba from the United States is highly regulated, but that doesn’t mean operators are always reputable. If there’s a time to choose wisely, it’s when you’re bringing your most precious cargo. All insightCuba tours, from our Signature Tours that include experiences like Scenic Cuba and Jazz in Havana, to our Custom Tours for interests like baseball, are open and welcome to guests traveling as a family.
Practice Spanish as a family. Except for tour guides, most Cubans speak very little English, or none at all, so knowing at least a few phrases in Spanish will vastly enrich your experience in Cuba. Practicing as a family, or perhaps even hiring a tutor, is a great way to get prepared for your trip – and excited at the same time.
Prepare your children on what to expect. Many first-time visitors to Cuba are surprised by its lack of infrastructure, such as limited internet, as well as the challenges that Cubans face in daily life, which they call “la lucha,” or the battle. For children, especially young ones, who are accustomed to their routines, this can be overwhelming. Parents should have an idea, as far in advance as possible, of their itinerary from their tour operator. Reading travel guides, visiting online travel forums, and talking to others who have visited Cuba are helpful too.
Watch Viva Cuba before you go. This independent Cuban film, which came out in 2007, makes for some excellent pre-trip viewing with your kids. Told from the perspective of the country’s children, it’s the story of two best friends, Malú and Jorgito, who run away together to the eastern side of the country when they hear about Malú’s mom is to leave Cuba and take Malú with her. The film won Junior Prize at the Cannes Film Festival.
If you are a family considering to travel to Cuba, we hope you find this information helpful. If you have traveled to Cuba as a family and have some additional tips, please feel free to leave them in the comments below.