Cuba with a baby or toddler is a safe, clean, and family-friendly choice for a vacation…
Cuba Fast Facts for Families – Detailed information you need to know if considering a family vacation to Cuba with a baby or toddler
Can My Toddler Drink the Milk in Cuba – Answering a concerned parent’s question about the milk in Cuba
Cuba Resorts with Baby Clubs – A list of resorts in Cuba featuring baby clubs – an amenity some families deem a necessity is
Cuba is more than just the largest island in the Antilles. It is an intricate archipelago comprising the main island (about two-thirds the size of Florida), the Isle of Youth and about 4,195 keys (cayos) and islets. The combined surface area of these Caribbean land masses is some 110,992 square kilometres. and 140 kilometers from the Bahamas Islands, 146 kilometers from Jamaica, 180 kilometers from Florida and 210 kilometers from Cancun.
The country sits at the mouth of the Gulf of Mexico, 140 kilometres from the Bahamas, 146 kilometres from Jamaica, 180 kilometres from Florida and 210 kilometres from Cancun.
Cuba has more than 11,200,000 people, with 75 per cent of them living in urban areas. The average density is 100.3 residents per square kilometre, with the most heavily populated spots being the cities of Havana (2,198,000), Santiago de Cuba (1,023,000) and Holguín (1,021,000). The country’s official language is Spanish, although most Cubans working in the tourism industry can communicate in English.
Cuba is a long, narrow island stretching 1,200 kilometres from Cabo de San Antonio at its western tip to Punta de Maisí, the eastern tip. At its widest point, it measures 210 kilometres; at its narrowest, 32.
The landscape ranges from semi-arid desert to tropical rainforests. While largely flat, Cuba has four major mountain ranges: the Guaniguanico mountains in the west; the central Guamuhaya mountains and Sagua-Baracoa range; and the Sierra Maestra the east. The latter boasts the country’s highest peak: Turquino, 1,974 metres. The country also has well preserved ecosystems and a diverse biosphere.
Cuba’s climate is moderately subtropical and predominantly warm. The island’s average temperature is 25.5ºC and average relative humidity is 78 per cent. It also sees an average of 330 days of sunshine a year. Cuba’s two clearly defined seasons are the rainy season (May to October) and the dry season (November to April).
The exotic capital of Cuba and largest city in the Caribbean is a must-see for any visitor. For centuries, it has served as the gateway to the Gulf of Mexico. And in 1982, Old Havana, the city’s historic centre, was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site.
The city’s first building, overlooking the entrance to a protected bay, dates back to 1519. Originally christened La Villa de San Cristóbal de la Habana, the city became a depository for treasures that Spanish fleets brought to the New World. It also became the centre of trade and commerce between the old and new worlds. Havana’s strategic geographic position was a major factor in its rapid growth, and in the decision to build a sea wall in the 17th century. The wall was completed more than 100 years later.
Today, Havana is the heart of the nation’s busy political, scientific and cultural life. Museums, theatres and concert halls, art galleries and cultural institutions are popular venues, while some—such as the National Ballet of Cuba, House of the Américas, Foundation of New Latin American Film and National Folkloric Dance Group—have won international acclaim. Both day and night, Havana continues to thrill visitors anew.
On the Caribbean side of Cuba lie two idyllic islands—the Isle of Youth and Cayo Largo de Sur—with sugar-white beaches and unparalleled dive sites.
The Isle of Youth is second in size only to the main island. Grapefruit fields, pine trees, parrots and marshes characterize this spot, which also houses schools for young Cuban and foreign students. A few kilometres to the southwest lies Cayo Largo del Sur, an idyllic little key in the heart of the Caribbean.
Varadero beach—some call it the world’s greatest beach—has long been the pride of Cuba, and a magnet for the rich and famous. Today, a broad range of hotels and resorts on this wide, sandy beach offer affordable vacations to please any pocketbook.
Considered by many as the world’s most beautiful beach, Varadero is part of a peninsula that stretches far out into the calm waters of the Atlantic. Its 21-kilometre strip of fine white sand is an ideal vacation spot for sun-lovers, water babies and golfers. Its location on a narrow peninsula ensures that it is constantly cooled by tropical breezes.
But this white beach set against a backdrop of astonishing turquoise water and azure sky is not the only attraction in Matanzas province. The nearby cities of Cárdenas and Matanzas (the provincial capital) are known for their art, history and culture. Southwest of Varadero, on the province’s Caribbean coast, is the Zapata Peninsula, famous for its ecotourism and history.
On Cuba’s Caribbean side, Cienfuegos perches on the shores of Jagua Bay like a pearl sitting on an oyster shell. First settled by the French, who dubbed Cienfuegos “The Southern Pearl”, the city is the capital of Cienfuegos province.
In the early 19th century, wealthy Frenchman D’Clouet of Louisiana promoted this area to the French, who began to populate the region from Bordeaux among other places. Today, this “Franco-Cuban” province produces sugar, citrus fruits, cattle and coffee while developing its industrial side as well.
The longest coral reef formation in front of the north east coast of Cuba, shelters a 21 km long beach: Santa Lucía, main tourist destination of Camagüey and with a highly preserved ecosystem habitat of important colonies of pink flamingos.
Getting into this territory means excellent beaches, diving sites, sport fishing; and also meeting a city full of history and peculiar splendor; it’s the unique chance of walking among green hills and wet flora, explore caverns or swimming in a labyrinth of almost virgin islands like Sabinal or Caguama.
Santa Lucía de Cuba beach features well equipped hotels and complete services, from restaurants to stores. In the city of Camagüey exist comfortable hotels as well. Located in the north coast of the central and eastern part of Cuba. To the east is the Nuevas Grandes Bay and Las Tunas province, to the west the archipelago of Jardines del Rey and to the South the rest of Camagüey.
This rugged mountainous region was pronounced “the most beautiful land eyes have ever seen” by Christopher Columbus when he first sighted it in 1492. But Holguin’s beauty extends beyond the hills and exquisite beaches. Under water are amazing dive sites, and below ground are the world’s second-largest deposits of nickel and cobalt.
When Columbus discovered the northern shores of Holguin, most of it was part of the Great Maniabón Indian territory. He also identified the area’s mineral beds, which are now the world’s second-larges deposits of nickel and cobalt. Today, the mountains and tropical forests remain virtually untouched, offering unparalleled ecotourism opportunities. And the beaches, lagoons and bays are irresistible to visitors.
Dubbed the “Cuban keys”, the tiny islands of Jardines del Rey (“the King’s Gardens”) strung off Cuba’s Atlantic coast are immortalized in Ernest Hemingway’s novel, “Islands in the Stream”. Mangroves and everglades, flamingoes and roseate spoonbills, sun-bleached sand and turquoise waters make this little corner of paradise the perfect retreat.
The keys are in the agricultural province of Ciego de Avila, whose red clay soil is the most productive in the country. The provincial capital of the same name is surrounded by pineapple farms, and has the area’s main airport. Today, a 27-kilometre causeway connects the mainland to the keys, which are rapidly becoming one of the Caribbean’s most popular spots. The islands are part of Cuba’s northern coral reef, which yields spectacular snorkeling and diving.
Cayo Coco: Covered by thickets of mangroves, palms and other forestation, has a 22-kilometre strip of beach. A variety of excellent resorts—from the comfortable to the luxurious—line the beach. The island is named after the white ibis (coco).
Cayo Guillermo:To the west of Cayo Coco boasts the highest sand dune in the Caribbean (15 metres). Ernest Hemingway spent a great deal of time camping, fishing and boating on this key during World War II. He is remembered for his double daiquiris, his boat (the Pilar) and his fishing tales. Resorts and spectacular beaches abound on Cayo Guillermo as well.