Travel to Cuba with a Baby or Toddler…
As we are Canadians, Cuba is our family’s favourite vacation destination.
Below is all the information you need for travel to Cuba with a baby or toddler in tow. The latest articles on the site are first. Then, check out details for the individual destinations within Cuba. Cuba is a big island and there are a lot!
∙Cuba Fast Facts for Families
Specific, need-to-know info 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 that some families deem to be a necessity
∙Cuba Family Holidays by Casa Particular
One family’s Cuba vacation. And they they opted to stay in Air BnBs or Casa Particulars instead of resorts
∙Travel Stories: A Month in Cuba with a Baby or Toddler
A firsthand account of one family’s month-long vacation in Cuba. Find out where they stayed and what they did!
∙Travel Stories: Trinidad, Cuba
A firsthand account of a family’s vacation to Playa Ancon, near Trinidad, Cuba
∙Travel Stories: Memories Holguin Resort Review
A firsthand account of a family’s vacation in Cuba at the Memories Holguin Beach Resort
Travel to Cuba with a Baby or Toddler: The Basics
Cuba is the largest island in the Caribbean with an intricate archipelago that includes 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 Cuba’s Caribbean land masses is some 110,992 square kilometres.
And it’s important to note that there are no required travel vaccinations for Cuba. In addition, the risk of zika in Cuba is the same as most Caribbean destinations.
Cuba 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. Although the country’s official language is Spanish, most Cubans working in the tourism industry can speak English. Lastly, most can also converse in French, Italian, and German.
Cuba is a long, narrow island, stretching 1,200 kilometres from Cabo de San Antonio at its western tip to Punta de Maisí at 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).
Travel to Cuba with a Baby or Toddler: Varadero
Varadero is the largest resort area in Cuba with the most-developed tourism infrastructure. Most resorts are about a 30- to 60-minute drive from the airport. Havana is about a 90-minute drive from Varadero, making it an easy day trip, even with a baby or toddler in tow.
The beach is very wide and long, and the water very gradually deepens. It’s perfect for babies and toddlers to splash in. The waves are typically not too intense.
Varadero as a town is definitely worthy of a stroll. There are parks, a church, and a few shops and snack bars. We stayed at the Barcelo Solymar on our first family vacation. And we could easily stroll into town and wander around when we needed a change of scenery.
Find the best deal, compare prices, and read what other travelers have to say about Hotels in Varadero at TripAdvisor
About halfway between Varadero and Havana is Jibacoa. It’s home to two resorts (one is adult-only). The rural setting was wonderful to explore with a toddler. We stayed at the Cameleon Villas Tropico. For us it felt like a cottage vacation, but in Cuba.
Travel to Cuba with a Baby or Toddler: Havana
Havana is the capital of Cuba and the largest city in the Caribbean. It’s 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.
Havana is big and bustling. But it is still walkable and very easy to explore on your own. However, if you’re doing a day trip from Varadero or another resort area, consider hiring a taxi and driver for the day. You will be able to install your car seat, and an English-speaking driver can offer information and perspective on the sights and sounds that you may miss if wandering around on your own.
It’s important to note that the curbs are steep and cobblestone streets might present a challenge for some strollers. We sailed over everything with our jogging stroller and never once regretted lugging it along.
Find the best deal, compare prices, and read what other travelers have to say about Havana at TripAdvisor
Travel to Cuba with a Baby or Toddler: Holguin
Holguin was actually the first area developed for tourism in Cuba. So, while it is much quieter and more laid back than Varadero, it still has the well-developed tourism infrastructure that many families prefer with traveling with small children. The resort areas are a bit further from the airport–usually at least an hour’s drive–but the roads are mostly straight and well-maintained. And the final destination is well worth the drive!
The beaches connected to the resorts in Holguin are mostly quiet and vary in size. Most have snorkeling right off the beach. Guardalavaca Beach is the main public beach and worth a visit if you’re craving a change of scenery and an ice cream. In addition, day trips to nearby Gibara and Holguin City are offered by a number of tour operators, or you can arrange a car and driver for the day so you can come and go at your own pace and install your car seat.
We loved our stay at Memories Holguin Beach Resort and had an amazing excursion to Cayo Saetia, although that adventure is better suited for families with older children.
Find the best deal, compare prices, and read what other travelers have to say about Holguin, Cuba at TripAdvisor
Travel to Cuba with a Baby or Toddler: Jardines del Rey
Dubbed the “Cuban keys,” the tiny islands of Jardines del Rey (“the King’s Gardens”) lie off Cuba’s Atlantic coast. They are immortalized in Ernest Hemingway’s novel, Islands in the Stream. Mangroves and everglades, flamingos 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. A 27-kilometre causeway connects the mainland to the keys. The islands are part of Cuba’s northern coral reef, with spectacular snorkeling and diving.
Cayo Santa Maria:
You will likely fly in to Santa Clara. It’s roughly a 90-minute drive (half of which is along a causeway) to Cayo Santa Maria. It’s worth it! This newer resort area boasts newer hotels and a small “fake village” that’s home to an ice cream parlour and a bowling alley. Still, it’s worth it for a day trip to the mainland for a wander through Remedios and Santa Clara.
Cayo Coco is covered by thickets of mangroves, palms, and other forestation, and a variety of excellent resorts line the gorgeous 22-kilometre strip of beach. The island is named after the white ibis (coco). The resorts on Cayo Coco are a very short drive from the airport (bonus!).
To the west of Cayo Coco boasts the highest sand dune in the Caribbean. Resorts and spectacular beaches abound on Cayo Guillermo as well. At the very tip is the public beach Playa Pilar–an absolutely spectacular must visit!
Find the best deal, compare prices, and read what other travelers have to say about Cayo Coco, Cayo Guillermo & Cayo Santa Maria at TripAdvisor
Travel to Cuba with a Baby or Toddler: Trinidad
Sometimes the weather can be a little windy and cool on the north side of the island. The weather on Cuba’s Caribbean side is a little more consistently hot if you’re craving some Caribbean heat.
But watch where you fly into when visiting this area. Typically you’ll arrive in Cienfuegos which is closer to the small resorts in that area. For the Playa Ancon resorts near Trinidad (preferred) it will be a pretty long drive–usually 90 minutes. However, it is an interesting journey through some quaint small towns. But, if you’re not prepared with snacks and drinks, the drive can feel like a slog.
The resort area in Playa Ancon is small and sleepy. The beach is fantastic. Being close to Trinidad is a real bonus. Since it is only a few minutes in a taxi to town, you can come and go easily without it being a big ordeal.
We loved exploring Trinidad, Cuba and would love to return.
Find the best deal, compare prices, and read what other travelers have to say about Trinidad, Cuba at TripAdvisor
Travel to Cuba with a Baby or Toddler: Cayo Largo de Sur
Also located on the Caribbean side of Cuba are two idyllic islands—the Isle of Youth and Cayo Largo de Sur. Both boast sugar-white beaches and amazing 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. And a few kilometres to the southwest is Cayo Largo del Sur, an idyllic little key in the heart of the Caribbean.
Find the best deal, compare prices, and read what other travelers have to say about Cayo Largo del Sur at TripAdvisor
Travel to Cuba with a Baby or Toddler: Santa Lucia
The longest coral reef formation in front of the north east coast of Cuba, shelters a 21 km long beach: Playa Santa Lucía. It’s the main tourist destination of Camagüey with a well-preserved habitat of colonies of pink flamingos.
There are excellent beaches, diving sites, sport fishing, and a city full of history.
And Santa Lucía de Cuba beach features well-equipped hotels and complete services, from restaurants to stores. Lastly, in the city of Camagüey, there are comfortable hotels as well.
Find the best deal, compare prices, and read what other travelers have to say about Santa Lucia, Cuba at TripAdvisor
And if you’re considering Cuba for your next family vacation please check out our first-hand trip reports and all of our blog posts that reference Cuba.
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You missed one nice spot here, the Cayo Santa Maria beach resort on the islet located on the northern key of Santa Clara. Check it out!
Cuba is an exotic location and I always considered it as more of a vacation for adults :). But now I will consider taking the kids as well…
Very inspiring post please keep writing you have inspired people like us
We just returned from a trip to Cuba. It’s safe like you mention also for the children. We focused on many activities the children can experience and travelled from Havana to Cienfuegos, Trinidad and Varadero.
Hi! I really liked your post, but I’m wondering how did you travel, rent a car or taxi?
Many thanks !
Transfers to and from the airport were by coach bus. We had our car seats with us, but only used them if the bus had seat belts. For our day trips we went out of our way to find a taxi or driver whose car had rear seat belts so we could install our car seats. This was easier in Varadero and Holguin but a bit more challenging in the more out of the way places like the Cayos or Trinidad.
where would you suggest is the best location with a 2 almost 3 year old monster boy, who won’t stay in a stroller. And a father who wants to snorkel of the shore so me and William won’t have to wait for him anywhere.
I would recommend Iberostar Ensenachos in Cayo Coco or Memories Holguin for great family resorts with snorkelling right off the beach. The best we’e found was in Santiago de Cuba but the beach otherwise wasn’t that great for swimming. Wishing you a great trip and a cooperative toddler!
Your website is an amazing resource, well designed and user friendly. Thank you for putting so much efforts to help parents with their travel plans.
I would like to travel to Cuba with my two boys (7 month old and 3 year old) in October. Could you recommend which city/area to choose ? Could you also help to choose hotel? It is very important for us to have a nice Beach suitable for kids, some kid activities and hotel restaurant being able to make a baby pure.
Thanks, Tatiana! Varadero is probably your best bet with regard to being built up with amenities and infrastructure for babies and toddlers. In a close(ish) second I would say Holguin. We absolutely loved Memories Holguin — we had a great vacation two summers ago. Have a wonderful trip!