Travel Stories: A Month in Cuba with a Baby & Toddler

I was so pleased when this turned up in my inbox from Ben – the trip he took to Cuba with his wife and two young daughters is a dream trip for me, and one that I did not have the courage to take when my kids were smaller.

The mission of Have Baby Will Travel is to inspire, motivate, and help families travel with babies, toddlers, and young children – and with this post Ben has inspired, motivated, and helped me! If you’ve dreamed of extended travel throughout Cuba with baby, and hoped to get off the resort trail, read on!

A Month in Cuba with a Baby & Toddler

cuba with baby, cuba with toddler, traveling in cuba
Ben with his daughters in Cuba…

We (my wife, my two daughters aged 2 3/4 and 8 months, and I) were in Cuba for 4 weeks, we flew to Holguin from Germany, travelled through Central and West Cuba for 3 weeks before spending 1 week in the Sol Palmeras hotel in Varadero.

I will describe our experiences mainly of travelling independently and what we learnt from it.

Planning for Cuba with Baby:


I learnt a bunch of Spanish words and a few phrases before we left, but essentially we didn’t speak much Spanish. We managed to get around without great problems.

We decided to travel by bus and taxi, so no hiring of cars, no organised tours or similar.

What did we take with us?

We brought the basics to cover a few days (baby food, nappies, wet wipes, things to chew on, pacifiers, clothes etc.) The standard whenever you go anywhere I would think.

Additionally we took: Night nappies (see below), a very small travel bed for the baby, a small easily foldable buggy, some little books, some colouring pencils and a colouring book for the big one, as well as a tablet with some kids entertainment for long journeys. Also sunscreen (very important to take enough with you as this is very difficult to get for little kids)

What didn’t we take?

Child seats (absolutely no point unless you are hiring your own car for all travelling as Cuban taxis and most cars have no seatbelts at the back), plastic toys etc.

pedicab, cuba, cuba with baby, cuba with toddler, cienfuegos pedicab, traveling in cuba
Pedicab in Camaguey, Cuba

Baby Supplies in Cuba

First off, we were a little paranoid after reading about the lack of baby material in general and especially nappies. In fact, nappies in Cuba are not difficult to get hold of (except in Havana Vieja, the best place to go for child things in Havana seems to be the shopping centre at the base of Havana Libre hotel), but they vary significantly in quality and price, whereby among the cheapest also being the best (Brand name: Tenders).

We found that we needed to buy a size larger than stated on the packaging to ensure that they would last a while. Even so, they are not as good as European nappies. If want to avoid having to change nappies at night, its probably best to bring those nappies with you.

Baby Food & Formula in Cuba

Baby milk was no problem to get hold of, baby food a little trickier but there are diverse grain based meals (to mix with water/milk – we used baby milk) as well as glasses of pureed fruits. Other meals are difficult to get hold of.

You can find wet wipes, but they are all perfumed. So you may want to take some unperfumed ones with you if that’s what you feel is better for wiping faces and hands.

Casas Instead of Resorts

We stayed in Casa Particulares, always asking our hosts to recommend a suitable casa in the next town. At which point they would always call people and pre-book for us. We were never disappointed.

We would always ask them to ensure that the next place would be “tranquillo” (quiet) and “grande” so that the kids would have some room.

It worked out perfectly. We always paid 25-30 CUC (roughly $25-30 USD) per night.

cuba with baby, cuba with toddler, cuba horse and carriage ride
You can never go wrong with a horse & carriage ride

Family Food in Cuba

We ate in our casas quite often, where we got nice, simple traditional Cuban food (lots of rice and beans, but also meat, egg, salad.) There was usually too much for the three of us (incl. big daughter) even though we would only order for the parents. As our baby was eating purees reasonably well, we would ask if they could puree some rice and beans or whatever they had made and that was no problem.

It wasn’t salty most of the time, so that was a good meal covered too.

Medical Issues & Health Care in Cuba

We had loads of things with us (always recommended in Cuba), but had absolutely no problems. The sun was one of my greatest worries, but with sunscreen and care it isn’t difficult to avoid sunburns.

The food was fine and we only drank bottled water. We took a thermos flask and asked our casa owners to boil the bottled water, which we then used for the baby milk etc.

Washing and teeth cleaning was all done with tap water without any problems.

Travelling Around Cuba with a Baby

We took the Viazul bus initially, but when the bus was full we discovered that with help and negotiation skills (often it was best asking the hosts of the casas, they would get really good prices and reliable people) you could get taxis for not much more than double the bus ticket price. This could take you from casa to casa (really, really handy and much less stress than going to and from the bus stations).

Also, this meant that we could both look after the kids instead of one parent driving and the other trying to keep to little ones happy (what with no seatbelts, no child seats to stop them from doing stupid things).

Not to Miss Touring Cuba with Baby:

In all we travelled from Holguin to Camaguey, then to Trinidad (don’t miss Playa Ancon, fantastic for a day or two with the kids), Cienfuegos, Havana Central (Vieja was nicer), Vinales, Las Terrazas (the eco-hotel there is not great and very expensive with kids, so that’s one stop I wouldn’t recommend), back to Havana (this time Vieja) and then to Varadero.

More Tips for Travelling Cuba with Kids…

Other tips for the kids – ask for “Parque de Distractiones” (I think). Most big towns have a fairground/amusement park and if you don’t go on a Sunday it will be very quiet and the kids will have most rides to themselves (and you’ll be hard pushed to spend more than 2 dollars on rides. They are all very old and simple but our older daughter loved them). Do check in advance if they are open, in Cienfuegos it was closed on Mondays, in Havana the biggest one was closed from Monday to Thursday!

Also, we were not impressed by the Aquarium in Havana, very expensive but hardly anything to see.

cuba with baby, cuba with toddler, cuba beach
Cuba is more than just beaches, but they are awesome

Our Only All-Inclusive

The all-inclusive hotel at the end (Sol Palmeras) was nice, but not ideally suited for very small children. They didn’t have enough baby seats, entertainment was for age 5 and up, and no significant playground. But it was fine, great beach, ok baby pool, the food was good and the huge choice meant all always found something to their tastes. But being in Varadero is not experiencing Cuba.

Travelling independently does let you get at least a vague idea of what life is like there – especially with kids! (You go to places away from the normal tourist route, people are even more friendly and helpful).

If this article and information helps others choose to go to Cuba with baby and have a great time there, then it won’t have been a waste of time writing it.

The holiday was fantastic and all one needs is the courage to go.

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30 Responses to Travel Stories: A Month in Cuba with a Baby & Toddler

  1. Laurel at #

    Love this! Cuba sounds so amazing. Always love to see families traveling the world with little ones.

  2. I’ve been dreaming about going to Cuba for so long. Sadly it is a bit harder for US Citizens to do it. Not impossible, just a few more hoops, and flights, to get there. One day soon though. One day soon!

  3. mary at #

    I love your article on Cuba.We went there before my first pregnancy from Havana to Santiago by car) and it was one of the most beautiful journey of my life. I’m looking forward to coming back with my two children. Your article gives me a lot of enthusiasm to take this trip again!

  4. Noosa at #

    You are so brave to take the kids to Cuba,I love this blog post.

  5. Karina at #

    Do you have any tips for us – we are travelling with our 19month old but we only have a week-ish, and it is our honeymoon so we are really hoping to find somewhere with some childcare so we can have some time on our own too. Thanks!

  6. Maryse at #

    Thank you so much for writing/publishing this. We’re planning a three week vacation in Cuba with our two year old daughter and five month old son, and it was incredibly helpful to us.

    • Corinne at #

      Would love to hear all about your trip, Maryse – safe travels to you and your family!

  7. Marie at #

    Thank you so much!
    Please be assured that it was not a waste of time writing this report.
    We’ll go to Cuba this November with our 2 children (20 months old and 3 ¾ years old children) for 3 weeks. Not to mention I will be 7 months pregnant!
    I’m struggling finding information about traveling independently with young children in this country (most reports, forums are about all inclusive stays in Varadero).
    Corinne, when was this trip taken (I mean which year, was it recently?)
    Is there a way I can contact Ben? I would have a few questions if I may…
    Also, congratulations on you blog! I haven’t read it all yet but I look forward to reading it.
    Thank you again, I’m so glad I found this article and your blog!

    • Corinne at #

      Hi Marie! This post is about 18mos. old, so not too terribly outdated. If you like I can forward your contact info to Ben and see if he gets back to you?

    • Monica at #

      Hey Marie, did you go to Cuba? We are hoping to go to Cuba with our 2 year old. Ans I am also pregnant ! Curious to see how you got on.
      Thanks! Monica

  8. Silje at #

    Thank you for an inspiring post! We are going to Cuba with a 2 year old, and I am a little freaked out about not having a car seat. Did you just have the children on your lap in taxis? Is there no point bringing a car seat from home?

    • Corinne at #

      Thanks, Silje! It depends on how much traveling around you plan on doing. It is worth lugging it for your own peace of mind, although in some smaller places, finding a taxi with rear seat belts can be a challenge. If you’re not planning on leaving the resort (much) you could probably get away with not bringing it.

  9. Kamau at #

    Hi Corinne,

    First thanks so much for writing this, I hope it will help put my wife at ease. We had considered taking a car seat and stroller, but on the return trip my wife will be traveling alone with baby (I will remain in Havana on business) and she will have at least one bag, baby, a purse and then either the stroller, car seat or both. I am worried about her dealing with all of that and getting through customs. So, my question to you is, given the lack of cars with seat belts maybe we leave the car seat; and i’m wondering do we even need the stroller? Maybe just a baby carrier will suffice? (baby is 18 months)

    • Corinne at #

      Hi Kamau!

      It is entirely up to you. Personally I would bring it all, but also include a carrier so she can wear the baby and use your stroller as a buggy to carry the car seat and the other stuff. But it also depends on how you’re getting around. If it’s mostly by car or taxi, you will feel better with a car seat. If it’s mostly by bus then maybe you wouldn’t need it as much. For me a stroller is a trolley but also a high chair, baby bed, and a baby jail if need be.

  10. Stephanie at #

    Hello Corinne,
    I’m planning to spend the first three weeks of December in Cuba with 3 small kids ages 7, 3 and 8 months.
    I’d like to find a place where to spend most of the time, where there’s colorful nature, some social life and a beautiful beach suitable for children, no resort or all inclusive. Any tips?

    • Corinne at #

      That might be tricky because there are very few private accommodations that are beachfront. You could try Playa La Boca, near Trinidad. I think the beach is very scenic but is shingle (pebbles, not sand) but there some well-reviewed casas and you are close to both Trinidad (awesome) and Playa Ancon (a gorgeous, Caribbean beach). I hope that helps?!

  11. Sabine Stosic at #

    Hallo Corinne,

    my husband and me are planning to spend 4 weeks in Cuba with our two sons (15months and 3 years old) in November 2016. We would like to hire a car but we really don´t know how to bring 2 big carseats from Germany. Maybe there is a possibility to hire them in Cuba?
    I would really like to get in touch with Ben, is this possible?
    And thank you very much for creating this website 🙂

    • Corinne at #

      Hi Sabine! I’ll confidently say that it will be next to impossible to rent car seats in Cuba. Are there lightweight options you can invest in? Something similar to the Cosco Scenera? I’ll reach out to Ben (It’s been a while!) to see if he’s available to answer questions.

  12. Laura at #


    My husband and I are taking a trip to Cuba at the end of next month with our song (4 1/2) and daughter (11 months). We are planning to stay in casas, but would like one that is large enough for all of us (something apartment-like with 2 separate bedrooms would be ideal, but I know that is a bit hard to come by). I’d love to get in touch with the author of this to see if they have recommendations as to the casas they stayed in as their children were similar in age to what ours will be. Is that possible? Or do you have some recommendations (particularly Havana Vieja and Trinidad)? Thanks!

    • Corinne at #

      Hi Laura! If you like I can forward your query to him. I can’t guarantee he’ll reply, but he has been open to communicating in the past!

      • Laura at #

        That would be fantastic – thank you!

  13. Viktoria at #

    I love your article on Cuba! We are thinking of going to Cuba in May/June 2017, our son will be 1 year then. We would hire a car and I guess we will look for a car seat to bring from Germany…will hired cars have more chance to have seat belts at the back than taxis?
    We are using washable diapers but I’m wondering if I can have them washed in Casas? What are Cubans using???
    I read above that there are little casas particulares at beachfront? Can you recommend one not too far away from Havanna or a smaller hotel?
    Thank you very much!! Thank you!!

    • Corinne at #

      Hi Viktoria!
      I would imagine a rental car should have the rear seat belts installed. It was only in destinations outside of Varadero where we ran into issues with the taxis removing the rear seat belts. Honestly I am not sure how you would manage cloth diapers while traveling around. Washing machines are rare, they would have to be laundered by hand. Frankly, I would use disposables on this trip.

  14. Diana at #

    Hello Corinne,
    We are planning a 3 week trip to Cuba next August with our baby. He will be 13 month old then. But I’m very concern about the baby car seat. After reading and thinking a lot, I think the best option is hiring a driver and use a taxi. The only BIG problem for us is the car sea. We really feel we need to have it…. but taking it from home looks like crazy because it’s too heavy and a bit gigantic thing to carry with us from taxi to taxi….
    would love to talk to Ben if it’s possible and would love to hear about other parents experience, particularly in this specific situation.
    The ideal situation would be “renting” a car seat in Havana and returning it after all taxi travels…
    Thank you so much for sharing this post!

    • Corinne at #

      Hi Diana!
      Is it possible to invest in a lightweight car seat that you would use specifically for travel. Honestly, baby gear rental is not a thing yet in Cuba. The car seat we purchased for travel weighed less than 10lbs and we used it in my mother-in-law’s car when we were at home. Something to think about, anyway…

  15. Nice post. I learn something new and challenging on websites I stumbleupon on a daily basis.
    It’s always interesting to read content from other writers and use a
    little something from their sites.

  16. sarah at #

    Hi, where did you stay in Vinales… a recommendation would be appreciated as our casa particular just cancelled on us.

  17. Jeanette at #

    The trip sounds amazing. I will be traveling soon to Cuba with a 14 month old. What did you do for milk for your toddler? Did you take your own or was the milk there good for your toddler?

    • Corinne at #

      The milk can be unpredictable depending on where you go. If you’re concerned about it probably best to bring a toddler formula or shelf-stable milk you know your baby will drink.

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