You’re taking your kids to Cuba? This was the response I got when I told people we were taking a family trip to Cuba this year. Two families with three kids under the age of three (3.5 yrs, 18 months and 3 months) seeking a cultural experience, unique and enriching without the long-haul flights- Cuba was the perfect fit!
Second question, but is it legal? Yes! There are many restrictions when it comes to traveling to Cuba regarding where you can stay and places to visit that are imposed by the US Government. At Tribù we arrange private tours, hosted by a local to engage in people to people travel. Everything is prearranged, making for a seamless experience!
Third questions, is it safe? Cuba is acknowledged as one of the safest countries in the world for tourism. Ratings aside, we felt safe and were never so much as even heckled the entire trip. Our kids were adored by the Cuban people and we were welcomed into their homes to share stories of life, religion, music and of course rum!
There are some fantastic private villas in Havana which Americans can stay at. Our villa was in the architecturally rich neighborhood of Vedado where many of the embassies are located. For couples, there are also some niche boutique hotels that have preserved the classic charm of the 1950s with colorful art and midcentury furnishings.
Having a great guide is essential to the experience Cuba and our guide was exceptional! Being able to have genuine conversations with our local host enabled us to learn so much about the daily life of the Cuban people as well as the history of a nation that is so close, but so unknown to Americans.
Highlights for the adults included Salsa lessons with a resident dance instructor, a convertible car tour in a classic Chevrolet Belair, taking in the architecture and history of Old & New Havana, followed by great restaurants (lobster on the menu everywhere!) and Mojitos!
For the boys we played “I Spy gato or perro” on our walking tours and they loved seeing all the vintage cars and trucks!
After Havana, we traveled out to the countryside to The Valley of Viñales, a World Heritage Site about three hours west of Havana. The limestone cliffs, mogotes, make for a beautiful backdrop to the valley filled with colorful houses and tobacco farms. Our kids loved chasing roosters, seeing the farm animals and the vintage tractors!
We started our day with a tour of the limestone caves of Cueva del Indo which ends with a boat ride through the underground river. Lunch was at a local organic farm, taking farm to table to a new meaning! The day finished with an oxcart ride from a local family to a private tobacco farm, learning how to roll Cubans right from the source.
Cuba is a vibrant destination and, for now, is still a bit like time travel with the old cars, no credit cards, no cell coverage and wifi in most areas. This is absolutely the time to go to Cuba!
By Marni Granston
Contact Tribù Travel to start planning your custom trip to Cuba at firstname.lastname@example.org or 858-353-201-3079.