Cuba: Caribbean Cool and Cultural Intrigue for the Whole Family

The toe-tapping Latin music, the spicy food, colorful Yank Tanks and rich, vibrant culture … Cuba has its own a singular appeal. For parents, perhaps it’s missing perspective on the Missile Crisis or the chance to tread on grounds once formerly off-limits to Americans. For their kids, maybe it’s using the Spanish they learned in school. But no matter what intrigues your brood, Cuba’s an outside-the-box choice for an enriching family vacation not just anybody can take — and there are just a few options.

Classic Journeys’ People-to-People program introduces families to farmers, artists and dancers, cigar-makers, students and more. Local guides introduce you to Hemingway’s world, farming in a mountainous eco-village, trying to spot hummingbirds or jumping in a vintage 1950s set of wheels for a spin. Hotels are all family-friendly (with pools). Tours are just a week long and scheduled around school breaks; there are discounts based on kids’ ages and how many full-paying adults are traveling (starting at $500 per child for ages 11–16).

Travel starts at just age 5 on Intrepid’s 11-day Family Holiday with colonial Trinidad, four days in happening Havana, the Bay of Pigs Museum, a visit to Che Guevara’s train battle and time for snorkeling and the beach. Enjoy waterfall hikes, too, and a visit to a Coppelia ice cream parlor. Kids enjoy a 10 percent discount on the base tour costs.

Cycling in Vinales Valley, Cuba

© Ulita | Dreamstime.com

Backroads’ cycling and biking tour is geared toward older teens and those in their early 20s traveling with their active families. Ride alongside members of Cuba’s National Cycling Club, visit Matanzas beaches and caves and interact with Cuban baseball players on this People-to-People tour. Special pricing for younger travelers and convenient six-day trips for millennials who can’t take much time off are ideal.

Ages 7 and up are welcome to join Austin Adventures’ Cuba Family Vacation Package. Enjoy snorkeling, touring the colorful trading port of Cienfuegos, swim in waterfalls and try to spot more than 100 bird species on this eight-day adventure.

Regent Seven Seas Cruise Line is expanding its Navigator voyages to include Havana, and will become the only luxury cruise company to offer an immersive Cuba itinerary on the Mariner in 2019—so there’s plenty of time to plan a family getaway. That will include Havana, Cienfuegos and Santiago de Cuba.