Top Tips for Visiting Cuba with your Family
This January, our family was fortunate to take a trip to Cuba! It was the boys’ first time at an all-inclusive resort, and after our busy time traveling around the UK, we felt we needed a relaxing trip!
These are our top tips for traveling to Cuba with your family
Use a Travel Agent.
I’ve traveled all over the world, and mostly had done the research and bookings myself. I spent a few months making spreadsheets of prices and dates from a variety of websites.
Then, I had a connected with Flight Centre Independent, Deborah Chapman.
Within 10 minutes, she came back with prices that were half the amount for what I had found, used our travel dates, and was a resort that she was familiar with and felt comfortable recommending!
If anything went wrong, she would be available to help. She was also instrumental with advice and details. Best of all… I didn’t have to do a thing (other than pay, of course!) There weren’t even any extra fees on top!
2. Get suited up.
I hate having my picture taken, especially in a bathing suit. I also burn so easily, so I knew I had to be well protected.
We headed to the Swimwear Hut in New Minas where the amazing staff outfitted both my husband and I in coverups and UV protected clothing.
I went for the miracle suit – who doesn’t need a miracle?? – and even felt comfortable having my picture taken! That was a miracle!
Get good clothes you will feel comfortable in, because they will be your uniform for the week!
3. You will Need Money Right Away
We were not prepared for this. The only place you can get Cuban pesos (CUC) is in Cuba. We did not have time at the airport, as we met our bus to go to the resort. When we arrived, there was a porter who took our bags to the room and required a tip. We had no pesos to give him.
It would be better to save a few pesos from a previous trip, beg from friends who’ve gone before, or be prepared even with some Canadian money to give them right away until you have time to exchange money.
There is a lot of debate as to whether or not it’s a good idea to bring presents for the staff or to take into the villages. Some people bring clothes, toiletries, toys, etc. This is a personal decision.
There were a lot of places outside the resort where people stood asking for gifts. Can you blame them?
5. Bring your own insulated cup.
There is a lot of garbage everywhere. The coastline is teeming with plastic. A lot of it is the cups and straws left by tourists.
To save from getting a new plastic cup and straw each time you get a drink, make sure every family member has his own reusable cup.
There were water jugs everywhere, so it helped to fill one up to keep nearby all day.
6. Bring basic medication.
Because you are in a resort, you will pay resort prices. It’s much easier to stock up on the basics. Bring Tylenol and especially bring Tums. It might take your stomach awhile to get used to the food and drink.
7. Bring Zip-lock baggies.
I brought 4 and they were immensely helpful! We could pack a roll for a snack for an outing or for taking on the plane. We used them so many times.
I felt I should have brought a few garbage bags, too, so we could have spend some time doing a beach clean up, too!
8. Bring activities.
Even though it’s an all-inclusive resort, you need to bring some extra things to do.
We borrowed snorkel and masks to take with us, so they didn’t have to worry about signing them out. We also brought swimming goggles. Another family brought their own tennis rackets, too.
Bring cards or small travel games.
When it was raining it was helpful to have something to do other than hanging out in the games room all day!
9. Take advantage of the excursions and in-hotel events.
There is nightly entertainment at the resorts. This might be too late for some younger children, but were great for our boys (9, 11).
One night was a Disney show for kids and the other was my favourite – a water ballet! It was incredible! This is all included with the resort.
We also did 2 excursions through our West Jet tours. These were extra.
I tried to research some before I went, but I learned, don’t bother. They are so clear and organized when you get there. It’s easy to find out information and there are a lot to choose from.
We went swimming with dolphins at the Bahia de Naranjo Nature Park.
For us, this was well worth it, and a great experience. It cost around $40 per child. (STC)
We also did a tour called Cuba Life that took us through villages and to the countryside. We thought it was important for the boys (and us) to learn how real Cubans live outside the resort.
It was a big eye opener, and certainly made the children appreciative for all we have in Canada!
We visited a school and a doctor’s office as well as some farms and museums.
These excursions were some of our trip highlights.
Overall, be prepared for anything and learn to relax and go with the flow!
This is more difficult for some people, especially someone like me!
But, as there was no wifi (you could pay), most people spent time reading and talking with others. It was nice to reconnect and have a great family time!
We are ready for our next adventure!