Once dubbed the “Paris of the Caribbean,” Havana is a colorful gateway to Cuba’s fascinating culture. From its vibrant plazas to kid-friendly accommodations, Havana is a charming location for a family vacation. Live music and hospitable locals create a festive atmosphere for you to explore the city’s colonial buildings with your kids.
Whether you wish to provide the family with an authentic cultural exchange or take them to the beach, Havana is the place to make it happen. Prices are affordable, and the city is considered safe for tourists. Havana’s charms have inspired famous writers and worldly travelers over the years, but nothing quite compares to seeing it with your own eyes next to your loved ones.
Ready to book that family trip to one of the Caribbean’s jewels? Continue reading to discover five of the best ways to entertain the family when you step foot in the “City of Columns.”
Take the Family Salsa Dancing
Salsa music is sacred in Cuban heritage, and passion for the traditional dance is proudly on display in the streets of Havana. What better way to get your family moving than to join a salsa dancing class together?
Music and dance are part of everyday life for Cuban locals, and salsa is an artistic expression of the eclectic mix of people that have shaped the island’s culture. Havana offers a wide range of salsa schools, and the whole family is welcome to learn a few moves.
Havana’s salsa teachers are energetic, enthusiastic, and will keep the younger members of the family entertained during your lesson. Before you know it, everyone will be grooving to the rhythmic Latin beats and ready to put on a thrilling performance.
See the Malecon in an Antique American Car
Nowadays, it’s becoming harder to track down old-school American automobiles from the early 20th century, but Havana has tons of these timeless vehicles. After the Cuban Revolution, American cars could no longer be imported into Cuba, and the classic models cruising the streets today have morphed into their own museum.
The Malecon is Havana’s wide, seaside promenade that stretches from Old Havana to the Vedado neighborhood. With six lanes wedged between historic buildings and the mighty Atlantic Ocean, it’s the most scenic place to ride in a classic car.
Many kids haven’t had the chance to appreciate the models that made a profound impact on the automobile industry. Riding inside one of these beauties gives your kids a unique glimpse into the past.
Snack on Ice Cream at Helad’oro
The heat and humidity in Havana are often relentless, and it’s easy to break a sweat walking around the city’s festive streets. Although drinking water is crucial to stay hydrated, stopping for a bite of ice cream will put a happy grin on your child’s face.
Helad’oro is a popular shop that offers nearly 20 flavors of handcrafted ice cream from fresh, local ingredients. Some of the refreshing scoops of gelato include Milky Way, Nutella, Oshun, and Mojito for the parents. The cozy shop has a few tables inside if you need a respite from the blistering heat in Havana.
Check Out Colorful Artwork at Fusterlandia
Local artist José Fuster transformed his once downtrodden neighborhood into a mosaic wonderland. Fuster began his project by adorning his home with whimsical sculptures and paintings, and his creations soon brightened homes throughout the area.
Situated on the outskirts of Havana, the Jaimanitas district has morphed into an artist enclave thanks to Fuster’s dedication to his craft. Homes, bus stops, offices, and even entire streets are from the artist’s creative mind. Over the years, aspiring artists added touches from their imagination, and the neighborhood earned the nickname ‘Fusterlandia.’
Most children may gripe about going to an art exhibit, but Fusterlandia’s childlike mosaics and tiles pique younger imaginations, unlike other collections. Walking through the maze of artwork will brighten your family’s day and might inspire a future artist.
If you need help finding Fusterlandia, Locally Sourced Cuba has all the information to help you reach the neighborhood through a group tour or on your own.
Hit the Beach at Santa Maria del Mar
Havana is not one of Cuba’s well-known beach destinations, but Santa Maria del Mar provides a fantastic option close to town. The sandy shores are roughly 20 km east of Old Havana, and taxi services can get you there within 30 minutes. Santa Maria is popular for Havana locals and gives tourists a more authentic vibe than hanging at Cuba’s beach resorts.
Santa Maria’s coastline includes about 10 km of white sand beaches, cafés, restaurants, and water sports equipment you can rent for the afternoon. If you forget anything, there are convenient stores, markets, and pharmacies within walking distance from the beach. Stock up on groceries for a seaside picnic, kayak in the turquoise waters, or build sandcastles with the kids.