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Our First Trip to Cuba (with a 4 year old child)

Canada
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19 posts
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Our First Trip to Cuba (with a 4 year old child)

Hi everyone,

We are making our first trip to Cuba in a couple of weeks and are bringing our 4 year old son with us. We are booked at the Hotel Saratoga. Any tips for child-friendly activities in Havana? How about things to avoid? Also, can anyone share their experience/advice re. securing babysitting services? We would like to check out the nightlife, which won't be possible if we cannot get a babysitter. Is this something we should book in advance from the hotel?

Thanks in advance!

torino
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1. Re: Our First Trip to Cuba (with a 4 year old child)

Hi,

Unfortunately there are not much things to do in LA HAVANA for a child. There are only a few parks for children, the zoo is not really interesting.

Parque Lenin is interesting, there is a kind of merry go round in Siboney ( but I've always seen it closed till now), something in Marina Hemingway, poneys riding near the fair in plaza de la Catedral.

La camera oscura may be interesting in Plaza Vieja.

Some tips: drink only mineral water, bring toilet paper always with you.

For a nice baby sitter, email me: p.bocci@libero.it

Montreal
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2. Re: Our First Trip to Cuba (with a 4 year old child)

Enjoy your trip.

I do not know if you travel a lot with your son or not so I will go down a normal list of things.

Take your son to the zoo anyway. I remember at that age the pet store was an attraction.

Bring a good floatation device. Unless you want to hold your son's hand all the time while playing with wet sand near the water.

If this is a beach vacation, buy some sand toys from the dollar store. A pail or watering can, molds, a shovel etc.

What are his favorite toys to bring, bring small cars, books at his level, some for you to read to him, crayons or pencil crayons and a sharpner, so the crayons do not break. Water paints or the books that just need water and a brush. A freezbe. Some balls that float and plastic containers, will amuse him for hours on the beach or by the pool on the cement, fill the containers with water and he can play with them.

Definately water shoes.

Get a laundry bag for the beach toys, put the toys in the laundry bag and rinse sand off in the ocean.

Of course his favorite comfort toys, and items.

Ask the doctor about decongestions for the flight so his ears do not hurt. Gum for the flight as well, if he chews gum.

Make him a little napsack for his toys. Either a small one for his back or one he can pull. This would be his carry on. I even did that with mine when the youngest was 3 1/2. Maybe beach toys can go into the checked lugguage.

Remember naps, or his attentiion span, take snacks when traveling etc.

If there are festivals, parades, markets with bright colours, I am sure he would like that. (Unless he does not like crowds or other things.)

You know your child best.

Good luck with the babysitting. That I would never do. So I have no way to advise you.

nova scotia
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117 posts
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3. Re: Our First Trip to Cuba (with a 4 year old child)

We travel with our daughter, now 8, all the time. I would never leave her with a strange babysitter. We always request a room with a balconey so we can sit out at night and have a few drinks and reflect on the great day we had. There is not much in Havana for the little ones to do that is fun! fun! Anything that you do do just make a big deal about it and take lots of pictures of them in different areas. Make sure you brush up on your history a little and tell them about everything that you see. He would probably enjoy the museum of the revolution. They have tanks and planes. Also the fort would be nice for him. You are just down the street from the capitolio building. Havana is a very busy city in the day so have a little patience and what I always try to remember every step we take is 3 of their steps. They get tired easy. If he will sit in a stroller it would be a good idea to bring one for your day time walking. Take a coco taxi ride or a horse and buggy tour. Kids always love these.

Good luck and have a great time!!! Havana is the most beautiful city.

Canada
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19 posts
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4. Re: Our First Trip to Cuba (with a 4 year old child)

Thank you all for you responses. They have been very helpful.

Just wanted to clarify something re. the babysitting. We would never leave our child with some random stranger. But there are such things as reputable nanny/babysitting agencies where background checks and references are documented. People all over the world use these services when they travel and their children come to no harm. This is what we had in mind.

nova scotia
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117 posts
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5. Re: Our First Trip to Cuba (with a 4 year old child)

you are going to cuba, not france or england. good luck with the nanny/babysitter services with the background checks and all.

london
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149 posts
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6. Re: Our First Trip to Cuba (with a 4 year old child)

funny how quickly this deteriorated into a "who is the better parent" squabble...

Contact the concierge at the hotel - Raul - and ask him what he suggests. I am sure the Cubans are equally as capable of looking after children as western whitey.

Grand Cayman
Destination Expert
for Grand Cayman
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7. Re: Our First Trip to Cuba (with a 4 year old child)

I am a western whitey and have never had a problem leaving my children with caregivers who were recommended by the hotel where we were staying whether the trip was business or pleasure. I don't know how it becomes racist -- I just think some parents are totally oversensitive about who is looking after their children. Chances are more is known about a trusted hotel employee than the teenager who lives down the block regardless of their color, religion, etc. I am sure hotel will have a very capable caregiver to recommend and you shouldn't hesitate to use who they recommend.

Havana, Cuba
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8. Re: Our First Trip to Cuba (with a 4 year old child)

Just keep in mind the following two Jose Marti phrases on which Cubans are almost brainwashed since we go to primary school making our people extremely sensitive to kids:

“Los niños son la esperanza del Mundo.”

“Los niños nacen para ser felices.”

Now enjoy the translations you may find and take the message.

Mh16 spot on.

memphis, tn
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808 posts
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9. Re: Our First Trip to Cuba (with a 4 year old child)

The Hotel Saratoga is the best hotel in town right now. It is pure luxury with its roof top pool area. You're going to love it. Have lunch one afternoon at LaGuardia. It is not walking distance from the hotel but not too far away by cab. I may not have spelled it correctly but you should go there as it, too, is a dining experience and one that your son will be ok at for lunch. There are lots of small kids who live in the building that he may find to play with on the second floor before you get to the third floor where the restaurant is located in the building. It will be worth having pictures of him playing in that big open area even if he plays alone. It is a gorgeous setting for a photo opportunity.

Marla

Canada
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19 posts
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10. Re: Our First Trip to Cuba (with a 4 year old child)

Mh 16, Retrip, Voyhavana, and Marla

Many thanks for your supportive responses. Our trip is just a week away and we cannot wait. We think it will be a great experience for our son. He is so looking forward to it.