Eight family-friendly activities in Havana

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Eight family-friendly activities in Havana

Cubans are naturally friendly and good-humoured and they extend a warm welcome to families. With its vibrant squares and forts and castles, Havana is a fantastic playground for your children.

Eight family-friendly activities in Havana

Old Havana – a living colonial museum

Do not be surprised by the complicit looks, spontaneous outbursts of affection and attentive gestures towards your little ones. Cubans just love children. You are staying at La Colonial 1861, a friendly guest house in the leafy residential area of Vedado. In this typically Cuban colonial house, you get the chance to spend some precious time with the family that runs it. Your little tribe is now raring to go and discover Havana.

First up is Old Havana, the historic district and UNESCO World Heritage Site, where you are met by strikingly beautiful surroundings. As you stroll around pedestrian streets bustling with life, you will pass pastel-coloured, Spanish-style buildings now restored and sumptuous, as well as Baroque and Neoclassical palaces, convents and solid stone churches. On a street corner, a group of musicians gets your children jiggling around to their Afro-Cuban beat. Further on, they watch in amazement as a carnival-like troupe passes by on stilts. As Plaza Vieja comes into view, they know it is time to run free. While you admire the elaborate balconies on colourful buildings, they make friends with young Cubans, playing hide-and-seek and joining an impromptu game of football between the arcades.

La Colonial 1861
Calle 10
Vedado
Havana
Cuba
+53 5 37 8301861
lacolonial1861.com/en/home/

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Eight family-friendly activities in Havana

Fun all the way with Cuban music and dance

After this little sweet treat, it is time to share a bit of culture together at the Palacio del Segundo Cabo which is just north of the Plaza de Armas. This majestic palace with its mix of Baroque and Neo-classical styles is home to the most fantastic interactive space, the Interpretation Centre for Cuban-European Cultural Relations. A visit to this new museum, the most innovative in Havana, fascinates young and old alike. Linger a while in rooms recounting five centuries of intercultural exchange between the largest island in the Caribbean and the Old World. Your kids will have great fun using the touchscreens in an area dedicated to Cuban music and dance. Using a software program, they can choose their instruments and create a piece of music. On another screen, they can watch the steps of a flamenco or ballet dancer, enjoy trying to copy them and then get an evaluation of their skills in their version of the dance. Embrace this opportunity to learn more about Cuba's iconic composers, singers, choreographers, groups and dancers.

Palacio del Segundo Cabo
O'Reilly no. 4, esq. Tacón
Plaza de Armas
Havana
Cuba
+53 7 801 71 76
segundocabo.ohc.cu/

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Eight family-friendly activities in Havana

Fun all the way with Cuban music and dance

After this little sweet treat, it is time to share a bit of culture together at the Palacio del Segundo Cabo which is just north of the Plaza de Armas. This majestic palace with its mix of Baroque and Neo-classical styles is home to the most fantastic interactive space, the Interpretation Centre for Cuban-European Cultural Relations. A visit to this new museum, the most innovative in Havana, fascinates young and old alike. Linger a while in rooms recounting five centuries of intercultural exchange between the largest island in the Caribbean and the Old World. Your kids will have great fun using the touchscreens in an area dedicated to Cuban music and dance. Using a software program, they can choose their instruments and create a piece of music. On another screen, they can watch the steps of a flamenco or ballet dancer, enjoy trying to copy them and then get an evaluation of their skills in their version of the dance. Embrace this opportunity to learn more about Cuba's iconic composers, singers, choreographers, groups and dancers.

Palacio del Segundo Cabo
O'Reilly no. 4, esq. Tacón
Plaza de Armas
Havana
Cuba
+53 7 801 71 76
segundocabo.ohc.cu/

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Eight family-friendly activities in Havana

Playing Pirates of the Caribbean

Within walking distance from the Plaza de Armas, you can discover the real pirates of the Caribbean at the Castillo de la Real Fuerza, the oldest fort in the Americas. You will recognise this old fortress from its weather vane, known as La Giraldilla, which sits atop of it. You are now entering a military edifice built in the 16th century by the Spanish to protect the city from attacks from the sea by pirates and privateers, including the formidable Sir Francis Drake. Explore its mysterious maze-like passages with impenetrable walls that can tell a tale or two, marvel at the treasures recovered from galleons sunk in the port of Havana and then take in the panoramic views over the city. At the entrance to the port stands the imposing fortress of La Cabaña. At the end of each day, the solemn Cañonazo takes place where actors dressed as 18th-century soldiers re-enact this cannon-firing ceremony. Your kids will be so impressed, they will not miss a second of the show.

Castillo de la Real Fuerza
O'Reilly
Havana
Cuba
+53 7 8615010

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Eight family-friendly activities in Havana

Frozen delights with flavours from the tropics

In the tropical heat of Havana, there is nothing better than a good sorbet to cool you down. Rather than queuing up outside long-established ice-cream parlours, go instead to one of the small parlours in Old Havana which have recently opened. Make your way to Helad'Oro, run by a French-Cuban couple, for your refreshing break. Their homemade ice creams, made from fresh ingredients, are never too sweet and will make your mouth water. Guava, sapote, pineapple, mango, coconut… The selection of tropical flavours is overwhelming. In the end, you settle on two balls of soursop mojito.

Helad'Oro
Aguiar 206
Havana
Cuba
+53 5 6236942
www.facebook.com/heladoro/

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Eight family-friendly activities in Havana

Cruising the Malecón in a classic American car

In the warm light of the dying day, why not take a drive down the Malecón in the back of a gorgeous convertible American car? Cruising along the eight kilometres of Havana's iconic seafront boulevard is a must. Head to the square in front of the Capitol Building and choose your Chevrolet, Pontiac, Buick or Cadillac with their gleaming chrome work and rainbow colours. Negotiate the price and then climb aboard this collectors' item, lovingly maintained for decades. A family photo on the back seat and off you go on an exhilarating ride into the sunset. On one side, sumptuous restored palaces pass by; on the other, scenes from everyday Cuban life unfold, with musicians playing their tunes for passers-by and couples gazing out to sea. Lulled by the purring engine and breathing in the sea air, you share this timeless experience which will definitely be a highlight of your trip.

El Capitolio
Havana
Cuba
+53 7 8603411

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Eight family-friendly activities in Havana

Little trains and roller coasters at Parque Lenin

Families from Havana like to spend their weekends in a place that is out of the way: Parque Lenin is a huge 670-hectare park, located 20 km to the south of the city. As you explore this large and charming recreational area, your children will fly into your arms with delight. What with the attractions, the aquarium and a thousand activities of all kinds, they will not know where to turn first. A nine-kilometre ride on a small steam train, once used to transport sugar, gives you some idea of how large the park is. Swap this iron horse for the four-legged variety which you can hire from the equestrian centre. Saddle up and set off for a family horse ride amongst the park's palm trees, cedars and monkey puzzle trees. Is your eldest child pleading for a rush of adrenalin? Give in and join him for a roller-coaster ride. Then your little girl wants to see a show. Not a problem, there is a puppet show starting in a couple of minutes.

Parque Lenin
Avenida 5ta y 68
Havana
Cuba
+53 7 7442722

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Eight family-friendly activities in Havana

Fine sandy beaches with a totally Cuban vibe

The lure of the sea pulls you away from the city. The famous beaches to the east of the island lie less than an hour from Havana. Lay your towel out on the white sands at Guanabo. In the middle of the week, you can enjoy this little bit of paradise all to yourselves, and it is bathed by turquoise waters at just the right temperature.

Be careful to protect your kids' skin from the sun. Set back on the beach, some tall coconut trees provide the welcome shade you are after. At weekends and throughout summer, there is a total change of atmosphere. Habaneros descend on Guanabo with the whole family in tow. Immerse yourself in the lively ambiance with its rhythms of salsa and reggaeton. While your little ones build sandcastles with their Cuban playmates, you sit and chat with their families. It promises to be a very special experience.