Most of Cuba's principal attractions -- its art, architecture, history, music, cigars, and so on -- are geared toward adults. There are, in fact, few attractions or activities geared for the very young. This is why I recommend families base themselves out of a town that has a large all-inclusive resort with a well-developed children's program. For my money, Varadero is the best bet, although a case can be made for Guardalavaca, as well. Both have a host of excellent all-inclusive resorts. If your children are worldly and inquisitive, feel free to swap out some resort days for the more cultural side trips to cities, destinations, and attractions described in some of the other itineraries in this guide.
Day 1: Arrive in Varadero
Fly directly into Varadero. I recommend the Tryp Península Varadero, which has an excellent children's program and tons of activity and tour options. After settling into your room, check out the children's program and any activities or tours scheduled for the coming days. Feel free to adapt the following days' suggestions accordingly. Spend some time on the beach or at the pool.
Day 2: Take in an Attraction or Two
Varadero is chock-full of attractions geared toward the whole family. You can head to see the dolphin show at the local Delfinario or take a cruise up the main strip in a candy-pink gleaming classic American convertible. If your family is adventurous, try the Boat Adventure, which is a fast and furious trip through the mangroves aboard sit-on-top motorized watercraft.
Day 3: A Trip to Trinidad
All of the hotel tour desks offer day trips to Trinidad. While some travel via bus, you should splurge and take a plane. Trinidad is an immaculately preserved colonial city, with a very compact central core that shouldn't tire or bore your children. In fact, they should get a kick out of the rough cobblestone streets, ancient architecture, vibrant street markets, and a real glimpse into everyday Cuban life.
Day 4: Parents' Day Off
Drop the kids off with the children's program for at least 1 full day and treat yourselves to some time alone. If you play golf, schedule a round at the Varadero Golf Club. Or, if you want to pamper yourself, take advantage of the excellent spa services right at the Tryp Peninsula Varadero. Pick up the kids and treat them to dinner off of the resort grounds. I recommend the Mesón del Quijote, which is housed in a building with a medieval-style turret beside it.
Day 5: Head for the High Seas
Sign up for a day cruise on one of the many sailboats operating out of Varadero. These cruises head out to nearby cays, and include some snorkeling time, as well as lunch either on the boat or on some private little island beach.
Day 6: Parents' Night Off
This is your last day, so take advantage of the resort's in-house facilities and activities, but be sure to reserve a babysitter for the evening and make reservations for dinner and a show at the Tropicana Matanzas.
Day 7: Heading Home
Use any spare time you have before your flight out of Varadero to buy last-minute souvenirs and gifts, or just laze on the beach or by the pool. The Centro Comercial de Hicacos has a children's toy shop.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.