January 17, 2014
While many of Cuba’s best-known and loved attributes are anything but family-friendly (cigars, rum, raucous salsa dens”¦), there are still plenty of things to do in Havana while travelling with teenagers. Offering a compelling mix of dilapidated yet beautiful historic sites, pretty beaches, and rich culture, the city has tons of cool places to interest the whole family.
Baseball might be the American “˜national pastime,’ but Cubans love it too. Known as “˜béisbol’ here, the sport first made its way to Cuban shores in the 1860s. Home to a number of top athletes today, Havana hosts the popular Industriales team. During the season, head to the Estadio Latinoamericano to see these talented players in action.
One of the more iconic images associated with the city, Havana’s painstakingly preserved, colourful retro cars have been considered a Cuban emblem for quite some time. Dating from the 50s and early 60s, before the Cuban-US embargo, these vehicles offer a glimpse into Havana’s past. Visitors can opt to rent one of these mÃ¡quinas (drivers included) for a fantastic perspective on the Cuban capital.
Teens with an artistic streak won’t want to miss the Callejon de Hamel in central Havana. The street is lined with colourful murals by Havana-based graffiti artist Salvador GonzÃ¡les Escalona, known for his Afro-Cuban style of painting. Come during the week for a quieter look, or at the weekend to see the art alongside a soundtrack of upbeat rumba, courtesy of local street musicians.
The beautiful beaches on the eastern edge of Havana, known collectively as the Playas del Este, offer a glimpse of paradise. The soft white sand and clear blue waters stretch for miles, and, while they’re comfortable for tourists, the area is still heavily populated by locals and has an authentic Cuban atmosphere. The waters here are almost always warm and pleasant, so make sure to take a dip.
Though it’s billed as a museum, the Museo del Chocolate is more café than collection. Come expecting smaller facilities (and no entry fee), and you’ll be rewarded by a number of locally made, tasty treats. From chocolate milkshakes to truffles, hot chocolate to candies, this indulgent stop is a must-visit for those with a sweet tooth.
Have you travelled to Havana with teenagers? What were your family’s favourite things to do in the city? Share with us in the comments below.
Written by Claire Bullen