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Three Reasons to Introduce Your Kids to Cuba

Seventeen years ago, I travelled to Cienfuegos, Cuba with my scuba diving group and picked up the most memorable souvenir of all; a husband. As fun as it would have been to say I married a Cuban, my future husband-to-be was also travelling with his dive group and our paths collided. Eighteen months after we dove through coral reef off the coast of Cuba, we said I do. The rest, as they say is history. Needless to say, Cuba holds a very special place in my heart.

For many years now, we’ve told our daughters stories of our first meeting and of the island where it all began. Cuba is an important piece in the narrative of their family and so in January of 2016 we decided the time was right to take them. We headed to Grand Memories Varadero with three objectives; show our girls the history, introduce them to the people and to enjoy the outdoor playground that is Cuba.

The History

What I love about family travel is the opportunity to slip in some stealth teaching. Kids are so wrapped up in having fun that they don’t even notice they’ve just learned some valuable life lessons. Cuba is one of the richest examples I can think of for this.

Where some museums try for years to create the perfect living history environment, Cuba is living history. There are times when walking through the streets of Havana it feels as if you’ve literally stepped back in time, and depending on the view it might be hundreds of years or a mere fifty or so.

Months after our visit, Cuba is still a topic of conversation at our dinner table on everything from conquistadors and plantations, Kennedy to Castro, and revolutions to communism. I don’t recall a text book at school ever igniting as much discussion in our home.

The People

There is a warmth to residents of Cuba that is infectious. Maybe its the rumba or mambo that is like a heartbeat for them. Perhaps its a culture that melds together seamlessly between Spanish, Portuguese, African, and Haitian to name just a few, that makes them so unique and proud of their heritage. Ive never been able to put my finger on it exactly, but what I do know is that Cubans are kind and love showing you their country. My kids left feeling the very same way. Mission accomplished.

The Playground

There is no denying that Canadians flock to Cuba every year for the weather, and we were no exception. Yes, the history and people are important but ultimately, we wanted to enjoy the great outdoors for a week without being smothered to death in a parka.

Grand Memories turned out to be the perfect place to enjoy Cuba. Set on one of Cubas best beaches in Varadero, Grand Memories offered us an array of water sports for the whole family to enjoy! If you can take your eyes off the turquoise waters and white powdery beach at Grand Memories, turn your gaze towards the interior. Cubas inland is lush and worth your time! Talk to your NexusTours representative for an excursion that meets your familys needs. Our entire family loved the Jeep tour that led us to a snorkelling hotspot, swimming in a cave, and lunch on a Cuban ranch.

Finally, if you need a bonus reason to visit Cuba with your kids, its value remains untouchable by many resort destinations in the Caribbean, something every family on a budget can appreciate.

Candace Derickx
Life in Pleasantville