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Cuba is an incredible country to visit with kids. It is not, however, a country where it is easy or possible to find the comforts or necessities of home. We’ve put together a Cuba with kids packing list – all the items you won’t want to leave behind – based on our experience travelling Cuba independently.
Cuba With Kids Packing List
Though this sun-drenched Caribbean island gets its fair share of rays, you’ll be hard-pressed to find sunscreen. We packed five bottles of sunscreen for the two weeks we were there and used every single drop. Our top pick was Coppertone Kids Continuous Spray Sunscreen. We also packed a travel-sized bottle of children’s sun cream in our carry-on in the event our luggage got delayed, and adult SPF 15 and 30.
We’d heard that sand flies and mosquitoes might be terrible on our Cuban adventure, so we brought some kids’ insect repellent along. Thankfully, we didn’t run into any sandflies and had very few mosquitoes. Considering insect repellant is not easily found in Cuba, it’s worth packing a bottle just in case.
Tap water in Cuba is not consistently safe to drink. We brought our Steripen Handheld UV Water Purifier along on this trip and were really thankful we did. It saved us hundreds of dollars in clean drinking water. This UV filter is compact, easy to use, and has now cleaned hundreds of litres of water for us in 15 countries! If you’re not interested in filtering water on the road, bottled water is for sale everywhere in Cuba in 500ml and 1-litre bottles.
Reusable water bottle
Bringing our own reusable water bottle saved a lot of headaches. It was the primary container we used to filter our water, and because of the straw, it was a spill-proof way for all three girls to have drinks.
Sarong or lightweight towel
Our casas always had clean bath towels, but no extras hanging around for the beach. I picked up a couple of colourful sarongs at a thrift store before we left for Cuba and was thankful I did. We used them at the beach and they washed and dried at lightning speed.
Backpack & Baby Carrier
We didn’t bring a stroller on this trip and it worked out well for us. Instead, we chose a backpack carrier and our trusty Ergobaby Carrier and didn’t regret that decision!
If you ignore every other thing in this post, don’t ignore this one! Pediatric medications like Tylenol, Advil, and Gravol, are impossible to find in Cuba. Bring all that you can imagine that you might need!
Disposable diapers are available in Cuba and we picked some up while in Havana (Varadero had them too), but wet wipes were impossible to find. Bring what you will need for your whole trip!
Hand sanitizer & Multi-purpose wipes
Hand sanitizer and these handy compressed travel wipes (the compact discs expand in water) were so useful. They cleaned hands before eating and after diaper changes on the fly.
I had only intended to pack one bathing suit with foam flotations but accidentally packed two. It was a great mistake. Our two older children used the suits on Varadero’s beaches. Because of the shallow water around the shore, they were able to play independently and safely in the water.
Water wings & beach toys
We didn’t bring any beach toys with us and wished we had. Afer a day at the beach, we ended up buying a plastic bowl from a small Cuban shop which was an adequate back-up. But, a proper beach bucket and shovels would have been really nice to have around.
Kids colouring books, games and markers
A few days before we left for Cuba, I picked up this Melissa & Doug Doodle Pad, a few colouring books, a pack of mini markers and this magnetic travel version of Four in a Row. All of them were well used during long waits at restaurants and bus stations.
Lonely Planet Phrasebook
Unless you’re really well-versed in Spanish, you will need and use it. A lot. You can pick it up here.
Cuba is a pretty relaxed, casual country. We took comfortable summer clothes and a sweatshirt each, which came in handy on windy evenings and covering up for mosquitoes.
More on Cuba
Want to read more about our Cuba adventures? Check out Travelling to Cuba with Kids? 6 Tips to Know Before You Go and 2 Weeks in Cuba – A Kid-friendly Itinerary Parents Will Love too.
This is our Cuba packing list based on our experiences. How about you? Which items did you find you were extra thankful you packed along for your Cuba adventure?