One of the best parts of travelling to the Caribbean and Latin America with kids in tow, is introducing them to vibrant and beautiful new cultures as well as new kinds of food. However, little kids can be unpredictable and at times it seems more trouble than it’s worth to leave the comfort of the resort. more...
One of the best parts of travelling to the Caribbean and Latin America with kids in tow, is introducing them to vibrant and beautiful new cultures as well as new kinds of food. However, little kids can be unpredictable and at times it seems more trouble than it’s worth to leave the comfort of the resort. Arranged excursions are one option, but when you’re juggling nap times or the unpredictable mood swings of a toddler, being tied to a schedule or subjecting a bus load of people to your little one’s bad day does not feel like a great idea.
An easy and often economical alternative is to hire a taxi for the day. On our trips to both Cuba and Mexico, we asked our tour representative or front desk staff to recommend a local taxi driver who speaks English and owns a car with rear seat belts so we could install our child seats. We always managed to find someone who was able to accommodate our needs and itinerary. More than once we were introduced to attractive sights that were not mentioned in the tourist guides and at the end of the day the trip turned out to cost less than if we would have paid full price for a similar pre-arranged excursion.
Best of all, we were able to plan our days taking our children’s routines into account. By working around the meal and nap times that our kids are accustomed to, we were able to fully take advantage of the available time to explore and enjoy the local sights and sounds.
In most cases, our taxi driver showed us some good restaurant options and local points of interest before dropping us off for a while. This presented us the freedom to just wander around and allow the children to scamper around in a local park or square before being picked up again at a pre-determined time and place. While exploring the little town of Morón, about a 45 minute drive from the resort area of Cayo Coco, Cuba, we truly were the only non-Cubans in town. Walking the streets crowded with horses and bicycles, as well as a wide array of classic American and newer Soviet cars, was a nice contrast to the relaxing pace of the rest of our days spent playing at the resort.
For our day trip to Havana, our driver doubled as our tour guide. Staying in Varadero, the drive times coincided nicely with our daughter’s then two naps per day and it was much easier to navigate the larger, bustling city with someone who spoke Spanish and knew where to go. This glorious day in Havana has inspired a new travel dream as well; one day my husband and I plan to return for a long weekend sans kids. This way we can fully explore the museums, architecture and nightlife.
During all our excursions, a few preparations made our adventures more enjoyable. The kids spent the rather long drives securely and comfortably in their car seats. In Varadero and Zihuatanejo, Mexico rear seat-belts were not an issue, but finding taxis with rear seat-belts in Cayo Coco and Cayo Santa Maria, Cuba was a bit of a challenge. We also brought our full-size stroller with all-terrain wheels which came in handy to navigate around the cobblestones and sometimes uneven pavement and curbs and ensured that the youngest member of our travelling party was safely toted along.
Corinne McDermott is the founder of http://www.havebabywilltravel.com - your guide for family travel with babies, toddlers & young children. Connect with her on Twitter and on Facebook