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Day trips from Varadero with kids

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Hi. We are travelling to Varadero in February with four of our kids, ages 18, 16, 13, and 5. Can anyone recommend some day trips so they can see some of the "real" Cuba outside of the resort and the best way to get there (rent a car, bus, etc.)? Thanks.

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    Wow.... you have your work cut out for you. I seriously doubt that you can rent a car that can comfortably take six people. This reduces your options somewhat. Also, the attention span of the teenagers and their interests would be somewhat different than a 5-year-old.

    My best suggestion to see what I consider the best of Cuba would be a daytrip to Havana. There are several offered (by bus) from most of the hotels in Varadero but they generally leave real early in the morning (7:00 a.m.) and don't return till very late in the evening (10 or 11 p.m.) While this would be ok for the adults, it seems that this would strain the resources of the youngest. But in my opinion, Havana is the best thing to see in Cuba. The architecture, the Old City, Historical sights, music etc., you can't beat Havana. If you think you can manage it, that would be my suggestion. Mind you, for the cost of 6 bus fares, your hotel might be able to arrange a guide/driver with a mini-van for the whole day. This might be a solution as it gives you more flexability.

    In Varadero, the one thing not to miss is Parque Retiro Josone, the major park in town. You can get food there so make a picnic of it.

    Have fun and a great trip.

    Steve

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    Havana is a definite must do. As Steve said, a mini-van with guide would probably be your best bet. However, if you want to go in style and don't mind a snug fit, why not rented a Mercedes. We managed to fit fine and it was only about $160. (Just make sure you reserve in advance) The drive's about 2 hrs and there's really only one hwy so hard to get lost and if you do its easy to get un-lost. Words of advice: Tip someone to keep an eye on your car, keep money where a pickpocket cant get to it easily, be wary of sob story scams and policemen also double as tourism employees.

    Here are a couple other daytrips we did.
    1. Bused to Bay of Pigs for snorkeling. Saw coral and tropical fish.
    2. rent car or scooter and drive into the nearby towns of Matanzas and/or Cardenas. These are your best bets for experiencing the real Cuba since Cubans live here. For safety reasons, go with at least two men in the group or a tour guide. Too many uncomfortable stares from wannabe Latin lovers were directed at the ladies.
    3. fly to Trinidad, which is a world heritage site, for more sightseeing and fly back the same evening. ok I didn't actually go but I reeallly wanted to.

    Check with your hotel's travel consultant when you get there. We went with no plans and still managed to fill our week. Food can be expensive so you may want to pack food from the resort buffet. The waiters at our resort even pack it for us when we tell them we have a trip. (plz remember to tip them)

    Hope this helps.

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