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Havana or Hawaii with kids? Not beach hotel.

(21 Posts)
ILoveMakeUp Sat 26-Oct-13 12:38:37

Hi, cannot decide between Havana or Hawaii. Currently DH doesn't fancy either, but I am hoping to persuade him smile. We have 2 children aged 8 and 1. Has anybody here been to either destination with their kids? What is there to do/see for little ones? We are not interested in a beach hotel.

I would be grateful for any information. Thanks.

DipMeInChocolate Sat 26-Oct-13 12:44:10

There's not much land on Hawaii not near the beach so I'm not sure why you wouldn't want a beach hotel. Personally I love Hawaii, the quieter islands rather than Oahu. Tropical yet the convenience of USA.

blueberryupsidedown Sat 26-Oct-13 12:48:41

Goodness me, there's a huge difference in culture between those two countries. I have been to Havana a few times pre-children, it's amazing, but I am not sure about kids' stuff. A lot of the interesting stuff happens at night. The architecture is amazing, the cars, the atmosphere, but you do get harrassed quite a lot by people trying to con you and you have to be very careful with a lot of things. With my kids I'd go to Hawaii and enjoy the beach life, surfing, etc.

blueberryupsidedown Sat 26-Oct-13 12:49:25

I meant, I know that Hawaii is not a country when I wrote 'there's a huge difference between those two countries' !!! I meant - destinations!

bluebayou Sat 26-Oct-13 12:51:15

Quicker to get to Havana , got to remember about kids getting bored on long haul , which they do .

SorrelForbes Sat 26-Oct-13 12:51:58

Yes, most of the non-beach front hotels on Oahu are still no more than 2 or 3 blocks from the beach

Still18atheart Sat 26-Oct-13 12:55:10

I would choose Havana.Loved it there when I went never been to hawaii. But not sure how kid friendly Havana is!

ILoveMakeUp Sat 26-Oct-13 13:23:26

By 'not a beach hotel' I meant one of those resorts popular in Cuba. Don't mind being near the beach but prefer interesting things to do .

PerditaMcLeod Sat 26-Oct-13 13:36:52

In your shoes, I would probably go for Cuba. Flying time is about 9 hours vs. 11 to LAX and then another 5-6 onto HNL. Not to mention you will not have to deal with the hell that is immigration at LAX. Not that I am speaking from bitter experience or anything... You are also looking at a time difference of -5 to Cuba against -10 to Hawaii which would be a factor for me travelling with children.

I haven't been to either but a big draw for both Hawaii and Cuba are the beaches. If you are not interested in beaches, maybe look at a few days in Havana followed by heading inland to places like Santiago and Vinales which look very interesting and not to far from Havana. You can always hire a 1950s car and driver to get you there!

I might be in the midst of planning a trip to Cuba, can you tell?!

ILoveMakeUp Sat 26-Oct-13 13:59:11

Really Perdita ? Please share your plans!

Not worried about the flight, my kids are seasoned travelers and used to long haul.

PerditaMcLeod Sat 26-Oct-13 14:58:46

I love- we had planned to go and spend 3-4 days in Havana and were considering staying in a Casa Particular which would be an experience.

We were then going to hire a car and driver and head for a couple of days in Trinidad de Cuba (sorry, not Santiago as i said before- that is right at the other end of the island) which looks amazing and if we had time, onto Vinales for another couple of days. We are time constrained so can't really get away for more than a week at a time.

Santiago looks interesting, but is a long way from Havana and I personally would avoid using internal flights (I work in the airline industry and there are certain airlines/services I will not go near).

The Trip Advisor pages on Cuba are really useful and I've done most of my research through there.

If your kids are fine with long haul (my daughter is way better than me and doesn't have any problems with jet lag, lucky girl!) then Hawaii could be a good bet. Better infrastructure and you know what you're going to get with US standard service and acommodation.

Sorry, haven't really helped with your decision!

ILoveMakeUp Sun 27-Oct-13 07:12:50

Hmm, I think maybe Hawaii might be better with the little ones. Maybe we could go to Cuba at another time.

By the way Perdita, just a tip...

I don't suffer from jet lag because I always plan to arrive at my destination at night and I always take 2 x Tylenol PM and then fall asleep straight away, and wake up the next day refreshed and ready to the start the holiday!

AttilaTheMeerkat Sun 27-Oct-13 08:09:41

I have been to Oahu, the area of Waikiki is very much beach based.

The journey would need to be broken up both on departing and returning to the UK due to flight connections. Airlines like American and United fly direct to Honolulu airport from the West Coast.

nannyafrica Sun 27-Oct-13 09:19:23

If DH doesn't fancy either, what about Sri Lanka loads to do on the island.
We love it there, we had a private car with driver (who was amazing), hotels and flights for 3 weeks and was £1000 each this also included safaris into a couple of National Parks. (saw Leopards) smile We did a local train ride, carriage was full of local families with babies amazing experience. I was hanging out the window with the local kids. The families were sharing there home made food with us.yummy.
Costa Rica is also good.
South Africa, you could drive yourself along the garden route and then safari in one or two of the national parks. Easy to self drive in Kurger National Park and stay in self contained cottages or lodges so you can go at your own pace.
oh and if you need a nanny to help nod, nod, wink, wink, ;)

CreamyCooler Sun 27-Oct-13 16:36:23

I haven't been to Hawaii but I have taken DC to Cuba when they were 6 and 8. We stayed in Playa Pesquero for 10 days and then few to Havanna for 4 days and had a great time. Other holidays I have found that have worked well with DC have been Rio and then onto Iguassa Falls staying on the Argentian side in the rain forest. We had our fave holiday ever in Cape Town, which is so beautiful and has so much to do plus great weather. South America and South Africa worked well as have direct flights and Cape Town has the added bonus of no jet lag.

ILoveMakeUp Mon 28-Oct-13 02:24:12

nannyafrica, funnily enough, DH wants to go to Sri Lanka. I might give it some thought. We are not in the UK and Sri Lanka is only about 3 hours from us.

CreamyCooler, can you tell me the kinds of things you did in Havana? Thanks.

nannyafrica Mon 28-Oct-13 07:52:32

ILoveMakeUp, Sri Lanka is AMAZING.
We used a company called Genuine Srilankans and our driver was called Koshala. I know they have done trips for families with young kids.
If you would like any more info pm me. We did stay at one hotel called Turtle Bay near Tangalle which was on the beach but next to a bird sanctuary where they do trips in boats and the beach has no tourists on it only local fisherman and women we spent hours helping them pull in the nets and having a right laugh. The hotel was £95 for half board double which included all you can eat seafood straight from the sea. It's also near Yala National Park for Safaris which are only 3 hours long.

CreamyCooler Mon 28-Oct-13 11:45:21

We went sightseeing and on a Hemingway tour and saw lots of the places where he wrote his books, drank lots of cocktails ( the children enjoyed there non-alcoholic) ones, rode in an old fashioned car. It worked well because we had done a beach resort beforehand and done all the watersports, swimming with dolphins etc so the DC were happy with sightseeing. I loved Havana but i wouldn't put it high on the list for a family holiday but more of a twin centre place.

AttilaTheMeerkat Mon 28-Oct-13 16:26:41

From the UK Foreign Office website

You will need a visa to enter Sri Lanka. You can get a short stay visa through an online visa application process, the Electronic Travel Authority (ETA ). You can no longer get a visa on arrival.

If you experience any difficulty with the ETA System, or if you are travelling for paid or unpaid work, you should get a visa from the Sri Lankan High Commission before you travel.

I would suggest reading the FO's advice on Sri Lanka prior to making any travel arrangements.

FromGirders Mon 28-Oct-13 17:19:01

Just back from Hawaii (big island) with kids aged 10 and 8. So much to do! So little time! Stayed in a lovely apartment in Waikoloa, very well equipped including washing machine and dryer.
Saw volcanoes, went in a submarine, snorkelling, there's a lovely wee zoo with a very old tiger, beaches are amazing, people are lovely and friendly.
Would go back in an instant.

nannyafrica Mon 28-Oct-13 17:38:53

The Sri Lanka visa is very very easy, it took us 1 minute to fill in the online questions, pay for visa press send and within 20 minutes we had the visa emailed back to us. simples!
we were going to India but that visa is a pain so we went to sri lanka instead.
I think you can still get visa on arrival but it cost $5 more and you have to join another queue.
Tripadvisor is a good place to look.

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