Varadero Travel Guide

Varadero Overview

Spread out along the 13-mile stretch of pristine white sands of the HicacosPeninsula is Cuba’s premier beach resort. Located in the north of the island, only 2-hours from Havana, it is a haven for all-inclusive package tourists coming to bask in the glorious sunshine, laze on the stunning beach and take part in endless water sport activities taking place within the alluring turquoise waters of the Caribbean Sea. This is a destination of large beachfront resorts and although it may not be the ideal vacation to many it continues to entice hoards of visitors to its shores.

 
Varadero is all about sun, sea and sand and sat on a peninsula that seldom surpasses half a mile in width visitors will always find themselves less than a 10-minute walk from the beach. This is the water sports capital of Cuba and the opportunities are boundless. For those that can tear themselves from the glorious sands there is the possibility to go windsurfing, parasailing, kayaking and snorkeling. Moreover, with as many as 30 recognized dive sites, scuba diving trips and boat excursions are also available. Boat rides are a great way to see the surrounding area of Varadero with trips ranging from short glass-bottom-boat tours to private catamarans, many including dolphin swims and the chance to spot other wildlife. Then, once back on dry land there are a world of opportunities to sample the rum inspired cocktails and local cuisine whilst listening to the sounds of Cuban salsa and jazz.
 

This is a resort that continues to grow in popularity and the local airport is swamped with flights arriving from places as far a field as Buenos Aires and Toronto plus a number of European locations. Locally, buses run from Varadero to Santa Clara, Cienfuegos, the capital Havana and nearby Matanzas. Many visitors end up passing most of their time within the complex of the resort, therefore can walk to the beach and nearby facilities. Buses make the journey along the beach to Varadero town, where there are more opportunities to explore shopping malls, markets and restaurants. Remember that this is a destination largely geared towards package tours and finding independent hotels can be difficult, especially during peak season. If you dont mind staying put in your resort grounds and not straying far from the beach then this could just be the place for you.

Things to do in Varadero

Parque Josone - Also known as Retiro Josone, the park is the most serene spot in downtown Varadero with well maintained lawns, a lake and plenty of recreational activities. Rent a rowboat or pedalo to ride around the lake, play a round of crazy golf, go bowling or take a dip in the swimming pool complete with bar. There are also a handful of restaurants and open-air cafés serving up local snacks.

 
Bellamar Caves - Around 25 miles from town is one of Cubas oldest tourist attractions, a set of 3 caves thought to be around 300,000 years old yet only discovered in 1860. Stretching as deep as 2 miles underground the caves are awash with stalagmites, stalactites, indigenous paintings and many fascinating rock formations. The base of the caves is reached via a 159-step staircase.
 
Mueso Municipal de Varadero - Interesting museum showcasing the relatively short history of Varadero with displays of antique furniture, sporting memorabilia, a collection of stuffed animals and other paraphernalia relating to the city. There are great beach views from the second floor. Open daily from 10am to 7pm.
 
Reserva Ecologica Varahicacos - At the far eastern end of the peninsula and covering 3sq km is one of the last remaining places to experience the unspoilt landscapes of Varadero. A long way from the most impressive reserve you are likely to visit it is still a good place to learn about the flora and fauna of the region and a little about its history. Three trails of varying lengths weave their way through the reserve with the highlight being the Cueva de Musulmanes, a cave home to human bones dating back 2500 years.         
 
Delfinario - Daily acrobatic dolphin shows and for a fee the opportunity to ride with one of the beautiful mammals. Whether you see this kind of show as a showcase of dolphin talents or sheer cruelty depends on your beliefs..everyone is allowed an opinion.
 
Cabaret Show - Shows of song and dance based on Cuban and Tropicana culture are big business in Varadero and there are an abundance to choose from. Be sure to ask around for opinions as the standard of shows can vary greatly. Popular shows include Cabaret Continental at the Hotel Internacional and Tropicana Matanzas.
 
Varadero Nightlife - Varadero is fine place to go out and enjoy the night alongside the locals, where rum inspired drinks and Cuban jazz and salsa dominate proceedings. Aside from the plethora of bars inside the all-inclusive hotels, the beachfront and downtown have plenty of cafés, discos, karaoke bars and piano lounges to choose from. Popular locations with live music and good for a dance are Palacio de la Rumba, Havana Club and La Bamba. Benny More is a popular beachfront bar frequented by both locals and tourists and famed for its cocktails.

Hotels in Varadero

Budget Hotels Varadero

Hotel Acuazul - Only one block from the beach the hotel is suited to budget travellers. Tel (53) 45 667132.
Hotel Herradura - One of the cheaper options right on the beach. Rooms have sea facing balconies. Tel (53) 45 613703.
Hotel Sotavento - Charming semi apartments (no kitchen) part of Hotel Acuazul. Tel (53) 45 667132.
 
Midrange Hotels Varadero
Hotel Aguas Azules - One of many all-inclusive resorts, located about 10-miles outside of town. Tel (53) 45 668243.
Mercure Cuatro Palmas - Right on the beach with bar, restaurant and non-stop entertainment. Tel (53) 45 668131.
 
Luxury Hotels Varadero
Hotel Iberostar - Huge all-inclusive resort on the beach with plenty of luxury facilities. Tel (53) 45 669999.
Paradisus Princesa del Mar Resort & Spa - Stylish 5-star resort aimed at adults only. Tel (53) 45 667200.

Varadero Weather

Varadero Travel Resources

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This page was last modified on 19 Feb 2011 by NomadJack