As Cuba’s biggest beach resort, Varadero has been a favourite of tourists from all over the world for some time now and it’s easy to see why! With seemingly endless Caribbean sands, full-scale water sports and plenty of salsa and seafood in the evenings, Varadero is a firm favourite for everyone who has been lucky enough to go there.
Varadero has an uninterrupted stretch of sand which goes on for 20km and is beautifully white everywhere you look. This constantly evolving resort is home to a number of high-end hotels and has many facilities, amenities and attractions to ensure you have a luxurious stay.
At a glance
- Language: Spanish
- Time Zone: GMT +-5
- Average flight time: 10h 0m
When to go
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Even though the easiest selling point for Varadero is by far it’s amazing stretch of beaches, don’t be fooled into thinking that there isn’t a plethora of other attractions to visit during your stay in the Cuban resort. Nearby to Varadero Beach is Saturno Cave, one of the most interesting sites in the resort. This stunning cave is a must-see during your time here. After a slightly steep walk into it, you will see an amazingly pristine pool of freshwater inside the cave. Once in the water, slide on your goggles and make sure you get a good view of the amazing sights underwater as there is truly not much else like it.
When looking for something to do away from the beaches, why not try visiting Josone Park? Fondly known as the area’s ‘green lung’, this amazing park has a number of beautiful plants, flowers and trees to provide you with some well-needed shade to sit in as you admire the views. Grab one of the many bicycles on offer and ride around the lake. Or perhaps go one further and rent out a little boat and go out on the lake! Having a picnic here whilst watching the birds and natural scenery is an ideal way to spend an afternoon so make sure you pick up some sandwiches whilst visiting. Another popular attraction in Varadero is the House of Rum, where you can learn about the distillery’s rich history and of course sample some of its finest products.
Wine and Dine
Being such a gigantic resort, the cuisine in Varadero is a typically international affair with more national cuisines than you can shake a stick at. But despite all this variety of choice, it is still possible to find some authentic Cuban cuisine. Many high-end hotels will offer in-house restaurants and buffet choices but if you’re looking for something a little more bespoke and special, then there are plenty of options to choose from.
Quality-grilled lobster is a favourite around the resort and it is one dish that is cooked extremely well throughout the resorts many restaurants. A popular restaurant is The Casa del Al, a themed restaurant based around famous gangster Al Capone because he actually used to be the owner. Inside you can try many meals like Mafia Soup, Godfather Salad and Cold Blood Ice Cream. A good place for a traditional Cuban meal is La Campana. The restaurant’s signature dishes are ropa vieja, stewed beef with vegetables, and a tamale, which is a burrito-like option steamed in a banana leaf.
Cuba is an excellent family destination with beautiful beaches and many all-inclusive resorts and nowhere is that better represented than in Varadero. Babies will enjoy seeing the many colourful birds at Josone Park, while toddlers will have a blast riding in a horse and buggy. The whole family can enjoy a picnic on the lush greens when there and you can also take a boat out on the serene lake.
Children will be fascinated with their first experiences snorkelling in the crystal blue waters, while teenagers will enjoy all the poolside activities available throughout the resort. A great family day out for those with slightly older children is a day spent horseback riding through the countryside. Not only will this show you another side of the beach-laden resort but also provide some unforgettable memories. And if you’re missing some retail pleasures head to Plaza Americanas to check out the mall and pick up souvenirs for any friends back home.
Action and Adventure
A lot of the best action you can get up to in Varadero is unsurprisingly water-based and one of the first ideas mentioned getting an excursion out onto the amazing waters. Setting sail mostly from the Marina Chapelin on one of many large catamarans, you’ll sail off-shore to enjoy the beauty of the turquoise waters. You’ll stop at a beautiful coral reef where you can disembark for some amazing snorkelling. Another amazing idea for adventure is the plentiful amount of scuba diving you can do and whether you’re a beginner or a pro, you’ll find some amazing locales to try your hand at underwater. And for those simply wanting to feel some adrenalin coursing through their veins, why not go on a speedboat excursion out into the open water and see what Varadero looks like from a little further afield.
Life's a Beach
Onto the main event! Varadero beach is known by many around the world as one of the best beaches on the planet, and with its endless white sands and crystal clear water you’d be daft not to agree. There are more than 45 hotels lining this amazing beach meaning that a walk to this wondrous patch of sand will never be a strenuous.
Varadero has many things to do while at the beach other than just your classic sunbathing and relaxation. There are 3 marinas where you can go fishing for billfish, as many locals do. There is a large area made for scuba diving where you can get all kinds of plans from 1 dive to 10 depending on your ability. You can even take a scuba diving course and get certified if you have enough time! You can swim with the dolphins and make some unforgettable memories. You can also visit the submarine park which has an incredible glass-bottomed boat so you can appreciate all the wonders underwater. And if water-sports are your bag then there a number of them to choose from jet-skiing and kayaking all the way to paragliding and kitesurfing, meaning you can always find something to do.
There are a great many fine bars in Varadero— for example, there’s the La Rumba bar, with its bubble machine, and selection of powerful and fruity cocktails.
Also worth checking out for a lively night out, are the Mambo Club and the Havana Café, where you’ll be able to go and listen to a variety of Spanish pop music and dance the night away with the locals.
In the evenings, holidays in Varadero are all about relaxing and enjoying the local cuisine. Tuck into fresh seafood and mojitos in one of the many restaurants and bars that line the beach, or party into the early hours at one of Varadero's discos and clubs. Many hotels offer organised nights with live Cuban music, while a visit to a 'cabaret' promises a night of music, Cuban history, traditional dance and more.
With a picturesque setting and beaches that go on for days, Varadero is an ideal place for a romantic getaway. The resort has a number of adults-only hotels and beaches and if you’re seeking an escape from the humdrum noise of everyday life, these could be an amazing option for you.
A fun evening on the town beckons when you choose to visit Tropicana Matazanas, the most famous cabaret in all of Cuba. This artistic production features Cuban dance, music and history to both enthral and interest all those in the audience. During the show you can also try one of the many specialist cocktails to ensure you have a relaxing time. Another possible attraction for couples is Villa Du Pont. This green-roofed hacienda style building is now the headquarters of the Varadero Golf Club, but it is so much more than just a golf course. This site also has the most luxurious and expensive restaurant in Varadero called Las Américas and there is even an attractive bar called Mirador, which is open 24 hours and has a distinctly modern feel that will make you want to dance the night away.
There is nowhere like Cuba. The cultural heritage of the country is soon to see a massive shift with changing politics so while you are visiting Varadero it is well worth taking a trip to Havana where you will find the more traditional Cuba. Cubans like to have a good time and the art and music is just spectacular. You will find musicians everywhere, playing in bars or just in the street and it is very much an outdoor culture, so anything that is happening will be happening right out in the open.