While I was in Cuba, this was one of the best things we did. Our resort booked us on the day tour, as I'm sure all of the resorts do. We had some options, and we opted for the catamaran tour that had "time" with the dolphins, as opposed to swimming. IT was quite a bit cheaper, and still really great. When we arrived at the dolphin place, we all stood on a platform in the water, and the dolphin swam by as, and preformed tricks in front of us. We got to pet the dolphin, and he got to kiss us. For 10 CUC they would take a picture of the dolphin kissing you, and then deliver them to your resort later that day. It was honestly a good deal, and if you have the chance I recommend it because unless you have a waterproof camera, someone standing above you will have to take pictures.. and they won't turn out well. Aside from the dolphin meet and greet, we got to go scuba diving, which was also a great experience. I recommend purchasing your own snorkel, because the ones they give you aren't the best quality. Our boat gave us sandwiches partway through (free of charge). Shortly after snorkeling we arrived at Cayo Blanco, where we had time to eat and relax. The beach was beautiful with clear warm water. After our time there, the catamaran took us back to the mainland. We met some really fun people and had a great day on the boat, I highly recommend doing this while you're in Varadero!
The catamaran tour can be booked from any hotel, just ask at the front desk. When we took the tour in Nov/10 the price was 60 CUC. It is well worth the money. Although the day we went was also the day that Hurricane Tomas hit land at Haiti, so our catamaran tour was a little exciting! I didn't get any photos on the catamaran, it was pouring rain and I didn't want to get my camera wet.
The price of the tour includes transportation from your hotel to the marina, open bar on the boat all day (once you leave the marina), lunch at Cayo Blanco, snorkeling, and swimming time. You leave at about 9 am and get back at around 5 pm. You can pay extra to swim with dolphins, if you wish. They modified things for us because of the weather, we couldn't go to Cayo Blanco, the tour was shorter, we got to swim with the dolphins and we had a wonderful lobster and shrimp lunch at the marina at the end of the cruise. They also refunded 10CUC to each of us.
I intend to do this tour again with good weather so that I can fully enjoy it. Even with the bad weather we had, it was a great day!
We took a catamran to the island Cayo Blanco. You can drink all you want on board and the staff are friendly and try as hard as they can to make people have fun and it works. When are a half way to Cayo Blanco they stop and you can do a little bit of snorkeling. When you arrive on the island you have a couple of hours to get your lunch, take a swim, relax in the shadow of a palmtree or just get a good tan in the sun.
Varadero is such a paradise for any kind of sports...water ski, beach volleyball, kayaking, cruises along the coastline, seafaris, excursions on board catamarans, sailboats to the nearby Libertad, Blanco, and Romero keys...
as we werent suppose to dive 24 ours after the flight the first day I tried the catamaran for a 2 hours snorkelling trip...lovely!!! 15 CUC (equivalent €15) worths every penny...plenty of nice hungry fish keen to be in my pics:) and biting my fingers for some bread crumbs.
Cost 75 Pesos ( £1 = 1.7 Pesos ).
Collect you from hotel and transport you to Chapellin marina , about 5 minutes walk from Beaches Hotel, where you board the Catamaran.
The bar is open as soon as you board and the price includes unlimited drinks, beer, rum and soft drinks.
We sailed for about 1 hour, stopping twice to uplift live lobsters from small fishing boats, and then anchored in about 10 feet of water where we could snorkel, all gear provided,and the fish life was abundant.
The crew prepared the lobsters in the galley and the price was 10 Pesos each.
Then we set sail to Cayo Blanco for lunch, again included in the tour price.
The Island was beautiful, a real Robinson Crusoe job, white sands, beautiful warm water, you get the picture!
Lunch was very good, Lobster pieces, prawns, chicken, rice, vegetables and fresh fruit and again, the bar was free.
Lots of time for swimming, sunbathing and even a small hut selling t shirts.
Fantastic trip and great value for money as you also get entrance to the Dolphin show and a sunset cruise on either the Monday or Friday night as well for your money.
Catamaran is a must if you are in Varadero.
The trip can be arranged with tour operator desk at the hotel the price is 75 CUC(excatly $75) the price will go up $85 on May 1st 2005.
They picked us up at 9am from the hotel and picked up more people from different hotels on the way then we were transfered to the boat which was absolutely spotless.We had to take off any shoes or slippers before boarding the boat.
A lot of music and dancing on the boat till we got to nice reef where we did snorkelling for 20 mins.Then we headed to the dolphins we swam with them for 5 mins then photos where taken they cost $10/pic but they are so professional and well worth the money.
The last part of the trip is the island of Cayo Blanco , beautifull beach and lobster lunch was included in the trip followed by 2 hours of free time.
4 pm the trip back to hotel statred with all the men on the boats raised the sail and it was amazing experince to watch.
The crew of the boat were so much fun singing and dancing all the time which added an extra fun to the fum.
Catamaran is must do in Varadero.
Tips:wear your bathing suit from the hotel the boat doesn't have changing room.
Wear slippers or sandals.No showers on the boat or on the island so expect to stay wet till you get back to the hotel.
the crew of the boat and people who look after the dolphins expect a tip at the end of each phase of the trip though the hotel adviced us not to carry any cash!!!
If you are thinking of going on a catamaran trip and you are in a group of four, you can book your own fishing boat for $350 that takes you sea fishing,a bit of snorkelling then to Cayo Blanco for lunch or if you like, to a private beach away from the crowds. You effectively pay only $50 more between you than being on a cat with up to 70 other punters.
We went on a sunset cruise which was nice. There was some kind of punch for sale on the boat and other kinds of drinks. We stopped at an island for an hour, but we hadn't been informed earlier, so a lot of people didn't bring a bathsuit. The water was about 1.5 m deep, but the current was quite strong. During this stop lobster was available for 10 USD/each. Obviously it was an illegal business, a little extra for the staff, because all leftovers were cleaned up and thrown to the water.
The picture below is from: http://www.bearspage.info/h/tra/cu/jo.html
I didn't take a camera and it good, because I could enjoy the amazing view and didn't spend all the time running around trying to find the best perspective. It's also a pity, because the sunset was indeed spectacular.
in all inclusive hotel you can get small catamarans. If you ask the guy sailing with you he will take you for snorkling and charge you only 15 peso. For tours from hotel you will pay 5 times more