Here I want to list some of the TOURS FROM VARADERO that you can take while vacationing here. I know I would have liked this information before we went there and what the cost of some of the tours were. So here is an up-to-date list with prices.
"Havana History Day Tour" - Monday to Sunday - 10 hours duration - 67 CUC Pesos
Visit Colonial & Modern Havana, Historic Centre, Cathedral Square, craft market, museum, Christopher Columbus cemetery, Revolution Square. Lunch included.
"Tropicana Varadero" - Wednesday to Sunday - 5 hours duration - 49 CUC Pesos
Visit the newest Tropicana, the most famous cabaret of Cuba. An artistic production featuring Cuban dance, music and history.
"Cienfuegos Trinidad" - Tuesday and Thursday - 14 hours duration - 71 CUC Pesos
Tour the city of Cienfuegos on the way to Trinidad, one of the first villages founded by the Spanish conquerers.
"Seafari Cayo Blanco" - Monday to Sunday - 7 hours duration - 75 CUC Pesos
Excursion by Catamaran, snorkeling in a coral barrier, entertainment, music, lunch and open bar with Cuban cocktails in Cayo Blanco.
Most, if not all, hotels in Varadero have a representative of the Cuban tourist board on duty. I would advise you to seek the advice of this rep in your hotel rather than the travel company rep. These people are paid by the government and are out to get you the best deal on your daytrip.
We were prepared to pay 68 pesos each for a group tour from Varadero to Havana. However, when we explaind to the rep about Mum's disabilities and about what we wanted to see, she suggested that we should hire a taxi. She agreed to get a suitable English speaking driver for us. She informed us that the cost for car and driver was 180 pesos. As this included a visit to the cigar factory shop it turned out to be terrific value as the group tour, to include the cigar factory, was 88 pesos per person.
When we got to Havana our driver let us off on our own for a while to wander. When we met up with him again he brought us to a typical Havana restaurant for lunch and then suggested various things we might like to do. He waited patiently for us at each stop and watched over us protectively.
I'll give more details on my Havana page, but suffice for now to say it was exceedingly good value for money.
How could you go all the way to Cuba and not spend at least a day to check out Havana? Havana is fantastic! I put it at the top of my "must-sees" while in Varadero.
Havana is the capital of Cuba, a UNESCO World Heritage Site for all of its glorious old Spanish Colonial Architecture. There are so many historical and cultural sights to see in Havana, including the Malecon (sea wall), the Artisans Market, all the old haunts of Ernest Hemingway, Old Havana and the San Cristobal Cathedral, the Plaza de la Revolucion, the old cemetery, the Capitol building, all the 50s cars, the Havana Carnival, and some of the greatest musicians I've ever heard! Sit on a patio, have a local mojito or daiquiri with a local cigar, a toasted "Cubano" sandwich, watch the people pass by, and know you're getting the real deal. It is the most beautiful city I have ever seen.
Arrange through your hotel to take a tour or a taxi from Varadero. Most of the reasonably priced tours include a stop at a cigar factory and a stop at Copacabana (for music, food, and dancing). We did an alternative where for $200 we had a taxi for the entire day. He drove us from Varadero to Havana, he showed us the sights, and drove us wherever we wanted to go. A very polite and friendly driver. It was, I repeat, fantastic!
If you aren't that kind of person who gets sea sick really easily, take this tour. The bottom of this boat is made out of glass and it takes you to the most amazing coral reefs where you can see beautiful fish without having do get your snorkeling outfit. I think it was about 25$US, which is not that expensive for what you get to experience.
First of all, did you realise that coconut milk is actually water? I didn't know until I came across these two elderly gardeners on the beach in Varadero.
They were working as a team. I was sitting alone on a rock watching the rough waves when I was approached by the swarthy guy. I was bemused when he asked me if I had ever had coconut juice, and then he sent the older guy off into the fields to find coconuts.
The swarthy guy then took out a huge machete - I looked around warily to make sure there were people around!!! He hacked the coconut and then hollowed out the top to reveal the sweet water-like juice.
I must say I enjoyed it - but beware that machete:-)
Varadero is a particularly fabulous area of interest for Ecologists and photographers. At the edge of the beach by Paradisus Varadero there is an Ecological reserve. I spent several very happy days walking through this ocean side area of coral reef photographing fossils and other items of interest. We were particularly lucky in thay we arrived just after a huge storm and so there was a lot of interesting debris washed up by the sea. Rock pools were a haven for ocean life. You need to take care though and watch out for things like freak waves and blow holes in the reefs.
Guided tours are arranged by some of the hotels in the area and these are generally free of charge.
We went on a jungle tour which involved getting there on jetski's. I'd never being on one before and I must admit I was a bit wary of them. It took about 10 minutes to get to grips with the speed and with the small swell on the open sea. After this I could start enjoying it and for a finish I didn't want it to end. You get to stop off at this type of island and see things such as snakes,crocodiles which you could hold(baby one about 3ft in lenght), giant rats, iguana's and tortoises. You also can a much needed cold drink. It's back on the jetski's and hack to base. All in all it was a couple of hours long and wasn't over priced. Two people can sit on each one. Anyway worth a visit.
We also did a tour of Matanzas city of which Varadero is a part of the province. Included in this was a trip to the Matanzas caves. It was an interesting tour with loads of facts on the history of the city and the dicovery of the cave. The caves weren't anything special as such as once you've seen a couple of caves you've seen them all. The city was interesting to the degree that you got to see poverty and the local markets. We got a guided tour on a coach and weren't allowed off, I suppose for time reasons but it was disappointing not to be able to stroll about the streets.
In one sense we were lucky to experience very inclement weather in Varadero as it forced us to get out of the hotel and look for something to do.
Thus, every morning we found ourselves walking the beach - looking to see what the very rough seas had thrown up overnight.
One of the main joys of this kind of beach combing was our shell seeking expeditions. Over the period of three days of storm we amassed a very impressive collection of the most unusual shells. That saying, they were unusual for Irish people as we do not have many of the more exotic ones at home.
We fully intended to bring home the nicer shells and use them for display and craft work. However, when we went to retrieve our stash on the day of departure they were stinking most foully. We had no option but to leave the majority of them behind.
Next time I would wash them and dry them outdoors before attempting to bring them home.
We noticed people wearing gorgeous hats made from woven palm leaves. A little straw palmleaf mozzie sat atop each hat. I wondered at their source and longed to acquire one. A search of the shops proved fruitless.
Then we changed hotels and, first sunny day out, we discovered that the hotel gardeners were weaving these hats for the guests, little baskets too. They give them to you as a gift, though a small tip was always appreciated:-)
It date back from 1938, with an irregular structure in which stones and wood are predominant. The church, whose local tile roof rests on thick beams, has double doors and windows. The upper front side features a suspended half arch that serves as the bell tower and ends in a cross.
Scooters are a fun and cheap way to get around, and u can find them everywher on street corners to be rented out. The locals don't recocmend it, cuz supposudly its dangerous. We were two on the scooter, with only 1 helmet. We were placed on and sent off, without either one of us ever being on a scooter before. We ended up crashing at one point, and I scratched my ankle. On the way back, we saw 2 tourists that fell off with bloodied up legs.... so be careful! Depending where u go, it's usually 5 cuban pesos an hour, or cheaper the longer you rent it.
Having dated a biker for ten years, I am still left with a passion for things motorised with a particular penchant for classic cars.
You can imagine my delight, therefore, to discover that Cuba is the classic car capital of the world. This is, of course, a political thing in that it's hard for them to get new cars, but afficionados will have a ball here.
Some of the vehicles are better maintained than others but all are delightful. They range from the big old American cadillacs to yellow boneshaker school buses to open backed big grey trucks which are used to ferry people from place to place.
Take a look at some of the pics attached, but for these vehicles I plan to create a whole page.
Going to Havana is a must for people visiting Cuba, talk to your Travel Rep he/she might know of a taxi that will take you from Varadero to Havana and give you a tour, it will cost you between $25 to $40 usd a person, but do it you will never forgive yourself if you miss it
This is one of the 15 archaeological sites on the peninsula which contain testimony of Indian customs. It is 820 feet (250 m)long and has five interconnecting galleries. The cave contains 72 rupestrian drawings-one of the largest collection of Indian pictographs in the Caribbean islands. During the colonial period, runaway slaves used to take refuge in the cave.
Entrance 3 peso. Be prepared for lots of bats
I was surprised that the sunset in Varadero is so colourful. So far I've been used to those glorious orange Caribbean sunsets, so perhaps it was due to the inclement and cloudy weather that we were treated to such a variety of colours as the sun went down.
It's very romantic and as I was with Mum several loving couples stopped me on the beach and asked me to take their pics.
Next time I go back with a man;-)
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