Varadero Travel Guide

  • Varadero
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  • Cigar Vendor, Plaza de la Catedral, Havana
    Cigar Vendor, Plaza de la Catedral,...
    by Camping_Girl
  • Beach at Sunbeach
    Beach at Sunbeach
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Varadero Things to Do

  • Beach

    4.5 out of 5 stars

    The most obvious thing to do in Varadero is to spend hours soaking up the sun on the sand in front of the turquoise sea. Certainly the widest and the longest beach I saw in Cuba, plenty of room for everyone except perhaps in front of the "all inclusive" hotels. Along the beach though there are plenty of sunshades and here and there are renters of...

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  • Catamaran

    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...

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  • Jeep Tours

    Next stop on our tour was a river cruise on the Miramar River. While at this stop we also got to watch a traditional Cuban dance and do some more souvenir shopping. Lobster dinner was offered on the boat for 10CUC and it was very good - lobster tail, potatoes and salad. Drinks were served on the boat as well, for a fee. We left the Miramar River...

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Varadero Hotels

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Varadero Restaurants

  • Cuban Food

    4.5 out of 5 stars

    Don Alex is a fairly new, privately owned restaurant in downtown Varadero. It is just off 1st Avenue. Their large menu features Italian and International dishes. Our large group (Feb/13) sampled several pizzas as well as the spaghetti with garlic tomato sauce. Everything was prepared exactly as ordered and the taste was outstanding. The camarones...

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  • Sea Food

    4.5 out of 5 stars

    Love the Wine Cave, wine not cheap but everything else is more than reasonable. If you find everything bland in Cuba please try their bruschetta that had more than a little kick. My lobster fillet was just a little under 20 cuc. I really liked how it was prepared, the only part of the shell still on would be the very end of the tail with just a...

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  • Buffet

    2.5 out of 5 stars

    I found Cuban food lacked in freshness; very little or no fresh fruit or vegetables. I stayed at Club Puntarena, but I had others say the same about the food in their resorts. The pasta made to order was okay.

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Varadero Nightlife

  • La Rumba

    La Rumba is a pretty wild and exciting bar on certain nights of the week. They have a bubble machine on the ceiling, and the dance floor was about a foot deep with bubbles while we were there. If you're okay with the concept of "anything goes" then you will probably have a fun time at La Rumba. As I said, pretty much anything goes.

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  • Havana Cafe

    A nice club, went there couple of times only because it was located in the resort where i stayed. Usually they played spanish pop music and around 12:00 people would start to fill up the place but there was always not enough people inside Try Pina collada it's great and if you tip the bartenders soon they'll remember what you are drinking and...

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  • La Cueva Del Pirata

    This is weird, I think your name was Nelson Pedros? Or something like that? You were a landscaper from Toronto or Ottowa or around there. Your 26 or 24. I'm 17 and from Saskatchewan. We met at the club and I left early the next morning because it was the last day of my vacation (and the first day of yours)... We talked alot, you seem interesting....

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Varadero Transportation

  • Coco Taxi

    I had seen pics of these cute yellow vehicles in magazines and guide books, and so I was determined to have a ride in one while in Cuba. Like hollowed out little yellow coconuts, they squat cutely at street corners waiting for passengers. They always look friendly and inviting. They whizz from place to place, open as they are to the elements....

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  • Taxi Legal and Illegal

    There are taxis just outside the arrivals area that can take you into Varadero. Be sure to change some money into Pesos from the bank in the arrivals area to pay. I have never taken one but I suspect it would cost about 15 pesos. To save some money, try talking to the representatives of the tour companies that great all the flights. Each company...

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  • Airport

    Even though Varadero is only a small town, its airport is the second busiest in the country thanks to the constant flow of tourists traveling to Varadero, mostly from Canada and Europe. The airport is not very big, but it's filled with small souvenir/duty free shops so you can easily spend those last few pesos while waiting for your flight - and...

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Varadero Shopping

  • BEACH VENDORS

    As our resort was quite a ways from downtown Varadero, many BEACH VENDORSwere allowed to sell their wares along the beach. We usually had at least four to choose from. Their "cart" was very ingenius as their wares were displayed on shelves built on a bicycle so they could easily roll it along the beach. I watched as folks haggled with the vendors....

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  • Coffee

    If you are a coffee lover- be sure to pick up a bag of coffee. The cofffee in Cuba is rich and smooth and unlike any cup you will find at any of the brand name corporate coffee houses around North America. Most resorts have a little specialty shop with cigars, rum and coffee onsite or the airport will have some, as will most tourist shops.

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  • assorted cigars

    Was encouraged to buy variety packs of seven cigars each for 40 pesos.Good if you want to to give them away to different friends or try a variety of cigar types.Not as good if you want to sell them for a profit when you get home.Not good if they are stale or the containers are dented and not esthetically correct.Educate yourself before buying.one...

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Varadero Local Customs

  • Rum

    Cuban Rum is amazing and cheap! When you are staying at a resort the local bartenders will offer to sell you a bottle of booze. I have read numerous reviews of travellers who got offeneded when this happened because their trip was all inclusive. Please remember that you are in a communist country. The bottle they are trying to sell you is generally...

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  • Tipping in Cuba

    Obviously you are going to tip people who have provided you some form of service and i strongly recommend tipping them in CUC..there are no restrictions on who can posess what currency since the economy of cuba is partially done in CUC.. for example there are items for every day use such as cooking oil which are available only with CUC.. also many...

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  • Hanging out

    Not all Cubans are free to associate with visitors. They are under the scrutiny of the local authorities. In the government's efforts to curb prostitution, any public display become cause for the police to investigate the Cuban person involved. Be aware they could suffer incarceration for having entertained your attention. Family associations are...

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Varadero Warnings and Dangers

  • Food and Drinks

    One thing you really don't want to eat when you're in Cuba is a hamburger. They are, seriously, the most disgusting things I have ever eaten. Don't be sucked in by the 1CUC price, they are nasty, awful, yucky. There is really a lot better food to be had in Cuba than a hamburger. One caveat: Some of the burgers at the resorts are edible, if a...

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  • Jellyfish

    This was the only place I saw jellyfish in the sea in Cuba, apparently giving off a fair sting. The lifeguard on the beach pulled these out of the water. Nice blue colour but , don't touch in the water. **UPDATE - After Malcom's comment below and checking on Wiki and other sources, I can confirm these are Portuguese men o'war and as such can be...

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  • Cuban cigars

    Everyone allegedly has a relative or best friend working in a cigar factory in cuba. A cigar addict myself, I know they are fake for sure. The only time I would buy a box off the street is if I was planning on handing them out to people who don't smoke cigars as gifts. If you want cheap cigars, buy a box of Reloba's from a local for $10. They're...

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Varadero Tourist Traps

  • Varadero

    One night I stopped one of the "old taxis" said I wanted to go to Cardenas, 10 kms away. The Lady driver looked at me and said "OK". I got in and she turned around and started to drive me back towards my hotel, turned around again and stopped in a garage parking lot to do the "paper work" time ,destination, etc.. She then started the meter as we...

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  • TIPPING

    Tips are expected in most poor countries and Cuba is no exception. It actually starts at the airport arrivals, if you have to use the washroom. A small tip is expected by the people who look after the washrooms. You are given some toilet paper as you enter.On the bus to our Resort, the guide told us to be sure to tip the bus driver.At the resort,...

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  • Taxi scam

    One night I stopped one of the "old taxis" said I wanted to go to Cardenas, 10 kms away.The Lady driver looked at me and said "OK". I got in and she turned around and started to drive me back towards my hotel, turned around again and stopped in a garage parking lot to do the "paper work" time ,destination, etc.. She then started the meter as we...

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Varadero What to Pack

  • The US trade embargo makes things...

    Bring large cups with you (such as a coffee go mug) for drinks at the bar. All of the hotels use tiny plastic cups and you will constantly be running back for refills if you don't bring something larger with you! The staff are quite accustomed to this, and don't mind using your cups. Don't plan on doing a lot of shopping for anything besides...

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  • mini camera tripod ideal esp. if...

    Small to medium back sack or the like for if you go on excursions so can have change of cloths if need swim suit for only part of tour or need long pants for evening part of Havana tour etc. My Roots shopping bag that kind of looked like old school work socks was taken by hotel staff as had kind of crumbled in room but still wanted to use it;...

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  • PACKING FOR CUBA

    Since Varadero has a tropical climate, pack light clothes like T-shirts, shorts, bathing suit, extra beach towels, sun hat, sun glasses. It is recommended that you do not place valuables in your luggage, due to possible theft. Keep valuables in your hand luggage. I brought beach shoes as the bottom of the sea may be rocky. I also brought sandals...

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Varadero Off The Beaten Path

  • Mirador de Bacunayagua

    On the way to Havana, in between Matanzas and Havana, you cross the highest bridge in Cuba, the Puente de Bacunayagua. At 110 metres, it is an engineering marvel. Right after you cross the bridge, on your right, there is an exit to a restaurant, bar, and shops overlooking the bridge and the Yumuri valley below. It is well worth your time to make a...

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  • Day trip to Havana

    No visit to Cuba would be complete without a visit to Old Havana. This city is so vibrant, the architecture so stunning, the contrast of old and new is stark. Havana is about a 1.5 hour drive from Varadero. For $150 and up (per person!) you can take your choice of bus tours to Havana. Or, if you want to save a little money, befriend one of the...

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  • HAVANA HISTORY DAY TOUR

    One of the must things to do in my opinion, is to make a day trip to Havana which was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We booked our HAVANA HISTORY DAY TOUR through our Nolitours representative at the cost of 67 CUC (Cuban Convertible Pesos) - about $70.00 CDN.The bus picked us up at 8:00 a.m. and after picking up some more people at other...

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Varadero Sports & Outdoors

  • Scuba diving and snorkeling

    Beaches Varadero actually includes Scuba Diving in the All Inclusive price! Weather permitting, you can do 2 dives per day at no charge. The dive sites are only 5 minutes out from the beach in the dive boat, and they usually send out a photographer with every dive. They even arranged a trip to The Bay Of Pigs for me at no charge but be warned! it's...

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  • Boating and Sailing

    There are lots of activities to choose from on Varadero beach: sailing, paddle boating, banana boating, kayaking, catamaran sailing, windsurfing, snorkeling and scuba diving. The easiest is to rent equipment in the hotel where you are staying.

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  • Scuba diving and snorkeling

    Snorkeling and scuba diving is quite good in Varadero and sites include various coral reefs and an old wreck. It's not necessary to bring your own equipment

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Varadero Favorites

  • Give Aways

    Try to bring some spare toiliteries or make up as a tip to your chamber maid as they really do appreciate this. Also, stuff for kids, pens, crayons etc. We went to our local £1 shop and loaded up and they really loved it ( also got us extra coffee and water in the rooms ! ) In return, our maid kept making our towels into animals.

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  • Sunset

    If you are lucky, you can see amazing sunsets on Varadero beach, because it faces west and the sea reflects the light beautifully. This sunset was the best and I was happy to find these leaves to create a contrast.

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  • Beaches

    The flag system is this: red flag, no swimming. green flag, go swim! yellow flag, be cautious. Out of the whole week I was there, it was red flag four days and yellow flag 3. The days it was red, there were dead jellyfish on the beach... not sure what happened, but the tsunami in Sri Lanka was happening at the same time.... When the beach was...

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