Varadero: A to Z
Holidays on Liberty Island are popular among Russian tourists. Endless beaches, low prices and amazing atmosphere attract people with different interests here. Among all the island towns there is, a city whose beaches are among the best in the world.
Varadero. Stretching along the coastline of more than 20 kilometers, Varadero is a developed beach resort. However, a vacation in Varadero, Cuba is not just about the beaches. Entertainment, attractions, prices in and around the resort area will not disappoint visitors to the city.
How to get there?
Russia and Cuba are connected by air links. However, there is no non-stop flight from Russian cities to Varadero.
You can get to the resort either with a connection in the island’s capital, Havana, or in one of the European countries.
Flights from Moscow with a change of plane, for example, in Frankfurt am Main will cost 1110 euros round trip. The advantage of such flights is the flight directly to the place of rest. The resort airport is located 20 km from its central part, the bus transfer will cost 6 Cuban pesos, a cab – 35.
A more economical option is to fly to Havana, the round-trip ticket from Moscow costs 632 euros. You can take a bus or a cab to the resort.
From Havana to Varadero by bus
Four buses depart daily from the capital to the resort area. For 10 Cuban Convertible Pesos (CUC), comfortable air-conditioned buses will take everyone to Varadero. The trip takes just over 3 hours. The company-carrier is Viazul.
Bus tickets are purchased at the carrier’s desk at the airport, in the arrivals hall. It is possible to buy online on the official website of the company.
What you should know if you want to get to Varadero by bus
The Viazul bus station is located 15 km away from the Havana airport. Tourists can get there only by cab. The price of the trip is about 30 CUC.
Interesting: There are buses from Terminal 1 to the bus station. However, it is almost impossible for a tourist to use it. The drivers themselves are reluctant to let foreigners into the cabin. And, most importantly, the fare can only be paid in Cuban pesos – CUP.
Cab to Varadero
This method of transfer is the most popular among tourists. For 2 hours of travel you’ll pay from 100 to 150 CUC depending on the capacity of the car.
There are two currencies in Cuba: 1. The Cuban peso CUP is the official currency used by locals. 2. The Cuban convertible peso CUC, a currency closely related to the dollar, is used by foreigners.
Foreign currency can be exchanged directly at the airport and at local banks.
By the way: American dollars are officially banned in the country. The reality is that almost everywhere on the island you can pay in major currencies, including American.
When is the best time to rest in Varadero?
The climate of the resort area is moderate subtropical. Daytime temperatures throughout the year fluctuate from 26 to 30 degrees, the coastal waters are warmed to a minimum of 24 degrees.
There is a distinct wet season, which occurs between May and the first half of September. Frequent rains during these months can be heavy or lightly drizzling. The weather in September and October is often characterized by strong hurricane winds.
By the way, the cheapest vacation is in the first two months of autumn.
Given the climatic characteristics of the resort, the best time to rest in Varadero are the winter months, November or March. The weather at this time is stable, a slight cold snap, permissible in this period, rarely lasts longer than a couple of days.
Organizational aspects of the holiday
Where to stay?
The hotel infrastructure is comfortable hotels with a certain level of stardom. The minimum room rate is 60 CUC.
Among the 4-5 star hotels there are complexes with playgrounds, play areas, children’s pool. This is ideal for travelers with children.
There are options with bungalows, villas, as well as all-inclusive hotels.
Note: Those who want to save money on accommodation should pay attention to apartments or mini-hotels.
How to get around the city and neighboring cities?
For travel within the city the best option is a bus Varadero beach tour. You can ride this 2-story bus all day with no restrictions for only 5 CUC. Tickets are sold by the driver.
Intercity transport – buses of two carriers: 1. ViaZul – convenient buses go in the direction of Trinidad, Havana, Santiago de Cuba, Santa Clara. Ticket prices vary. A trip to Trinidad, for example, will cost 20 CUC. 2. Astro – This company’s transportation is less comfortable, but works on a larger number of routes and is cheaper than ViaZul.
This form of transportation is available everywhere.
Important: Agree on the cost of travel in advance. Even if there is a taximeter in the car, it is unlikely it will be in working order.
Usually the fare is 1 CUC per ride and 1 CUC per kilometer.
A kind of exotic transport is a horse-drawn carriage, Soso taxi, which is shaped like an egg or a three-wheeled bicycle – Bici taxi. A ride in a horse-drawn carriage costs about 20 CUC.
In the resort you can rent:
1. Bicycle. Rental is available at most hotels. Cost from 3 CUC per hour. Bicycle transportation is convenient for trips within the city. 2. Scooter. Can be rented at rental companies, the price per day of use – from 30 CUC.
Important! When going to rent a bicycle or scooter, think carefully about how you will ensure its safety in case you need to get away on the street. Thieves in Varadero enough 2 minutes to deprive the tourist of transportation.
3. car. Renting a car is possible directly at the resort or at the airport. It is worth paying attention to rental agencies Cubacar, Havanautos, Rex.
The price of a car depends not only on the technical characteristics of the car, such as the type of gearbox. Vacation time and the period of car rental are among the decisive factors.
A small car with a manual transmission in the low season will cost about 67 CUC and in the high season – 80 CUC.
Important! All companies ask for a deposit in the range of 250 CUC. Some will charge you 20 CUC more if you rent a car at the airport. Others will ask for money if the car is returned to a different rental location from the pick-up point.
Communication and Internet
When going to a resort, be prepared to take a break not only from your work life, but also from your phone and the Internet. The Russian connection is not stable and cheap.
It is preferable to use the services of the local monopoly telephone company ETECSA (Cubacel). You can rent a SIM card of this operator. The cost is 3 CUC per day. The contract is signed at the company’s offices located at Varadero and Havana airports and at the representative office between Calle 44 and Calle 46.
Internet in the resort area is chargeable, the cost per hour of use is 2 CUC. A special card is required. A wireless network is present at the airport and several hotels.
Local restaurants are ready to please their visitors with dishes from different cuisines of the world.
For Cuban food should go to traditional local restaurants.
By the way. Cubans do not agree with the statement that dinner should be light. Toast and coffee – for breakfast, a sandwich – for lunch, and a hearty evening meal – this is the principle of food of the locals.
Dinner at a Cuban restaurant is a great opportunity to taste just traditional food in all its variety. Particularly popular are Cuban soup ajiaco and stew La Caldosa, which includes chicken, ham, yams, various vegetables and spices.
Holidays in Varadero, visiting resort restaurants and deciding what to try, pay attention to seafood. Here they are considered the pinnacle of local gastronomy.
Don’t forget to try the famous Cuban rum and cocktails based on it.
What to see and do?
Varadero is not the place to explore historical sites. Exciting entertainment by day, unbridled fun at night, contemplative relaxation and the best beaches are what hundreds of thousands of tourists head to this Cuban resort for.
When we say “Varadero Beach”, we mean 20 km of snow-white beaches stretching along the coast.
By the way, no matter who owns any zone of the beach, you can sit on it absolutely free.
The resort beach strip is characterized by gentle access to the sea. Coastal waters abound with underwater beauty: caves, coral reefs, unusual sand mounds.
Infrastructure is represented by various cafes, water amusement centers and other attractions.
Safety on the beach
If the chosen part of the beach is not wild, then a quiet and safe rest is provided by security.
Danger is represented by the inhabitants of the underwater world. Portuguese Ships. These poisonous jellyfish in large numbers after a storm can be thrown ashore. Their glitter and beauty attracts children, which is fraught with serious burns.
Diving in Varadero is not only a measured contemplation of the sea depths, here you can go to explore underwater caves or dive in the night darkness.
Popular diving spots: 1. Playa Coral Beach with the coral reef located here. 2. Pigs Cove, with the deepest dive level in the area – 30 meters. 3. Park Cayo Piedras del Norte, a place of sunken ships, among which there is even a domestic 100-meter ship.
The cost of diving varies based on the dive site chosen and the level of preparedness. One dive for a beginner will cost from 70 CUC. For training you will have to pay a minimum of 160 CUC.
Features of recreation and entertainment
While spending a vacation in Varadero, it is worth taking a walk through one of the local parks – Hosone or Todo en Uno, a trip to the reserve “Vraicacos”, play golf or visit the local dolphinarium.
The center of the resort, the place where most of the cafes and restaurants are concentrated, the Cuban color and the temperament of the locals are sharply felt, is the street AVENIDA Primera. Here you can just stroll around when the weather is nice or go shopping in the rain.
Golf and Villa Xanadu
The local golf club is the only one in the country with 18 holes on its grounds. A game of golf will cost from 130 CUC.
On its grounds is the resort’s architectural landmark, the Villa Xanadu. The first owner of the villa – I. Dupont, the owner of the company with the same name, in 1930, bought almost all the land of the peninsula Ikakos. The villa built for him, designed to be the owner’s winter cottage, was the first mansion in Varadero. It was with it that the resort began its existence. Today, the iconic building houses just six rooms of a small hotel, a restaurant, a panoramic bar on the third floor, and Dupont-equipped wine cellars. Anyone can see the inside of the villa for a small fee.
Excursions from Varadero
The resort is a great place to visit various Cuban regions and surrounding attractions.
Located 100 km from Varadero, the farm offers its guests to meet the formidable inhabitants, hold crocodiles and taste the crocodile meat.
Jose Smith Sugar Factory
A visit to this particular sugar factory in the country is worthwhile for a number of reasons: 1. This is where the famous Havana Club was developed and sent into production. 2. There is a museum on the territory of the factory, the premises of the factory and the equipment located in them. There is an opportunity to see the whole process of manufacturing sugar and rum. 3. This is the closest sugar factory to Varadero.
Journey to the factory begins in the town of Cardenas, 20 km from the resort. From there to the plant goes old factory steam trains, which are more than 100 years old.
Given the road, the tour will take about half a day.
When darkness falls, the resort’s hotels and clubs open their doors to everyone who wants to be a part of the colorful dance shows. The cost of admission is within 15 CUC. Check out Casa de la Musica, Tuxpan and the Internacional hotels.
For lovers of live music – Mambo Club. For those who crave exoticism – a nightclub in a cave Cuevos Los Pirates.
Shopping in Varadero
Unbridled shopaholics will get bored in Varadero. However, in the resort stores you can find a large number of interesting and unique products that can be brought back to Russia as souvenirs.
What to bring from a trip?
Cuban rum, cigars, coffee, wooden icons from local artists. Women may be interested in closet items and accessories with national ornaments, perfumes made of exotic ingredients, jewelry made of pearls, coral and silver.
Where to Buy?
1. the Plaza America mall, which has everything, including rum, coffee, and chocolate. 2. The House of Rum is a must-see. Guests are introduced to the history of the drink, tastings and, of course, the widest assortment of Cuban rum. 3. House of Cigars – In Cuba, you can not buy cigars in the rows of stores or hotels. Only in the house of cigars the buyer gets a real quality product. Prices start at 3 CUC apiece. 4. Various street craft and trade rows. In such places it is necessary to haggle.
Varadero for kids.
Most 4-5 star hotels have children’s facilities on their premises. The park areas of the resort are equipped with playgrounds and organized a variety of attractions for children.
As for entertainment, be sure to visit the local dolphinarium, where the inhabitants can not only look at them, you can swim with them.
Go to Cuba with children, a group of friends or with a loved one. Resort Varadero can meet the expectations of almost every tourist.