What to see and do in Varadero, Cuba

Varadero: The Cuban Paradise

Join me on this first-hand post where turquoise waters and white sands become the backdrop for an unforgettable experience.

Imagine waking up with the Caribbean breeze caressing your skin, knowing you’re about to explore a corner of Eden on Earth. Varadero, more than a destination, is a sigh of tranquility amidst sips of mojitos and days under the sun.

My advice to start this journey on the right foot is simple: let yourself be enchanted by the magic of Varadero from the moment you step into this Cuban gem. The turquoise waters will whisper stories as you stroll along the white sandy beach, and the nightlife will invite you to immerse yourself in the authentic Cuban essence.

Varadero is much more than a resting place; it’s a canvas where every corner tells a story. In my travels, I discovered that the authenticity of this destination lies in every encounter with its people, in every historic corner, and in the fusion of its daytime and nighttime life.

So, if you’re looking for a paradisiacal retreat to disconnect, Varadero is the answer. Get ready to be enchanted by the magic of its beaches, feel the energy of its nightlife, and uncover the secrets that this Caribbean corner has reserved for you.

Are you ready to live your own story in Varadero? I promise you won’t regret it!

Hammock at Meliá Las Américas Cuba

Location of the Best Places to See in Varadero

This detailed map is your essential guide to exploring hidden treasures and must-visit destinations that make Varadero a dream destination. From white sandy beaches caressing the crystal-clear waters of the Caribbean to vibrant cultural centers and unforgettable gastronomic experiences, this Cuban jewel has something for every type of traveler.

Get ready to immerse yourself in the magic of Varadero and discover why it leaves an indelible mark on the hearts of those who visit!

How to Get to Varadero?

Airplane drawing

Welcome to Varadero, the gateway to paradise! If you decide to fly here, I suggest an option that will make your arrival much easier: book your transfer from the airport to your hotel at a fixed price. Forget about searching for taxis with jetlag; this practical alternative will allow you to reach your destination without complications.

Now, if you have in mind to thoroughly explore Varadero and its surroundings, I have an idea that I personally find irresistible: rent a car! There is no better way to immerse yourself in the authentic Cuban experience than having the freedom to move at your own pace.

In my opinion, renting a car, is the perfect choice to avoid depending on expensive taxis and discover every corner at your leisure. In our case, we rented a car with a driver, and it took us all over the island at a great price. I highly recommend visiting this website that I use to rent cars in Cuba. In such a fascinating place like Varadero, the freedom to explore is in your hands.

Meliá Las Américas

Excursions from Varadero

Just 150 kilometers from Havana, this destination adapts to any plan. Whether you choose a combined package or venture out to explore the island on your own, Varadero welcomes you with open arms.

Excursion drawing

Let’s talk about the exciting excursions from Varadero. But, hey, here’s a tip: even if your idea is just to enjoy Varadero, let me tell you that cities as fantastic as Cienfuegos and Trinidad deserve a visit. So, how about organizing an excursion from your hotel to explore both in a day? An idea worth exploring!

How are the beaches in Varadero? 

Varadero doesn’t top my list of favorite Cuban cities. Compared to the beaches of its cays, Varadero’s beaches may fall short, lacking the history of Havana or the charm of places like Viñales or Trinidad. 

The beaches on the far right of Varadero (where most resorts are) were artificially built after erecting those mammoth structures, and that’s a bit disappointing. However, it remains a fascinating place, with a lot of activity both day and night, and is entirely designed for tourism, which brings a certain tranquility. Plus, Varadero has been mentioned so many times that it’s normal to be curious and want to visit. It happened to me!

Varadero Beach Cuba

What to do in Varadero?

Enjoy its beach, the most typical thing to do in Varadero

Varadero has one of the most popular beaches in the country. It didn’t seem the most beautiful to us, but it is indeed the most visited. Why? Mainly due to its proximity to the Cuban capital  and its tourist infrastructure, the largest in the country. It even has an international airport! One of the great advantages of Varadero over other coastal destinations is that you can choose between private houses and hotels.

The most interesting thing about Varadero is its 22 kilometers of beach. In general, all of them are beautiful, but perhaps the best stretch of Varadero’s beach is in front of the Hotel Internacional. There is usually less wave there. So, swimming at the beach is one of the best things to do in Varadero.

Visit the Saturn Cave

This beautiful natural cave is very close to Varadero’s airport. If you are tired of being on the beach, you can take this excursion, one of the best things to do in Varadero. Inside the cave, there is a beautiful crystal-clear lake where you can swim in the darkness with fish. It’s a very interesting experience.

The entrance to Cueva Saturno costs 250 CUP, and it takes about 30 minutes by taxi from the hotel area of Varadero. Discover all thesecrets of the dual currency in Cuba  to manage your money well.

Discover the Ambrosio Cave and its pre-Columbian paintings

The Saturn Cave is not the only interesting one in Varadero and its surroundings. In the northern part of the peninsula, you can visit the spectacular Ambrosio Cave. It has over 2 million years of history, although it was not discovered until 1961. Inside, there are many treasures, including several pre-Columbian paintings. What a testimony our ancestors left us!

The entrance costs 240 CUP and includes a guided tour. In addition to the paintings, you can see a lot of bats and other animals. Highly recommended!

Craft Markets

Strolling through the craft markets on Avenida 1 is ideal for buying gifts and souvenirs. Varadero is very narrow! So, on the long Avenida 1 in Varadero, there are plenty of craft markets where you can buy souvenirs and other crafts. We went crazy, especially because we had 2 very cloudy days and decided to explore almost all the markets in downtown Varadero. Undoubtedly, one of the best things to do in Varadero.

Relaxing Walk through Parque Josone

Sunning all day is not good. So if you want to disconnect from the beach, there are few places better than Parque Josone. It is located in the heart of Varadero and hides a curious history. It is an old neoclassical mansion built by José and Onelia Iturrioz. They combined their names to baptize it! What stands out most about the mansion are its green spaces, full of vegetation and a lake, where you can even take a boat ride.

After the Revolution, this mansion passed into the hands of the government, and they decided to create a public space. So it’s a wonderful place to walk and disconnect from the beach.

Visit Cayo Blanco, one of the best excursions in Varadero

Varadero’s beach is very nice, but Cayo Blanco’s beach is even more paradisiacal. This key is only accessible by boat and is one of the most popular excursions to do in Varadero. It is an ideal place for snorkeling and spending a fantastic day. You can book your excursion to Cayo Blanco online.

Santa Elvira Church

Walking through the center of Trinidad, we came across this small and interesting church. It is one of the few religious buildings in the city. In fact, it is relatively new, as it was built in 1938. Among so many hotels and restaurants, you are glad to see something different.

Go on a Jeep Ride through the Yumuri Valley

If you are looking for several things to do in Varadero, you should consider exploring the Yumuri Valley. It is one of the best natural treasures of Cuba and is very close to Varadero. The landscape is dominated by jungle and sugar cane fields.

This excursion will also allow you to visit the beautiful Coral Beach, take a boat ride on the Walk River, and explore the beautiful Saturn Cave, among other activities. A very complete excursion to enjoy the best of the surroundings of Varadero.

Take the Sugar Tour from Varadero

The sugar industry has been one of the main economic drivers in Cuba. So, taking this tour will allow you to learn more about the history of one of the island’s most important resources. You will learn about the production process and get to taste the famous guarapo, a drink made from sugarcane. Activities like this are a great way to take a break from the beach.

Visit Varahicacos Ecological Park

In the northern part of the Varahicacos Peninsula, you’ll find this interesting ecological park, one of the best things to see in Varadero. It’s a protected area with a variety of plant and animal species. It’s especially ideal for birdwatching or observing reptiles.

The entrance to the reserve costs 250 CUP per person. There is a main trail that can be easily covered in 1 hour.

Cuban Cooking Class, a Different Plan to Do in Varadero

A good way to immerse yourself in another culture is through its cuisine. Taking a cooking class will allow you to prepare some of the most famous dishes in Cuban gastronomy. And, of course, enjoy them! Cuban food may not be as prestigious as Spanish cuisine, but it has delicious dishes like ropa vieja.

Visit Cayo Santa María

Varadero’s beach is beautiful, but we believe you can’t leave Cuba without experiencing the beaches of the cays. One of the most accessible cays is Cayo Santa María. Basically because it’s the only one you can reach by public transport from Trinidad or Cienfuegos thanks to its causeway.

From Varadero, there is private transport that will take you to Cayo Santa María after about 5 hours of travel. Paradise has never been so close!

Taking a Bottle of Souvenir from Casa del Ron

Rum is one of Cuba’s star products. Many tourists choose to buy a bottle as a souvenir to take home. If that’s your intention, we recommend visiting Casa del Ron. It may not have the best prices, but it does have a lot of variety. Additionally, there you can learn the history of this famous beverage and even taste it before buying.

Girls in the pool Varadero Cuba

Accommodation in a 5-star Resort 

My experience in an all-inclusive resort in Varadero: We chose this type of accommodation to spend a few relaxing days on the beach, after many intense days touring the island. It seemed like “we deserved it,” and the hotel was wonderful.

We stayed at the Grand Meliá Las Américas Varadero, a 5-star hotel. Although it wasn’t the most impressive accommodation I’ve seen, for Cuba, it was very good, and we stayed all-inclusive. The room was spacious and even had dispensers with complimentary alcohol bottles. The resort offered international restaurants, a 24-hour bar, and various leisure facilities, including a theater, disco, and water sports on the beach. The value for money was appropriate.

Hammocks in Varadero Cuba

Accommodation in a Casa Particular in Varadero

As in the rest of Cuba, I believe this type of accommodation allows you to get closer to the locals and their culture, forming part of the travel experience itself. Obviously, it lacks the comforts of a resort, with almost no internet, low water pressure, and very humble conditions. But, when you try their breakfasts, you’ll see that they taste like home.

Staying in private homes in Varadero, Cuba, is an interesting and authentic option that allows you to immerse yourself in local life and experience Cuban hospitality up close. Opting for a private home gives you the opportunity to interact directly with the Cubans and get a close look at their culture and lifestyle. Hosts often offer valuable suggestions about places to visit, local restaurants, and authentic activities.

You can find a variety of options, from simple rooms to larger houses with additional amenities. Some houses have gardens and outdoor areas where you can relax. In general, the prices of private homes are more affordable compared to resorts and luxury hotels in Varadero. The value for money is often favorable, and many houses offer services such as breakfast at an additional cost.

By choosing a private home, you can enjoy a more personalized experience. Hosts are often willing to adapt to your needs and preferences. You can negotiate aspects such as arrival and departure times more flexibly.

Many private homes offer options for homemade breakfast, allowing you to taste authentic Cuban cuisine. This is an excellent way to start the day with energy and try local dishes.

Given the growing popularity of private homes, especially in tourist destinations like Varadero, it is recommended to make reservations in advance to ensure availability. Many private homes are located in the center of Varadero or near the beach, making it easy to access local attractions. Therefore, staying in a private home in Varadero can offer a unique and enriching experience, perfect for those seeking a more authentic connection with the destination and its people.

Meliá Las Américas Varadero

Where to eat in Varadero

Waco’s Club Restaurant: Ideal for dinner in the town, it offers simple but elaborated Cuban-style dishes.

Cooking Class: A fun experience to get to know Cuban cuisine.

Pub The Beatles: A lively place to have a drink, especially if you enjoy live music.

In summary, is it worth traveling to Varadero?

Yes, definitely! It’s your place if you’re looking for safety and comfort, or if you need a special touch at the end of an intense journey.

Sonia and Leti Varadero Cuba

You might also be interested in these posts about Cuba:

Do you know Cuba? Tell me what you think about my experience and the suggestions to make the most of your time in Cuba. I hope you find these recommendations useful!

Sunset in Cuba Varadero

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