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Planning a February 2020 trip to Varadero

Wow, it’s been a LONG time since I’ve posted to this forum. I’m sorry to see activity has dialed way down in recent years… maybe forums are passé now? Or maybe I’m just remembering 10 years ago wrong?

Anyway, I haven’t been to Cuba in… well, 10 years. Becoming a parent, changing jobs, etc. - we let life get in the way and our travel priority slipped. Now the missus and I are hoping to restart our yearly trips and introduce the new generation to Cuba. The plan is for February 2020 and the destination will be Varadero. I’m looking for resort recommendations in town or somewhere along the Avenida las Americas (meaning, preferably nowhere that requires travel along the autopista, we’re hoping to stay within walking/biking/scooter distance to town). We’ve stayed at Barceló Solymar and Bella Costa and both were great experiences, but we’d like to try somewhere different. The resort would have to be kid-friendly and accommodating for seniors (there will be a senior in our group). I 'm also looking for advice on places to stop/visit in Varadero (history, music, food, whatever). It’s been a while and I’m far out of the loop.

Thanks, team!


Welcome back, Boldstar.
Unfortunately, I don’t know much about the hotels in the area that you want to be. I was hoping that someone might be able to help you, so my reply is mostly to try to keep your post near the top.
One thing I can mention, is that on one trip into town (we were staying out at the Melia Las Antillas at the time), we stopped for a meal at a small open air restaurant that was right across the street from the Sunbeach hotel.
I forget the name of it, but I will see if I can find out the name, if you are interested.

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Actually, it wasn’t that hard to find, after all. Apparently, it’s called El Ranchón. Let’s see if this map link works:

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Hello, cubajack! Thanks for replying. I’ll definitely add El Ranchón to my list. What was the food like? The only two places I recall sitting down any length of time at were La Vicaria (https://goo.gl/maps/qYqw6p1JvXXdzZ6J9) and Mesón del Quijote (the Google Map is wrong, it’s actually on the Avenida right beside that old water tower). We also stopped at Casa de Al - it was closed at the time but a security guard gave us the tour.

What was it like staying at the Melia? We’re not completely opposed to staying somewhere further out on the peninsula. I’ve heard the hotels are better there - mom (the senior) might appreciate that. It was just nice being really close to town. We found ourselves there pretty near every day, even just to wander or scooter in for a cerveza, but I suppose this trip might be a little different anyway.

When we ate at El Ranchon, we had lobster, and it was very good. It was also very reasonably priced - 5 CUC each. Of course, the prices have probably gone up since then. That was several years ago.
We stayed at the Melia Las Antillas many times, but haven’t been there since about 2010 or so. It is a bit of an older hotel, but had been kept up quite well the last time we were there. Our most recent trips were to the Blau Varadero next door.
To get into town, we would take about a 5 minute walk down to where the double decker bus stops. The last time we were there, it was 5 CUC for the ticket that lets you ride all day.

I’m another with no personal knowledge of Varadero, but I thought I should at least say hello!

I went to that El Ranchon restaurant in 2014 or so and it cost me way more than 5 cuc for lobster! I think it was around 15 (less than 20 for sure). Beer was around 3 cuc and they charged us 1.50 for bread we never ordered or ate…

Still not too bad, I had way more overpriced diners in Cuba!

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Hello, eeeefarm! Long time no speak. I hope you’ve kept up with your Cuba travels!

$15CUC for lobster on a patio in Varadero might still be money well spent. Thanks, team. I’ll definitely stop into El Ranchón and report back… next year.

I don’t remember for sure when it was that we ate there. But I am pretty sure it was quite a while before 2014. Not surprising if prices went up since we were there.
Even so, the meal we had would easily have been worth it even for 15 CUC.

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Hi. Yes, I have. Was at Caracol, Santa Lucia, in March. I’ll be back somewhere in the fall, perhaps PRDO, which I did last fall and enjoyed. But my big trip this past winter was a bucket list item, the Maldives. Fabulous! But such a long way to travel…

Maldives? Wow! That must have been some trip. I can’t say I’ve been anywhere in the last decade, other than to the States, and even that was before The Horror.

But Santa Lucia… that’s a bit of nostalgia for me. Brisas Santa Lucia was the first place I ever stayed in Cuba, I think it was 2006. A tough go with the buffet at first, but that’s because I was a newbie! And overall, it was a wonderful experience.

Good connecting with you again, cubajack. And agreed, $15CUC for lobster on a patio on Varadero is money well spent.

It’s been a few years since I’ve been to Cuba too. Went to Negril, Jamaica in 2017 and 2018. Then it was Cancun, Mexico in 2019. Have been truly missing Varadero, Cuba. Just recently booked and will try out the Starfish Cuatro Palmas for January, 2020. YAY!!! This will be trip number seven to Cuba.

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Starfish Cuatro Palmas is on our list too. Have Fun, Jetpilot!

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Cuatro Palmas looks like a nice place… kind of on the edge of town, great location. I recall we debated staying there a bunch of years ago, but ended up at Barcelo Solymar instead. I hope you’ll post a review, or come back here and let us know how it goes.

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