Varadero is one of the top travel destinations in the world and it’s easy to see why. The thirteen-mile-long peninsula is a Carribean paradise of blue skies and white sandy beaches, located between the Bay of Cardenas and the Straits of Florida. The world renown hotels near the beaches have hosted many celebrities and gangsters, including Al Capone, who were no doubt drawn to Varadero’s natural beauty and exciting nightlife.
There is nothing more relaxing than laying in the shade, looking at the bright blue ocean with a cocktail in hand—and Varadero is famous for making a mean Daiquiri, prepared with white Cuban rum, lemon juice, and a little bit of sugar. When packing, be sure to bring bathing suits, sunglasses, and sunscreen because that’s what you’ll be using most in Varadero! There are also plenty of caves, keys and virgin forests to explore.
One cave, called the Cueva de Saturno, can be reached by bus from downtown Varadero. The cave is beautiful and swimming in the crystal clear pool within will be unforgettable. For more adventurous visitors, Varadero is famous for scuba diving, deep-sea fishing, yachting and other water sports. Scuba and snorkeling centers, like Adventure Divers (113 42nd Street, Varadero), offer courses all year long. Be sure to see the underwater caves, numerous coral reefs, and thriving marine life beneath the waves. To see more majestic sights above water, hop on an open-air tourism train or rent a scooter or take a day trip to Old Havana. For golfers there is Varadero Golf Club, which is the first 18-hole golf course on the island. Mansions-turned-museums are scattered throughout Varadero for anyone looking to learn more about Cuba’s fascinating history.
After a day of exploring Cuba and swimming in the sea, you can enjoy a mojito at one of Varadero’s
relaxing bars or go out salsa dancing at one of Varadero’s exciting clubs. Beginners need not worry—there are free dance classes that will teach you how to salsa and merengue. Try your new moves at La Comparsita or Mediterraneo, two Cuban clubs that offer unlimited drinks and live music. If salsa isn’t your style, there are plenty of clubs with a wide variety of music, including Havana Club and Pirates Cave.
Many hotels provide free Spanish classes to guests and, although English is widely spoken in Varadero,
there will be plenty of opportunities to practice Spanish with friendly locals—just try ordering in Spanish at one of Varadero’s phenomenal restaurants. Cuban cuisine is an exquisite fusion of Spanish, African, and Caribbean flavors. Be sure to try tostones, a fantastic fritter topped with sea salt. To sample traditional dishes, check out La Vaca Rosada (102 Calle 21). The staff at this open-air restaurant is warm and friendly and you candine while watching the sunset. Cielo Mar Restaurant (Calle 57 and Avenida Playa) serves delicious food and a wide range of classic cocktails, all of which can be enjoyed while gazing out at the restaurant’s spectacular views of Varadero’s turquoise Caribbean waters, clear skies and endless white beaches.