Cuba Part III: Relaxing on the Beach in Varadero
After sharing a few posts on my trip to Cuba earlier this year, I started to receive emails requesting information on other places to visit in Cuba. My personal trip to Cuba only included Havana and Viñales, but there are many other places worth checking out while visiting this gorgeous Caribbean island.
A popular question I've been getting is:
Should I go to Varadero?
Well, this post is aimed to answer that question. We've enlisted our friend Sami to share her experience on the beach in Varadero. Check it out and decide if you want to add this destination to your Cuba itinerary.
Hi! I'm Sami. My boyfriend, Chris, and I recently visited Varadero during our trip to Cuba. Chris and I love exploring places that neither of us have visited before, so Cuba was at the top of our list after hearing that the embargo restriction had loosened. We wanted a mix of history and paradise, and had just 5 days to travel. Since Cuba is only 100 miles off the coast of Florida, we decided it was the perfect destination for our quick trip.
If you're looking for a vacation where you can lay on the beach all day, bathe in the clearest blue waters, and engage in some nautical sports, Varadero is the place for you.
In this post, I'll highlight three reasons you should visit Varadero and some tips for planning...or really, not planning...a relaxing trip to paradise.
Top 3 Reasons to Visit Varadero
1. Varadero is paradise
2. You can stay at an all-inclusive resort
3. There's hardly any planning required
Varadero is paradise
Varadero, which covers Cuba's narrow Hicacos Peninsula, is best known as a tourist resort town with more than 20km of white, sandy beaches and clear blue water. The peninsula is only 1.2km at its widest point and is separated from the island of Cuba by the Kawama Channel. It's about 200km from downtown Havana and takes about 2.5 hours to get there by taxi.
The all-inclusive resort
All inclusive resorts are just what they sound like. You don't have to bring your wallet anywhere! We stayed at the Royalton Hicacos Resort & Spa and ate every single meal there. While the food was nothing to write home about, the convenience of an all-inclusive is hard to beat. They have everything you could need right at your fingertips. We didn't leave at all over the 2.5 days of our trip.
We didn't plan a thing
The only planning we did ahead of time was reserving the hotel. When you don't have to make any arrangements or plans, your days are so incredibly relaxing. We woke up, ate breakfast, soaked up some sun on the beach and unplugged from the world. When we felt adventurous, we simply rented a kayak from the resort. Life in Cuba moves slowly and in Varadero, life is completely on your own time.
Sami's Insider Tips
> Before planning your trip to Cuba, check out TBP's 20 Dos and Don'ts to make sure you're prepared!
> We stayed in Varadero for only 2.5 days but wish we had just a bit more time. I recommend staying at least 3 days/4 nights.
> You can take either a bus or a taxi to get to Varadero. You can find a taxi around any of the hotels throughout Havana, or book a bus at the travel desk in the Plaza Hotel. We negotiated a price with a few taxis and spent 100 CUCs to get to Varadero. A bus should only cost you about 20 CUCs.
> It can take up to 3 hours to get to Varadero depending on the car you take. Most taxis are old American cars. Bring water with you for the ride. It's also worth noting that we saw a number of cars broken down on the side of the road, so be prepared with snacks too.
> You don't need to pack much for this trip. I recommend bringing a swimsuit and any gear to hang by the pool and the ocean, as well as a few nice outfits to get dressed up for dinner.
> Make sure to confirm your booking is paid in full with the hotel before you arrive. There were some guests that were required to pay the full price in cash when they arrived because the booking website didn't confirm their payment.
> Don't speak Spanish? Not to worry. I'm fluent and only used my Spanish in downtown Havana. At the resort in Varadero, most of the staff spoke English along with many of the guests staying there.