Destinations

Varadero



The Most Beautiful Beach

Varadero beach—some call it the world’s greatest beach—has long been the pride of Cuba, and a magnet for the rich and famous. Today, a broad range of hotels and resorts on this wide, sandy beach offer affordable vacations to please any pocketbook.
Considered by many as the world's most beautiful beach, Varadero is part of a peninsula that stretches far out into the calm waters of the Atlantic. Its 21-kilometre strip of fine white sand is an ideal vacation spot for sun-lovers, water babies and golfers. Its location on a narrow peninsula ensures that it is constantly cooled by tropical breezes.
But this white beach set against a backdrop of astonishing turquoise water and azure sky is not the only attraction in Matanzas province. The nearby cities of Cárdenas and Matanzas (the provincial capital) are known for their art, history and culture. Southwest of Varadero, on the province's Caribbean coast, is the Zapata Peninsula, famous for its ecotourism and history.


Places to visit

Varadero Beach

Cuba's trademark beach boasts fine, white sand and an average year-round water temperature of 24ºC-26ºC.

Cayo Piedra Underwater Park

This park to the northeast features several shipwrecks where schools of colourful, tropical fish and crustaceans gather.

Varadero Golf Club

Is a magnificent 18-hole championship course on the peninsula, marked by an intricate system of lagoons in the British “links” tradition.


Centre Plaza América


This well appointed international convention centre incorporates shopping malls, restaurants and amusement centres.




Josone's oasis

Near the beach has typical tropical vegetation in its gardens and groves, as well as lagoons. Several old mansions have been converted into restaurants.


Ambrosio Cave

an archeological site first used as a ceremonial spot by the area's primitive inhabitants and later by runaway slaves, has well preserved pictographs.


Punta Frances

A 600-year-old-cactus as tall as a tree grows at the end of the Hicacos peninsula, near a natural salt pit where leathers and meats were prepared over the centuries.

Cárdenas

Is noted for three unusual monuments: replicas of a bicycle, a horse-drawn carriage and a crab cast in concrete that represents the abundant crustaceans in the area.



Matanzas City

Canímar woods on the outskirts of Matanzas are best seen from the river. At the mouth of the river is a small colonial castle (El Morrillo) where a the bodies of two revolutionaries rest in a mausoleum. The castle also has an archaeological museum with ecological displays.

Vigía Square, site of the original town, has the Junco Palace Historical Museum, the 19th century Sauto Theatre and an exhibition of ancient fire-fighting equipment in the former military headquarters.

Le Triolet French pharmacy, built in 1882, is still stocked with ancient drugs, utensils and porcelain medicine flasks, all preserved under glass on the store’s original shelves of hand-finished Cuban wood.

Bellamar Cave, on the outskirts of Matanzas, is one of the Caribbean’s largest and most beautiful underground formations. Two kilometres of underground passages are covered in peculiar stalagmites, stalactites and calcite crystals.

SIGHTSEEING:

VARADERO-GENERAL INFORMATION


Cuisine

Restaurants specializing in Asian, Cuban, Italian, Spanish and international cuisine as well as barbecued meat and shellfish promise satisfaction for every taste. Cafeterias offer lighter meals and fast food as well. Coppelia Ice Cream Parlour has countless flavours of creamy Cuban ice cream.

Entertainment

Varadero’s plentiful cabarets feature Cuban and international drinks and rhythms. Theatres and the Amphitheatre host variety shows, while others, such as the International Festival of Music and the Electronic Music Festival feature many genres of popular music. Movie theatres show Cuban and foreign films (in the original language with Spanish subtitles).

Sightseeing

Deep in the cliff overlooking Matanzas Bay is Bellamar Cave, one of the Caribbean’s largest and most beautiful underground formations. Two kilometres of underground passages are covered in peculiar stalagmites, stalactites and calcite crystals.

EXCURSIONS:

BELLAMAR CAVE

Deep in the cliff overlooking Matanzas Bay is Bellamar Cave, one of the Caribbean’s largest and most beautiful underground formations. Two kilometres of underground passages are covered in peculiar stalagmites, stalactites and calcite crystals.
(Departure: 2.00 p.m. Return: 5.00 p.m.)

VARADERO

Sightseeing trip through the resort city, stopping at Expo Giron, the Varadero Museum, the Du Pont mansion (now Las Americas Restaurant) and Coppelia Ice Cream Parlor.
(Departure: 2.00 p.m. Return: 5.00 p.m.)

SPECTATOR SPORTS

Attend a game at the Victoria de Giron Stadium in Matanzas.
(Departure: 7.30 p.m. Return: 11.00 p.m.)

CARDENAS

Across the bay from Varadero is Cardenas, where the Cuban flag was first flown. The town’s story is told through its architecture and museums. Stops at Jose Antonio Echevarria’s birthplace (now a museum) and the Polyvalent Museum.
(Departure: 2:00 p.m. Return: 5.00 p.m.)

TROPICANA

Supershow (more than 200 dancers on stage), dinner and dancing in this fabulous nightclub under the stars.
(Departure: 6.00 p.m. Return: 2.00 a.m.)

HAVANA

Havana is a never-ending symphony of movement and music. See colonial Havana and visit one of its museums, lunch at the Havana Libre Hotel in modern Havana, shop or just relax, then enjoy the supershow and dinner at the Tropicana.
(Departure: 1:30 p.m. Return: 2.00 a.m.)

HAVANA SPECIAL

This trip includes a visit to the Hemingway Museum, lunch at the 1830 Restaurant and a tour of colonial and modern Havana. You’ll shop at La Maison House of Cuban Fashion, and enjoy dinner and a show at the Tropicana.
(Departure: 8.30 a.m. Return: 1.00 a.m.)


COLONIAL HAVANA

Declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, Old Havana is a colonial marvel unlike any other in the world. This tour stops at La Real Fuerza Castle, Arms Square, Obispo Street, Cathedral Square and other points of note. Lunch is at the Havana Libre Hotel, followed by a visit to the National Aquarium and shopping at La Flora and La Maison.
(Departure: 8.00 a.m. Return: 4:30 p.m.)

HE HEMINGWAY MUSEUM AND LA BODEGUITA DEL MEDIO

Walk in Hemingway’s footsteps by visiting his haunts: the fishing village of Cojimar; his former home, Finca Vigia—now the Hemingway Museum; the famous Bodeguita del Medio Restaurant; and Old Havana.
(Departure: 8.00 a.m. Return: 4:00 p.m.)

GUAMA

In the heart of the Zapata Peninsula, Guama resort is home to a reconstructed Indian village on Treasure Lake. Life-sized sculptures of Taino Indians tell their story, while a nearby crocodile breeding farm lets you get up close and personal with those unique reptiles. Lunch in the area.
(Departure: 8:00 a.m. Return: 4:00 p.m.)

GUAMA AND PLAYA GIRON

This excursion combines past and present. At the Bay of Pigs, a museum displays mementos of the unsuccessful mercenary invasion there. Guama resort houses a reconstructed Taino Indian Village in the middle of Treasure Lake. Lunch is served at Guama, then the tour continues to Playa Giron for a swim.
(Departure: 8:00 a.m. Return: 4:00 p.m.)

GUAMA AND PLAYA LARGA

This trip combines a visit to Treasure Lake’s unique Guama resort with Playa Larga – the other beach on the Bay of Pigs. Guama resort houses a reconstructed Taino Indian Village in the centre of Treasure Lake. The tour continues to Playa Larga for lunch and a swim.
(Departure: 8:30 a.m. Return: 3:00 p.m.)

ELGUEA HEALTH SPA

Dip into Elguea’s medicinal baths near the coast of Villa Clara province. This trip includes lunch and a visit to the Quintin Banderas sugar mill, where you’ll see how sugar is refined, taste “guarapo” or sugarcane juice and take away a souvenir sack of sugar. (Departure: 9:00 a.m. Return: 4:30 p.m.)

TRINIDAD

This ancient city founded in the 16th century has narrow cobblestone streets, remarkable churches and colonial dwellings built in the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries. The drive from Varadero takes you through Cienfuegos and stops in Trinidad for lunch at the Las Cuevas Motel, followed by a tour of the colonial city, with visits to the Romantic, Natural Sciences and Archaeological Museums.
(Departure: 7:00 a.m. Return: 4:30 p.m.)


SANTIAGO DE CUBA

Cuba’s second largest city is marked by a long struggle for freedom that began before Cuba’s first War of Independence in 1868. A short flight takes you from Varadero to Santiago de Cuba. Your experience includes welcome cocktails and a city tour with stops at Santa Ifigenia Cemetery, Morro Castle, the museum of Colonial Art and Cespedes Park. After lunch, the tour continues to the Granjita Siboney and the former Moncada Garrison. (Departure: 7:00 a.m. Return: 6:30 p.m.)

PINAR DEL RIO

The region where the world’s finest tobacco grows is also home to the spectacular Vinales Valley, a short flight from Varadero. The visit begins with a tour of the provincial capital and continues to Los Jazmines Hotel in Vinales for welcome cocktails a visit to a tobacco farm, the Indian Cave and the Archaeological Mural. This is followed by lunch in the valley. A cigar factory and an arts and crafts workshop are also on the itinerary.

OVERNIGHTERS:

HAVANA AND THE TROPICANA

Experience world-class museums, entertainment and shopping on this two-day trip:
- Day One: Tour Old Havana, stopping at the Museum of the City; check in at the hotel; attend the supershow and dinner at the Tropicana Nightclub.
- Day Two: Breakfast and free morning; lunch at the hotel followed by a tour of modern Havana, with shopping sprees at La Flora and La Maison.
(Departure: 1:00 p.m. Return: 4:00 p.m. next day)

CIENFUEGOS AND TRINIDAD

These two neighboring cities have contrasting characters: Cienfuegos is an industrial and marine town; Trinidad is romantic and historical:
- Day One: Tour of Cienfuegos with lunch at the Pasacaballo Hotel; stop at the Botanical Garden before continuing to Trinidad for dinner and overnighting (free evening).
- Day Two: Breakfast and city tour, visit to the Romantic, Natural Sciences and Archaeological Museums and the Troubadour’s House, followed by lunch at the hotel before leaving.
(Departure: 8:00 a.m. Return: 2:00 p.m. next day)


PINAR DEL RIO

Unforgettable scenery awaits visitors at Soroa and the Vinales Valley in Cuba’s westernmost province:
- Day One: Visit the Soroa hillside resort and lunch there, then continue to the city of Pinar del Rio for dinner and overnighting (free evening).
- Day Two: Breakfast and city tour, stopping at a cigar factory; continue to Vinales Valley, stopping at the Indian Cave and the Archaeological Mural. Lunch in the area.
(Departure: 8:00 a.m. Return: 2:00 p.m. next day)

SCAMBRAY MOUNTAINS

Green-robed slopes, lakes fed by gushing streams and waterfalls and the central mountain range are all highlights of this trip. You will also have opportunities to visit with the people who live and work here
- Day One: Tour of Santa Clara before continuing to Lake Hanabanilla. Boat trip and lunch at Rio Negro Restaurant across the lake. Lodging at the Hanabanilla Hotel; free evening. Optional grilled food next to the swimming pool.
- Day Two: Continue to Trinidad for a tour of the city and its museums, followed by lunch at the Las Cuevas Hotel.