When planning our trip to Cuba, we decided to balance it out and squeeze in some beach time. After spending over 3 weeks in Hawaii and not having enough beach days, we felt we needed to exploit this opportunity properly and so we booked 6 nights in two different resorts.
Varadero lies on the eastern part of the Gulf of Mexico and is a very popular destination amongst package tourists. It’s located in a Province with a rather uneasy name Matanzas, meaning ‘massacres’ due to its fierce past.
Stretching for more than 20 km, Varadero has an incredible coastline and is conveniently located around 3 hours from Havana. So if the tourists fancy a day trip to Havana, a tour can be arranged through the resort.
While exploring Cuba, we decided to get around the island using local transport. You can easily get to Varadero by Viazul. It’s a national bus company – very reliable, relatively comfortable and quite cheap to travel around.
However, we booked a hotel transfer, only because we were staying quite far from the bus station. In Havana, transfer busses can be booked at any hotel, even if you are not staying there, and it costs 25 CUC per person (11 CUC with Viazul).
We weren’t exactly impressed with our all-inclusive resort as due to the low season, half of it (the nicer part) was closed. But luckily we were accommodated quite far from the main bit. To our delight, the resort was very quiet and it felt like we were on our own private beach.
Sadly, the restaurant wasn’t great either. Fortunately, the nearby local Kiki’s Club served fine pizzas and great coffee. It was also nice to see some locals hanging around there. Our beach holiday was saved!
To make it all-inclusive bar on our private beach, we bought some rum and tukola (Cuban cocke) from a local shop. And just like that, we made it our own heaven. It was a bliss.
Hope the National Geographic won’t be offended that we made a little rum tray out of their lovely magazine… I promise, I read it all before covering it in sand.
We literally did nothing during our stay in Varadero, just rolled around on the beach, read books and watched the sunset. A time well spent, don’t you think?
While in Havana, we bought Romeo y Julieta cigar and Veradero beach will always stay in my memories as the beach where we drank lots of rum and smoked a proper Cuban cigar. It was great.
I also made a friend. The puppy was so cute I wanted to take him with me. But I don’t think his mum would have approved…
Even though it wasn’t my favourite place in Cuba, when the time came to leave, it was a tiny bit sad. Just before checking out, I walked out on to the beach to catch a lovely sunrise.
If you are planning to go to Varadero, it’s definitely a lovely place to be, but if you are looking for a luxury all-inclusive experience, book your room in a bigger chain hotel. Also check out Cayo Guillermo resorts and the amazing Playa Pillar.
While it’s nice to roll on the beach, 3 nights for us was more than enough and I just couldn’t wait to move on and explore our next destination in the south of Cuba – Cienfuegos.