The largest resort area in the Caribbean, Varadero holidays are ideal for those who want a relaxing taste of the tropics. Think warm, white sands, swaying palm trees and sapphire-coloured seas and you’re heading in the right direction! Away from the beach, you’ll find lush green parks full of colourful tropical birds, spectacular caves with ancient wall-paintings and some fascinating attractions. On top of all that, a holiday in Varadero will give you ample opportunity to kick your heels up: there’s a sassy, vibrant nightlife to be found right across the peninsula, with plenty of discos and clubs, excellent restaurants and bars selling Cuban rum.
Anyone with even a passing interest in golf ought to jump at the chance of a Varadero holiday: the peninsula boasts the only 18-hole golf course in the whole of Cuba, designed by the world-famous architect, Les Furber. Whether you’re taking your Varadero holidays with the family, friends or with your better half, this tropical paradise offers something for everyone.
History and culture
Varadero’s history and culture is present all over the town. The beach was first built up in the 1930s and was crafted to be Cuba’s biggest tourist hotspot. Throughout the 1950s and 60s it was a destination for Cuba’s rich; flooded with doctors, lawyers and businessmen. After a change in power during the early 1970s, Varadero opened up to tourists from around the world. It’s estimated that 1 million tourists visit the peninsula each year to get a taste of Cuba’s famous history and culture for themselves.
Aside from its glistening white beaches and crystal clear seas, Varadero has some of the most vibrant nightlife in Cuba. Dance to salsa, merengue, and live Cuban music in one of the bars or clubs, many of which stay open until the early hours. But before the party gets in to full swing, be sure to visit one of the restaurants in the town centre. Renowned for their impressive local cuisine and abilities to cater for guests’ needs, there will definitely be something on the menu for you.
There’s never a bad time to visit. During the hot, dry months between November and April, temperatures range from the mid-20s (°C) to the low 30s. The cooler months, between October and March, are still warm, with an average temperature of 21°C. The wetter months are December and January.
Flights from the UK take approximately 10 hours, landing at Juan Gualberto Gomez Airport, about 25km from the resort.
Best for golfers: Get your 18 holes booked at Cuba’s first golf course. Designed by Les Furber, it boasts spectacular views of the sea and the course is challenging enough for even the most-seasoned (golf) clubbers. However, if you’re new to the game, there are instructors on hand to help you get to grips with the basics.
Best for sporty types: Take advantage of the clear blue waters and try one of the many water sports on offer, such as diving, snorkelling, and kite-surfing. If you’d rather stay dry, there are opportunities for catamaran cruises, tours in glass-bottomed boats, and action-packed fishing trips.
Best for beach lovers: Lie back and soak up the sun on one of the picture-perfect beaches. With over 20km of powder-soft, white sands to laze around on, you’ll be spoilt for choice.
Language: The language spoken is Spanish. However, most of the locals and staff working in hotels, bars and restaurants have a basic command of English. Although it’s easy to get by, it’s worth downloading an app or buying a phrasebook, just to show willing. Even the most badly pronounced efforts will be appreciated.
Currency: The currency used is Cuban Convertible Peso (CUC$).
Local time: Varadero is 5 hours behind GMT/UK time.
Fly to: José Martí International Airport.
Flight time from UK: The flight time to Varadero is 10 hours.
Tourist information: Further tourist information can be found at www.travel2cuba.co.uk.
Visa / Health: Before you travel, visit www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/cuba for recommendations and advice on visas and health for your holiday.
Holiday destinations related to Varadero:
By foot: You can reach most of Varadero’s biggest attractions on foot and it’s a great way to soak up the sights.
By taxi: Charging by the distance, taxis are better suited to shorter trips or pick-ups and drop-offs from the clubs and bars in the centre of the resort.
By Coco taxi: Coco taxis are a fun way to get around, but make sure you set your price before you hop in one of these zippy, three-seat, egg-shaped scooters.
For music lovers: Listen to the sounds of both modern and traditional music at the Varadero World Music Festival in May or June. With musicians doing their thing in venues across the resort, the festival lasts for five days and is a treat for music lovers.
For foodies: Sample some of the local and traditional dishes, as well as others at the International Culinary Festival in March.
For bike enthusiasts: For dedicated petrol heads, the International Honda (or the Big Bike Festival) in June is an absolute must.