Best things to do in Varadero

Varadero Beach

Located at the Peninsula de Hicacos, there is a 20 kilometers beach of white sand and sublime water: Varadero. If you are craving a day of sun and sea, nothing will be better than an escapade to that Cuban paradise.

In the earliest days of the past century, Varadero used to be a refuge were Havana’s wealthiest families relaxed from the dynamic of the city. Memories talk about the clarity of its waves, the melodies of traditional songs under the starts and the peaceful village of Matanzas province. Today, Varadero offers one of the largest beach resorts in the Caribbean.

varadero sunset

However there is much more to see! Espiritu Travel proposes you to explore all the possibilities of Varadero. In Espiritu Travel we have customized trips to Cuba so you can enjoy the island and spectacular sites such as Varadero, where you can do many activities.

Varadero’s charms: more than a beach

Drive three hours away from Havana and you’ll feel in another world. Varadero is possibly Cuba’s most popular touristic destination and you can notice it in the streets, the shops, the taxis, the hotels…but there is also a town feeling and a secret history. We tell you where to look J.

1.   The beach

There is no way you can ignore the beach of Varadero: the white, delicate sand slopes into a crystal clear sea of seductive blue. That’s why everybody surrenders to its charm and there exist more than 50 all-inclusive resorts in the area. However, it’s never crowded and you can move around with freedom.

things to do in varadero

Varadero is a wonderful place to practice water sports: snorkeling, SCUBA diving, sailing… One of the most popular diving sites is Cayo Piedra Underwater Park. Found at the northeastern zone of the peninsula, the park is a conglomerate of vessels, military equipment and even an airplane sunk deliberately in the late 1990s to provide refuge to the marine fauna. Nowadays the artificial reef host many fish species, turtles, crustaceans and little sharks.

Around the peninsula you will find many diving centers with options for any level of expertise. Pick your activity or just lay in the sand enjoying yourself. Perfect relaxing time!

2.   Moving around

Varadero town is small but it has many interesting places to discover. You can walk around or jump into a cab, bicitaxi or coco-taxi to escape Cuba’s usual heat. Also a double decker bus roams the main avenue all day long. Hope off wherever you like and find the hidden spots of the town.

Visit the Parque Josone and glide in one of the boats traversing the small lake of this serene oasis. Flowers, palm trees, fountains and a lovely bridge made the ideal atmosphere for a pleasant afternoon.

Varadero park

For shopping lovers there are numerous boutiques along the town. Check out the souvenir market and you’ll be amazed by the fine wooden decorations and handmade dresses.

3.   Varadero Museum

To understand Varadero’s history nothing better than a trip to the Municipal Museum, located at 57th Street and Ave de la Playa.  Built with a colonial style, the mansion reveals the evolution of Varadero since its foundation around 1555 until today. Exhibits show furniture, objects and photographs that will make you travel to the past.

4.   La Casa del Ron (The House of Rum)

If you haven’t decided yet what rum variety is for you, we are sure you will do it in Varadero. The Casa del Ron offers a fair representation of the Cuba’s rum production. Between samples of Havana Club and Santiago de Cuba’s rums, nobody can’t help to buy a bottle to take away.

5.   The Caves

Did you know you there are caves in Varadero? The natives who inhabited the area during the 15 century left a reflection of their life in the pictograms conserved inside the many caves we can visit today. If you feel adventurous and you’re not afraid of bats, we recommend you to explore Ambrosio’s Cave at Varadero Ecological Park. It’s part of a system of 15 interconnected caves, where the taínos and other native tribes reproduced their daily life and the animals they interacted with. The beautiful artwork and the naturally fresh environment are made this excursion unique.

Cueva Saturno Varadero

And, if the beach isn’t enough for you, Espiritu Travel proposes you to swim in a subterranean cenote. Close to Varadero’s airport is the Cueva the Saturno (Saturno’s Cave), a swimming hole in the stone heart of a complex cave system. Snorkeling around is perfect to admire the stalagmites growing from the bottom, the beautiful columns of calcite and silica and all the impressive natural formations. Follow this path to heaven and don’t forget to take adequate shoes, mask and snorkel.

6.   Mansión Xanadú

A luxury hotel that worth the visit is the Mansión Xanadú. Once owned by the wealthy entrepreneur Alfred Irenee Dupont de Nemours, the classical villa propose a piece of Varadero’s history. Admire the Italian marble and the gorgeous ceramic tiles, enter the golf clubhouse, have a traditional meal in a restaurant with spectacular sea views and find on display a little bit of the place history in the form of photographs and objects from the previous owner.

7.   The Casa de la Música

Shake your body in La Casa de la Música of Varadero, the best place to enjoy all types of music and meet people. Salsa, an amazing DJ and great mojitos are the combination for a sui-generis dancing night. You can start with a thematic matinee at 5pm (retro-afternoon, salsa party and other topics) or just arrive at 10:00 PM when the most authentic Cuban rhythms agitate the House. You’ll love it!

8.   Parque Ecológico Varahicacos (Varahicacos Ecological Park)

At the end of the Peninsula de Hicacos travelers can find the Parque Ecológico Varahicacos, a natural protected area for Varadero’s fauna and flora. A local guide will help you discover every spot: the ancient cacti, the amazing orchids, the lagoon providing shelter and food for migratory and endemics birds and the great variety of insects and reptiles such as the iguanas.

Varadero’s Reserve has many hiking trails that can be challenging but very interesting to uncover its natural heritage. It’s also considered important paleontologically speaking: visitors can see fossils and artifacts that explain how the native life before the arrival of the Spaniards was. Some of the most representative places are the Gabinete de Arqueología (Archeology Museum), the Ambrosio’s Cave and the Musulmanes’ Cave. Bring your hiking shoes and your nature-friendly insect repellent!

Ah, there is so many things to do in Varadero, Cuba. Customize your trip with Espiritu Travel in any season!