Varadero, Cuba

Varadero, Cuba. Varadero information, Varadero hotels reservations and special offers in Varadero, Cuba.
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Varadero, Cuba
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Cuba Destinations - Varadero

Varadero, Cuba
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Varadero Information

Varadero began to be developed as a summer vacation resort in the 1940s, but it wasn't until the last ten years that its network of hotels and other facilities was given an unprecedented boost. Its tourist offer was diversified and upgraded at the same time.

Its main attraction has always been its marvellous beach, but this isn't all it has to offer. You can explore its caves and escarpments, a necklace of virgin cays that are easy to get to and the carefully preserved natural landscape at the northeastern end of the peninsula. In addition, Cárdenas, the nearby city of Matanzas, the Zapata Peninsula and the San Miguel de los Baños Spa offer cultural, historic and natural attractions.

Varadero's Plaza América Conference Center has all the facilities needed for conference and incentive tourism.

Varadero is a free port and has exceptionally good conditions for scuba diving, deep-sea fishing, yachting and other water sports.

How to Get Here:
Varadero's Juan Gualberto Gómez International Airport receives direct flights not only from other parts of North and Central America and the Caribbean but also from Europe, South America and Africa.

A scenic highway links Varadero with Havana, 83 miles (134 km) away, and the Central Highway and National Throughway connect it with other regions.

If you prefer to come by boat, you can choose among three marinas: the Chapelín, Gaviota and Puertosol Dársena de Varadero.

Hicacos Peninsula:
The peninsula is in Matanzas Province, in western Cuba. It is separated from the mainland by a manmade navigation canal which links the Straits of Florida and the Bay of Cárdenas. Hicacos Point Natural Park is on the peninsula's northeastern tip.

Hicacos Point Natural Park:
This natural park, located on the northeastern tip of the peninsula, was declared an ecological preserve in 1974. Its 312 hectares contain many specimens of Varadero's flora and fauna. It has the largest, best preserved woods and coastal ecosystem in the area. See the legendary "El Patriarca" (The Patriarch) cactus, Ambrosio's Cave, Mangón Lake and the ruins of the La Calavera (Skull) Salt Works.

"El Patriarca" (The Patriarch):
This cactus, of the Dendrocerus nudiflorus family, is said to be over 600 years old. It stands on Hicacos Point, an ecological preserve of great value for its flora and fauna.

Ambrosio's Cave:
This is one of the 15 archaeological sites on the peninsula which contain testimony of Indian customs. It is 820 feet (250 m)long and has five interconnecting galleries. The cave contains 72 rupestrian drawings-one of the largest collection of Indian pictographs in the Caribbean islands. During the colonial period, runaway slaves used to take refuge in the cave.

Mangón Lake:
This is the main lake on the peninsula and is the home of 31 species of birds (19 of them migratory) and 24 varieties of reptiles.

La Calavera (Skull) Salt Works:
This abandoned salt works is thought to have been the first one which the Spanish worked in the Americas, during the stage of the Conquest and colonization. Its production met the needs of the island and of the large Spanish fleet in the New World. Legend has it that, on one occasion, the corsair Francis Drake took on salt here on his way back to England.

In late 1999, Varadero had a total of 11,245 hotel rooms, in 42 hotels (5 of them five-star, with 1640 rooms; 21, four-star; 8, three-star; and 8, two-star). Only one hotel, with 42 rooms, is for health tourism. The 41 others, with 11,203 rooms, are for beach tourism.
Other facilities: The growing number of options now available to visitors in Varadero will fill your free time-both during the day and at night-with pleasure.

During the day:
We recommend visits to Ambrosio's Cave, "El Patriarca" ("The Patriarch"), Mangón Lake, the Museum of Municipal History, Santa Elvira Church, the Art Gallery, the Artistic Ceramics Workshop, the Dolphin Aquarium and Josone Park.
Thanks to the International Parachuting Center, you can also get to know Varadero from the air, with a tandem jump (in a two-person parachute).
No tour of this region would be complete without a game at the Varadero Golf Club; a tour of Bellamar Cave; and visits to Cárdenas (where the Cuban flag was first flown), the nearby city of Matanzas, the Zapata Peninsula and the San Miguel de los Baños Spa.

Museum of Municipal History:
This museum is housed in one of the first frame houses built in Varadero. It is in the bungalow style typical of the southern part of the United States, and its roof is of tiles made in the area. This is one of the most beautiful and best-cared-for of the many houses of this style that were built here. Its exhibits depict the history of the Hicacos Peninsula.

Santa Elvira Church:
This church was built in 1938. It has an irregular floor plan and is made mainly of stone and wood. The roof, of Cuban tiles, has two slopes and rests on beams. The doors and windows are double-leaved. At the top, an opening with a horseshoe arch serves as a bell tower, ending in a cross.

Art Gallery:
The gallery has exhibits of paintings, sculpture, engravings, silk-screen prints, fabrics, photos, and originals and reproductions by important Matanzas artists. It also puts on shows of works by contemporary Cuban painters, such as Mendive, Flora Fong, Fabelo and Zaida del Río.

Artistic Ceramics Workshop:
This important institution produces limited runs of high-quality ceramics.

Dolphin Aquarium:
Trained dolphins put on shows, after which you can swim alongside these graceful mammals, if you like.

Josone Park:
The park covers nine hectares of grounds, most of which have been left in their natural state. There are four restaurants-Antigüedades, Retiro, Dante and La Campana-specializing in international, Italian and Cuban cuisine, with cocktails, meat, fish and shellfish; an establishment selling sugarcane juice (which is extracted from the sugarcane while you watch); and a bar, La Gruta, on the shores of a lake.

You can explore the park on foot, by bicycle, in a horse-drawn carriage or by boat. It has a swimming pool and a party room for children (with dance, music, painting, drama and singing classes; performances by clowns; and productions put on by children). This is an ideal place for banquets, business dinners and parties. In addition, you can rent lockers here for when you go swimming at the beach. For all these reasons, Josone Park is called "a green paradise inside the blue one."

International Parachuting Center:
Cubasol, S.A., the Cubanacán Group's leisure and recreation division, offers training courses and tandem jumps for all who love adventure. The center also has a cafeteria, a bar and several rooms, so you can stay overnight if you want to. Don't miss this fantastic opportunity to see Varadero from the air.

Varadero Golf Club:
The course meets the highest international standards. It is the first professional 18-hole, 72-par golf course in the country. The 6850-yard (6269 m) course has large, protected greens with demanding slopes that require great skill and precision by players.
Its attractions include fairways in the shape of islands, sand traps, lakes and natural obstacles-such as the wind and the sea-on both sides. It also has two practice putting greens, a chipping green and a driving range.

Xanadú Mansion:
Once the residence of millionaire Irénée Du Pont de Nemours, it is now the Casa Club. It was built between 1928 and 1930. Quietly elegant and luxurious, its rooms are decorated with precious wood and Italian marble. The Mirador (Lookout) Bar is on the top floor.

Bellamar Cave:
This cave, a mile and a quarter from the city of Matanzas, was discovered in February 1861 in an area of marly limestone marine terraces. It is nearly two miles (3,1 km) long, and tourists are shown nearly half of it, (1500 m) including many of its 17 galleries, six halls and a corridor. The constant dripping of the water that seeps from its inner walls ensures 100-percent relative humidity. The temperature in the cave ranges between 77º and 80.6º F. (between 25° and 27° C.).

This is a typical Cuban seaside town. It has some old forts that were used in its defense in the past. Buildings in various 19th- and early-20th-century architectural styles line its clean, straight streets. Some of them are now museums and cultural centers serving the community.
Cárdenas, just eight miles (13 km) south of Varadero, is also known as "the flag city," because it was where the Cuban flag was first raised. Its traditions include the use of horse-drawn carriages for public transportation.

Cubans call this "the city of bridges," because they are one of its distinguishing characteristics, and, ever since the first half of the 19th century, "the Athens of Cuba," because of its active cultural life. Many of its buildings are in 17th- and 18th-century European styles. It is just 55 miles (90 km) from Havana and less than 20 miles (30 km) from Varadero.

Zapata Peninsula:
The Zapata Peninsula, in the southern part of Matanzas Province, is the most important swampland area in the Caribbean islands. It has beaches, exotic forests, rivers, lakes, flooded caves which have access to the sea, natural pools and seabeds of particular beauty. It is the home of exceptional flora and fauna, including many endemic species. Here, you can go hiking, bird watching, scuba diving along underwater cliffs and in underwater caves, and boating. While here, be sure to visit Guamá, Treasure Lake and the crocodile-breeding center.

San Miguel de los Baños:
This town of around 3000 inhabitants is around 25 miles (40 km) from Varadero. It has a pleasant climate and beautiful scenery. One of the oldest and most famous of Cuba's spas, it has mineral-medicinal water containing bicarbonate, sulfide and magnesian silicate.
The water and mud here help to cure or at least alleviate osteo-muscular ailments, osteo-arthritis, degenerative and post-traumatic rheumatoid arthritis, and skin and respiratory ailments. Patients lodge either in frame buildings or in the Gran Hotel, a small-scale replica of the Gran Casino of Monte Carlo.

Plaza América Conference Center:
A great place for holding conferences, congresses, fairs, meetings and exhibits, it has a plenary hall that can seat 600 and seven other halls with equipment for wireless interpretation, translation booths for up to six different languages, video beam, overhead projectors, slide projectors, international telephone communications, fax, e-mail and Internet. It can handle meetings of up to 1900 participants. The ground floor has several restaurants and cafeterias, other service installations and a shopping mall.

Scuba diving:
There are around 32 diving sites-including one at the Piedras del Norte Cay Underwater Park-between the Bay of Matanzas and the western tip of the Jardines del Rey (Gardens of the King) Archipelago.
Three marinas-the Chapelín, Puertosol Dársena de Varadero and Gaviota-offer you the means for scuba diving: appropriate vessels, trained personnel, courses in scuba diving, a hyperbaric chamber and the transportation required for handling emergencies.
The water at Varadero is so clear that you can see for 100 feet (30-40 m) under water. The temperature almost never falls below 75.2º F. (24° C.), even in the winter.

Diving sites:
Underwater cliffs, coral reefs, schools of bright-colored fish, sharks, morays and sunken ships-you can see them all at the Hoyo Azul Ojo del Mégano (an underwater cave 230 feet (70 m) in diameter), Las Mandarinas and El Barco Hundido (The Sunken Ship) diving sites.
The seabed just off Varadero is one of the best places for seeing Cuba's marine flora and fauna.

Piedras del Norte Cay Underwater Park:
Ships, planes and vehicles were sunk here to create an artificial coral reef, the only one of its kind in Cuba. It is great for both scuba diving and snorkeling. Professional divers (three-star category of the World Underwater Federation [CMAS]) will accompany you. The park is a nautical mile wide and two nautical miles long. It averages around 65 feet (20 m)deep.

Chapelín Marina:
This marina, on the Chapelín Canal, offers you safe moorings and assistance of all kinds. It organizes excursions to nearby cays and seafaris in modern vessels, has the equipment you need for scuba diving and other water sports (in the case of scuba diving, at the Barracuda Club) and also has specialty seafood restaurants.

Barracuda Club:
Professional divers will help you discover the enchantments of the seabed at Varadero. High-tech equipment for underwater activities, courses with American-Canadian Underwater Certification (ACUC), scuba diving at a coral reef and sunken ships, and night dives.

Puertosol Dársena de Varadero Marina:
112 moorings, three of them for extremely large yachts. Here, you'll have easy access to communications facilities, cable TV, and 220- and 110-volt electric power. Commissary, drinking water and fuel; have maintenance and minor repairs done; and go through customs and immigration procedures. Medical attention is also available.

The Acua Scuba-Diving Center is at the marina, as are a snack bar that's open 24 hours a day, a restaurant, a cafeteria and a well-stocked ship chandler's. The marina offers excursions, seafaris and dives.

Acua Scuba-Diving Center:
Skilled divers will accompany you on dives in the Varadero area to see a performing Green Moray (Gymnothorax funebris) or to visit Piedras del Norte Cay Underwater Park.

Gaviota Marina:
This marina has the facilities for handling as many as 45 vessels at a time, providing drinking water and 110- and 220-volt electric power, commissary and fuel here, where your vessel will be entirely safe 24 hours a day. Repairs and dry and floating maintenance services are also available. In addition, the marina has a scuba-diving center and a port authority and customs offices.

Water sports:
Water sports here include scuba diving; cruises on yachts and the Jolly Roger and Capitán Duval catamarans; excursions in the Nautilus, Varasub I and Mundo Mágico (Magic World); seafaris to nearby cays; fishing trips; sight-seeing along the narrow channels south of the peninsula; and excursions up the Canímar River.

Jolly Roger:
Go on a catamaran sail to islands near the Hicacos Peninsula. Fishing and scuba diving. Free drinks and a seafood lunch on board.

This vessel has 56 sheets of glass set in the floor for easy viewing of the coral reef. Scuba-diving equipment and free drinks on board.

Varasub I:
From the surface, in this semi-submarine 44 feet (13.45 m) long and 16.4 (5 m)feet wide, you can get a superb look at Varadero's underwater flora and fauna, because the cabin has reinforced glass windows. The vessel, which can carry 48 passengers, makes six trips a day.

Mundo Mágico (Magic World):
Ever wanted to know what it felt like to be in a submarine? Here's your chance to find out. Take a 55-minute ride, going 115 feet (35 m) down. This mini-sub, which belongs to the Puertosol chain of marinas, can carry 46 passengers. It's both safe and comfortable.

At night:
More than 100 discotheques, bars and cabarets are available, to suit all tastes. Many hotels have party rooms, piano-bars and excellent entertainment, but you'll still get a thrill out of visiting the Continental Cabaret, Rumba Palace, Havana Café, Cueva del Pirata (Pirate's Cave) and La Patana Discotheque.

Continental Cabaret:
Over half a century of intensive activity has, night after night, brought Cuban variety shows and performers of national and international renown to its stage. Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole, María de los Angeles Santana and Rosita Fornés, among others, have appeared here, in Varadero's most important cabaret.

Rumba Palace:
Carishow, the company in charge of artistic productions, invites you to see the biggest, most original discotheque in Varadero. Modern lighting and sound equipment. Live shows by Cuban salsa orchestras.

Habana Café:
Just the thing for those who feel nostalgic about the music of the '50s and '60s. Like the Habana Café in the Meliá Cohíba Hotel in Havana, this night spot in the Sol Club Las Sirenas Hotel re-creates the atmosphere of the era with photos of VIPs, ads and other items-including a car from the period.

Cueva del Pirata (Pirate's Cave):
A natural cave fitted out as a cabaret for musical shows.

La Patana:
This floating discotheque is on a ship that ran aground in the Paso Malo channel, at the entrance to the resort

Customers average rate: 5 of 4 reviews

CUSTOMER REVIEWS (1 to 4 of 4)
User Rating:
Varadero Reviews: "Cuba, the people are so warm!"

user: a user , canada - date posted: October 14, 2009
We have travelled to Cuba 8 times. DR,Mexico,Bahamas,Jamaica,and Spain were before our first Cuban adventure. Something about Cuba will keep you going back to find more............... The Cubans have won our hearts. Each time we t...
User Rating:
Varadero Reviews: "LOVE CUBA"

user: a user , canada - date posted: February 17, 2009
User Rating:
Varadero Reviews: "Sol Palmeras, Varadero, Cuba"

user: a user , united kingdom - date posted: February 26, 2008
Having just come back from Valadero i miss it already. Although it is not a true reflection of Cuban life, the people, if you take the time to talk to them, give you a taste of what cuban living is like. It is an extremely poor co...
User Rating:
Varadero Reviews: "LOVE IT!"

user: a user , canada - date posted: November 21, 2007
I love it, love it, love it! If I could have stayed and lived on the beach forever I would have! The best people and beaches ever! They are so friendly and happy, the town is great, and safe! The scenery is more than you could eve...
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