This Cuban city is easy to describe in one word – beach. 20 km of terry sandy coast, warm water of the Atlantic Ocean and an endless string of hotels create the atmosphere of Varadero. The local beaches have repeatedly been included in the top of the best in the world. And even though Cuba has not yet been spoiled by the benefits of civilization, and the journey here from Russia takes more than 13 hours, Russian tourists have long chosen this heavenly place.
According to toppharmacyschools.org, Varadero belongs to the province of Matanzas and occupies the Hicacos Peninsula, which is 135 km from Havana. It is inhabited by 27 thousand local residents and X thousand tourists, and at any time of the year. People come here to swim and bask in the sun, listen to salsa rhythms and play golf, hang out at discos and sip rum. And, of course, breathe the air of Freedom.
Communication and Wi-Fi
In Varadero, people have a rest not only from the hustle and bustle of work, but also from permanent companions – the telephone and the Internet. Communication is quite expensive, it does not catch everywhere, the connection speed is low, you should not count on round-the-clock traffic. Russian communication is not always stable, even in roaming there is a chance to be without a network. Before the trip, it is better to check the conditions with the operator, and take several SIM cards with you.
The sole operator ETECSA (Cubacel) is responsible for telephony and internet throughout the country. A local SIM card cannot be bought, but can be rented for 3 CUC per day. The contract is drawn up personally at the representative office of the company (available at the airports of Havana and Varadero, as well as between Calle 44 and Calle 46). From a local number you can call to Russia at a price of 1.50 CUC per minute and send SMS for 0.90 CUC. Domestic calls cost 0.35 CUC, messages cost 1 CUC.
Internet in Varadero is paid – 6 CUC per hour, you need to buy a card to connect. Wireless network is available at the airport and some hotels. Wi-Fi is not available in cafes and restaurants.
The beaches of Varadero
The common name “Varadero Beach” refers to 20 km of beaches that stretch in an endless strip along the Atlantic coast. It doesn’t matter if the beach belongs to the hotel, or if it’s wild and untouched – they are all free.
The local beaches have long been recognized as one of the cleanest in the world. In addition, the coastal zone is rich in natural beauty – sea caves, bizarre sandy mounds and coral reef chains. The entrance to the water is gentle, the depth increases gradually. The average annual water temperature is +24…+26 °С, it warms up more strongly near the shore.
The only trouble that can lie in wait in this tropical paradise is jellyfish. Beautiful and dangerous “Portuguese boats” sparkle on the sand after a storm and beckon the kids to them. The burn is painful, so be careful.
Despite the abundance of tourists, there is enough space for everyone. No one runs at dawn to take a scarce sunbed or umbrella, you can find calm, sparsely populated beaches. The infrastructure is developed, but not overloaded – there are cafes and water activities. From entertainment – sailing on a yacht (80 CUC), horseback riding along the coast (25-35 CUC). The beaches of Varadero are quite safe, security guards work in the areas near the hotels.
- Is the sea calm in Varadero?
Diving in Varadero
For those who are passionate about exploring underwater beauties, Varadero has scuba diving. Local clubs Varadiving (off. site), Acua, Gaviota offer one-time dives, subscriptions for experienced divers and courses. From simple contemplation of the depths, you can go to the study of caves or night dives.
There are several popular diving locations in the vicinity of the city. Closest to Varadero is Playa Coral – a beach with a large coral reef. The diving depth here is about 12 m, the way to the beach by car takes 20-30 minutes (15 km).
The price tag depends on the place where you want to swim. First dive experience for a beginner costs 70 CUC and up. Subscription for 4 dives – from 160 CUC. For 360 CUC you can complete a one-day training course and get a license.
You can dive deepest in the Bay of Pigs in the Caribbean Sea (bahia de cochinos, Bay of Pigs). The maximum dive is possible at 30 m, but it will take more than 2 hours to get here. And the real way out of reality is the Cayo Piedras del Norte wreck park. Among the dilapidated submarines there is even a 102-meter Russian patrol ship.
What to bring
Cuban must-have souvenirs traditionally include rum and cigars. You can plunge into the “world of rum” in the “House of Rum” (La Casa del Ron) on the corner of Calle 63 and Avenida 1. This is the right place to get acquainted with the history of the drink, tasting and shopping. Gift shopping can also be done at the Plaza America Center, a stone’s throw from the Melia Varadero 5* hotel. Tourists usually buy coffee, rum, chocolate here.
The most popular coffee varieties are Cubita, Serrano, Turquino.
Duty free will help you save space in your luggage. But the airport in Varadero is modest, queues cannot be avoided. Prices for souvenirs are comparable everywhere. A liter bottle of rum costs from 12 to 40 CUC depending on the variety. There are also exclusive drinks – more than 100 CUC per bottle. A kilo bag of coffee will cost about 16 CUC.
For cigars, you can go to the Cigar House (La Casa del Habano) store next to the House of Roma. Here you can buy high-quality products at a price of 3 CUC per piece (it’s more profitable to take a package). You should not buy cigars in a hotel shop and, especially, on the street.
There are more harmless souvenirs in Varadero. The city is full of stalls and small craft markets selling handmade jewelry, woodwork and corals. Just walk down Avenida 1 and look around. And don’t forget to bargain.