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Varadero
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Varadero. THE ESSENCE OF CUBA IN A SPLENDID LOCATION 

The touristic city of Varadero, located 130 km from Havana, spreads over 30 km, approximately 20 km of which are along the coast. Sitting northeast from the city of Cárdenas, on the Hicacos peninsula in the Matanzas province, Varadero is home to Cuba’s most famous beaches. In fact, the longest, most well-known beach on this peninsula of the Caribbean bears the same name. 


On Varadero’s idyllic beaches with fine white sand, warm waters and endless turquoise tones, swimmers can venture out into the sea for several metres without getting fully immersed. This is an attractive feature both for adults and families travelling with small children. 


The demand of tourists who choose this seaside town to enjoy an unforgettable holiday in the Caribbean is constant throughout the year, though tourists from the Northern Hemisphere tend to prefer the period between December and April, since it coincides with their winter season. Officially, the quietest or least busy season in Cuba includes the months of May, June, September and October. 


Varadero, located a 2-hour car ride from the capital, Havana, is the perfect holiday destination to explore locations such as the islet of Cayo Blanco, the Bellamar Caves, the Ambrosio Cave, the Ciénaga de Zapata National Park located on the Zapata Peninsula, the Bay of Pigs, the Boca de Guamá and its village Taína, the Varahicacos Ecological Reserve and cities such as Trinidad, Cienfuegos and Santa Clara. 

 

Transport options: 


Plane, private car, public transport (bus), boat, bicycle, motorbike, taxi. 

 


Distances: 


    Beach: 0 km 


    Ambrosio Cave: 4 km 


    Varahicacos Ecological Reserve: 5 km 


    Santa Marta Airport: 13 km 


    Juan Gualberto Gómez Airport: 32 km 


    Bellamar Caves: 46 km 


    Boca de Guamá: 114 km 


    Havana: 130 km 


    Bay of Pigs: 140 km 

Varadero,Cuba

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Beaches
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Varadero
Beaches
  Relax on Varadero Beach, one of Cuba's most spectacular fine sand beaches.  Varadero Beach, also known as Playa Azul, is one...
Read more
iucono-pin How to get there
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Rincón Francés Beach
Beaches
Varadero: Cuba’s most beautiful beach  Before the island of Cuba was discovered by Christopher Columbus in 1492, the Hicacos peninsula, the...
Read more
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Havana
Towns
Visit Havana, the capital of Cuba and a fantastic city brimming with joy, culture, music and colour.  Cuba’s capital, Havana, is...
Read more
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Bejucal, Mayabeque
Towns
A stone's throw from Havana to the south, is Felipe and Santiago del Bejucal, simply known as "Bejucal" by the...
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Remedios, Villa Clara
Towns
Right in the heart of the island, the province of Villa Clara is home to a peaceful and stunning town....
Read more
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Havana
Must-visits
Havana, the capital of Cuba.  No trip to Cuba would be complete without visiting its capital Havana, one of the country’s...
Read more
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Snorkelling in Cuba
Must-visits
There are more than 300 places in Cuba to go snorkelling. Below is a round-up of the best places to...
Read more
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Cuban gastronomy
Must-visits
Find out what Cuban cuisine is like and what you can eat and drink in Cuba.  It could be said that...
Read more
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Varadero

 

Relax on Varadero Beach, one of Cuba's most spectacular fine sand beaches. 


Varadero Beach, also known as Playa Azul, is one of Cuba’s best known beaches. In actual fact, what’s commonly known as Varadero Beach is made up of 6 beaches, the three largest of which are Varadero, Rincón Francés and La Alameda. Its crystal-clear waters and fine sand stretch for more than 20 kilometres along the Hicacos Peninsula, in the province of Matanzas, Cuba. What’s more, it’s warm all year long, making it a perfect destination whatever the season. 


Every year international and national visitors alike flock to this paradisiacal destination in droves. When it comes to tourist accommodation, all-inclusive hotels are all the rage, offering complete facilities and services with everything you need for the holiday of a lifetime. If you're looking for somewhere to relax and unwind, Varadero Beach is the place for you. 

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Rincón Francés Beach

Varadero: Cuba’s most beautiful beach 


Before the island of Cuba was discovered by Christopher Columbus in 1492, the Hicacos peninsula, the region that’s home to Varadero today, had already been inhabited by aborigines. Human remains and pictographic works discovered in two of its most important caves (the Ambrosio cave and the Musulmanes cave) prove that aborigines that belonged to the Taino People had settled there in pre-Columbian era. 


This peninsula was discovered in 1508 by Sebastián Ocampo while carrying out a survey of the island and was recorded on a map for the first time in 1540. The Spanish conquistadors expelled the aborigines from the peninsula and turned it into a salt mine and a dry dock, a place where the ships were cleaned or repaired. 


At the turn of the 19th century the peninsula was deserted; life was extremely tough due to the plagues of mosquitoes and gnats that made going about day-to-day life virtually impossible. Attracted by its beautiful beaches, a large number of residents of Cárdenas made numerous attempts to settle there but were forced to give up because of the inhospitable conditions. 

Esta península fue descubierta en 1508 por Sebastián Ocampo al realizar un bojeo por la isla y ya en 1540 aparece por primera vez registrada en un mapa. Los conquistadores españoles expulsaron a los aborígenes de la península y la convirtieron en una salina y en un varadero, lugar donde varan los barcos para su resguardo, limpieza o arreglo.

A inicios del siglo XIX la península era un lugar desierto, la vida era muy difícil debido a la presencia de grandes plagas de mosquitos y jejenes que hacían la vida prácticamente imposible. Muchos vecinos de Cárdenas intentaron habitarla una y otra vez atraídos por sus bellas playas, pero tuvieron que desistir por lo inhóspito del lugar.

La playa El Rincón Francés, consta de 3,5 km de fina y blanca arena en la que podrás gozar de uno de los rincones más bonitos de Cuba.

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Havana

Visit Havana, the capital of Cuba and a fantastic city brimming with joy, culture, music and colour. 


Cuba’s capital, Havana, is a city with no shortage of paradoxes and contradictions that stands out for the beauty of its historic quarter, its stunning architecture, the revolutionary and Cuban iconography (from El Malecón to the Plaza de la Revolución, including La Giraldilla) and its wide range of cultural offerings make Havana one of Latin America’s best tourist destinations. 


Cuba’s capital, Havana, is a city with no shortage of paradoxes and contradictions that stands out for the beauty of its historic quarter, its stunning architecture, the revolutionary and Cuban iconography (from El Malecón to the Plaza de la Revolución, including La Giraldilla) and its wide range of cultural offerings make Havana one of Latin America’s best tourist destinations. 


The history of Havana is truly fascinating, with its engrossing museums and impressive restoration projects, not to mention its magnificent artistic and cultural heritage. Paintings, murals, novels, poetry, Cuban puntos, rumbas, the wonderful feel of the fun oozing from the streets of Havana and the colourful murals will blow you away, where, behind every corner there’s something new to discover in this amazing city; from street music to cabaret. 


One of the greatest things about Havana is how people go about day-to-day life: the happiness on children’s faces while playing baseball in the street, street troubadours, a couple of young men servicing a 1955 Plymouth in the middle of the street... and that peculiar way in which the people of Havana come across; creating, debating, and, most importantly, their lust for life. Get to know where they come from and the passion that drives them while playing a fun game of dominoes and soaking up the calm and peaceful vibe. 


Variety and colour don’t only come across in art and culture; the city's fleet of cars is one of the world’s most impressive, with hundreds of classic cars from different eras and styles making the fleet one of the most iconic in the world. Taking a ride in one of these spectacular vehicles will take you on a journey back in time. 


Cuba's capital city wows with its buzzing nightlife and the musical culture that spills out of every avenue in town. Life in Havana is spectacular, where all musical styles can be heard and experienced with great passion. The city has a wide range of live concerts and impromptu performances, with many amazing local artists performing all over the streets and squares. 

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Bejucal, Mayabeque

A stone's throw from Havana to the south, is Felipe and Santiago del Bejucal, simply known as "Bejucal" by the Cubans, which today is part of the new province of Mayabeque. 


 In its beginnings, it was nothing more than an estate belonging to the Spanish captain Juan Núñez de Castilla, who ordered the engineer Pedro Menéndez Márquez to design the town, which was proclaimed as such in 1714 by thirty founding families. 


Perhaps its first settlers never thought that, over the years, this site would be blessed with a chain of events.  


The most significant was the inauguration of the first section of railway built in Cuba and in the New World by the Spanish, linking Havana with Bejucal in 1837. Today it’s home to the oldest railway museum on the continent, not to mention the railway station dating back to 1837. 


However, what stands out the most about Bejucal are the charangas or popular festivals held there from Christmas Eve onwards, bringing together thousands of people from all over Cuba and abroad. The Bejucaleño communities are grouped into the "La Espina de Oro" and "La Ceiba de Plata" sides, who have a healthy rivalry that spurs them on to design floats with popular and traditional motifs and symbols. 


 


The traditional "La Macorina", "La Culona", "El Yerbero" and "La Mujiganga" characters come out and dance in the streets to the beat of the conga coming from the drums.  


It’s a festival where colour and light come together in a huge spectacle that has inspired everything from journalistic chronicles to books about the origins and preservation of this Bejucaleño tradition. 


 

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Remedios, Villa Clara

Right in the heart of the island, the province of Villa Clara is home to a peaceful and stunning town. This is San Juan de los Remedios, the third Spanish settlement in Cuba during the conquest, which later became the "Octava Villa". 


Beautiful buildings dating back to the 17th and 19th centuries, still in a good state of preservation, surround Plaza Isabel II, the only one of its kind in Cuba because there are two churches in front of it: Nuestra Señora del Buen Viaje and the Parroquial Mayor de San Juan Bautista. The latter has thirteen beautiful golden altars, together with pictorial works that the locals kept hidden for years, fearing the pirates who prowled the Caribbean coasts and who had invaded the village on more than one occasion. It wasn’t until 1946 that the church underwent significant renovation and the works of great patrimonial value were found. 


From a cultural point of view, Remedios is home to a number of festivals. The Festival of St. John is held twice a year: on 24th June and 29th August, in honour of the birth and death of St. John the Baptist. However the highlight of the year is Parrandas Remedianas, held between 16th and 24th December. Just like in Bejucal, the town is split into two groups that compete against each other to be in with a chance of winning prizes for best square decorations, the most attractive floats and the most original fireworks display. 

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Havana

Havana, the capital of Cuba. 


No trip to Cuba would be complete without visiting its capital Havana, one of the country’s most beautiful cities, so brimming with life that you'll feel like you're being whisked off back in time to the turn of the 20th century. 


Havana has 3 main tourist spots: Old Havana, Havana city centre and Vedado. 


Walking along the Malecón, renting an almendrón (old car) on the Paseo de Martí, checking out Plaza de la revolución, going to Callejon de Hamel on a Sunday morning, having a drink at the Hotel Nacional, a mojito at the Bodeguita del medio or a daiquiri at La Floridita, visiting the Capitolio or strolling along the buzzing calle Obispo are just some of the must-dos on your trip to Havana. 

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Snorkelling in Cuba

There are more than 300 places in Cuba to go snorkelling. Below is a round-up of the best places to go snorkelling. They are split into those on the mainland and peninsulas/islands, also called cays. 


You can't leave Cuba without going snorkelling in Varadero, and you can also visit the Saturno Cave, a stunning natural cave that’s a stone’s throw from Varadero airport. If you get bored of lying on the beach and want to check out one of the best things to do in Varadero, then why not give this excursion a try? There is a beautiful crystal clear lake inside the cave where you can swim in the dark with fish. It makes for a really interesting experience. 


Varadero offers a day out brimming with colour in its seabed if you go snorkelling in its paradisiacal waters; you’ll think that you’re in a postcard because of the stunning landscape you’ll take in. 

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Cuban gastronomy

Find out what Cuban cuisine is like and what you can eat and drink in Cuba. 


It could be said that at the heart of Cuban cuisine is Spanish cuisine, because it inspired countless ingredients and cooking methods. However, due to how difficult it was to acquire some of the ingredients used in typical Spanish dishes in Cuba, the Creoles started gradually adding new ingredients that were native to their country. 


Cuban cuisine has also been influenced by African cuisine because, during the slavery era, cooks were often slaves. This had a big influence on the way dishes were prepared because of the new ingredients that had brought, such as yams. 


Cuba became home to thousands of Chinese immigrants, who also played their part in contributing to Cuban cuisine. Cherries were one of the things they brought with them. 


All these influences have given Cuban cuisine its own unique identity. 


Some Cuban gastronomic specialities: 


Congrí: red beans, pork, pork rinds, bacon and rice. 


Moros y Cristianos: rice with stewed black beans. 


Lechon: suckling pig. It’s served roasted or fried. 


Yuca con mojo: yucca cooked with a sauce made from oil, garlic, salt, pepper and lemon. 


Ajiaco: a kind of tasajo (cut of beef) and salted meat ragout accompanied with vegetables, corn, green plantains, potatoes, etc. 


Langosta enchilada: a typical dish that is only eaten by tourists. 


Tostones: pieces of green plantain, crushed and fried. 


Tasajo a la cubana: dried and stewed meat. Served with a lot of sauce. 


Tamal en cazuela con mariscos: a tamale and seafood stew with a spicy sauce. 


Ropa Vieja: vegetables and meat 


However, apart from its mouthwatering food, Cuba, a cocktail paradise, has a wide array of traditional drinks. Here the famous mojitos, rum collins, daiquiris and piña coladas are drunk daily. 


The king of alcoholic beverages is rum, a national drink that is known the world over. There’s no shortage of rum brands; each of them with different ranges and qualities. The most famous is Havana Club; although Caribbean Club, Matusalén, Caney, RonV.C., Varadero, Bucanero, Bocoy and Paticruzado also come highly rated. Also noteworthy is the 15-year-old Ron Santiago, only sold in the city of Santiago de Cuba. 


Rum and fruit liqueurs are delicious, although in Cuba they aren’t only used for drinking; they’re used to add a touch of flavour to fruit salads. 

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