Varadero, Cuba

 out of 8  reviews

** VARADERO, CUBA **

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b) Venice, Italy
c) Bali, Indonesia (Members Only)
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 out of 8 reviews
Things To Do
Adventure
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Affordability
Relaxation
Local Food
Romance
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Traveling While Black

8 Reviews

  1. author
    @pinderworld
    09 Sep 2020
    Rating
    Relaxation
    VIP Member
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    Traveling While Black

    Cuba…Oh my God, Cuba!! This has got to be one of my most favourite places I’ve travelled to. Let’s start with the people. Rich with dignity despite having so little!! Definitely know that a smile cost nothing!! We encountered this trait almost everywhere we visited on the island. I travelled there with my wife and daughter on a fourteen night packaged holiday of pure relaxation. We stayed at the Iberostar Varadero which brandished a five star rating and didn’t disappoint. The grounds were meticulously maintained throughout always making it a pleasure to walk around with two really nice swimming pools with swim up bars. Mine was a Pina colada every time.
    Who said Cuba wasn’t renowned for its cuisine? The food choices, presentation and deliciousness there was on point. Couldn’t fault it! At least four signature restaurants to choose from as well as the buffet restaurant for informal dining. Coffee bars, ice cream parlours, supermarkets were all on site. The Iberostar Varadero aimed to spoil, and accomplished the feat!

    We were on an all inclusive stay which also included waiter service directly to our sun loungers on the hotel’s pristine private white sanded beach. We enjoyed its hospitality immensely.
    I have personally never walked into an ocean that felt like a spa. The water was so outrageously warm, like 28 degrees warm. It was like a magnet, I couldn’t get out, I didn’t want to get out!! Ultra clear turquoise waters, azure clear blue skies and a beach to die for are what dreams are made of! Out of the rainy season, this is what you can expect from most of Cuba’s beach resorts. I’m not usually a sun worshiper, but I just couldn’t get enough.

    After a week of sheer indulgence, we hired a caddy and driver to drive us to Havana. Mega long drive, (two hours plus) with no seat belts!! All those really nice looking vintage old cars remain the same from the 1950’s, and have never been re-adapted for modern road travel hence no seatbelts. We were very mindful of this fact once we’d set off, rendering our journey rather worrying than enjoyable!! Touring around the city in one at slow speeds was ok, but we recommend you think twice before embarking on a longer journey in one. We were lucky, the universe had us earmarked for survival that day.

    We had arranged before we left the UK that we would spend four nights in La Habana Vieja (Old Havana) living with a local family of a friend of ours which enhanced our appreciation of being grateful for the things we take for granted at home! Four fabulous authentic Cuban life nights away from all our inclusive luxuries put things well and truly into perspective for us. We were humbled to our core at the generosity of this beautiful family. They treated us like royalty with the very little that they had, yet it was plenty!! We can’t thank them enough for that amazing experience. The homes in Vieja Habana are almost identical with striking views up and down the streets from the high balconies of people going on their everyday business. From these same balconies, food supplies are collected from vendors on the street below in a basket tied to a rope. Just put your list of items needed into the basket and lower it. One hour it’s fruit and vegetables, the next it’s dried provisions. No need to negotiate those steep staircases every time to collect groceries. We were also lucky enough to experience a tropical downpour while we were staying there which allowed us to witness how the locals deal with the deluge of rainfall water that breach their balcony doors. It’s like all hands on deck with sand bags, mops and anything else that could aid in keeping the water at bay. It’s actually quite amusing.

    Spending those few nights amongst the locals gave our trip to Cuba real depth. Getting up in the mornings and going to the bakery to try and find bread rolls was crazy. It’s hugely first come first serve. Even the supermarket shelves were sparse. Everyone though, was so orderly, nothing like the plentiful world we travelled from where fights broke out when there wasn’t enough toilet paper to go around in the pandemic. Everyone in the tight neighbourhoods seem to know each other, and I liked that there was always a Buenos dias or a nod of acknowledgement as we passed one another on the streets. Saying that though, I think that is just a natural trait of the Caribbean in general.
    Our particular packaged holiday/vacation deal came with the option of spending the four nights we spent in Old Havana, in the Iberostar’s sister hotel in the capital, but so, so pleased we opted for the treasured, priceless opportunity to live alongside this wonderful family. This experience will forever be etched in my memories!!

    A really personal achievement for me was visiting the iconic revolution square and sealing my photographic moment by the gigantic etching of revolutionary hero Che Guevara with it’s world famous phrase “Hasta la victoria siempre“ which translated reads, “Onwards to victory always”. The etching is actually on Cuba’s ministry of the interior building. The square was originally called Plaza Civica (Civic Plaza), but was patriotically renamed after Fidel Castro’s rise to power in 1959. At 72,000 square metres in size, revolution square is one of the largest in the world. Not gonna lie though, after hearing so much and seeing so many photos of this square, I found it rather dreary and lifeless on arrival. So happy still to have had a moment in time there!!

    Havana is an amazing city. There’s nothing new there yet it was so beautiful. The music, the language, the vibe. Absolutely everyone there in #lahabanavieja are going through the same struggle with the odd few having it a little easier as they may have family living overseas who are able to inject some much needed funds to help keep their families afloat. Despite the lack of everyday products, (that we take for granted) the people there have great dignity, carry themselves well, and are proud as hell to be Cuban. The crime rate, considering, is extraordinarily low which adds to the sense of freedom you feel as you roam around the capital, especially in the night time. Cuba exercises a zero tolerance policy throughout which is adhered to. I can only imagine that the consequences for breaching those strict rules are horrendous!

    WiFi in Cuba comes at a premium, so it’s rather amusing to see people in their droves congregating in designated areas just to get a piece of the outside world. Very surprising, and I must say, a refreshing breath of fresh air, was the very relaxed attitude to the large transgender community that you come across around the city at night. I actually had to be told that a lot of the beautifully made up and dressed women were in fact transgender. There are some Caribbean nations that are extremely hostile towards the LGBTQ️‍ community, so it was like I said, a surprise to see that a country like Cuba with it’s very masculine, revolutionary, communist image, would be so same sex relations friendly. Apparently, there are even programs there in Cuba which discourages discrimination in any form. Another fabulous reason to love the energy there! Creole, Malatto, Caucasian, all shown the same love no matter your sexual or religious orientations!!

    There’s nothing like Cuba!! We felt so at peace here amongst the locals, if only we could speak their tongue. I have not spoken to anyone who hasn’t had a memorable time here in the entire country. You will too if you’re thinking of making the booking!!

  2. author
    Wandering.britt
    28 Mar 2020
    Rating
    Relaxation
    Things To Do
    Adventure
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    Affordability
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    Romance
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    Traveling While Black

    I visited 3 cities in Cuba: Havana, Viñales, & Varadero, out of the 3 I wish I had spent more time in Varadero. If you’re looking to relax in Cuba this is the place to be. The beach is one of the most beautiful in Cuba, and its the definition of a beach town. Depending on what part of the beach you’re on, within walking distance there are restaurants, bars, chocolate factories, run factories, and cigar houses. I loved every aspect of this city. On the beach you can rent chairs, lay out, eat food. There are people that offer boat tours and parasailing as well. I’d definitely go back to Varadero to escape the city life of Havana.

  3. author
    tiffs55
    27 Feb 2020
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    Traveling While Black

    Perfect place for relaxation.. The beach in Varadero is more than beautiful. The bad thing is that the place has not been exploited in relation to tourism and has few activities to do. I recommend that if you are visiting Havana ,take a day to visit Varadero …go early and come back at night.

  4. author
    Kebe
    03 Aug 2019
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    Traveling While Black

    Varadero is BEAutiful I repeat BEAUTIFUL this beach is lovely , .. white sand and very clean , there are a few activities along the beach with sports ect , but all well organised , wonderful little boat trips and such lovely shallow water to begin with so safe for children . and only 2 hours away from Havana u will feel completely disconnected from the busy city center life you really have to visit this place if you haven’t I promise you won’t regret it and the food , activities transport are so cheap so so cheap u can have a full meal for 10$ with only fresh product and delicious .. trust me you won’t regret it

  5. author
    Fashionglobeuse
    26 Jan 2019
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    Cuba was a great experience, it was very different from the others Caribbean islands. Varadero is at 4 hours from Havana by car. The best way to get there is going there by the old Cuban cars. I paid 60 CUC for a one way. During that time you can enjoy the beautiful view, the small villages, the countrieside and the beaches. You can also see horses with cart.
    The Varadero hotels are like the Punta Cana hotels in the 90’s.
    Internet is very rare and very expensive. You have to buy carts.
    Cuban people are very friendly.

  6. author
    Karissa
    12 Dec 2018
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    I visited Varadero while I was in Havana. Varadero is about a two hour drive from Havana and cost about 150 cuc round trip. The beach was absolutely beautiful. We took our own drinks but they sold them on the beach for a very cheap ok price. Rental for a beach chair and umbrella was only 3 cuc total for two. We also went out on a small catamaran for 40 minutes for 30 cuc. The beach is very clean, quite and relaxing.

  7. author
    travelwithlex
    20 Jun 2018
    Rating
    Traveling While Black
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    Traveling While Black

    I hate to share my horrible experience but fellow travelers need to know. This trip to Varadero was so bad that myself and fellow travelers agreed to never speak of it again, putting it out of our minds due to the travel PTSD it caused. Varadero was a train wreck from the moment we began our travel from Havana. Our car service was 2 hours late after getting lost in Havana. A pre-booked transport for 8 people with luggage, the driver showed up with a minivan. We were packed in the car like sardines. We stopped every 45 minutes to make sure the luggage didn’t fall off the roof turning our 1.5 hour drive into a 3 hour drive.

    Then we arrive at the Playa Caleta resort. Mind you this is an all-inclusive resort with 4 stars but everything we experienced was a -1 star. The hotel was dirty, unkept, bathrooms did not have toilet paper or toilet seats, the rooms were not ready. Once they were ready each room had a hygiene issue, from mold on the pillows and rust in the bathroom to harsh smells. Flies were an epidemic, the food was poorly covered, and the drinks were trash.

    Although Havana was beautiful, I will never venture back to Varadero.

    Emilio and Anna, Air BnB who rescued us were amazing.

  8. author
    Moonshyyne
    15 Apr 2018
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    Veradero, Cuba
    Review 1. Cuba
    Cuba is a place I would highly recommending to visit if you like history, old school cars, culture and of course white sands beaches and crystal blue water.

    Aside from the typical excursions (Snorkeling, Catamaran, Dolphins etc…) Veradero has plenty to offer. In the city, You can walk around the local flea markets and find some nice souvenirs for your friends and family. I bought cigar tubes and had them customized with each of my loved ones names on them. There’s a bus that takes tourists from each of the resorts to the city. They have a day pass that give you ‘hop on and off’ access to the bus for 24 hours. It’s very cheap. You can also take the old cars to the city. Should you choose to do this, make sure you agree on the price with your driver before you leave. There are also lots of beautiful old cars in the city if you want to take pictures with them or ride around the city.

    Using this bus you can tour the many beautiful resorts in veradero and meet other tourists. There’s a and a trippy bat cave close by which you can visit for $5 usd. It’s very beautiful inside that you almost forget it’s a bat cave, until they decide to wake from their slumber.

    The food on the resort was not very good. This is the case for all the resorts in Veradero. So
    when in Cuba your expectations for food shouldn’t be too high, especially at the resorts. The local food was at least better than the resort. Make sure, when you go into town, that you try Dolce de Leche. It’s the best ice cream in Cuba!

    Remember to take change to leave for house keeping. They will decorate your room with wonderful towel patterns in return. They also appreciate any shampoos, conditioners and other products are not so readily available for those living outside the resorts so they always appreciate those little gifts.

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