Vacations to Varadero
Have you been thinking of vacations to Varadero? WestJet Vacations can take you there. It’s really no surprise you’ve been looking forward to gorgeous, tranquil Varadero; after all it is home to Coral Beach, Ambrosio Cave and the Varadero Golf Club. When it comes to planning a getaway, we know better than anyone how much there is to consider, and that's why we offer convenient packages to remove the stress and make booking a trip easy. Take a look at our available packages below and before you know it, you’ll be on your way to enjoying Playa Azul.
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Occupying the Hicacos peninsula, Varadero is a one of the most popular tourist towns in all of Cuba, bolstered by its 20km length of white sand beaches and crystal azure waters. It's a destination still steeped in old world charm as the perennial time warp that encapsulates this country can be seen in the vintage cars, colonial architecture and wholly Cuban-controlled commerce.
Though Cuba has changed significantly since the collapse of the Soviet Union in the 1990s and the ensuing economic reforms, tourists still flock to experience the sheltered cultured that, for so many years, developed independently of right-wing influences. And locals are more than happy to welcome those visitors, making a point of entertaining with open arms, good music, food and hospitality. Nowhere else will you find a town like Varadero where going on vacation feels like coming home.
What to do during the day?
When the sun is at its highest vantage, tourists flock to Varadero's pristine beach, where water activities and loungers are in abundance. Most resorts offer non-motorized watersports for free and more daring adventures are available in the form of jetskiing, parasailing and even tandem skydiving, which makes its landing in the silken sand of resort beaches.
In Varadero town, tourists will be captivated by the ample supply of locally-produced artwork consistently on display at the central street market. You'd be hard tempted not to buy, but with your purchase be sure to receive an export permit to show Cuban customs upon departure.
Looking for a tee time? Varadero is fortunate enough to boast a word class 18-hole golf course, located on a 2 mile strip of greenery between Breezes SuperClubs, Meli Varadero and Sol Club Sirenas. The impressive golf club house, known as the "Xanadu Mansion," has a particularly rich history having been built by French American millionaire Irenee Dupont de Nemours back in 1927.
What to do at night?
When nighttime falls, Cuban entertainers descend upon the hotel resorts, where every evening is packed with a new spectacle of music and dance. Few people return from a Varadero vacation without having tapped their toes to a salsa dance or swayed to a Spanish guitar and many resorts are eager to offer lessons to that effect.
Off-resort, the dance scene becomes even livelier with clubs like La Rumba infecting party goers with popular tunes and filling the dance floor with bubbles. For those looking for a more classic flavour, The Beatles-Bar Restaurant celebrates the previously banned music of the Fab Four with classic rock songs and rum punch, hosted in an alfresco stage setting. Finally, at the pinnacle of Varadero entertainment is Cabaret Continental, best known for its brash, Tropicana-style floor show and crowd-pleasing DJs.
As a choice wedding and honeymoon destination, Varadero is a favourite locale for couples and their families celebrating that big day. And resorts are more than happy to accommodate such large groups. At Melia Las Americas, a "Luxury Wedding" package will include a personal coordinator, bouquet, cake, celebratory cava and even a wedding photo album. Going one step further, the "Paradise of Love"
wedding package at Paradisus Princesa del Mar comes complete with hair and make-up for the bride, along with a "Just Married" t-shirt souvenir. Finally, at Sol Palmeras, guest can take advantage of a complimentary wedding package that includes a decorated venue, flowers and even witnesses if necessary.
What else is nearby?
No visit to Cuba is complete without a trip to Havana, the nation's capital and seat of communist power since the 1959 revolution. Though the Cuban economy has drastically changed in the past 20 years with more individuals licensed to run businesses than ever a visit to Havana will still yield a glimpse at that pre-Soviet state, visible in places like the expansive Revolution Square, the impressive building of the Central Committee of the Cuban Communist Party and the Museum of the Revolution.
Book lovers will also be interested in following the footsteps of Ernest Hemingway in Old Havana, visiting his favourite bars, La Floridita and La Bodeguita del Medio, as well as Hotel Ambos Mundos, where he rented a room for seven years during the 1930s. To reach Havana from Varadero, most hotels offer daily tours on luxury coaches, costing approximately $80 per person, which often includes lunch and a visit to a cigar making shop.
Other exciting day trips on offer from the resorts include a popular jeep safari tour for around $90, which allows guests to drive hired 4x4 vehicles through the nearby town of Matanzas and up into the Yumuri valley for a traditional lunch at a farmhouse. Additional stops along the way include a riverboat cruise and snorkelling in a cave formation.
What to eat?
Cuban cuisine is a fusion of both Spanish and Caribbean flavours with emphasis on the local abundance of fresh seafood. Given embargo restrictions between the U.S. and Cuba, it's unlikely that you'll find some big brand names or particular ingredients, however, local and seasonal fare is still plentiful at hotels where every taste is catered for.
When visiting Varadero, most travellers will remain on-resort and take advantage of all-inclusive offerings that feature elaborate buffets and ample la carte offerings. With six high quality la carte restaurants to its name, along with a buffet and snack bar, the Paradisus Princesa Del Mar hotel has gained a reputation as one of the best culinary choices.
Elsewhere in Varadero, the whimsically named Waco's Club is renowned for its reasonably priced and perfectly cooked lobster dinners. For an even more novel dining experience, visitors are urged to try La Gruta, where customers can eat steak and lobster from within a cave.
Where to stay?
Varadero hotels are generally booked through packages only, which include your flight, room and meal plan. At the lower end of the price spectrum, Hotel Club Kawama offers a friendly atmosphere, two outdoor pools and all inclusive meal plan catered by two buffet services.Mid-range:
For traveller's looking for a comfortable mid-range option, the four star Sol Palmeras offers a unique choice between hotel rooms and self-contained bungalows, nestled in the lush tropical growth that accommodate up to four people. Also included in your vacation package is a complimentary scuba lesson within the hotel pool, perfect for familiarizing yourself with the sport before taking on the Caribbean waters.High end:
In terms of luxury hotels, few can beat the five star, adults only Paradisus Princesa Del Mar, ideally suited for wedding and honeymoon guests. Its unlimited la carte dining and premium spa packages may we tempt you with a Cleopatra bath or Cuban rum massage make it a perfect choice for couples looking for an experience of a lifetime.
When to go?
Given Cuba's sub-tropical climate, Varadero experiences both a dry (November to April) and wet season (May to October). Predictably prices tend to be lower in the wet season, when rain and storms are likely to form, but it's during this time that real bargains can be found on flights and hotels. March can be a busy time of year with an influx of students enjoying Spring Break, while high season also coincides with some of the country's most popular festivals: the Havana Carnival at the beginning on March, Journadas de la Cultura Camagneyana in February and Varadero's Electro Acoustic Music Festival in April.
Taxis are plentiful along the Hicacos peninsula and are easily accessible from hotel receptions. Rates begin at 0.50c per km, but do ask hotel staff for recommended prices for where you intend to visit. As a spectacle unique to Varadero, the area is also famous for its coco-taxis, small three-wheeled spherical vehicles that can transport up to three people at a low price.
For a mode of transport that's just as much of an activity as it is a convenience, the Varadero Beach Bus Tours are double decker, open top vehicles that travel from one end of the peninsula to the other, making stops along the way. It costs around $6CAD for a day ticket, which allows users to hop on and off at will.
Varadero's hottest, most humid months are typically June to September, when daily temperatures can often exceed 30°C. As expected, these are also the months with the highest rainfall, averaging 180mm a month before progressing into September-October's peak hurricane season. December to February sees the lowest rainfall and more comfortable thermometer readings sitting between the 18°C and 25°C range.
Cuba operates on a unique two currency monetary system, in which the local economy trades with the Cuban peso (CUP) and the tourism economy trades with the Convertible peso (CUC). This leads to some confusion on the part of tourists, who generally use the closed CUC, which can only be purchased within the country and is designed to mimic the price of the US dollar. One Convertible peso is worth approximately 25 CUP and, while Cuba is currently shifting towards a unified currency, tourists are still advised to purchase Convertible pesos from Varadero Airport, local Cuban banks or at their hotel resorts.
Traveller's checks are accepted in Varadero, however, you may need to pay a commission when exchanging and they cannot be replaced within Cuba in the event of loss. Moreover, not all credit cards are accepted and you may want to consult with your bank on the applicable rules and fees regarding your own card.