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Varadero, Cuba: a complete guide to this beachy paradise

by Pilar Dujan | November 1, 2023
Varadero beach in Cuba

Varadero is an idyllic coastal town in Cuba. Known for being quiet and relaxed, its stunning beaches and fabulous resorts, there’s something to cater to every traveler. Explore all that Varadero has to offer in this complete guide.

Reminder: foreign tourists need to apply for a Cuba visa to reach Varadero beach. Visagov is here to help you: you can go through the entire process in your own language and with all the assistance you could need. We also guarantee a better chance of approval for your Cuba Tourist Card

Where is Varadero in Cuba?

Where is Varadero in Cuba

The resort city of Varadero in Cuba is located on the Western half of the island, almost 150 km East of Havana, inside the Matanzas province. It sits between the Bay of Cárdenas and the Florida Straits.

As the map shows, it has a curious shape: it’s a long and thin peninsula

How to get to Varadero

If you travel from your country straight to Varadero, you will arrive at the international Juan Gualberto Gómez Airport, the second most important one in Cuba after Havana’s international airport. From there, you can get to the town center by bus or taxi.

If you arrived first at another Cuban city, it would certainly be Havana. From there you can take a Viazul bus. You have to take it from Havana’s bus terminal. The cost is approximately $10 Cuban Pesos. This company caters to all parts of the island, so you can catch a Viazul bus to Varadero in Cuba from pretty much anywhere.

But there are also costlier, more comfortable options. You can rent a car, one of the best ways to explore Cuba, or you can take a taxi. These forms of transportation can be quite expensive, so do your research before confirming the trip.

What’s the best time of the year to visit Varadero?

Varadero is hot all year long. However, the hottest month is August: the lowest temperature you will find is around 23ºC, and the highest will easily surpass 30ºC.

If you don’t like traveling with so much heat, going to Varadero between December and March will be best. 

November is the driest month and January, the coldest, so try to fit your itinerary and activities to the weather of that month. 

June has the biggest amount of rainfall and it’s the beginning of the hurricane season so you should avoid it. It lasts through November.

Varadero Beach

What to do in Varadero

Go to the beach

Undoubtedly, the best attraction that Varadero has to offer is its beach, known as Playa Azul or Varadero beach. In fact, it has been named the second best in the world every year since 2019. 

Why? It has calm and clear, turquoise water. The sand is light and soft, perfect for lying down and sunbathing. It’s a regular paradise, and 100% public! 

Not only is Varadero beach amazing, but it’s a quality shared by what comes out of it: the seafood. Enjoy what the town’s restaurants have to offer, it will be quite a treat.

Scuba diving and snorkeling

Since Varadero beach is the town’s main tourist attraction, it’s no surprise that it’s also a great place for scuba diving and snorkeling.

You will find many shops and tour providers available throughout the town, just walk around and you will find them (if they don’t flag you down first). 

If you’re interested in this activity, you should visit a few different establishments to compare prices and their services.

Popular day or half-day trips

Since Varadero is a small resort town, it’s a good idea to book some longer excursions to nearby places.

The most popular choice is Cayo Blanco. Tour companies usually offer a catamaran ride to the island, a seafood lunch and cocktails. Remember to pack your snorkeling gear!

But there are other options, there’s so much to see in the beautiful island of Cuba! For example, the company Cubatur offers several excursions departing from Varadero. Pick the one that best fits your interests and enjoy.

Cueva de Ambrosio

Visiting the network of caves that exists in northern Cuba is a great way to spend a day. Cueva de Ambrosio is one of the largest and many companies offer tours to explore it.

Besides the stalactites and stalagmites, the cave also houses indigenous paintings and hundreds of bats.

It’s not only beautiful, but it’s also a great way to get away from the Caribbean sun!