Varadero is one of the main tourist centers in Cuba. Together with Punta Cana and Cancun, it is the beach destination par excellence in the Caribbean. Varadero is a city located about 2 hours by car from Havana that has one of the most beautiful beaches in Cuba. It is located on a very narrow peninsula that offers tourists and locals 22 kilometers of crystal clear waters to bathe in. In this post we tell you 15 things to do in Varadero beyond the beach.
1. Enjoy its beach, the most typical thing to do in Varadero
Varadero has one of the most popular beaches in the country. We did not find it the prettiest, but it was the most visited. Why? Basically because of its proximity to the Cuban capital and its tourist infrastructure, the largest in the country. It even has an international airport! One of the great advantages of Varadero compared to other coastal destinations is that you can choose between private houses and hotels.
The most interesting thing about Varadero is its 22 kilometers of beach. In general, they are all pretty, but perhaps the best stretch of Varadero beach is the one in front of the Hotel Internacional. There are usually less waves there. So bathing in the beach is one of the best things to do in Varadero.
2. Visit the Saturn Cave
This beautiful natural grotto is very close to the Varadero airport. If you are tired of being on the beach you can do this excursion, one of the best things to do in Varadero. Inside the cave there is a beautiful crystal clear lake where you can bathe in the dark with fish. It is a very interesting experience.
The visit to the cave of Saturn is adapted for tourism. A staircase descends through a lot of native Cuban vegetation to the bottom of the cave. We descend between a chaos of large stones and we can see, at the beginning of the descent, a large column. We also find a panoramic viewpoint from where you can enjoy the entire cavity. If we continue descending we will reach the water, next to a large stalagmite where there is also a platform with a ladder.
3. Relax strolling through Josone Park, one of the best things to do in Varadero
Sunbathing all day is not good. So if you want to disconnect from the beach, there are few better places than Josone Park. It is located in the heart of Varadero and hides a curious history. It is an old neoclassical mansion built by José and Onelia Iturrioz. They combined their names to baptize her! What stands out most about the mansion are its green spaces, full of vegetation and a lake, where you can even go boating.
Geese and ostriches roam the area, so you’ll also have the opportunity to spot some interesting animal species.
Josone Park is excellently equipped to spend the day without missing anything: in addition to its undoubted natural charms, it has restaurants, a mini-train and a swimming pool.
4. Visit Cayo Blanco, one of the best excursions to do in Varadero
The beaches of Varadero are very good, but Cayo Blanco is even more paradisiacal. This key is only accessible by boat and is one of the most popular excursions to do in Varadero. It is an ideal place to snorkel and spend a day at the movies.
To get to Cayo Blanco from Varadero you will have to enjoy a pleasant catamaran excursion through the crystal clear waters of the tropical Atlantic. Halfway through the walk, a stop is made to snorkel and enjoy the barrier reef.
During the excursion you will enjoy an open bar, animation with many games and music. In short, it will be an unforgettable day in a spectacular natural setting.
5. Cueva de Ambrosio and its pre-Columbian paintings
Cueva Saturno is not the only interesting cave in Varadero and surroundings. In the northern part of the peninsula you can visit the spectacular Cueva de Ambrosio. It has more than 2 million years of history, although it was not discovered until 1961. Inside there are many treasures, including several pre-Columbian paintings. What a testimony our ancestors left us!
6. Photograph the Church of Santa Elvira, one of the most beautiful things to see in Varadero
Walking through the center of Trinidad we came across this small and interesting church. It is one of the few religious buildings in the city. In fact, it is relatively new, since it was built in 1938. Among so many hotels and restaurants, you are happy to see something different.
7. Buy some crafts in the markets
Varadero is very close! So on the very long Avenida 1 in Varadero there are plenty of markets where you can buy souvenirs and other handicrafts. We went crazy, especially because we had 2 very cloudy days and we decided to visit almost all the markets in the center of Varadero. Without a doubt, one of the best things to do in Varadero.
8. Dream of living in the Xanadú Mansion
We loved Cuba and who would not like to live in a mansion right in front of Varadero beach? This mansion was built in 1929 by a wealthy American businessman. However, he had to return to his country after the revolution and the villa became the property of the government. It is now a luxury hotel and golf club. Even if you don’t stay there, you can go in and even enjoy the views of the sea from its terrace. Without a doubt, one of the most recommended visits to do in Varadero.
9. Jeep through the Yumuri Valley
If you are looking for several excursions to do in Varadero, you should consider visiting the Yumurí Valley. It is one of the best natural treasures in Cuba and is very close to Varadero. The landscape is dominated by jungle and sugarcane fields. This excursion will also allow you to get to know the beautiful Coral Beach, a boat ride on the Caminar River and the beautiful Cueva de Saturno, among other activities. A very complete excursion to enjoy the best of the surroundings of Varadero.
10. Have fun at the Hicacos Shopping Center, one of the best things to do in Varadero if it rains
Varadero is a beach destination. And that has its good and bad things. If you are unlucky enough that it starts to rain when you visit Varadero, a good idea is to go to the playground at the Hicacos Shopping Center. There are several Ice Hockey tables, game simulators and other things to shelter you from the rain and have fun.
11. Take a souvenir bottle at the Casa del Ron
Rum is one of the star products of Cuba. Many tourists decide to buy a bottle to take home as a souvenir. If that is your intention, we recommend you visit the Casa del Ron. It may not have the best prices but it does have a lot of variety. Also there you can learn the history of this famous drink and you can even try it before you buy it.
12. Sugar Tour, one of the best excursions to do in Varadero
The sugar industry has been one of Cuba’s main economic engines. So doing this excursion will allow you to learn a little more about the history of one of the most important resources on the island. You will learn about the production process and you will be able to try the famous guarapo, a drink made from sugar cane. Activities like this go very well to disconnect from the beach.
13. Varahicacos Ecological Park
In the northern part of the Varahicacos peninsula is this interesting ecological park, one of the best things to see in Varadero. It is a protected area with a great variety of plant and animal species. It is especially an ideal place to watch birds or reptiles.
14. Cuban cooking class, a different plan to do in Varadero
A good way to enter another culture is through its cuisine. Taking a culinary class will allow you to prepare some of the most famous dishes of Cuban cuisine. And obviously enjoy them! Cuban food is not as prestigious as Spanish food, but it does have delicious dishes like ropa vieja.
15. Visit Cayo Santa Maria
The beaches of Varadero are beautiful, but we believe that you cannot leave Cuba without knowing the beaches of the keys. One of the most accessible keys is Cayo Santa María. Basically because it is the only one that you can access by public transport from Trinidad or Cienfuegos thanks to its causeway. From Varadero there is private transport that will take you to Cayo Santa María after about 5 hours of travel. Paradise has never been so close!