With some 20km of beach, Varadero is Cuba’s proud seaside resort. Breathtaking beaches with a vast shoreline of white sand and crystal turquoise water create, in Varadero, a little bit of paradise on earth. And we made the most of it. Right on the day that we arrived, we sensed this feeling. We were tired from the hours-long flight, but we had the privilege of enjoying that spectacular evening accompanied by a unique sunset that fascinated us. That evening, we were joined by so many other curious passers-by who, just like us, were waiting to be treated to the beauty of that sunset that gives a color, personality and life to the white coast that is the pride of Cuba.
The days we spent in Varadero were always accompanied by three vital ingredients: fresh drinks (where rum was always an option!), lots of Latin music and plenty of joy. Besides enjoying the fantastic beach, there are countless options to enjoy Varadero. From the typical shows at resorts to sailing trips, banana rides and even snorkeling in high seas!
Even though we have snorkeled in many places already (the Maldives, Seychelles, Mexico…), I think this is something that always fascinates us and that we’re always going to want to do again. We always find it enchanting to be able to see these idyllic places from another perspective, compare them and experience what sets them apart from all the other places in the world: the warm, clear and calm waters. Because, in essence, as much as the sand is always white, the depths of the ocean will always be different wherever we go.
Snorkeling in Varadero was really interesting. First, because it was relatively cheap which is always a good bonus! But also because it was completely different from everything we had seen until then. Starting with the boat ride there, that we took by ourselves with only the sailor accompanying us and who was kind enough to give us some tips to make the most of our underwater adventure. We were also surprised by the technique they used to get the fish near us. As soon as we arrived, they would throw bread crumbs to the sea which was something we had never seen being done before. The Cubans truly are, in everything, original and authentic. Once there, we saw huge fish (they were so big we were shocked to have them so close to us!) and beautiful schools of fish. Since the waters here are very calm, we were also able to take off our life vests and swim to the bottom of the ocean. We got super close to corals and we were able to photograph the depths of the sea as we had never been able to before.
Once again, we had the opportunity to see everything from a different perspective – not from top to bottom, but from the bottom up. It was beautiful seeing the sun rays penetrating the sea, almost blinding us as they highlighted the turquoise blue color of the waters, shining on the different fish and enhancing the color of the corals. Varadero from this perspective was even more enchanting.
But Varadero isn’t just beaches! Fortunately, the small seaside city is a very complete place that offers a diversity of activities for all that visit it. The nightlife is, as expected, insane – there are numerous souvenir shops, cafés and bars that stay open late with their Cuban music spilling out into the streets.
Varadero is a true refuge for a few relaxing days, but to get to know the true Cuban spirit, you have to venture a little out of the resort. For precisely that reason, and because we wanted to make the most of our stay in Cuba to get to know the country, André and I headed to Havana. On our way, we stopped in a small city, Matanzas, that also gives the name to the province where Varadero is located. The narrow streets, the colorful houses, the people playing music on the street… This was the first time we came into contact with the true Cuban culture and spirit.
Our taxi driver was also really nice and taught us that Matanzas is also known as the “creole Venice” because of the many rivers and bridges that cut across the city. It’s also said that it was here, in Matanzas, that rumba was born – the Caribbean rhythm that can be felt all throughout the region. And Cuba is the best of the Caribbean in its atmosphere, its water, its color and its way of life.
On our way to Havana, we also passed over a bridge that left us in awe. The Bacunayagua Bridge, that crosses over Yumurí River, is a true wonder of Cuban architecture. At 110m tall, this is the tallest bridge in Cuba and the view will leave you breathless.
Varadero is an unforgettable experience and an enchanting getaway to relax and spend a romantic vacation.
Do you like to stay in resorts when you travel or do you prefer a more authentic experience? (Or are you like us and like to combine the two?)
honeymooners, Varadero 07/2017