Situated on the north-west side of Cuba, on the Atlantic coast, Varadero is a nice quiet town with 20km long beach. Our visit included stay in one of modern newly build hotels located on the Varadero beach (most hotels in Varadero were built after 1990).
Varadero airport is about 30 – 45min. drive from most of the Varadero hotels. In our stay we also included a trip to Havana. Havana is 2h drive from Varadero on narrow so-called “Mafia highway” constructed in the 1930s. [ Map of Cuba ]
Trip to Havana was very informative and drive through Matanzas city and Province that bares the same name allowed us to hear from a guide and learn more about history since Columbus discovered Cuba until present-day.
Photo gallery Varadero
Photo gallery Havana
“Since 1492 when Christopher Columbus discovered this Island, and by that North American continent, Cuba had versatile history. Spanish conquerors have constructed first settlements as early as 1512 and since then Spain, England and US have governed with the Island. In May 1902 Cuba received formal Independence after three years of North American military occupation.
General Fulgencio Batista by means of a coup came to power and ruled from 1952 to 1959 when well-known Cuban Revolution took place and since then President of Cuba is Fidel Castro (until this words have been written).
Another name stands out when the revolution is mentioned and this is the name of Argentinean born Ernesto “Che” Guevara.
Cuba today left the impression that “Che” is still around. His image is on display on the main square in Havana and according to our guide, “his legend” is one of the main interest of foreign tourists. On the street markets or in a souvenir shops, among others, there are all kinds of souvenirs available with “Che’s” image.
Of course most popular products of Cuba that you may wish to try and bring along is rum and Cuban cigars. Before you do that find out where to buy them legally and how much you are allowed to bring with you.
Video featuring Varadero
Video featuring Havana
At the end, I should mention one thing that stands out in Cuba and this is hospitality of Cuban people. Despite hardship of living under economic sanctions for more than 45 years Cubans are warm and very friendly. Sand and beaches are paradise on Earth, higher end hotels clean, well equipped with extra activities for all ages. Pastime on the beach or on the hotel grounds range from beach volleyball, golf, tennis, live entertainers, live music, horseback raiding, scuba diving school, archery, moped and car rentals, organized local travel trips etc., what depends on a hotel you are staying at.
Love Rum? Try Cuba Libre, simple drink to make… Cheers!
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It would be wrong not to mention that there is a need for political improvements that could lead to an economic recovery and to certain extend bring an end to the hardship Cuban people are going through for decades.
In any case, hope you’ll enjoy your visit to Cuba as much we did!