The Hicacos Peninsula, or Varadero, is the largest and one of the most popular beach resorts in Cuba. Its beautiful 13 mile long white sand beach is considered to be one of the most beautiful in the world.
In Varadero you'll find numerous art galleries, museums, cabarets, quaint bars and cafes, handicrafts markets, live music, cigar and rum shops, and wonderful all-inclusive hotels.
There is also plenty of watersports to include diving, snorkeling, sailing, fishing, catamaran cruises, kite surfing, and glass-bottom boat rides to name a few. These activities are offered all year long. Nature lovers can enjoy hiking trails, caves, ancient wall paintings, and the fauna and flora of the Varahicacos Ecological Reserve. Varadero has a great nightlife scene with its numerous bars, discotheques, cafes, and cabarets. There is plenty to do in Varadero for everyone! Find all of your beach essentials here for your Varadero Cuba vacation. Continue reading our Varadero Cuba Holidays guide for complete information to help you start planning your vacation today.
Varadero Weather – When to Visit
The temperature usually remains steady in Varadero with an average high of 88°F in the summer. The best time to visit Varadero for heat and sunshine is between July and September. This is when the sun stays out the longest and temperatures have soared to the low-thirties.
The dry season (December to May) is slightly cooler with an average temperature of 75°F. Rainfall is heaviest during the wet season from May to October. Showers can be very heavy and fast, so make sure to pack your raincoat and umbrella if you’re planning a holiday at this time.
If you like cooler temperatures with less rainfall, travel during the dry season. You’ll still get to enjoy plenty of warmth and sunshine, but there’s less chance that you’ll get caught out in a downpour.
It’s considered by many the number one attraction and main reason to visit Varadero, and for a good reason, this white sandy beach is rated as one of the best in the world! Its more than 20 km of fine, white sand along the shoreline, and a continental shelf that softly sinks into a warm, crystal clear water. This is the main attraction of Varadero.
There are numerous caves, cliffs, and lagoons. Also, pristine, easy to reach keys and other interesting natural surroundings on the peninsula's easternmost tip, in addition to a set of cultural, historical, and environmental sites.
Best Varadero Activities
Near Varadero's airport, a path through the scrub descends to Saturno Cave, the star feature of a complex cave system. This hauntingly beautiful cenote or subterranean swimming hole offers a refreshing respite from the beach. Stalactites drip from the roof of the cave, and stalagmites rise from the water's depths. Tourists come here to swim in the pool's azure-hued freshwater, dive off the crystallized columns, and admire the impressive rock formations. Aqua shoes and a snorkel and mask are handy accessories on a visit here.
Varahicacos Ecological Reserve
This protected area is a nature reserve with a pleasant beach; a variety of plant species such as cactus and orchids; a bird-rich lagoon once used to mine salt; and a diversity of birds, insects, and lizards. Narrow hiking trails wind through the preserve, but visitors should note that the ground is rocky and can be challenging for small children and those who are unsure on their feet. Sturdy hiking shoes are recommended as is insect repellent.
Constructed with Italian marble, rich woods, and thermal insulated ceramic tiles, the Mansión Xanadu was an incredibly lavish retreat back in its heyday. Today, the mansion is a luxury hotel and golf clubhouse. Non-guests can stop by here soak up the spectacular sea views from the second floor and enjoy a meal at the restaurant. On display are some of the original furnishings, information on Dupont, and a series of old photographs.
Paths meander around flower-flecked gardens, fountains gurgle, and an ornamental bridge traverses a small lake where ducks bob contentedly. Tourists come here to paddle or glide around the lake on rowboats or relax in the shade of the poinciana and palm trees. The former main residence on the grounds is now a restaurant, as is the guesthouse, which makes for a pleasant afternoon or evening excursion in Varadero. A swimming pool lies at the park's south end.
At Delfinario, animal lovers can kiss, cuddle, and commune with dolphins. The experience begins with a show followed by an optional dolphin encounter in an enclosed saltwater lagoon. One by one, paying guests meet their new marine playmates, pat them, swim through the water with them, and participate in fun tricks with these playful creatures.
Best Varadero Restaurants
Varadero 60 $11 – 30
With its well thought-out, sixties-themed interior and impeccable service, Varadero 60 is undeniably one of the finest dining establishments on the peninsula. The menu prominently features Italian flavours, with lobster and sirloin steak as the house specialties. Seating available indoors and out on the airy veranda. Telephone: 53 45 613986 Web: Varadero 60
Paladar Nonna Tina $11 – 30
Italian-run Paladar Nonna Tina serves pizzas done the right way (thin-crusted, baked in a wood oven), with personal and family-sized servings available. Other Italian delights include a whole range of pasta dishes, a couple of meat varieties, and a selection of entrees and appetizers, all at reasonable prices. Telephone: 53 45 612450 Web: Paladar Nonna Tina
La Rampa $11 – 30
What keeps guests coming back for more at La Rampa is its excellent lobster, prepared in a multitude of mouthwatering ways. A number of other great value dishes, both meat and seafood, feature on the extensive menu. Try a freshly mixed strawberry daiquiri with the meal. Telephone: 53 45 602414 Web: La Rampa
Dante $11 – 30
One of Varadero's several excellent Italian restaurants, Dante enjoys an idyllic lake setting in the lush Josone Park. The establishment serves up a wide variety of Italian specialties such as pizza, pasta, appetizers and dessert. The wine selection is one of the best in town. Telephone: 53 45 667738 Web: Dante
Xanadu $31 – 60
The marble-floored Xanadu occupies the insides of an opulent mansion commissioned by an American millionaire several decades ago. Prices bite, but an evening here is worth the experience. Views over the ocean unfold from the top-floor cocktail bar. Telephone: 53 45 668482 Web: Xanadu
Best Varadero Bars & Nightlife
Calle 62 is a place unlike any other – at night, part of the road leading up to the establishment is closed off to traffic and gets turned into a makeshift dance floor. The bar is popular with both locals and tourists, hosts live music shows and invites professional dancers to get the crowd going for the night. Web: Calle 62
Casa de la Musica
One of Varadero's hottest meeting spots, Casa de la Musica is where locals and tourists mingle in the upbeat setting of a modern Cuban nightlife establishment, with regular on-stage live performances and dancing till the late-night hours. Telephone: 53 45 668918 Web: Casa de la Musica
La Bamba Disco
Located on Tuxpan Hotel premises, La Bamba welcomes all – hotel guests and visitors from elsewhere alike (this includes both Cubans and internationals). The club is busiest on Friday and Saturday nights, when a clientele of the 20 to 40 age range fills up the dance floor. Telephone: 53 45 667560
One of the venues to not be missed, Mambo is a live music club that regularly puts on great live shows. The club is known for its added open bar service (unlimited drinks included in the entry fee). There is dancing on some nights. Telephone: 53 45 668565 Web: Mambo Club
One of Varadero's favourite nightlife venues, Havana Club is a lively discotheque that attracts both locals and tourists. The party usually starts quite late (usually after midnight), with guests dancing and savoring the excellent mojitos mixed here. Web: Havana Club
Best Varadero Hotels
Royalton Hicacos Adults Only – All Inclusive
Royalton Hicacos Varadero Resort & Spa is located on the white sandy beaches of Varadero, situated on the eponymous Hicacos peninsula. Its beautiful landscapes, and vibrant tourist ambience makes Varadero the perfect background for a tropical adventure where you can explore natural attractions. The luxurious adults-only resort is a cut above other Varadero hotels with its all-inclusive resort facilities designed to create a perfect ambiance for relaxation. Visit Here for reservations and information.
Starfish Cuatro Palmas Adults Only – All Inclusive
Starfish Cuatro Palmas is an all-inclusive retreat nestled along the sandy beachfront of Varadero, Cuba. Guests will immediately be drawn to the picturesque surroundings – patioed courtyard, red roofs and tropical gardens. Quality accommodations, great dining, daily activities, bar, pool, live music and evening shows fulfill the criteria for an unforgettable Caribbean vacation destination. Visit Here for reservations and information.
Melia Internacional Varadero – All Inclusive
Situated on one of the finest stretches of beach in Varadero, this hotel is the reincarnation of a true classic on the Hicacos Peninsula, Cuba’s ultimate holiday destination. The Meliá Internacional is a modern, All Inclusive 5 star resort, with 11 floors divided into two zones: East and West. It boasts 946 rooms, all designed with smart home technology, including two spectacular penthouses, panoramic lifts and stunning views. Renowned for its varied range of delicious cuisine, served in more than 20 gastronomic spaces and 15 bars. Visit Here for reservations and information.
Be Live Experience Turquesa – All Inclusive
Be Live Experience Turquesa is a 4 star all-inclusive establishment surrounded by palm trees and tropical vegetation. The complex is in a garden area that opens up to the spectacular Varadero beach. It is the ideal holiday destination for couples and families, and it is an exquisite location for weddings. It is on the beachfront, 8 km. from the center of Varadero, 4 km. from the shopping center and 36 km. from the Juan Gualberto Gomez International Airport. Visit Here for reservations and information.
Be Live Adults Only Los Cactus – All Inclusive
Be Live Adults Only Los Cactus is an all Inclusive Resort for adults -singles and couples 16 years and older , where all meals, a selection of local and international beverages, water sports, land sports with equipment and instruction, entertainment and other activities are included in one single price. Visit Here for reservations and information.
For a complete list of hotels, visit here.