Varadero - Abbey Travel, Ireland

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Welcome to Varadero


Cuba's premier holiday beach resort and tourist Mecca, Varadero is situated on a spit of land that reaches out into the Atlantic, a two-hour drive to the east of Havana. Varadero is internationally known for its transparent waters and beautiful setting, and is the largest resort complex in the Caribbean, with more than 50 hotels. Growing numbers of sun-seeking European, Canadian and American holidaymakers flock to Veradero for the warm aquamarine waters, sun and fun that are afforded by all-inclusive packages. There are 23 world-renowned dive spots along this 13-mile (about 21km) stretch of beach, not to mention numerous restaurants, cabaret spots, nightclubs, water and land sport opportunities, a skydiving centre, golf courses, and much more.

Information & Facts


There are over 30 dive sites around the holiday destination of Varadero and dive centres offering dive courses. Deep sea fishing, windsurfing, parasailing, kayaking and sailing are all offered. Land-based activities include golf, skydiving and bowling.

The official language is Spanish, but English is spoken in the main tourist spots.

The official currency is the Cuban Peso (CUP), divided into 100 centavos, but the 'tourist' currency is the Peso Convertible (CUC), which replaces the US Dollar as currency in tourist related establishments like hotels, restaurants and so called 'dollar shops'. US Dollars are no longer accepted as payment, and a 10% commission or more is charged to exchange them, therefore the best currency to bring along is Euros, the British Pound or Canadian Dollars. The CUC is almost equal in value to the US Dollar. Some places only accept Cuban pesos and others only Pesos Convertible (usually tourist related establishments). Money should only be changed at official exchange bureaux or banks to avoid scams confusing the two currencies. Visa and MasterCard are generally accepted only in major cities and hotels as long as they haven't been issued by a US bank; Diners Club has limited acceptance, and American Express is not accepted anywhere on the island. Travellers cheques are less readily accepted than credit cards, but all major currencies are acceptable, except for US bank issued cheques. No US-issued credit or debit cards will work in ATMs, but those holding other cards issued in other countries should be able to get pesos at most major tourist destinations. Euro or Sterling travellers cheques are accepted at Cuban banks and Bureaux de Change.


This is not the real Cuba, but an attempt to gain hard currency by selling the very beautiful white sand beaches in a controlled tourist environment. The resort is largely exclusive and Cubans are generally not allowed to stay in the hotels. Many visitors do not stray far from their package tour hotels, and miss out on many opportunities to explore the town.


There are many bars in Varadero offering live music, cabaret shows are popular, and dance clubs and discos in the town cater to Cubans and holidaymakers alike. The hotels have nightly entertainment, with lots of Cuban music, dancing and cocktails on offer.


Most tourists take advantage of the all-inclusive tourist packages offered by the hotel complexes where food is served buffet-style, and many of these hotels offer their buffets to non-guests as well. Outside of the resorts there are various options. Private restaurants (paladares) in people's houses are not allowed in Valadero and all restaurants are government-owned. In Varadero town there is everything from market food stalls and fast food outlets to sit-down restaurants.


Varadero's largest shopping complex is Plaza America where fancy boutiques and all manner of shops cater to American-style consumerism - holidaymakers looking for a spending spree will not be disappointed. There are a number of artisan markets that sell a wide variety of souvenirs along Avenue 1. For cigars the Casa del Habano sells excellent quality cigars.

Local time is GMT -5 (GMT-4 from the second Sunday in March to the last Sunday in October).
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