Pool or ocean? It’s a tough choice when you’re at the Iberostar Varadero, Cuba, one of the island’s top hotels. But it’s nearly 7 p.m I have just arrived and its time to 1) change, 2) make a decision. Scrap that I decide to run into the ocean in my dress.
On a Varadero beach vacation, spontaneity rules.
Who has time to care about trifles such as bikinis? So far, my trip to Cuba has been a long one and it’s time to feel the sand under my pasty pale toes. It was dark when I arrived last night and right now the ocean is demanding my attention.
The Beach at Varadero
The water is warm, the palest translucent turquoise hue, and so clear you can see the odd fish scooting by. Once you see the beach in Varadero for the first time, you will want to run in fully clothed yourself.
Why People love Varadero
The most developed resort area in Cuba, Varadero sits on a 21 km peninsula lined with brilliant sun-bleached sand – a tropical destination that until now I’d only seen in travel magazines and online.
What took me so long? After less than 24 hours in Cuba, I don’t pretend to have any sort of meaningful grasp on this fascinating mystifying country, but it only takes one glimpse of the beach to understand why it attracts so many tourists each year.
Why people pick Varadero for a beach holiday
Varadero has the best tourist infrastructure in Cuba
Cuba is affordable
Varadero is only 2 hours from Havana
There’s a lot to do. Excursions from Varadero include places such as Ambrosio Cave, where more than 70 pictographs have been preserved, the ruins of La Calavera Salt Works, one of the oldest salt works in the New World, and the town of Varadero itself
Easy access to the Varadero International Airport aka the Juan Gualberto Gomez International Airport (about 25 km away)
And Did I mention the beaches?
A lobster is calling my name
After a full day on the beautiful beaches of Cuba, I really don’t want to get out of the water. The only thing that motivates me is the thought of grilled lobster for dinner. I’ve been to a few Caribbean islands where lobster is a once-on-the-trip splurge, but not in Cuba – at least not at the Iberostar Varadero, a 5-star all inclusive resort.
Cuba may not be known for its cuisine, but the Spanish-based Iberostar hotel chain is, and if I can swing it I plan on having lobster every day.
Cuban culture is synonymous with music. Think mamba, salsa and all those other musical words that end with ‘a,’ add jazz and then start dancing. After my four course dinner (yes, it did include lobster) I waddled over to the see the Iberostar Varadero’s nightly show.
Cuba and music go hand in hand
Flashy and upbeat, with plenty of plumes, glitter and long bronzed legs, the show makes me think of Vegas, or perhaps more accurately, of the legendary Tropicana Club in Havana where celebrities, millionaires and mobsters used to mingle in the glamorous 50s before the revolution.
Back in the 50’s, Varadero was lined with colonial mansions owned by wealthy Americans and Cubans – the Mansión Xanadú built by American millionaire Irenée Dupont between 1926 and 1929, for example, still stands today.
These days in Varadero the mansions have been overshadowed by upscale resorts. Canadian tourists make up the largest percentage of foreign visitors and mobsters such as “Lucky” Luciano and Al Capone are long gone, yet Cuba as a tropical destination still mesmerizes … and the beaches can still lure you in fully clothed.
Iberostar Varadero, Cuba is a 5-star all inclusive property located on Varadero Beach. One of Iberostar’s three top rated ‘Premium Gold’ properties in Cuba, it’s a good choice for a luxury Cuba vacation.
The architecture of the Iberostar Varadero is tropical Cuban: think wicker, airy and bright pastels. The resort is large, spread out over 11 separate buildings with 324 double rooms, 60 junior suites and 2 presidential units. The hotel grounds are well manicured with plenty of flowers and waving palms. On the beach you’ll find thatch umbrellas, water sports and, hopefully, one day again soon, me.
Hotel facilities include a spa, swimming pools and a Mini-Club for kids. There are 3 a-la-carte restaurants, snack bars, poolside restaurants, swim up bars, a lobby bar and a cigar bar. All in all, the resort has plenty to offer, but in all honesty, they had me once I saw the beach and maybe after I had lobster.
Visit Iberostar and check out more on this beautiful resort. I hope you get to visit soon.