Cuba was always on my bucket list, so I decided to follow the rule „make your dreams come true” and in February 2019 booked the flight from Milan, Italy to Santa Clara, Cuba.
After one night spent in Santa Clara, we reached amazing Varadero – the perfect place to have fun, relax and get tanned.
Varadero is a touristic town regarded as the paradise of Cuba because of the 20 km long beautiful beach. There are a lot of bars, restaurants and facilities for tourists plus a huge range of resorts.
We decided to stay in the town, in the central part of Peninsula de Hicacos, where we had the easy access to the bus station, cheap restaurants and the shopping center.
Our favourite restaurant was El Caney where we ate almost every lunch and dinner. The prices are very attractive and the staff nice and helpful.
I can definitely recommend the national meal Enchilado de Camarones (7,15 CUC) and obviously Mojito (2,20 CUC – the cheapest we found in Varadero). In other restaurants the standard price of Mojito is around 3,5 CUC.
As the starter, a popular choice is the shrimp cocktail, prices betweet 3,5 – 4,5 CUC.
If you want to visit Varadero Marina or generally check the beaches at the end of the peninsula, then you can buy the all-day ticket for the double-decker hop on/off Varadero Beach Tour Bus. The price per person is 5 CUC.
To be honest, there is nothing interesting in the resort area of Varadero unless you stay in one of the hotels. The beach was much crowded than in the town and the nearby restaurants more expensive.
What you cannot and for sure don’t want to ignore in Varadero, and generally the whole country, is the variety of old cars. Most of them have been renovated and now serve as taxis so you can have a ride from one point to another for 5 CUC (12 blocks = around 10 minutes). Interesting fact is that COCO taxis charge the same price, so I belive beautiful Chevrolet is a better choice :)
In Varadero you can find everything – amazing beach, good restaurants, souvenirs, a bit of history, romantic sunsets and time to relax. But it is not the real Cuba you most probably want to experience. The town is perfect for tourists to have some fun and swim in the sea. I really enjoyed being there but wanted more so our next stop was the capital!
Time to get the ride to Havana. The cheapest option is to take the bus Viazul but you need to book it in advance as this is the popular choice of many tourists. However, if you cannot make it, you have different options. One of them is to hire a colectivo taxi you share with other people going the same direction. The price from Varadero to Havana (2,5 h ride) is 20 CUC per person. Good to try something new!