Lonely Planet Cuba


Varadero, Cuba, is not your typical Caribbean hangout.

This beautiful tourist hotspot is located on the peninsula Hicacos on the northern coast of Cuba - situated 150 or so miles south of the Florida Keys. If you fly into Havana - otherwise known as La Habana by the locals - Varadero is 75 miles to the east.

Varadero may not be the most secluded place in Cuba, but the beaches and markets are definitely worth a few days of touristy stuff. The beach areas are white and beautiful - the markets were specifically erected to provide tourists with the opportunity to buy Cuban souvenirs to take back to their homelands.

Alternately, you can while away a few days sipping Mojito and snoozing by a hotel pool (I did that all day a few days).

Or (or!), there of plenty of other things to do in the immediate area:

  • Windsurfing.
  • Kitesurfing.
  • Snorkeling.
  • SCUBA diving.
  • And ... laid-back catamaran cruises to secret islands.

If you suddenly tire of extreme sports, feel free to break away to take in some musical coolness with the famous Buena Vista Social Club in a nearby arena. Get it? Social club? (ha)

While I was there I did all of the above, and was also able to swim with dolphins at the local "dolphinarium."

I spent 10 nights in a 3-star hotel near the isthmus part of the Hicacos peninsula - and on that note, the hotel star ratings in Cuba are different than those in the United States. If you normally stay in 3-star hotels, it might be a good idea to upgrade to a 4-star hotel in Cuba. Our room was clean, but a little on the old and rickety side. The same mindset applies to food and drinks, as in, they were much better in the 4-star hotel next door to our 3-star.

Otherwise, we saw a ton of old classic cars and historical venues that you normally only read about - a lot of Che Guevara paintings and murals, for example.

Make sure you thoroughly read through the State Department notes on Cuba, and get your shots, before you go.

By Steven Crew, with Sean Kinn.

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Comments 6 comments

spirit929 profile image

spirit929 5 years ago from Upstate NY somewhere over the rainbow

Greta information on Cuba ! Good to know

jt walters 5 years ago

I have a son as well. He's Italian. I hope to take him to Italy someday and of course Germany as well.

I have been to more "Calle Ochoes" than I care to admit. We love the Cuban people we just want them to live in good conditions.

If tourism helps and it is safe for Americans ot travel well then I am all for it. But I would really like the Cuban people to be reunited. I know it sounds very delusional but my family has spent generation after generation trying to make Cuban a better place to live. We left New York for Florida for this very reason.

Do you go to Venezuela as well? That is a good time as well. It amazes me thier language is Italian. Atleast I understand them entuirely and they understand my Italian.

Perhaps in my life time Cuba will be open and I will be able to show my son all of the work his great grandfather did to inprove the lives of the Cuban people but then we would have to visit Guam, the Philipines, Hawaii, Denmark and all the other places my grandfather built.

So yo are a Father and you are married. That's cool.

sean kinn profile image

sean kinn 5 years ago from Key West and Budapest Author

Yes, I guess my purpose was not to whitewash the country's problems - like you said, just to invite people to visit because it's cool. I think it's nice that they would even let my son visit the country. He has dual nationality, so he didn't go as an American. :-)

JT Walters profile image

JT Walters 5 years ago from Florida

Oh I don't think I should write the deails of what I know. I would point to the human rights violations and the young children in that country. It is a great place to vacation. Exceptionally inexpensive. The price differential should not have been much between a thre star hotel and a four star hotle. All of the details coming out of that pace is that it is exceptionally cheap but not particularly good for its citizens.

And there is an irony in that the govenor of the State of Florida is being sued for discrimination, abuse and segregation while the USA condems Cuba for Human Rights violations.

I liked your article. Your goal is to get people to travel to Cuba. I know many people who believe Cuba will be opened up in the next several years. So we can get the Casinos out of Florida and put them back into Cuba.

But we will have to wait and see.

Good Read.

sean kinn profile image

sean kinn 5 years ago from Key West and Budapest Author

JT, go ahead and list some of the details. This was one of my sons adventure travel trips, but he saw a lot of political stuff that was interesting, too. Maybe I should expand the Hub? Sean

JT Walters profile image

JT Walters 5 years ago from Florida

My grandfather built Cuba after Baptiste. I love this article. I respect you are a travel writer but you elft a few details out about what is going on in Cuba.

Travel...I got it.

Great read!

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