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Best Beaches in Varadero

1. Cayo Coco

Ideal Cuban Vacation

Cayo Coco, part of the Jardines Del Rey chain of islands spread along Cuba's northern coast, boasts white-sand, clear-water beaches. It has garnered quite a reputation as a top vacation spot with its many all-inclusive resorts and plethora of tourist amenities.

Its beauty and simplicity have been admired by visitors for years; legend has it that Ernest Hemingway was so taken with the island that he used it as a setting for one of his most famous novels, "The Old Man and the Sea."

Exploring Cayo Coco

To get a sense of all that the island offers, plan to take the bus that runs from the eastern end of Cayo Coco to the western end, and stop off at various public beaches along the way.

The water is shallow for the most part, so you can easily snorkel close to the beachfront, or rent some water sports equipment from one of the hotels.

Tours and Excursions

There are a few noteworthy attractions on Cayo Coco worth a mention. For those drawn to the thumping and bumping of nightlife, head to La Cueva, a popular club situated in a natural cave. Just be prepared for strong drinks and a rowdy crowd.

Consider booking a glass-bottom boat excursion, which can give you excellent views of aquatic life and can get you to some amazing snorkeling spots.

You can also arrange a tour of the nearby village of Morón to learn more about its history and architecture, and visit a sugar mill and a crocodile farm. These are just a few examples, but there are plenty more options to choose from to customize your dream trip to Cayo Coco.

Cayo Coco at a glance

City: Jardines del Rey

Country or State: Cuba

Length of Beach: 12 miles

Access: By car, by taxi

Best time to visit: March to April

High Season: December to April

Low Season: May to June

Facilities:

  • Restaurants
  • Hotels rent beach gear
  • No lifeguards
  • No public restrooms

Beach Type:

  • White sand
  • Saltwater
  • Popular

2. Varadero Beach

A Cuban Classic

While there are many reasons travelers love Varadero Beach, it's the 12-mile stretch of sand, said to be the loveliest in Cuba, that impresses them the most. A resort town through and through, Varadero Beach has been welcoming visitors since the 1870s, and its reputation as a tourist hotspot grew even more in the 1920s.

Nowadays, massive resort complexes reign here, and with the crowds of beach-crazy tourists comes every imaginable beach activity under the sun.

Beach Attractions

For starters, swimming and snorkeling are popular here, thanks to the beach's shallow, calm waters. Divers should explore the area's underwater caves and coral reefs, and anyone with an adventurous spirit and a curious mind should opt for an excursion to the Zapata Peninsula or the Varahicacos Ecological Reserve.

Getting a bit more of the local Cuban flavor will take some effort. A trip to one of the nearby (non-resort) cities like Matanzas or Cardenas should do the trick.

But if you're not very keen on leaving the beach, here's another way to experience the country's distinctive flavor: Have a guarapo, a strong, rum-infused drink served over ice that will cool you down. A freshly made mojito from a local bar will satisfy, too.

Variety for All Ages

Kids will go nuts for the rides at the small amusement park called "Parque de Diversiones."Adults, on the other hand, will be enchanted by the dining, nightlife and live music options along Avenida Playa and Avenida Primera. Even if you're not a good dancer, the rhythms of classic Cuban salsa will be irresistible.

There's a reason more than one million tourists visit this beach every year. Varadero's blend of Cuban charm with the mega-resort feel make it an alluring spot for vacationers with a wide variety of tastes and interests.

Varadero Beach at a glance

City: Varadero

Country or State: Cuba

Length of Beach: 12 miles

Access: By car, by taxi, on foot

Best time to visit: March to April

High Season: December to April

Low Season: May to November

Facilities:

  • Restaurants, bars, shops, golf, spas
  • No lifeguards
  • No public restrooms

Beach Type:

  • White sand
  • Saltwater
  • Popular

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