|Hotel photo||Hotel name||Stars||Plan||Place|
|Hotel Meliá Varadero||5||AI||Varadero, beach|
|Hotel Meliá Las Américas||5||AI||Varadero, beach|
|Hotel Tryp Península Varadero||5||AI||Varadero, beach|
|Hotel Meliá Las Antillas||5||AI||Varadero, beach|
|Hotel Paradisus Varadero||5||AI||Varadero, beach|
|Hotel Sol Palmeras||4||AI||Varadero, beach|
|Hotel Sol Sirenas Coral||4||AI||Varadero, beach|
|Hotel Playa de Oro||4||AI||Varadero, beach|
|Hotel Tuxpan||4||AI||Varadero, beach|
|Hotel Arenas Blancas||4||AI||Varadero, beach|
|Hotel Villa Cuba (Hotel)||4||AI||Varadero, beach|
|Hotel Palma Real||4||AI||Varadero center, near to the beach|
|Hotel Club Amigo Plus Varadero||4||AI||Varadero, beach|
|Hotel Playa Alameda Varadero||4||AI||Varadero, beach|
|Hotel Internacional||4||AI||Varadero, plage|
|Hotel Cuatro Palmas||4||BB||Varadero, beach|
|Hotel Barlovento||4||AI||Varadero, beach|
|Hotel Brisas del Caribe||4||AI||Varadero, beach|
|Hotel Varadero Sunbeach||3||AI||Varadero, beach|
|Hotel Kawama Standard||3||AI||Varadero, beach|
|Hotel Club Karey||3||AI||Varadero, plage|
|Hotel Club Tropical||3||AI||Varadero, beach|
|Hotel Las Palmas||3||AI||Varadero, beach|
|Hotel Villa La Mar Apt 2 Hab||2||BB||Varadero, beach|
BB = Bed & Breakfast (only bed and breakfast included) HB = Half Board (only a meal included) AI = All Inclusive (almost all included) EP = European Plan (nothing included)
Located at about sixty miles from Havana (about 120 Km.), the dynamic and industrious province of Matanzas is remarkable, among other things, by the richness of its Afro-Cuban folklore. Matanzas is the second largest province of Cuba and may take pride in having the highest and most coveted torism destination in Cuba: Varadero. But, putting Varadero aside, Matanzas is equally important and it's also famous for its cities from the colonial times. Out of these, we need to mention first of all, its capital, Matanzas City and the city of Cárdenas, but we also point out the Zapata Swamp, a large and dry area of mangroves, occupying a large part of the half of the southern area of the province. This southern area of Matanzas entails in itself great historical and sentimental values for modern Cubans. On the other hand, it has been in this area, in the highly celebrated Bay of Pigs where the newly born Cuban Revolution successfully defended the territory from the Cuban American exiled invasion, organized by the CIA. Matanzas is also an important agricultural region with huge sugar cane plantations, cedar forests and cattle farms.
The Bellamar Caves at the La Alcancía Farm, where the largest caves of Cuba are found; El Morrillo Fort, a fortress having a historical value; Guamá (The Treausure Lagoon), in the middle of Zapata Peninsula, which represents the largest mirror of natural water of Cuba. The legend claims that the Taino Indians chief, upon the arrival of the Spanish conquerors had thrown sacks of gold into the water, although no treasure has ever been found; the crocodile raising center always in the nearness of the Guamá Mouth; Ambrosio's Cave on the Hicacos Peninsula, a cave where the aboriginal ceremenonies were held ; the Mangón Lagoon where 19 species of migratory birds live, 12 species of endemic birds and 24 species of reptiles; and finally, the Great Montemar Natural Park in the Zapata peninsula, a particularly interesting place for the ecological tourism.
"E blanc, A vert, O bleu, voyelles, je dirais quelque jour vos naissances latentes", the poet was lying, but we are not, because E, A, O are the vowels of Varadero, while its sands are white, its waters are blue and its lush vegetation is green.
Varadero, the Azzure Beach of Cuba, is approximately two hours away from Havana or just a few minutes by plane. Varadero is undoubtedly the touristic capital of Cuba, with more than 20 kilometers of beaches where white sands and a blue sea compete in beauty. These 20 km are disseminated by hotels, tourist structures, entertaiments, stores, restaurants, etc. Green, white and blue are the basic colors of this splendid landscape. Known internationally by its transparent seas, Varadero comprises over 23 golf courts, both for amateurs and professionals, many restaurants and bars on the beach, facilities for outdoor and water sports and hotels for all tastes and pockets. Varadero also has ten virgin islands, several marine floras and over 40 kinds of corals, a great variety of fish, over 70 types of molusks among other lots of flora and fauna.
Varadero is divided into three different areas, all of them united by the same stretch of beach. The beach part of Varadero is united through an iron bridge to the rest of Varadero locality, where Cubans live and where the night life, the food and the entertainment are concentrated even more. The streets are divided by blocks numbered from 1 to 65 all along the whole peninsula and they are all distributed starting from Avenida Primera, the only avenue whole length reaches 5 km. The two kilometers zone at the city west, separated to the rest from Laguna de Paso Malo, is the Kawama district, it's full of hotels. But the majority of the all-inclusive fancy hotels are located on the east, an area reserved for tourism where Cubans have access only since 2008.
The versions about the origins of the name "Varadero" are two. According to some people, it's called like this because the ships which used to sail during the nortes (local atmospheric phenomena) were stuck over sand banks (called varabanes, plural form of varabán), from which Varadero that would mean place of "varabamiento" or "scrumbling of varabans". According to some other versions, the name is derived from the fact that the sailors used these sand banks to anchor (precisely to varar) those ships needing repairs. Therefore, according to this meaning Varadero would mean "place where boats are brought to the land". Anyway, both etimologies have to do with the sand banks, typical of Varadero, and both the name and the verb are phonetically similar to the word "Varadero". In fact, Varadero is full of sand banks, so the logics leads to the conclusion that the true origin is explained because of so many varabanes that exist there.
Varadero is dominated by tourism and for that, hotels never lack there. Among hotels, stores, and night clubs scattered all along the penisula, there are areas where the activities are much more concentrated, but none of these entertainments diminish the major attraction calling most of the Varadero tourists: the beach. A surface of white sand and transparent waters seeming endless. Varadero is also the best place of Cuba where to practice all kinds of nautical sports.
Varadero is poor in terms of sites having a cultural or historical interest and the few existing ones wear out the interest rapidly. Central Varadero, particularly the area between 56th and 64th streets, has the highest proportion of things to see, stores and restaurants. However, there is the Municipal Museum which explains the history of Varadero according to several degrees of interest, including some pictures of Fidel Castro, Che Guevara and Camilo Cienfuegos, who have stayed at Varadero hotels during the 60s. Along the street where the Municipal Museum is located there is the Josone Park entrance, also called Josone Retreat, the quietest and most picturesque natural park in Central Varadero. The design is simple and there is a small lake, surrounded by palm trees. The are also three restaurants and a cafeteria in order to help to lengthen a visit which would be otherwise short.
Even in 1880, Varadero was only a small shipyard port. The locality imposed itself little by little on everybody's attention, not only due to its natural beauties, but also to the existence of a huge salt production plant which could provide salt supplies for Cuba and all the Spanish fleet. At the beginning of the 19th century, the riches burgeois people from the nearby city of Cárdenas began to build their own vacation houses, but it was only with the arrival of Dupont de Neumours, an American millionaire of French origin, that the aspect and the fate of Varadero were cast. In fact, in 1926, Mr. Dupont spent one million and three hundred thousand dollars (dollars back then!) so as to build over the Xanadú sea, enriched by marble from Carrara, decorations in cashew wood, tiles from Seville and authored paintings. Obviously he could not be less than the hobbies and fancy stuff he was used to and so he ordered the golf court construction, a garden of exotic cactuses and a rearing of iguanas (an unavoidable layer of a refined exoticism). Not pleased yet, Dupont also installed a racing track, a shipping deck and other buildings. We cannot forget that the lot of the villa used to occupy 14 out of the 20 kilometers of Hicacos peninsula and that this work employed 104 subordinates, between employees and workers. In 1957, Mr. Dupont visited his house for the last time, because with the Cuban Revolution triumph, his house has passed to State hands and was opened to the public. On the first floor the Las Américas restaurant was opened, on the second one, a bar where we can enjoy a splendid view of the peninsula. On the upper floors the luxurious bedrooms can be admired where Dupont lived (today they are rented as hotel rooms).
There is plenty to be enchanted with before the beauty of the terrace panorama (where now there is the bar with elegant and kind waiters), enriched by the colorful tiles from Seville and by the thermal ceramic ceiling, constructed with the objective of protecting the building from the sun heat.
The ambience is absolutely charming: it's impossible to stay indifferent in front of the library over the former private beach, where we can eat surrounded by old books. Impossible not to be stunned by the famous meridian, constructed in a way that a lense that at noon ignites a wick of a miniature canon.
Out of uncertain but curious reasons, Dupont died on December 12, 1963, the very day when Las Americas restaurant was inaugurated. Between this latter and the International Hotel, there is a small hill where a monumental group was constructed with Don Quixote and Sancho Panza. It deserves a stop. We have absolutely to stop also in front of the former masion of Fulgencio Batista (the dictator that governed Cuba before the taking of power of Castro's gouvernment), which was transformed in a laundromat after the dictator left the stage. Likewise, the "former astronaut house" have had a sad luck (for the way it's used nowadays). They constitute a succession of villas which, during over 25 years have served as tropical rest to the Soviet astronuats, before and after their space enterprises.
On the eastern end of Varadero peninsula there are three square kilometers which have been saved from development because they have been declared as "ecological reserve". This is the only area of Varadero where we may enjoy wild nature of uncontaminated landscapes.
Undoubtedly, the Varadero greatest attraction continues to be the beach. From the Dupont Mansion to the westernmost point of Varadero, this is accesible to everyone, whether they are hotel guests or not. On these 11 kilometers of uninterrupted beaches there are no many differences, with the exception of the stretch between 57th and 61st streets, where the Albacora restaurant breaks up the monotony of the panorama and serves as a landmark.