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Things To Do In Varadero

May 25, 2008
Cuba is famous for its beaches. People come from around the world to recline in the glorious sunshine and to venture out toward the idyllic turquoise oceans. Of course the biggest beach resort of the entire island is Varadero. Holiday makers visit this particular resort to enjoy more than 20 kilometres of fine white sands and crystal clear water. But beyond these 20 kilometres of beach, there's a whole host of glorious things to see and do for those who want more variety. The city stretches over 14.4 square kilometers, giving us plenty of things to do in Varadero ...

Natural Beauty

Okay, the beach itself is stunning - but this is actually just scratching the surface of the region's aesthetic charms. Indeed, if you do ignore everything but the beach, then you're missing beauty right under your nose; or rather, under the water. Scuba diving is magnificent in Cuba thanks to the island's splendid geographical position, its continental shelf, clear warm waters and vast marine life. With such a large beach, Varadero has 32 established diving sites catering to divers of all abilities and experience, so even if you have never tried it before, you have no excuse not to try donning a wetsuit and exploring the underwater paradise. Most hotels offer diving courses for absolute beginners and a vast array of choice for the more experienced: night dives, cave dives or open sea diving - the choice really is yours! As things to do in Varadero go, scuba diving should be high on your list - it really is an experience!

Parque Reiro Josone is another spot that's worth seeing - and you won't need a wetsuit for this one. The park has been available to visit since 1942 and is a perfect spot to be one with nature on your holiday in Varadero: beautiful trees, a tropical lake and a wide variety of fascinating avian life make this a great spot to visit, and the four restaurants and entertainment facilities means that this is the kind of place you can visit time and time again - and always find something new.

Varadero's caves are worth visiting as well - some can only be visited via the water, but others can be easily visited by those who wish to stay on land - some have even become night clubs, while others remain as great archeological value.

Culture

In terms of cultural entertainment, there are many things to do in Varadero to allow you to get a handle on the city's history and 'feel'. Santa Elvira Church is a particularly interesting structure. Built in 1938, it's an interesting throw-back to life before the revolution, and a fascinating architectural creation in its own rights with an unusual structure of stone and wood, with a suspended half arch.

The Museo Municipal is a good place to start if you want to get a feel of the history of Varadero before mass tourism through the revolution and beyond. If however it's the art that's of greater interest, then the art gallery is a must, featuring paintings, engravings, sculptures and photos by classic Cuba artists, as well as more contemporary figures, including Zaida del Rio and Manuel Mendive.

The Casa de la Cultura is a must visit for culture vultures, home as it is to Los Munequitos de Matanzaz a rumba group of internationally renowned musicians. The area is home to cultural events including poetry readings, music recitals and local trovadores entertaining the Varadero holiday makers and locals.

The Charm of the Market

The highlight for many Varadero holiday makers when they visit the town is undoubtedly the market. This isn't some kind of little market, with stalls filling the area selling everything from cigars, souvenirs, wooden carvings, Cuban figurines, musical instruments and leather works. You just can't beat the big market atmosphere, and even if you're just here to browse, you're virtually guaranteed to leave with a smile on your face.

Although it's not the most varied of resorts, there is a lot more to a holiday in Varadero than just lounging on the magnificent beach. Though that said, you would be missing out to ignore the sands completely - just try not to get sucked in if you want to enjoy the other varied things to do in Varadero!
About the Author
Emma Lelliott is the general manager of Captivating Cuba, an independent Cuba holiday specialist. With offices in Havana and the UK, Captivating Cuba can help you tailor-make the perfect holidays to Varadero.
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