Varadero: Activities & Excursions
Several organized day trips and excursions can be taken from Varadero. The spectrum of activities ranges from cultural activities to sports and eco-tourism. The tours can be booked directly at the hotels or the offices of the local state-run tour operators.
Since almost all excursions are offered by state-run agencies (havanatur, cubatur & ecotur), they tend to have very similar procedures. The transfer from and to the hotel is almost always included. The trips are made in air-conditioned and comfortable coaches. On all-day excursions, lunch and drinks are usually included. On longer trips, there are breaks at small rest stops that have been established specifically for tourism. In most cases, entrance fees are also included. In case of full excursions, you will be back at the hotel for dinner. If you have booked a half-day excursion, you will usually already be back for lunch.
The excursions are absolutely safe. There is no need to fear pushy behavior of the staff. The tours are primarily designed according to the needs of hotel clientele. Therefore, you will not visit lonely beaches or really authentic places. The organized excursions are designed for package tourism.
However, to spend a nice day and to get an impression of the country, the excursions are well suited. Even though most excursions can be booked at short notice, it is better to book a few days in advance. An early booking request is also advisable because some trips are only available with a minimum number of participants. In case of bad weather conditions, it is likely that excursions will be postponed or cancelled. If you are unlucky and activities are cancelled, you will of course receive a full refund.
Payment can be made in cash or by credit card. When making a reservation, you will receive a voucher, which must be presented at the beginnin of the tour. The trips are accompanied by travel guides, whereby one should inquire in advance about the desired language. As a rule, all travel guides speak at least decent English.
The excursions can also be booked in advance via the Internet. However, the prices are a little higher online. If you would like to make a selection from the comfort of your own home, you can use this option. An overview of the individual offers can be taken from the following overview.
Excursions & Activities:
Cities & Culture
- Excursion to the city of Cárdenas
Guests who book the guided half-day excursion will be picked up at the hotel around 9 in the morning and taken to Cárdenas, about 30 minutes away. The most important sights of the small town will be visited, including: The monument of the Giant Crab, the Christopher Columbus Park, a small cathedral and also the oldest figure of Columbus in Latin America. In addition, the second-oldest museum of the country is visited (Museo Oscar Maria de Rojas). This excursion is highly recommended for package tourists. It is a possibility to get out of the quite touristic Varadero and to see a bit of the authentic Cuban life. For lunch, you are back at the hotel. It is priced at 30 USD per person.
- Habana Clonoial
The departure is early in the morning at the hotel in Varadero. On the way to Havana you will stop at a viewpoint (Mirador de Bacunayagua), where you can enjoy the view of the highest bridge in a beautiful landscape. Upon arrival in Havana, a guided tour of the historic center of the city - La Habana Vieja - follows. The most important squares (Plaza de la Catedral, Plaza de Armas, Plaza Vieja, Plaza San Francisco de Asís) will be visited. After a simple lunch, the tour will take you to the historical center of Havana. The most important squares (Plaza de la Catedral, Plaza de Armas, Plaza Vieja, Plaza San Francisco de Asís) will be visited. After a simple lunch the tour will continue in the modern part of Havana. There you will visit the most important cemetery (Cementerio Cristóbal Colón), the famous Malécon and the Plaza de la Revolución (Revolution Square). The hotel in Vardero will be reached in time for dinner at about 5 - 6 pm.
- Three cities: Santa Clara, Cienfuegos & Trinidad
In 12 hours the three touristic important cities Santa Clara, Trinidad & Cienfuegos will be visited. The distance in the short time is about 650 km, so the time for sightseeing or staying is quite limited. However, those who want to make this "intense" trip will visit the main sights of the cities. These include the Che Mausoleum and Monument in Santa Clara, the UNESCO World Heritage listed Old Downtown in Cienfuegos, and the colonial town of Trinidad. The excursion is offered two or three times a week. Departure is between 6 and 7 in the morning. Lunch is included in the price of 90 USD.
Recreation & Nature
- Three Cities & Sierra of the Escambray
The trip is much more relaxed than the pure Three Cities Tour by spending a night in the nature reserve "Topes de Collantes". The nature reserve is located in wonderful surroundings halfway between Trinidad and Santa Clara. After visiting the world heritage cities of Trinidad and Cienfugeos, you will drive north to the impressive landscape of the Sierra of the Escambray. The next day you are driven by jeep or truck into the mountains to the Guanayara Nature Park. On foot you will pass waterfalls and creeks and walk through the tropical vegetation. After lunch the tour continues to Santa Clara. With accommodation and meals, the excursion costs 150 CUC.
- Day trip to the Bay of Pigs & Corkodile Farm
The recommendable day trip to Zapata National Park includes a boat ride and a short hike through the marshlands and mangroves of the Hatiguanico River. A crocodile farm and a replica of a village of the indigenous people of Cuba (Taino Indians) are visited. The huts are located on small islands and are accessible via wooden walkways. At the crocodile farm you can take pictures with young crocodiles, and you can also feed the animals. Souvenirs can also be purchased. There is a cenote-like 70 meter deep cave filled with seawater (Cueva de los Peces) where you can bath. At the "Bay of Pigs", it is possible to swim and snorkel with a coral reef close by. The equipment is provided. The beach is not special, but the underwater world is all beautiful. The excursion includes the bus ride to and from the hotel (about 3h) and lunch at a finca. The price of the full day excursion is 45 USD per person.
- Seafari Cayo Blanco
The day trip is definitely one of the most popular in Varadero. The rather large catamarans leave the marina and sail on the turquoise water towards the east. During the half hour trip you can stay under the shady sun sails or lie on the nets hanging over the water and observe the happenings in the crystal clear water. The first stop is at a coral reef, a great place for swimming and snorkeling (equipment is provided). After the break it goes on to the small deserted island Cayo Blanco. After arrival, you will have lunch (buffet). The meal is accompanied by Cuban musicians. After lunch, you can enjoy the beautiful beach or other activities. The bus transfer from and to the hotel is included. It starts - depending on the hotel - between 8 and 9 o'clock. Around 5 o'clock you are back at the hotel. The trip costs with everything included (food, drinks & equipment) 90 USD per person.
Anyone who prefers more individual adventures to a guided tour may book a rental car and explore on their own. For shorter trips you can also rent a »motor scooter«.