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Varadero Beach: Vamos a la Playa!
The beach is the most important reason for most of the tourists to come to Varadero. Sunseekers also get their full enjoyment, because Varadero Beach is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful beaches on the globe. 2019 the beach was ranked as the second most beautiful beach in the world.
More than twenty kilometers of white coral sand, pleasantly warm, clear shimmering water and the entire year the best weather make the award worthy. The slightly sloping water is also particularly suitable to swim in for smaller children. Since there is also many to discover under the water, it is recommended to bring your own snorkeling equipment with you.
To be exact, there is not a single beach in Varadero, but at least three sections can be distinguished. The most authentic beach runs to the west, along the center of the actual town ("Varadero Downtown"). The further east you go, the fewer Cubans visit the beaches.
There are three shorter sections in the center. On the east there is another - quite extensive - part of the beach. This part of Varadero Beach is nearly exclusively visited from resort guests.
On the hotel beaches occasionally come flying merchants. The sellers usually just walk along the waterline and are not very pushy. On offer are mainly hats, clothes, shells or starfish. In the interest of nature conservation, one should not buy shells or snail shells. Bringing along souvenirs can also lead to problems at customs - both at exit and entry.
The following overview shows what to expect at which section:
West Varadero Beach
Along the western half of the peninsula lies the longest and widest part of the beach. It stretches from the beginning of the peninsula to the Varadero Golf Club for nearly 10 km. There are quite few hotels on this section, with most of the hotel complexes concentrated at the eastern end.
This part of the beach is the most authentic section, most visited by Cubans and a few individual travelers. Individual tourists and backpackers stay in the private accommodations, which are distributed exclusively on the western half of the peninsula. Since the section is quite wide, the beach is not overcrowded and even quite empty in winter, as Cubans come more often on weekends during the summer months. Not far from the beach there are some smaller supermarkets and snack bars, with limited offers. With a little luck, however, you will be able to find the most important drinks and snacks. If you want to spend the whole day at the beach, it is advisable to bring enough food.
Individual travelers can rent a sunbed and an umbrella for 2 USD per person. There are sunbeds around the level of 14th or 52nd street. If you prefer to lie on the sand, you can try to take shelter from the sun under one of the few trees. Unfortunately, there are no public showers or toilets.
Central Varadero Beach
In the center of the peninsula there are three relatively small stretches of beach, bordered on the sides by hearings. The beaches are somewhat narrower and more cove-like.
Starting from the west, the first section is firmly in the hands of Melia Hotels. Along the beach, which is almost 600 meters long, are the Melia Las Americas and the large Melia Varadero. In the middle of the two hotels is the Plaza América, which houses a shopping center and a diving center. At the western end of the beach is the Xanadu property and the Varadero golf course. Visitors to the beach include primarily guests of Melia Hotels, but also some Cubans, as the beach is not only free to access, but sunbeds and umbrellas can be reserved (5 USD).
To the east is another section of beach just under 800 meters long. This section is shared by the guests of three large hotels (Sol Palmeras, IBEROSTAR Bella Vista Varadero & Hotel Ocean Vista Azul).
Again, a little further east is the third section, where the Naviti Beach Club and the Occidental Allegro Varadero Resort are located. This section is around 400 meters long.
All three beaches can become quite crowded during high season, when the hotels are full. Therefore, during winters, you have to expect that the sunbeds on the beach will not remain unused.
East Varadero Beach
On the eastern part of the peninsula, there is an extensive beach that stretches for almost ten kilometers. Along this section are a good twenty large hotel complexes. Here the hotel guests stay among themselves. At the eastern end, there is the Marina Varadero, with a diving center, a small supermarket, a bowling alley and a few restaurants. To the far east is the small Cayo Buba, where a new luxury resort is build.