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Hotels in Varadero

Turquoise waters, miles of pristine coastline, and some of the most exclusive hotels Cuba has to offer: it can only be Varadero. Jutting out of the Cuban mainland on a thin strip of land 11 miles long, it’s one of the largest tourist resorts in the Caribbean.

Varadero spans 770 yards at its widest point, meaning that you’re never more than a ten minute walk away from the beach. Four and five star hotel chains can be found dotted along the massive Playa Azul (or ‘Blue Beach’, in English). It’s considered to be the best beach in Cuba, which is quite a boast since Cuba is home to some of the best beaches in the world.

Rum’s the word in Varadero, with plenty of lively beach bars serving up tasty cocktails. Whether you’re relaxing by your hotel swimming pool or lounging on the beach, you’re never far from somewhere to pick up freshly mixed daiquiris, pina coladas, and Cuba’s signature drink, the mojito.

With perfect beaches and excellent drinks, Varadero is one of the best places to spend a few weeks relaxing in the sunshine. If you get bored of lounging around on the beach, there are a few slightly more active options. Diving, fishing, and sailing are popular pastimes on the peninsula which has three marinas and over 30 top-notch diving spots; including a sunken World War II boat.

Varadero also boasts Cuba’s only championship golf course, built in the British links style. Ramblers will enjoy exploring the Varahicacos Ecological Reserve in the north of the island. Among the acres of lush forest you’ll spot rare birds, butterflies and lizards. The reserve is also home to Ambrosio’s Cave, which has two thousand year old cave paintings: painted by the island’s first tourists?

Aboriginal art aside, Varadero has attracted tourists for hundreds of years. The first holiday homes were built on the peninsula in 1887. The first hotel was built in 1915, five years after the first rowing regatta started to attract the rich and famous. During the 1930’s Varadero attracted a diverse crowd of visitors. Millionaire playboy Irenee du Pont Nemours enjoyed holidays here, as did notorious gangster Al Capone and Spanish poet Fredirico Garcia Lorca.

After the communist revolution, the private estates were given back to the people of Cuba. That’s not to say that tourism stopped: far from it. The peninsula became a favourite holiday destination for Russians and Eastern Europeans, who would flock to the beautiful beaches to sip mojitos and dip their toes in the warm turquoise waters.

International tourism took off again during the 1990’s, with large luxury hotel complexes opening their doors to visitors from around the world. Since then, Varadero has become one of the most popular resorts in the Caribbean, with over a million people visiting Playa Azul each year.