The warm, clear waters of Varadero are calm and inviting, great for any diver or snorkeller to enjoy. With a great variety of coral gardens, wrecks, channels, tunnels, sandy bottom, cays and inlets and fish species, you're sure to have a great time exploring under the water here.
You'll find a dive centre at either end of the town and a couple in the middle with daily trips out to the nearby cays and national park. There are around 30 sites in the area, from 30-120 minutes from the marina, ranging from 5-35 metres in depth so the diving is suitable for all levels of divers.
Sea life is varied and the area is great for macro photography. There are a vast number of different hards and soft corals, snapper, groupers, schools of grunts, moray eels reaching up to 2 metres in the length, barracudas, lobsters and many reef fish.
Barco Hundido is a wreck which lies at 10 metres, meaning any level of diver can enjoy. The Blue Hole is worth exploring, at 45 metres across and 70 metres deep it's also great for free diving enthusiasts and deep divers. Deep and technical divers can also check out the sites of Paradise and La Pared.
The Cayo Piedras del Norte Sea Park is an interesting site with the remains of a yacht, rocket launcher boat, frigate, passenger plane and towboat, all deliberately sunk here to create an artificial reef. Caribe is a great site to see green morays that come to feed from your hand and there are also the remains of a German merchant ship.
If you like caves and caverns then the Saturno Cave is a very different dive with super clear waters, wonderful rock formations and critters such as shrimps and the blind fish.
So what interesting things will you find on your diving adventures in Varadero? It's a great way to spend some days on your holiday, so take the plunge into the warm, clear waters and don't forget your camera!
(by Kelly Luckman)
The resort capital of Cuba, Varedero is a gorgeous beachside town with stretches of white sand and aqua water, it's any beach lover's dream. Located on the Hicacos Peninsula about 140km from Havana, Varadero is a popular beach escape from the busy life of a big city.
The Juan Gualberto Gomez Airport is about 10km from town with direct flights from Canada and many place in Europe, usually on package deals. You can fly from a few places in Cuba as well or it's a short car or bus trip from Havana if you fancy taking the highway. The hop on hope off bus is great for getting around the town or you can hire a moped for a day pretty cheap. Taxis are readily available for transport.
This is the home of all inclusive hotels. You can find an all inclusive 3 star on the beach for around $50 a night for 2 people, so as you can see it can be very cheap to stay here! 4 star hotels start at around $80 a night, golf all inclusive for around $150 a night up to 5 star, ocean view, royal service, romance suits for around $420 (doesn't that sound divine!). Hostel beds start from $23 a night.
The number one attraction in Varadero is the 20km stretch of white sandy beach so finding a secluded spot to enjoy your day is relatively easy. Be careful while swimming though, always check the flags for water conditions. Try your hand at some golf, the town has the only 18 hole golf course in Cuba. There are a couple of caves to explore such as the Saturno, Bellamar and Ambrosio caves or take a nice walk through the Josone Park to view the birds and listen to some local music.
Head out on the water for some diving or snorkelling, the reefs here are really beautiful. There are a couple of museums to see if this is your thing or visit the Mansion Xanadu which is rather extravagant. Hike through the Varadero Ecological Park and find the ancient cactus that lies there. Discover the delicious and cheap rum at the house of rum for a real taste of Cuba. You can sky dive over the water here if you've always wanted to try it.
If you haven't gone all inclusive then there are a few open air food stalls but good food is sometimes hard to find and can be expensive. Be sure to try the signature drink of Cuba: The Mojito. If you find a good one ask them to teach you how to make it so you can take your new cocktail making skill home with you. They are delicious. Also try some Cuban coffee or grape wine.
Lazy beach days are your key to a relaxing trip to Valadero. If you want to experience the real Cuba though, take the two hour trip to Havana and sigh with relief on returning to Valadero, where life goes back to its snail pace. Have fun in the sun!
(By Kelly Luckman)