Varadero, in Matanzas province east of Havana, is Cuba’s beach par excellence. There’s strong competition from the Jardines del Rey (another of the island’s most gorgeous beaches), but Varadero is still reigning champ.
Varadero, also called Blue Beach (Playa Azul) is sister city of Cancun in Mexico. It is a skinny peninsula, some 20 km long, but just 1.2 km wide. Though seemingly modern and new, Varadero was founded in 1887, and thereafter, served as a harbor for Spanish galleons.
Such a gem couldn’t remain undeveloped for long. In the early 1930s, American millionaire Irénée du Pont Nemours, built his estate on the peninsula. Today, his mansion houses a restaurant and is part of the Varadero Golf Club.
Varadero’s hotels and resorts are amongst the finest on the island. There are more than 300 days of sunshine per year and batik blue seas. The most exclusive resorts are located on the tip of the Peninsula de Hicacos, about 8 km from the town center.
Varadero boasts various outdoor arts and crafts markets, plenty of restaurants and exciting off-resort nightclubs.
Varadero is only two hours from Havana, allowing for full-day Havana excursions.