Navigating Varadero: The Ultimate Travel Guide

Varadero in Cuba is a favorite destination for Canadians because it perfectly combines pristine beaches, vibrant culture, rich history and delectable gastronomy.

For top tips to help you plan your trip and all the ins and outs on the destination, check out our guide which reveals the key elements for turning your trip into a tapestry of memories.

The Dry Season (also characterized as high season), which runs from November to April, is the most pleasant time of the year to visit the island, with temperatures ranging between 21°C to 27°C and minimal rainfall. On the other hand, the Rainy Season, from May to October, is characterized by heavy rainfalls and the possibility of hurricanes. The temperature during these months ranges between 24°C and 35°C.
  • Avoid touts. They will try to take you to very expensive restaurants, bars and clubs as they receive a commission for everyone they bring. If you take the time to hunt around yourself, you can find better quality options at a lower price.
  • Staying in “Casa Particular” (a sort of bed and breakfast) can be inexpensive when compared to a luxury hotel. Some hosts may allow guests to prepare food in their kitchens, so look for ones that do and buy groceries if you want to save on eating out.
  • November through March are the most expensive months for travelling to Cuba. If you want to save, you will be able to find better hotel rates in the months of May, June, September and October.
  • Even if you can pay directly with cash for some products or services in foreign currency, try to exchange dollars for Cuban pesos. That way,  you will receive more local currency. It's advisable that you do not exchange money at the airport or at official currency exchange offices. Ask your host at your accommodation, restaurant or bar if they know of a place where you can exchange money informally that offers better rates.
  • The WHO suggests the following vaccinations for Cuba: Cholera, Hepatitis A and E, Japanese encephalitis, Meningococcal disease, Rabies, Tick-borne encephalitis, Typhoid, and Yellow fever.
  • Pay attention to the weather forecast, especially during hurricane season (June through November).
  • Be careful with your belongings and use a money belt or secure pouch for valuables.
  • Avoid tap water and consume only well-cooked food. Opt to dine at tourist-frequented restaurants.
  • Use registered taxis only, agree on fares before departing, and avoid carpooling with strangers.
  • Familiarize yourself with local laws and regulations (i.e. photography, drugs, import and export allowances, etc.).
  • For more tips on how to stay safe, visit the Government of Canada website.
Most providers in Canada offer roaming data plans that can be used in Cuba. However, they tend to be expensive. Alternatively, you can purchase a tourist SIM card ( Visitors must purchase it online and pick it up on arrival at Havana or Varadero airports. Depending on the seller, plan start are around $35 USD for 6 GB or 10 GB. Top-up packages are also available. Additionally, hotels will likely offer free or paid Wi-Fi access. Wi-Fi hotspots may be available in nearby villages and towns, and most are located in city parks, main squares, and many entertainment centres.
Canadian citizens and Canadian Permanent Residents who hold a valid passport/PR Card do not require a visa to enter Cuba. Tourists will need a tourist card, which is provided by the airline or tour operator. It is important to note that your Canadian travel documents must be valid for the expected duration of your stay in Cuba. Travellers from Canada will also need to complete an online customs and health declaration within 72 hours of departing for Cuba. An electronic or printed version of the form (with a QR code) will need to be shown to authorities upon arrival. Finally, you must show proof of travel insurance (emergency medical coverage) to enter the country. For more detailed information on the entry requirements for Cuba, visit the Canadian Government Travel Advisory Website.
  • Varahicacos Ecological Reserve – One of the biggest and best-preserved forest and coastal ecosystems in the Hicacos Peninsula featuring exotic wild fauna and flora.
  • Delfinario de Varadero – Considered one of Varadero's most visited attractions, Definario hosts several shows starring the dolphins that live here. For an additional fee, you can interact and swim with dolphins.
  • Cueva de Ambrosio – This cave consists of five galleries spanning more than 300 metres was discovered in 1961. The island's ancient inhabitants left behind approximately 47 aboriginal rock carvings that are believed to date back to pre-Columbian times (approximately 2,000 years ago).
  • Plaza Las Morlas – This commercial maritime promenade offers shopping and entertainment options to visitors, including a bowling alley, several small boutiques (clothing, deli foods), coffee shops, eateries, and a number of bars and nightclubs.
  • Varadero Golf Club – This is the only 18-hole 72 par golf course in Cuba featuring three different golf course designs. Several saltwater lakes and a few holes along the sea create unique scenarios throughout the narrow 3.5 km strip.
  • Parque Josone – This charming green oasis surrounded by flourishing gardens and a reflecting pool crossed by very decorative bridges features lush tropical flora and colourful birds. The park has multiple entertainment options like boat and water bike rentals, a tourist train, several cafes and restaurants, and shops.
  • La Gruta – Also known as The Grotto, this gastronomic establishment is a favorite among visitors. This cave, which is used as a restaurant, features dishes ranging from Cuban and creole to seafood.
  • El Rancho – This food establishment specializes in seafood. Despite the simple yet cozy atmosphere, the live entertainment makes the atmosphere at El Rancho a lively and vibrant one.
  • Xanadu Restaurant – Considered a place well worth dining, this restaurant is specialized in French and International cuisines. Enjoy your meals on the terrace for amazing views of the ocean.
  • Salsa Suarez – With a menu that ranges from international and fusion cuisine to Cuban gastronomy, plus a bar that prepares Cuban cocktails with precision, Salsa Suarez stands out in Varadero's dining scene, not only for its food and drinks, but also for its atmosphere and good service.
  • Ready for a Varadero getaway? Don’t forget your sunscreen and your travel insurance. Our trip insurance plan may provide coverage for trip cancellations, flight delays, lost luggage, and medical emergencies.
Travel insurance is underwritten by CUMIS General Insurance Company, a member of The Co-operators Group of Companies, administered by Allianz Global Assistance, which is a registered business name of AZGA Service Canada Inc.
Travel protected with Allianz Global Assistance
Or call us at 1-844-310-1578 
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