Although many travelers to Varadero, Cuba, want to do nothing more than chill on the beach and swim in the sea, there are several attractions in the city worth checking out. Varadero is no Havana, and you're likely to run into more tourists than locals, but you can still get a taste of Cuban history and culture by visiting the city's sights.
Explore the legacy of the Dupont family by dining at the historic Mansión Xanadu. The bar on the top floor affords quite the view over the city. The Museo Municipal de Varadero is housed in a two-story mansion built in 1921. There you can see period furniture and learn more about the city's history. In the famous cave, Cueva de Ambrosio, check out pre-Columbian drawings. Make sure to visit Iglesia de Santa Elvira, a picturesque colonial style church in the town center.
Delfinario offers dolphin shows three times daily. For an extra fee, you can swim with the dolphins. Plaza América is the area's largest shopping mall. To check out some of Cuba's traditional arts and crafts, visit the beachside Artisan Market hosted by Parque Central.
Varadero is a beach resort city, so its not high on the list for most outdoor enthusiasts. Nevertheless, if you are in town and need to escape the banality of the beach, there are a few spots of refuge in the city. Varadero's central park is Parque Josone. It is fairly large and includes a lake and many photographic spots. Local families often host parties there. Playa Las Calaveras is a beach that in the past has not been as crowded as Varadero's other beaches, but with many hotels promoting it, the beach may not be as quiet as it once was. Near the Cueva de Ambrosio is a small wildlife reserve, Reserva Ecológica Varahicacos, which isn't really big enough to host anything "wild." There are three short walking trails in the reserve that will lead to some caves and a large cactus.
Article Written By Heather Carreiro
Heather Carreiro is a certified English teacher who has been writing since 2008. The editor of Matador Abroad, her work has appeared online at BootsnAll, Matador Network, GoNOMAD, Journey Beyond Travel and Expat Women. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in linguistics and Middle Eastern studies from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and is pursuing a Master of Arts in English at Bridgewater State University.