A March 2005 trip
to Varadero by LynnLovesToTravel
Quote: I loved Varadero and would return again. I recommend the Cayo Blanco Catamaran tour and the Havana Special. The Havana Special gives you a tour, history, some free time, then that night you go to the Tropicana Club. The Club is outdoors and the show is fantastic!
Take in all that you can, as there is so much culture in Cuba. The music will get you feeling like dancing, and when the mood strikes you, get up and dance. If you see a band and like their music, a tip will very happily accepted, but your dancing and clapping will show them that you really are enjoying the performance. The band will really play for you after that!
You don't have to go to Havana to buy cigars. You will pay the same in the shops on the main drag in Varadero as you would in shops in Havana. Stay away from the shops in hotels and at clubs and restaurant; they have to pay higher rents, which affects the price you pay.
The food at this hotel was terrible. There was very little selection, and the selection was of things that most of us would not eat! But we found that each night the dinner would get a little better. There is a restaurant straight across the way from the buffet hall. You must make reservations here, and I recommend that you pick a night and do it as soon as possible. The food in this restaurant is a little better.
The staff was typically very friendly! There was one woman behind the front desk (a younger woman) who expected a tip to get anything done for you. There was also one barman that would pour your drink based on the tip you gave. Stand your ground and demand that he put more in. You are not expected to tip every time you go to the bar as was explained by our vacation rep. Tip is based on the service provided to you, and that is what we followed.
The beach was fairly nice. Get there early if you want to get one of the grass-umbrella things or a beach chair. They go fast! The sand is really nice and soft, the water is great, and the bar is close, too!
There is a bar in the lobby. This bar is for the guests who are not on an all-inclusive package. You can purchase drinks there if you’d like. There items at this bar the other bars do not provide for you. You can get an espresso or cappuccino there as well.
If you feel that your room attendant is doing a fine job, leave her a tip on the TV. Generally, we were leaving a couple of pesos a day, and sometimes things like candy and hair accessories.
The entertainment was nonexistent most nights. There were 3 nights we knew there was a show. The first started with a fashion show and led to what was described as something worse than the first-grade musical at your child’s school. The second was a really good magic show. The third, and final, show was really just a night to pull guests up on the stage and embarrass the heck out of them.
Member Rating 2 out of 5 on March 29, 2005
First stop after leaving the airport
Off of Calle 32, just on the beach, is a wooden building, almost like a cabin. This has a really nice restaurant where you can have a very good meal and a few drinks for about $20 to $30 per person. The food was very good here.
Just across the street from the main bank in Varadero on Calle 36 is a restaurant that the local resort and shop staff were eating at. We had a lobster salad - mmmm, it was delicious!
On the other side of the street at Calle 36 is an outdoor restaurant that was serving some really good french fries if you are really missing those.
There is a little ice-cream shop (I think it is on Calle 42) that also serves hamburgers and pizza. We had the pizza, which was really good. They don't use very much sauce, but the pizza dough was super!
Go off the beaten path and you might just find a gem. Don't be afraid to try something new; you might be pleasantly surprised.
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on March 29, 2005
The second is a catamaran to Cayo Blanco. This catamaran takes you out to a shallow reef in the ocean and you go snorkeling, or you may wish to remain on the boat and just relax. The snorkeling was not great on this particular trip. After snorkeling, we had a snack of lobster, which was $10 each. The lobster was fabulous, and we snacked on this as we cruised to the island of Cayo Blanco. While there, we were free to relax, swim, drink, shop, and later, have lunch of more lobster, shrimp, and chicken. Then it was back on the catamaran to return to the dock.
This last tour leads to something of great upset. The catamaran tour included a bonus of a dolphin show, which I am not really comfortable with, but I went along, as I had no choice. It was a short show, but it lead to my friends wanting to do the dolphin swim. They insisted that I go with them. When the time came, we just couldn't do it. The water the dolphins are trapped in looked and smelled like a toilet. We decided we could not get in that water, and our eyes began to open even wider to see what was really happening to these magnificent creatures. They were living in very small holding pens, and we became very sad and totally enraged at this. This is where I plead with you to not participate in this activity. I believe that for your own health and safety, you should avoid the swim with the dolphins, and for their safety too, please avoid the show as well. Only by decreasing the demand can we help them to be released from this hell. I have already written a letter to one animal rights’ group, and I intend to continue to write about this horror!