A paradise beach & a kitschy Christmas
I had to admit my feelings were mixed when we decided to put Varadero on our Cuba route. Varadero is the busy number one charter destination in Cuba. But I had also read that Varadero really has the most beautiful beach in Cuba. It is possible to stay at casa particulares (concept explained in this >> post) but we selected an all inclusive resort. When making this choice bare in mind that in Cuba you can deduct two stars from what is actually marketed. While the casas make their utmost to make you feel like a Queen, always keeps super tidied and serves you very well prepared food and drinks, the hotels in Cuba are pretty run down. Cleaners often does not bother to clean unless you leave them tip everyday, even if it is included as a standard service. Waiters will not give attention to your table, even if it is included, unless you tip them. But we have to admit it was kind of good fun. We had picked an average hotel close to the center. And took it for what it was.
So were we happy with our choice? Oh yes! Just scroll down and you will see why 😉
The beach was situated about five minutes walk from our hotel Bellevue Palma Real. But it has a snack bar with free drinks as well so it was all very convenient. But what else would you expect from an all inclusive resort? The picture number two below shows how it can also look like if you want to be as close as possible to the drinks & snacks. Luckily the beach is endless and it is possible to find more quiet spots along the beautiful stretch.
We arrived on Christmas Eve and was told it was a special night. And what a welcome! The staff must have been working very hard to present us the most kitschy buffet I have ever seen. Butter creations looking like a mermaid or Santa Claus. Fishy art in gel, mayonnaise rubbed fishes, ham and cheese palm trees and more gelly thins and so fort. It tasted OK as did the buffet the rest of our days. But we were rather happy we had brought some chili from home to spice it up a bit. Let´s put it like this; I managed to get one plate for every meal with things that tempted me. But after eating that I was not tempted to get more 😉
Every night after dinner it was possible to watch a nice show in the hotel outdoor theater. There were different performances every night and they were really good!
The hotel itself was OK. Food, drinks & daily entertainment. And if you still wanted more there was always a hotel nearby that had a special club night. We found a nice place close by called Calle 62 where people, both locals and tourists, were dancing on the street to live music. Lot´s of salsa! The good things with Varadero is that there is actually locals living there too 😀 We tried the local “Casa de la musica”, a concert/social dancing institution which is found in most big cities throughout Cuba. Casa de la musica´s has a matinée from around 17-21 and a night performance from around 22-02. We tried a matinée called Discotemba and it was just us and locals. Most of the performance is salsa and other typical Cuban bands. But Discotemba is one of a kind. From around 17-19 people just sat and watched old music videos from the 80’s and 90’s which were shown on big screens. People drank beer and sang along. After that a DJ started spinning every things from Y.M.C.A. to Macarena and Cubans of all ages went completely wild. It was a fun experience 😉 Una tarde loca!
One day it rained hard. But no worries, the main street in Varadero is actually pretty green and cozy with lot´s of cafes, restaurants and souvenir shops to spend your time and money in. Varadero definitely exceeded my expectation. Don´t hesitate to go! 🙂