Nature and culture in Havana and Varadero
Why choose between nature and culture on your next Cuba vacation? Varadero and Havana offer the perfect combination of heavenly beaches, history, colorful streets, festive restaurants and luxurious all-inclusive hotels.
Varadero is a seaside resort very close to an international airport with 21 kilometers of beaches, calm seas and a range of water activities and boat excursions. Moreover, due to its shallow waters, it is the perfect place for beginners in scuba diving or snorkeling enthusiasts. A unique feature of the province of Matanzas, where Varadero is located, is its network of caves of more than 23 kilometers. That is why it is possible to leave some time in the depths of the region to discover all the underground natural beauty hidden there.
Fine sandy beaches, turquoise waters, Varadero is a dream destination for hours of relaxation.
Less than two hours from Varadero is the capital of the island of Cuba, Havana. Its rich history includes attacks by pirates and corsairs, the building of castles and ramparts, the passage of ships loaded with gold, emeralds, and spices through its important port, an epidemic of plague, a American occupation, then a great revolution.
Walking its streets today, we see traces of the past that now give way to a thriving culture, colorful buildings, symbols of American cars of another era, and most of all, welcoming and smiling Cubans.
A must in the Cuban capital: colorful old American cars, sometimes converted into taxis.
Air Transat also offers to combine two destinations for your vacation in a Duo package that allows you to spend part of your stay in the historic capital Havana, and the other, on the beaches of Varadero.
Who has not heard of the famous Cuban cigars? Whether it’s called habano or puro, the world-famous tobacco is made on the island from locally grown, harvested and processed tobacco. The Cuban cigar is also a protected designation of origin and it is possible to buy it in various shops in the capital.
- Walk through Parque Josone to observe native birds.
- Scuba dive at Playa Coral, a beautiful coral reef with a depth of 14 meters.
- Discover the history of the peninsula at the Varadero Museum.
- Visit the natural caves Las cuevas de Bellamar, the deepest, the cueva de Ambrosio with interesting rock formations, and the cueva Saturno where you can swim.
- Walk through La Habana Vieja, the oldest neighborhood in the city, with Plaza de la Catedral, Plaza de Armas and several other historic buildings.
- Watch the making of Cuban cigars at Unise Partagas Cigar or Fabrique H. Upmann.
- Take a photo of El Capitolio and its large bronze statue.
- Stroll through the Vedado district on the iconic Malecon avenue.
- Stop for a coffee in front of the San Cristobal Cathedral with its 18th century baroque façade.
Varadero and Havana have pleasant year-round temperatures and warm seas to walk on. Between January and April, the temperature ranges from 25°C to 28°C.
Air Transat serves Varadero airport with its many all-inclusive packages from Toronto, Montreal and Quebec 4 times a week, and also from Halifax, Moncton and Ottawa, once a week, in season.
To go directly to Havana, Air Transat offers direct flights from Montreal starting December 19, 3 times a week.
GOOD ADDRESS IN HAVANA
- For its 1930s style and because it was one of Hemingway’s favorite bars: El Floridita
- To drink where the world’s celebrities have trod: The Bodeguita del Medio
- For live Cuban music and traditional Cuban food: Restaurant VanVan
- For dinner on a beautiful, colorful terrace and fusion cuisine made with fresh produce: El del Fronte
- Housed in renovated historic buildings, the 5-star hotel Iberostar Grand Packard offers modernly decorated rooms with panoramic city views from the swimming pool on 6e stage.
Image courtesy, Hotel Iberostar Grand Packard
The Iberostar Grand Packard hotel offers a beautiful view of the city of Havana from its 6th floor swimming pool.
GOOD ADDRESS IN VARADERO
- For original decoration and juicy grills: Varadero 60
- For a stunning panorama and a meal at the former residence of the wealthy Irénée du Pont Nemours: Mansion Xanadu-Las Americas
- For a delicious home-cooked meal: Don Alex
- For jazz and Cuban music and great cocktails: Benny’s Bar
- To drink and dance in a cave: The Cueva del Pirata
- The 3 star hotel Experience Varadero Live is located in front of the sea and has 4 restaurants, 5 bars, 1 swimming pool and snacks 24 hours per day.
- Surrounded by tropical gardens in the Varahicacos Nature Reserve, theIberostar Selection Varadero is a 4 1⁄2-star property that offers introductory scuba lessons and a spa.
- The hotel Be Live Adults Only Los Cactus is a 3 1⁄2 star accommodation for adults only with discotheque, à la carte dinner and access to many water sports.
TO LEARN :
- The official language is Spanish.
- The currency is the Cuban Peso (CUP).
- The capital is Havana.
- Internet can be spotty (and paying) in Cuba.
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