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When you imagine a Caribbean beach, chances are you’re picturing Varadero. A 20km stretch of shimmering white sand dissolving into a sea so blue you’ll double take, Playa Azul is the stuff of dreams alright.
Located on the Hicacos Peninsula on Cuba’s northern coast, this enormous resort has been developed for one purpose: beach holidays amid idyllic surroundings – and that’s pretty much what you’ll get.
Everything here is geared towards creating your dream beach break. As a result, you’ll find every kind watersport under the sun. Near the coast, take your pick from surfing, kite-surfing, windsurfing, snorkelling, sea kayaking and sailing, or take a catamaran trip around the surrounding cayos (small islets) for more glorious beaches and deserted island vibes.
For the super adventurous, there’s also scuba diving. The impeccably clear water surrounding Varadero is home to millions of multi-coloured fish, delicate coral reefs and the odd hulking shipwreck. Alternatively, if you’re partial to a bit of time on the green during your holiday, then Varadero is the place for you – it has Cuba’s only golf course.
Most people opt for a hassle-free all-inclusive holiday to Varadero, rarely leaving the luxury of their hotel. However, it really is worth your while to get out and explore this intriguing island and its many idiosyncrasies.
Day trips to heady capital Havana are easy to arrange and highly recommended. Spend a day admiring the faded grandeur of its old town, sipping potent rum cocktails and learning about the island’s revolutionary past at one of the city’s museums.
Even closer, there’s Matanzas. Often overlooked, the “Athens of Cuba” is well worth the short trip from Varadero. With a long literary history, a fantastic theatre, and a strong musical tradition (the city gave birth to rumba), it’s a must for Cuban culture.
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