Just 2 hours away from the Cuban capital of Havana, the resort town of Varadero is beautiful place in the Caribbean to enjoy a cheap holiday and to explore. As you walk around under the Cuban sun, you can be safe in the knowledge that you’ll also be stretching the dollars a little further.
Ever tried lobster before? Considered a genuine delicacy in the west, in places like La Casa, in Varadero, you can enjoy a lobster dinner for approximately 14 CUC$s, or even less at El Criollo in downtown Varadero. La Vicaria also does a fine lobster dinner with chicken and pork, and though somewhat simple in its appearance, the generous portions make this restaurant a go-to place.
Another place where you’ll be served with cheap but quality eats is El Caney. The setting isn’t bad either! You can just look onto the beach while feasting on grilled beef for 6CUC$s, fish fillets (8CUC$s) or prawns (10CUC$s) — the prawns are especially delicious!
You can also get filling but budget food at Paladar de la 31. A simple spaghetti Bolognese or carbonara will cost just under 6 CUC$, whereas the comically named “ropa vieja” (“old clothing”), a meat stew and traditional Cuban dish will also set you back the same price.
Enjoying the gardens of Parque Josone
For free you can enjoy the landscaped gardens of Parque Josone, which dates back to the 1940s. On a night time there is music in the park. There are all kinds of entertainment here in the park, and much of it is low priced. You can go for a boat ride on the lake at just 0.50 CUC$s per person for each hour, or 5 CUC$s per hour if you prefer a water bike. For just 1 CUC$ you can explore the park via the mini train, and for 2 CUC$ you can use the public swimming pool in the south of the park.
There are some things that money can’t buy. You’ll be pleased that the sunset on a Varadero beach is one of them — because it’s free, of course! Falling asleep on the pure sand with the ocean gently lapping against it is bliss. Take note that the flag system indicates when it is safe to use the beach.
While out on the beach during the day time, you can also pick up a cheap souvenir if you haggle hard enough, such as a shell necklace or bracelet, sarongs, woo-carved statues or even bongo drums. There’s also even scope to bag yourself a nice bag of coffee.
The Varadero market
Visiting the Varadero market is large, free and quite possibly one of the most enjoyable things you’ll do while you’re out in Varadero. You’ll browse all kinds of goods on the numerous stalls, which are all very tempting, from leather goods to musical instruments. Don’t be surprised if you walk away with something!
Enjoy a cocktail
Cuba is, of course, the land of the mojito, and if you’re in a resort but fancy stepping out for the evening and broadening your horizons, don’t worry about the price of drinks. Cocktails are barely as much as 3CUC$s. Better still, the bar staff don’t hold back on the alcohol part, lashing the mint and ice cubs in white rum so you really get your money’s worth.
These are places to make the most of when you visit Varadero on your Cuba holidays and experience the best of this town without having to go over your budget. Don’t forget to check out the seven free things to do in Havana for backpackers on a budget.