Varadero is the iconic Cuban beach town, if your coming on a package resort holiday then this will be your destination. It has stunning beaches, plenty of souvenir shops and touristy bars and restaurants to fill many days. I didn’t expect to be blown away by the coastal town having just spent a lot of time in the touristy yet beautiful hub of Rivera Maya in Mexico. It was essentially just to break up the long journey between Trinidad and Havana before catching my return flight to Cancun.
However ironically I ended up having a fantastic time in Varadero simply because it is a touristy destination! I only had one evening so I decided to head to one of the bars to soak up the atmosphere and really enjoy my final evening in Cuba! I walked along Avenida 1 until I found Calle 62, suprisingly (or unsurprisingly for me) it wasn’t the music or the atmosphere that originally beckoned me in. It was my stomach and the mouth-watering waft of freshly barbequed chicken! However it was the music and atmosphere that I stayed for! They had an absolutely incredible live band playing that had everyone in the bar singing and dancing away before the end of the set; the atmosphere was electric! Somehow I managed to get dragged in as a “groupie” by the lead singer (those forward Cubans again!) and during the break in their set I was invited to sit with the band and all of their friends! Although the intentions of that may have started out a little sleazy I ended having a fantastic night chatting away with different Cubans and for the second act I was sat with the full Cuban contingent watching the band! I even picked up some salsa lessons from one of the ladies who is a salsa teacher!
The beaches in Varadero are stunning as well and after a crazy few weeks of Cuba it was nice to spend some tranquil alone time on the beach sunbathing and swimming!