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Cuba’s Veradero Beach Resort Strip

The beach-y side of Cuba

While Havana offers the old-world historic experience with it’s colonial, French and Greek-inspired architecture mixed with its 1950’s Vintage cars, there’s also a gritty reality of a cosmopolitan city slowly evolving into the 21st Century. A port city of a few million, the bustle of this vibrant city is one of the reasons to visit.

Veradero's miles of walkable beachfront (click any pic to enlarge)Veradero, by contrast, is laid-back, fun-in-the-sun beach relaxation. It’s a strip of 12 miles of all-inclusive resorts sunset-facing. It’s amazing warm and clear coral waters, soft beach sand and generally soft sandy shallows (with vibrant coral reefs interspersed for lazy snorkeling opportunities) make for dream-inspiring relaxation.

The beach life

The purpose of vacationing in Veradero really is for the beaches. They are divine … with powdery soft white sand, generally a calmer surf (excellent for watersports), a shallow sandy bottom that encourages lounging in the water, clear blue-coral waters that, mixed with the coral reefs just off the shoreline, make for lazy snorkel exploring to while away the afternoon. Oh, and add the beachside music grooving a Caribbean beat and a beach bar just steps away. The recipe is created for a luxurious week of relaxing …

Some tips to make the beach life extra beachin …

beach loungers aplenty - but never enough!Beach and Pool Loungers – while there may be 100 beach chairs and 30-40 beach huts … remember, there are sometimes 500+ people in the resort. To get your choice of beach chair and positioning, we recommend staking out your spot as early as 6:30-7am. Leave your towel, a magazine of two and some sandals and hit the breakfast buffet!

Beach bar / Pool bar – pretty much from any place in the resort, you are generally no more than 30 paces from a bar! (For most popular drinks – see below)

Water activities – most resorts offer a range of water activities from sailing, snorkeling, paddle boarding, sometimes jet ski’s, along with fishing charters and snorkel cruises. Check with the front desk or at the pool bar.

walk, sun, relax and repeat!Walking the beaches – we consider sunrise and sunset the best opportunities to walk the beach - the hottest times of noon to 3 are not advised as the sun and heat are quite intense! Even though the Veradero beaches may be interrupted with a coral reef or a stony obstacle, the resorts have made pathways to encourage your continued walking along the 12-mile strip of beach. With the flat, sandy beach and wave zone, walking the miles of beaches is a relaxing treat.

Sunscreen – proportionate to how far north you live is the higher value of sunscreen you need to be wearing (for example every 10 degrees north latitude from Veradero’s 23’N is an extra increase of 20 in the sunscreens spf … starting at 30 [completely non-scientific!]). In short, it’s intense – you need it!

All-inclusive beach resort relaxation

Whoever invented the concept of resorts offering all-inclusive food and beverages was a genius from a guest perspective – and probably not an accountant when you consider the volume of beverages needed for relaxation. With buffet opportunities (or at least food available in at least 1 of the restaurants) and bars (pool bars, beach bars, swim-up bars, lobby bars) open 24 hours a day, your choice of unwinding is only a few steps away.

Consider one of these Veradero all-inclusive resorts:

Veradero resort tips

we did say the sunrises were beautifulBeach-facing and water-facing rooms - given the geography of the Veradero spit of land jutting north-easterly into the Gulf of Mexico, all resorts are pretty much beach-facing. But with the land generally less than ¾ a mile wide, all rooms may be facing the water (but possibly not beach-facing).

5-star ratings - note that these resorts vary in their star rating – from 3-star to 5-star luxury – yet we advise you to drop 2 stars from the rating to get a North American luxury equivalent.

Buffet versus specialty restaurants – while the buffet is generous in it’s selections and times open, there are usually a few specialty restaurants on site (Steak House, Sushi, Italian, etc). These need to be booked in advance and generally you book the day prior for the next days meal (book Thursday for a Friday meal). Booking typically opens at 9am and the lines are long!

Veradero's beautiful beachesTipping and gratuities – all-inclusive resorts are designed to not have to worry about tipping the waiters, room attendants and bartenders … yet if you’d like a few extra amenities (extra water or towels, more frequent drinks) a few $$ goes a long way.

Gifting instead of cash – with US $$ not widely accepted and cash somewhat discouraged, for your room attendant we recommend bringing simple toiletries, cosmetics, kids books, activities, branded ball caps, deflated soccer, basketball or footballs in lieu of cash. These items help with items not easily available in Cuba.

Cuban Convertible Peso’s – while we advise you convert your $$ to Cuban Convertible peso’s (soon to be merging to simply one island currency) at the airport for the bulk of your spending money at the best rates, your resort also can convert your extra money needs in smaller quantities.

oh, and it's beaches!Bottled Water – while the tap water at the resort is safely drinkable by the locals, tourists from around the world may not be accustomed to the natural bacteria in their water. To avoid “Montezuma’s Revenge”, bottled water is available in your room and at the restaurants to make sure you stay safely hydrated. Have a full shared room, ask for a few extra bottles?

Food in Cuba

One thing to keep in mind when planning a Cuban vacation is that you don’t visit Cuba for the food! It’s ok, but it’s not great. And if you are vegetarian or vegan, let us forewarn you that fresh produce is a challenge and the general vegetarian selection is truly an underdeveloped opportunity. If you enjoy meat, the selections are pretty good (although lacks flavor). If you’re a picky eater, you may be challenged!

In light of that pre-qualification, the buffets are quite the spread. Just find your way to flavor it up!

  • buffet or specialty restaurant?Beef, pork and chicken are in good thin-cut fried abundance
  • Seafood offerings are pretty good for the simple items that can be caught locally (shrimp and lobster were hard to find)
  • Starches like breads rice, potatoes and pasta are pretty well blandly available
  • Salads offer lettuce and canned vegetables.
  • Breakfasts offer custom omelettes, Cuban bacon, sausage and the fixins.
  • Desserts are a spectacular spread.
  • Pizza is hard to find (sometimes available), but burgers and fries are aplenty.

Specialty restaurants offer a step up in the food selection, it’s pretty good for a non-vegetarian, but the menu is quite limited.

Favorite Cuban drinks

Cuba is known for it’s rum - that sweet, fermented, grassy-molasses sip of delight! Its white rums are used in the island’s cocktails, it’s dark rums in it’s Cuba Libre and other drinks and it’s premium rums purely to enjoy straight. So, rum, right?

What’s an all-inclusive bar in Cuba to offer as it’s most popular drink … who wants a rum cocktail?

  • beach bar, pool bar, or lobby bar - each only steps away!Rum punch – white rum, punch mix of peach, mango, pineapple juice, grenadine and garnish
  • Mojito – white rum, cane sugar, mint, lime juice and soda water
  • Daiquiri – white rum, lime juice, simple sugar mix, cherry liqueur and a fun garnish
  • Cuba Libre – dark rum, cola and a slice of lime
  • Blue Lagoon – something different, but vodka, blue Curacao, lemonade and a slice of lemon.
  • Beers more your style … Cristal and Bucanero are widely available cervesas

The bartenders are great, if it has rum, they’ll make it!

Tip for all-inclusives – bring your own Bubba (think 34oz or 52oz) for the bartender to fill and reduce your trips to the bar. It’s an insulated, stainless steel bubba of rum cocktails!

Want to get off the resort and stretch, here’s a few suggestions

After lounging a few days beachside and floating up to the beach bar in the tropical Cuban heat every few hours, it’s time to stretch and get some activity – maybe! There’s several things off-resort you can easily do without a full day-long excursion.

  • Off-resort tours - any variety of excursions are available for a longer exploration to see a little more of Cuba (Havana tours, rum factory tours, cigar factory tours, eco tours, etc). Ask at the front desk where you can book these tours.
  • Veradero Golf Course surfsideBeach walking a spectacular strip of beach – head beachside at your resort and turn right or left … I’ll bet there are a few miles of walking opportunity in either direction.
  • Golf – there’s 1 golf course right on the Veradero strip – the Veradero Golf Course pretty much right in the middle of the Veradero strip.
  • Visit the Resort’s Spa – alright, it’s still on the resort, but you still have some stress kinks to work out, right?
  • visit the local marketplace for unique findsVisit Veradero – the small tourist village as you enter the Veradero strip with some restaurants, more resorts and a mid-sized arts and crafts marketplace right in the small village of Veradero.
  • Visit the “Reserva Ecológica Varahicacos” Nature Preserve – close to the outermost tip with natural beaches, trails and an ancient burial cave.
  • Also … TripAdvisor lists a number of off-resort things to do in Varadero.

consider a day trip into old HavanaCanadians and Europeans have long enjoyed these world-renowned, white sand Veradero beaches. With the opening of travel from the United States into Cuba, our great Cuban beach secret can be heartily shared with all our international friends. Truly, these are some of the best beach strips in the Caribbean, and an all-inclusive resort stay steps from these beaches sweetens the deal immensely.

On our Cuban adventures also check out the following posts:

Have you visited Veradero and enjoyed their world-famous beaches? We’d love to hear about your experience. Drop a comment below and connect with us on Facebook and Twitter.

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