Getting there & away
Terminal de Ómnibus (61 26 26; cnr Calle 36 & Autopista Sur) has daily long-distance Astro bus services to Habana (CUC$8, three hours), Santa Clara (CUC$12, 3½ hours) and Cienfuegos (CUC$14, four hours). Air-con Víazul (61 48 86; 7am-noon & 1-7pm) buses leave for Habana at 8am, 11:40am and 6pm daily (CUC$10). On either bus, ask to be let out at the first stop after the tunnel in Habana; from there Astro goes to the Terminal de Ómnibus near the Plaza de la Revolución (convenient if you're staying in Vedado), while the Víazul bus goes to the boondocks on Av 26 in Nuevo Vedado. Víazul also has a daily bus to Trinidad at 7:30am (CUC$20, six hours), stopping at Entronque de Jagüey (CUC$6, 1½ hours), Santa Clara (CUC$11, 3½ hours) and Cienfuegos (CUC$16, 4½ hours).
Getting to Cárdenas by local bus is fairly straightforward if you're prepared to wait. Bus 236 departs every hour or so from next to a small tunnel marked 'Ómnibus de Cárdenas' outside the main bus station. You can also catch this bus at the corner of Av 1 and Calle 13 (CUC$1). This bus runs the length of the peninsula.
The easiest way to get to Habana is on one of the regular tour buses booked through the tour desk at your hotel or at any Havanatur office. It's possible to buy just transport between Varadero and Habana for CUC$25/30 one way/round-trip. These buses collect passengers right at the hotel doors.
Cars are available from Havanautos (Calle 55; 61 44 65; cnr Av 1 & Calle 31; 61 44 09). Other offices are at Hotel Cuatro Palmas (66 70 40, ext 51) and Villa Tortuga (61 39 99).
Transtur (Calle 10 No 703; 61 31 49; cnr Av 1 & Calle 21; 66 73 32) also has rental desks at or near the following hotels: SuperClub Paradiso-Puntarena, Club Tropical, Internacional and Cuatro Palmas.
Cubacar (61 18 19; cnr Av 1ra & 54) also has desks at the Tuxpán and Hotel Sol Elite Palmerasa. Vía Car Rental (cnr Av 3 & Calle 30) is opposite Apartamentos Mar del Sur.
Many of these companies also have desks at Plaza América, although we've received complaints about agents there who demanded kickbacks.
Havanautos (25 36 30), Transtur (25 36 21), Vía (61 47 83) and Cubacar (61 44 10) all have car-rental offices in the airport parking lot. Expect to pay at least CUC$65 a day for the smallest car (or CUC$50 daily on a two-week basis).
The cheapest cars are available from Micar (Villa Cuba; 66 85 52; cnr Av 1 & Calle C; cnr Av 1 & Calle 20; 61 18 08), which has tiny Fiats starting at CUC$35 a day, including 100km, add on the insurance. Call ahead as the affordable cars go fast. Luxury cars are available at Rex (Meliá Las Américas; 66 77 39; Autopista del Sur Km 7; Aeropuerto Juan Gualberto Gómez 66 75 39). It rents Audi and automatic-transmission (rare in Cuba) cars starting at CUC$100 plus per day.
There's a Servi-Cupet gas station (cnr Autopista Sur & Calle 17; 24hr) on the Vía Blanca at the entrance to Marina Acua near Hotel Sunbeach; and one at Centro Todo En Uno (cnr Calle 54 & Autopista Sur).
If heading to Habana, you'll have to pay the CUC$2 toll upon leaving.
The nearest train stations are 18km southeast in Cárdenas and 42km west in Matanzas.
Juan Gualberto Gómez (airport code VRA) International Airport is 20km from Varadero toward Matanzas and another 6km off the main highway. Airlines here include Cubana from Buenos Aires and Toronto; LTU International Airways from Düsseldorf and four other German cities; Martinair from Amsterdam; and Air Transat and Skyservice from various Canadian cities. The check-in time at Varadero is 90 minutes before flight time.
There are no domestic flights into Varadero.