Varadero is huge – there are over 60 hotels and 30-plus casas particulares. Want to hunt down that bargain room? Book ahead and concentrate your efforts on the peninsula's southwest end where all the casas particulares lie, where hotels are cheaper and where the town retains a semblance of Cuban life.
All-inclusive hotel packages booked through travel agents in your home country will almost always have differing (cheaper) rates to those given here.
Varadero's Hotels in a Nutshell
Varadero’s confusingly large hotel zone can, for simplicity's sake, be broken into four broad segments.
The accommodations in the spread-out Cuban town (Varadero town) at the west end of the peninsula consist of older budget hotels wedged in among the shops, banks, bars and vintage beach-houses. Since 2011, town residents have been able to legally rent out rooms to foreigners and over 20 casas particulares have now taken root.
The section from Calle 64 northeast to the golf course is punctuated by a thin strip of hodgepodge architecture, from kitschy Holiday Camp to bloc-style Soviet-esque. Selling cheap packages to mainly foreign tourists, many of these hotels are already looking dated after only three or four decades in operation.
East of the Mansión Xanadú is a cluster of large single-structure hotels with impressive lobbies and multiple stories, built mostly in the early 1990s. The tallest is the spectacular 14-story Blau Varadero, designed to resemble an Aztec pyramid.
The nearer you get to the east end of the peninsula, the more it starts to look like a Florida suburb. Contemporary Cuban all-inclusive resorts favor detached one-to-three story blocks that are laid out like mini-towns and spread over multiple acres. Most of these sprawling resorts have been built since 2000 and it is here that you’ll find Varadero’s largest (the 1025-room Memories Varadero) and most exclusive (Blau Marina Palace's Planta Real) accommodations, although every year brings tidings of new resorts opening with new never-seen-before attributes.
The town of Varadero (up to Calle 64) has over 30 casas particulares and a stash of cheap, lower-end hotels, most of them three-stars or less. Only a few offer all-inclusive packages.
Varadero Hotel Zone
The Hotel Zone in Varadero kicks off properly near the start of Av las Américas, at the site of the Hotel Varadero Internacional, currently in the throes of reconstruction. Remember that the further east you stay, the more reliant you will be on resort entertainment: end-of-the-peninsula hotels are over 10km from the town. In most cases, isolation equals cheesy poolside shows, not desert island tranquility.