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Varadero Cuba Travel Tips {First Time Travelers}

Varadero Travel Tips
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Varadero Cuba Travel Tips
Post Last Modified – April 18, 2024 ¦ gr8traveltips.com

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Travel Tips For First Time Travelers To Varadero Cuba

Having returned from an amazing beach vacation to 🏝 Cuba, I thought I would put together a short list of helpful tips and suggestions on …

🌺 Varadero Cuba Travel Tips 🌺

things that we discovered on our holiday.

I always like to make 📝 note of a few helpful tips and tricks, that we’ve discovered when traveling to new destinations and I can then pass on to you here on my blog.

This was our 2nd visit to Varadero from 🍁 Canada, after thoroughly enjoying our first visit a few seasons ago. Things have changed quite a bit since our first visit and because of the Covid crisis.

Varadero Cuba Travel Tips

Arriving By Air To Varadero Airport

Varadero Airport

The majority of travelers going to Cuba for a vacation, will be arriving by air into ✈ Varadero’s Juan Gualberto Gómez Airport. Prior to arrival and during your flight, cabin crew will hand out 🗒 tourist cards to each individual.

These must be filled out (with no mistakes) on both portions of the card!

Varadero Airport Buses

Upon your arrival to Varadero Airport and as you enter the Customs and Immigration Booth, the 🛃 customs officer will keep one portion of the tourist card and hand you the other.

Note:

Surprisingly on this visit, the Customs Officers Did Not collect one portion. We did however, still have to present both when leaving to return home.

Helpful Tips Banner

So, be sure not to lose this tourist card while in Cuba!

You will need to hand this back as you proceed through customs at the airport when returning home. Keep it safe along with your 🛂 passport during your time in Cuba.

Then head outside after retrieving your 🧳 baggage to your awaiting hotel 🚍 bus transfer, taxis or other transportation arrangements, if previously arranged.



Money Exchange At The Varadero Airport

varadero airport money exchange

Arrivals

Varadero Airport

Update

The Cuban Convertible Peso (CUC pronounced Cook) or Cuban tourist currency, is no longer used. It is now strictly the Cuban Peso.

As you proceed outside after retrieving your luggage, there may or may not be a government money exchange booth open any longer. You were able to exchange most visitor home currency for the 💵 Cuban Peso, at the time of our visit.

Exchange rates seem very common at most places that are available in the country. 🏨 Hotels, CADECA’s (national currency exchange booths) are available at numerous locations along the Varadero strip as well.

Canadian Dollars

The best currency to take to Cuba is either 💷 GBP, EUR or CAD which you exchange for CUP easily. U.S. cash apparently is no longer accepted.

🏧 ATM machines can be found at banks and popular tourist areas, but beware of the service charges expected when using this service. We found the exchange rate at our resort to be quite reasonable and much better than using an exchange booth, which I would not recommend.

We simply brought an expected amount of Canadian cash with us to exchange when we arrived in Cuba. Our hotel room had a 🔒 secure safe for our passports, cash and other valuables.

Update Banner

Without going into great detail here, the Cuban Peso is struggling and locals are always looking to exchange their money for yours, and offer a much higher rate than at the banks or ATM’s.

At the time of our visit, the typical exchange rate was 18 CUP for 1 Cdn Dollar. On our transfer bus, we were offered 30 to 1. While at our resort and at the Varadero Markets, they were offering 70 to 1!

So, wait to exchange your money with locals!

Make sure the {Cuban Peso Bills} have a person on them. The Old Cuban Convertible Peso does not have people shown on the bills, so beware of this when exchanging your money.

We exchanged enough $20 denominations to use as tips for staff, as well as 💵 cdn dollars occasionally for our resorts housekeeper. They are very happy to receive both forms of currency from you as a gratuity!

Varadero Airport Cadeca Money Exchange

Departures

Cuban law states that you are not allowed to take any 💵 Cuban Currency out of the country with you, but no one really cares or checks to see if you are.

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Dual Voltage For Charging Your Electronic Devices In Varadero

Charging Electronic Devices

Even though I carry a small travel adapter when traveling out of North America at all times, Cuba has 🔌 dual voltage for the most part in most resort hotels.

Voltage is 🔌 110/220 and there may or may not be a switch that you would slide on the receptacle to the appropriate voltage.

Helpful Tips Banner

As I’m always concerned about low voltage spikes, power surges and so on, we have a really nifty solar/ac charging device I like to use to charge our 📱 cell phone and tablet with.

There are all kinds of charging sticks available on the market these days to use, instead of 🔌 plugging your devices directly into the receptacle.

This prevents any unexpected disaster from happening and ruining your devices, leaving you without when traveling.



Wi-fi Internet Service In Cuba

Cuba Internet Card Front

In many 🏨 hotels in Varadero, you need to purchase 1 hour wi-fi access cards. A small inconvenience, but it’s only 1 cuc (Cuban Convertible Peso) for an hour. During our stay, you could only buy one hour cards.

At our hotel, wi-fi could only be accessed in a few of the public common areas. The lobby, main pool, bar and so on. I’m sure each and every hotel is different, depending on the star rating and included amenities.

Note:

On our second most recent visit, we received 5 hours free 📶 wi-fi per person and the internet connection was excellent! So, depending on where you are staying, the scratch card option may, or may not still be used.

Helpful Tips Banner

There is a section on the back of these cards that you have to scratch, to access your pin number that is needed when signing in to access wi-fi. These cards are very cheap, as explained by our hotel staff. So I recommend getting a staff member that sells you the cards, to scratch it for you.

They know what they’re doing! 🙂

Cuba Internet Card Back

Many visitors ruined their cards trying to scratch the code with a coin or finger nail, including myself. Not a big deal, but it will cost you 1 cuc! (Cuban Convertible Peso)



Purchasing Cuban Rum – Cigars and Coffee

Havana Club Rum Sign

Prices are pretty much set all over for these two items. We didn’t see much of a difference in price in all the stores we entered.

I believe prices for these items are regulated by the government. Be warned though when purchasing cigars from unofficial shops.

For those who wish to purchase fresh Cuban Cigars, be sure to check out my post on …

🚬 Cuban Cigar Scams, 🚬

to make sure you are buying authentic cigars.

Varadero Hop On and Hop Off Double Decker Bus Service

Varadero Hop On Hop Off Bus

There’s a great way to go up down the {Varadero Hotel Strip} and it’s their 🚍 Hop On/Hop Off Double Decker bus. It runs throughout the day starting at 9 am and finishes around 5 pm. It’s an excellent and affordable way to see and get to shops, attractions and other hotels all along the Varadero Strip.

We made stops at the shopping plaza, marina and the markets along the strip. We found it quite relaxing to go up top, sit back, relax and enjoy the breeze and scenery on the route.

The cost was 💵 $5 cuc for the entire day, but on our last visit a few seasons ago, it was $5 cdn. Still can’t beat that, as 🚕 taxi’s are now very expensive!

Final Varadero Travel Tips Notes

Cuba Classic Autos

In wrapping up here with a just a couple of more suggestions;

🌅 Pack enough sunscreen with you for your vacation. As with most places we’ve traveled to over the years, sunscreen is very pricey at your destination. We didn’t see any for sale on our last visit, as supplies are very low now for most anything!

🍩 Pack snacks for the ✈ plane and while at your destination. We always pack granola bars, peanuts, and other goodies with us wherever we go, and boy there have been many times that we were glad we did!

Cuban Mojito Cocktails

🍹 For a refreshing drink with alcohol, do try their official Cuban cocktail; “Mojito.” It’s refreshing and is mixed with real mint!

The main ingredients include; white rum, sugar, lime juice, soda water, and real mint. Made properly by an experienced bartender, it’s delicious! 🙂

 

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💰 For those staying at all inclusive resorts, I do recommend tipping staff that treat you well. They work very hard for very little, and a small gratuity goes a long way!

As mentioned, I always left a small tip at meals and at the bars during our 2 week stay. Staff were so grateful for receiving a small gratuity each time.

Be sure to check out my post on …

🍹 Tipping On Inclusive Vacations, 🍹

for a closer look on this subject.

🥜 If you love 🥜 peanut butter, you better pack some with you. It’s pretty much non-existent where we’ve stayed and eaten in Cuba, on our two trips to the country.

Cuban Classic Car Ride

Above all, enjoy Cuba, the people and your vacation!

Final Thoughts Banner

I have also listed a very helpful {Cuba Tourist Board} website below, where you can access some excellent travel information including; the latest travel entry requirements and much more for those visiting Cuba for the first time.

🗺 Be sure to check out the {Google Map} box at the bottom of this post for Playa Varadero’s exact location. 🗺

gocuba logo

🏝 Gocuba 🏝

👣 Footnote 👣

🌷 Gr8 Deals On Attractions & More In Cuba 🌷

🏝 Discover The Island of Cuba! 🏝

😎 Safe and Healthy Travels! 😎

signature of author and owner Robert Tellier at https://gr8traveltips.com


 
All personal 📸 photographs on this post are the property of gr8traveltips.com and are copyright protected.
🚫 Unauthorized use is strictly prohibited. 🚫
 
✨   Did You Know …

“There Is A Beautiful Statue Of Legendary Beatle’s John Lennon In Havana Cuba’s John Lennon Park.”

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A Blogger Since 2012, Robert has a {Passion for Travel}, having worked in the industry for over 35 years. He enjoys sharing special moments & tips on; Travel, Health & Wellness, Book Reviews and much more!

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