Varadero, which translates in English to “dry dock,” is the internationally famous resort town and peninsula in the province of Matanzas, Cuba. Varadero is one of the largest resort areas in the Caribbean, but the area was initially commercially noteworthy as a dry dock for the salt mines that supplied salt to most of the Spanish Latin America Fleet.
Varadero was founded as a residential recreational destination beginning on December 5th, 1887 when ten families from the city of Cárdenas obtained permission to build their vacation homes there. Varadero and its surroundings in 2010 again part of the Cárdenas municipality following 44 years as a municipality in its own right.
Varadero is best known as a tourist resort town, with more than 12 miles of beautiful beaches housing dozens of all-inclusive resort hotels, many managed and partly owned by international hotel chains. Varadero annually welcomes thousands of overseas visitors to Cuba to its all-inclusive properties, who from North America are primarily the Canadian tourists.
Varadero’s most popular attraction are its beaches, including opportunities for scuba diving, deep-sea fishing, boating and other water sports, but tourists also enjoy spelunking and hiking in its caves as well in its nearby chain of easily accessed virgin cays (“cayos”).