Varadero is the latest area of Cuba to reopen for tourism, officially permitting foreign tourists on October 15, 2020.
Cuba actually started reopening back on July 1st, starting with the popular ‘Cayo’ areas: Cayo Largo Del Sur, Cayo Coco, Cayo Guillermo, Cayo Santa María and Cayo Cruz.
Cuba wanted to start reopening just a portion of the country to protect the health of Cuba’s citizens, but also to monitor the effects of tourism restarting safely. Now that Cuba has been open for over 3 months, the government has decided Varadero will be the next section to welcome tourists.
In order to reopen Varadero responsibly, local authorities have created a ‘tourism corridor’ which will contain tourists to particular areas, reducing the chances of accidental community transmission. Jamaica was the first Caribbean nation to introduce a tourism corridor in their reopening strategy, which has likely inspired Cuba to apply a similar design.
Varadero’s Tourism Corridor
The tourism corridor will run from K Street until Punta Hicacos, at end of the peninsula. Within this corridor, tourists will have a choice of several 4 and 5 star hotels, 1 golf course, 2 marinas, Dolphin Park, two shopping plazas (Plaza America & Plaza Hicacos) and additional services like restaurants, shops and cafes.
“Our first and foremost priority is the safety of our clients and staff, so in this initial stage, the mobility of the clients and the range of the excursions will be limited to the approved area, this means that tourists will not be allowed under any circumstances to leave the safe tourist zone, they cannot visit the rest of the island and the locals cannot enter the tourist zone. Therefore, all clients traveling to the destination must bring a hotel reservation with them; air-only passengers are accepted at this moment in Cuba”
-Lessner Gomez, Director of The Cuba Tourist Board
Tours and Excursions
Limited tours and excursions will still be available within the tourism corridor. Some examples are: Water sports, nautical activities offered by the two marinas and the dolphin park, hop on-hop off double deck tourist bus, bicycle tours and car rentals.
Arrival into Varadero Airport (VRA)
All passengers landing at VRA airport (or any airport in Cuba for that matter) will be tested for Covid-19. After the test is taken, the traveler will quarantine at their hotel for a maximum for 24 hours for test results. If the test is negative, the traveler can enjoy their vacation. The test upon arrival is free for all tourists.
Travelers do not need to take a PCR test in their home country before departure.
Hotels Open Within Varadero’s Tourism Corridor
Some hotels that will reopen on October 15 include:
- Hotel Valentín El Patriarca.
- Meliá Peninsula Varadero.
- Iberostar Bella Vista.
- Vista Azul Beach.
- Grand Memories Varadero.
- Swandor Varadero Beach (Ex-Fiesta Americana Varadero)
- Roc Arenas Doradas,
- Muthu Playa de Oro,
- Iberostar Tainos.
- Hotel Tuxpan.
- Sol Palmeras.
- Royalton Hicacos.
- Iberostar Varadero
As more flights are added, more hotels will be added to this list.
Flights into Varadero
Flights have already been operating for some time into Cuba’s Cayo Coco airport, but Varadero won’t start receiving commercial flights until late October/early November.
Many airlines, especially Canadian airlines like WestJet and Air Canada have been scheduling flights into Varadero since August, but they keep getting delayed and pushed back, along with Varadero’s reopening date. Now that the date of October 15th has been officially set by the government, airlines will start to re-schedule their Varadero routes once again.
WestJet has already rescheduled Toronto into Varadero starting November 5th. Air Canada, Sunwing, Swoop and Air Transat are expected to follow suit.
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Disclaimer: Current travel rules and restrictions can change without notice. The decision to travel is ultimately your responsibility. Contact your consulate and/or local authorities to confirm your nationality’s entry and/or any changes to travel requirements before traveling. Travel Off Path does not endorse traveling against government advisories