As one of the major hubs for Cuba holidays, the lively resort of Varadero flaunts its tourist appeal with considerable panache. While many vacationers don’t stray too far from the confines of the beachfront all-inclusive resorts, it’s certainly not for want of quality nightlife options. Here are just a few ideas on where to find those Havana Club cocktails and Latino rhythms…
Outside of Cuba, mambo may have had its heyday in the fifties, but it’s well and truly alive and kicking here at arguably Varadero’s hippest music hangout, which is all about the high octane live bands. The $10 entrance fee covers all drinks, including its wide repertoire of cocktails, which certainly helps oil the wheels, along with the inclusive hotel transfer bus.
The Hotel Internacional’s nightly cabaret and disco is a popular fixture among tourists from nearby resorts, who pack this vast place out, lured there by the sublime mojitos, stomping salsa sounds and the smoke-free environment, which is something of a rarity in cigar chomping Varadero.
Perhaps the definitive place for outdoor dancing, by day Calle 62 is a simple snack bar but come nightfall, it transforms itself into a fine and feisty spot to shake a tail feather to the live bands playing til midnight, while also taking in the surrounding street life – you’ll probably find people outside often join the party and tap along to the music.
Cueva del Pirata
Set in an atmospheric natural cave where the lights cast eerie shadows of the stalactites and sweat drips from the low ceiling, this club features an Afro-Cuban extravaganza with a swashbuckling twist that starts at 10.30pm. It doubles up as a dance school too, so if you feel suitably inspired by their fancy footwork, you can always learn the steps here later.
Recalling the halcyon days of cultural hotbed Havana, the nightly high-kicking review show is considered one of the resort’s finest, with a top notch house band guaranteed to get your Cuba Libre shaking. After the live show wraps up, everyone descends on the sunken dance floor for the epic Cuban disco. The $12 admission fee also bags you a free drink.
Ruinas de Matasiete
A 17th Spanish castle provides the setting for one of Varadero’s most unique outdoor dance venues, where vines and ferns bring a touch of romance to the table layout. On Tuesday nights it hosts a cabaret, but for the rest for the week it’s a club with a games room, open til 4am, that tends to attract a young and exuberant crowd.
Holidays to Cuba offer plenty of Latino rhythms, but if you fancy a bit of Western-inspired kitsch, then look no further than the Beatles Bar Restaurant. The mop tops were on Castro’s banned list for many years, so now this groovy place is making up for lost time, with a thrice weekly live, al fresco rock n roll show, where cover bands pay homage to the four lads from Liverpool, alongside other pop-picking acts from the swinging sixties including the Rolling Stones and Pink Floyd.
Have you worn down your dancing heels in Varadero? Where are the hottest nightspots in this part of Cuba? Share your tips for other holidaymakers below!