Satellite image of Varadero Cuba

This question evolved from another thread here and I would like to get travelers’ opinions on the current state of the international tourist destination Varadero Cuba.

I understand Americans may not want to offer many answers so we understand if your “friend” has had experiences in Cuba.

How long have you been going to Varadero?

Have you stayed in different resorts?

Are Cuban citizens allowed to enjoy the hotels, bars, water sports etc more now than in the past?

If so, has this been gradual?

Have you noticed more Cubans enjoying Varadero? If so, since when?

Here are some comments from another thread:

manfredz wrote:

Islazul Villa La Mar
3ª. Avenida e/ 28 y 30, Cuba
Rooms: 264

From what I understand the Islazul chain allows Cubans.

Further from what I understand, the Cubans guests were not ones who chose to go there for a family vacation but are given a vacation there if they exceed their quotas etc. We eat the same food in the same buffet room, drink at the same AI bars and enjoy the same floor shows at night.  But there is very little social interaction - more with hotel staff. In the town part of the beach you’ll see primarily Cuban families on th beach.  Further up the peninsula, hotel security an police spot checks make sure these Cubans don’t accidentally wander up there where the 4 and 5 star hotels are.  There is a usually unmanned police checkpoint at the entrance to Varadero tho. Although I hear that the powers that be try to minimize contact between Cubans and tourists they’ve pretty well lost the battle.  Go to any clubs in Varadero - my favorite was Calle 62 - and you’ll see so much intermingling only a blind cop could miss it.  And these are hundreds of Cuban youth with designer jeans, cellphones and paying in CUC.
Not representative of what I saw in Matanzas or Santa Clara though.

AND

anders wrote:

perhaps I can shred some light on “the matter of Varadero” and ordinary cubans around tourist facilities. I have also visited the Varadero peninsula and several other tourist locations.

Islazul is a Cuban company, one of the major hotel corporations. There are several. All hotels owned in joint ventures or otherwise primarily directed towards international tourists have reserved quotas for Cuban nationals. This have always been the case and is intented to counteract segregated tourist quarters.

Varadero is a free port area. That means imported commodities can be brought there tax free so the uninhabited police stop manfred saw is actually a customs control. the small harbors they have at the top of the peninsula were full of yachts when I visited….

On Sat July 07, 2007, manfredz wrote:

at our hotel and many others that i saw the security guard are all clip on tie and blazer types.  (did see some heavier ones though).  A couple of ones at teh villa la mar spoke very good English and a friendlier group I couldn’t ask for - far from what i expected in a totalitarian state.
In Santa Clara however in the bus depot at the entrance to the inter provincial lounge, the female security guard, although unarmed could have come out of a state trooper ad - complete with long baton.  As a tourist I just got a quick look at my bus ticket - Cubans however had both ticket and ID cards closely examined both upon entry to the lounge and again at the door to the bus bay.


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