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General Info

Varadero
Overview:
Located on the northernmost part of the island of Cuba, Varadero Beach runs along the narrow Hicacos Peninsula for 22 Km (over 13.5 miles). It has a wide strip of fine, white sand that slopes gently into the sea, whose warm, clear waters encompass an incomparable range of blues. The 22 km long Peninsula de Hicacos is connected to the main land with a lift bridge.

At the end of the 19's some Cardenas families bought pieces of land and builded their summerhouses. In 1920, Varadero town was officially founded. The Varadero beach became the center of the rich and famous. After 1959, this area opened again for all kind of people. Its more than 20 km of excellent beaches, white a broad strip of fine, white sand along the shoreline, and a continental shelf that softly sinks into a warm, crystal clear sea of the most varied of blues, are the chief tourist attractions of Varadero, a tourist city that is presently well-positioned in the International circuits. These natural wonders are enriched and complemented by the existence of numerous caves, cliffs, and lagoons.

Also, pristine, easy to reach keys and other interesting natural surroundings on the peninsula's easternmost tip, in addition to a set of cultural, historical, and environmental sites provided by the nearby cities of Matanzas and Cardenas and the Zapata Swamp Biosphere Reserve.

A nice weather, little rain, and low humidity are among the conditions that make Varadero an ideal spot the year around. The city of Varadero which extends over 14.4 square km and has a population of approximately 8.000, accounts approximately for half of each hotel rooms in Cuba. Because everywhere is within reach in the city and resort, the visitor feels constantly invited to move around, be it walking along any of the 5 Avenues that run the peninsula: Kawama, Primera, Playa, Las Americas, and Autopista del Sur, boarding a tourist train, or driving a car, a moped or a bicycle, or even taking one of these old, horse drawn coaches.

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Scuba-Diving Sites

Cuba's privileged geographic position, it's broad continental shelf (70.000 square kilometers, with edges almost totally covered by carefully preserved coral reeves), and its crystal clear waters (underwater horizontal visibility of 30 meters, or 98 feet, and tempatures usually higher than 24 Centigrade) make the island an ideal site for diving and snorkling. Varadero has 32 wellestablished diving sites at Matanzas bay and on the western side of Sabana-Camaguey archipelago, home of a must for any experienced diver: the Ojos del Megano Blue Hole, and enormous under-water cave located between the Los Cabezotes and Mega-no Chico reefs, at the Bay of Cadiz.

scubascuba2 Three International diving centers have branches in the Peninsula, all of them with coaches and dive masters certified by the World Federation of Under-water Activities and the American-Canadian Under-water Certification, and with modern equipment and transportation means.
Most hotels also offer diving courses for beginners, and some tourist packages include in their price a number of day- and night-time dives, in the open sea or at underwater caves. A national network of specialized medical services and decompression chambers are available as well to guarentee maximum safety in this activity, which is highly in demand in these beautiful natural surroundings.
The Cayo Piedras del Norte Sea Park:The only park of its kind in Cuba, and suited both for snorkling and diving, it is located some 8 nautical miles northeast of Varadero and extends over an area of 2 square nautical miles. The park combines beauty adventure, and security, and features among its attractions the sunken remains of a yacht, a rocket launcher boat, a 102-meter long frigate, an AN-2 passenger plane, and a towboat, deliberately disposed of to create this attactive sea.
The Saturno Cave: One the way to the "Juan Gualberto Gomez International Airport", the Saturno Cave provides lovers of underwater world with an option that is different: diving through the crystal-clear waters of this 150 meter long and 20 feet deep, cavern, ideal for speleological exploration.

Nature tourism
Nature tourism, a product of growing demand in the International tourism market, has a promising site at the eastern end of the Hicacos Peninsula, with its rich natural diversity. A practical virginal zone, the area covers 31% of the total territory of the Peninsula and was declared an ecological reserve in 1974 in consideration of its exceptional natural botanical and fauna values. The area is home of the largest, most well preserved forest and coastal scenery.

Varadero Caves
Most of them of great archeological value, some of them underwater, others turned into night clubs, the Varadero Caves and their surroundings deserve all attention of the visitor.

The Ambrosio (ceremonial site) and the Musulmanes (dwelling site) Caves Two out of the 15 archeological sites discovered at the Peninsula that reveal the customs of the areas indigenous population are both located in the Varahicos natural Park. The first one is a 250-meter long cave with five interconnected galleries. Inside there are 72 rupestrian paintings, which constitute one of the largest sets of such drawings in the Caribbean islands. During the colonial period, it also served as safe heaven for maroons, or Black runaway slaves.

Calero Funeral Cave remains of who was reportedly the most ancient inhabitanat off Cuba, dating back to some 8.000 years, were found in this cave, where an Indian cemetery was also disco vered in which 66 induviduals, and 1 skull showing Europoid features, were identified. The cave is located some 15 km from the town of Cantel, South of Varadero.

Santa Catalina Cave - Proclaimed a National Monument, this cave has great archeological, scientific, and natural values. It is located in an area known as Predios de Camarioca, on the Matanzas-Varadero Highway. Aside from the evidences of pre-Colombian communities that were discovered in them, the caves 8 km of galleries shelter several local fauna species and show secundary formations that turn it into a true natural wonder.

Bellamar Caves Located near Matanzas city, was discovered in 1861 and is considered the island's oldest tourist attraction of its kind. Its more than 28 explored cavities treasure large mural paintings, numerous fossils, and evidences of communities that inhabited the area some 1600 years ago. Proclaimed a National Monument in 1987, it is well-knwn for its capricious crystallized formations, among them the one called El Manto de Colon (ColumbusCloak) an emble-matic 12 meter high column formed by a stalagmite and a stalacite that fused together. Programmed tours take the visitor down for a length of 1500 meters, half the caves total extension.
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Varadero International Airport Juan Gualberto Gomez:
Juan Gualberto Gómez International Airport is located close to the Varadero beach resort and Matanzas city.

It’s the second largest and busiest airport in Cuba after the José Marti International Airport in Havana (the country’s capital). It's named after journalist and black rights activist Juan Gualberto Gómez (1854-1933). The airport handles both international and domestic flights and approximately 25% of Cuba’s air traffic.

Varadero airport has one terminal building where you can find snack bars, cafeteria, shops, duty free shops, kiosks, public and VIP lounges in the Departures Area. The terminal building is air-conditioned and non-smoking except in one designated area. There are three jet bridges, but air stairs are also used for the remaining aircraft parking spaces on the apron by the terminal.
Some of the Airlines currently flying to Varadero:
air-canada condor  british  air-transat aer-lingus sunwing canjet westjet
Thomas Cook orenair transaero bluepanorama cubana aerocaribbean airberlin

Please click these links to check Varadero International Airport Juan Gualberto Gomez real-time ARRIVALS and DEPARTURES


CIGB 20 Aniv
CIGB
Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology, Havana, Cuba
address 31 Ave e/ 158 and 190, Cubanacan, Playa, Havana 10600, Cuba
phone (53-7) 208 7465
(53-7) 208 7421 ext.146
email biomed@cigb.edu.cu
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