Varadero was a different world. It is the place that tourists retreat to when they want to go to a tropical place far away from home, with all the luxuries of a nice hotel and and plain food. This is not to say that I didn’t enjoy our stay for a couple days, but resort life is not for me. I don’t need the group yoga classes in the morning or the team volleyball. Although, I do love volleyball. It’s just too sheltered for me. I like to be in the mix a little bit. I may not be the traveler that say my friend Diego Cupolo is, but staying in the bubble that is a resort for more than a couple days seems like a waste to me. But the two days we were there were a perfect little rest, since there was nothing really to see I was able to give my dogs a rest.
To get to Varadero we had to take a charter bus, which was maybe one of the nicest charter buses we had been on. Except for some reason the toilet wasn’t working, which may have been for the better cause no one likes bus toilet smell. It’s kind of a long ride, if I remember correctly it was approximately six hours. Along the way there’s one rest stop. This is obviously set up for tourists since there’s an outdoor bar that serves stiff fruity drinks, some vintage cars, and a group of guys playing music for tips. Normally I would be surprised at how good these guys were, but this is Cuba and everyone plays music really well.
After the short stop we continue on our way.
We arrive at the resort and the entrance is impressively large with a beautiful little water path running through their center lounge area. It’s like most resorts, with buffet food, a couple restaurants, private beaches, group classes, etc. Honestly, I really won’t write much about the resort because it’s totally not interesting to me. It was a good place to rest a day or so, review photos and head back to Havana. But it was a nice place so here’s some pictures of the resort. Also it was $80 a day/person. Not bad considering the all you can eat and drink buffet. I’m sure this is good for families who don’t want to go wandering around with kids through busy city streets.
This is the view when you first walk in to the resort entrance.
This is the view opposite from the resort entrance. There are several bridges over man made little rivers that flow around the main buildings.
Like most resorts and tourist traps they sell you trinkets to take home. The stuff they had were nice quality, I would’ve taken one of these home if they weren’t so large.
View of the private beaches. This image was shot using a ten stop neutral density filter to slow down the shutter speed to 30 seconds if I remember correctly.
Ok, done covering the resort. Outside of the resort you can take a couple buses to the small town area that they had nearby. It’s filled mostly with expensive restaurants and flea markets where the locals try to sell you carved statues and flags. There were actually some really nice items, but again no luggage space. What I did enjoy about walking around this area were the many vintage cars that were driving down the street. I sat myself down on the side of the road and just took pictures for half an hour, then moved to another corner and repeat.
This is a killer old Ford. If you look on the side it says it’s from 1908. That’s over 100 years old. They just don’t make them like they used to.
This beauty is from 1927, yet another Ford. One of the taxi drivers explained to me that different license plate colors represent different types of use for the cars. If I remember correctly blue and yellow are reserved for taxis. Red/Maroon is reserved for tourist rental cars.
This nice man was totally confused as to why I was just sitting on the side of the road not wanting to take a ride. Took a little explaining that I was just looking for photos.
Here’s the last of the cars that I saw in Varadero. I was only able to capture a glimpse of him as he was driving by, really wish I could have stopped him to take his portrait with the car.
Our original plan was to head to Trinidad, Cuba after Varadero. But it was another long bus ride and I wasn’t sure I would get another crack at Havana. To be honest, it was during my time in Varadero that I was becoming really frustrated with my photography. I felt as if I wasn’t getting any good images, nothing that I could use for my portfolio. This wasn’t true once I sat myself down to work on images back home, but at the time I NEEDED another crack at Havana. My intuition was half right, some of the images I took those last couple days were my favorite. Next time I’ll make sure to visit Trinidad as well, and skip over Varadero.