Why We Keep Going Back To Iberostar Varadero

Monday 9 January 2017

varadero beach

Three years ago my family took our first beachy, all inclusive vacation to Varadero, Cuba. My dad worked with our travel agent and he was confident that he had found the best hotel for our family's needs and was excited to go. Me? I was just looking forward to escaping escaping Canadian winter. Well, we had a great trip. The staff were warm and welcoming, the weather warm and sunny, and the beach flawless and safe. Since then we have returned twice. Curious about what keeps bringing us back to Iberostar Varadero? Keep reading!

iberostar varadero spa pool

The Spa Pool <3

The next year we were excited to return-- and I was thrilled that my parents were letting me bring my boyfriend. The five of us spent a week relaxing on the beach, doing some excursions, and eating great food. Did I mention that every year we go over New Years? The hotel puts on the most amazing buffet, complete with all you can eat lobster. They also create the most beautiful sculptures and displays with fruits and chocolates. You can tell how proud the kitchen staff are of all of their hard work. This year one of the chefs was standing in the buffet while guests filled their plates, beaming. I complimented him on the beautiful work, and he was beaming.

iberostar varadero taxi

Do your taxis look like this?

A few days ago we got back from our third trip. This year was even bigger-- we brought my boyfriend's whole family! Our "Double Family Vacay" was wonderful. All of our parents got along, our dad's enjoyed some rounds of golf, our moms hung out by the pool, and Stuart and I spent quality time together while catching some sun.

iberostar varadero spa pool

The Spa Pool

After three years going back to Iberostar Varadero I wanted to share with you exactly what keeps us coming back. Part of it is Varadero, and the other part is of course the hotel we stay at. Let's start with the town, and then we can get into why we love this particular resort.


iberostar varadero


varadero cuba

Pineapples make anything better

Varadero is a resort town in the province of Matanzas covering the Hicacos Peninsula. It has an ocean-side golf course, countless resorts, some shops, and the most beautiful beach. With its own airport (servicing international and domestic flights) my family flies direct from Toronto in about three hours. We always book a package with Air Canada which includes bus transportation to our hotel, making travel easy. The Varadero airport is small and easy to navigate meaning I can be sitting on the beach that much sooner.

varadero beach

Pelicans at the beach!

varadero beach

I love how funny these birds look sitting down

I can't stress enough just how safe I feel at Varadero Beach. Nobody bothers you-- I feel safe leaving my beach bag with some pesos and my camera on my chair while I go for a dip. I have never felt like somebody was going to take my things, which means I can really relax in the water. With 20km of white sandy beaches, the bottom of the ocean is soft and easy to stand on.

varadero beach

Feeding my new friends

varadero beach

My favourite beach

There is a hop-on-hop-off bus (Varadero Beach Tour) that you can take from your resort into town, or you can take a cab. I always prefer to take a cab because Cuba has so many beautiful old cars. This year our cab was a big pink car which I dubbed "The Barbie Car". In town I bought a few little touristy things made of wood-- some salad tongs with a bird on the handle, and some little birds that can be hung in a window or as a mobile.

Iberostar Varadero

iberostar varadero


The number one reason that we choose to keep coming back to his resort is how warm and friendly the staff are. From servers and spa staff who remember us from year to year, to staff at the front desk who are always there to help. Oh-- and we can't forget the pool guys who always ask my mom with a wink "She's your daughter? I thought she was your sister!". My family likes to sit in the same area of the buffet for all of our meals, it makes it easier for everybody to meet up-- and so we end up getting to know our servers. At the end of the week they always give us big hugs. Rameria (I hope I spelt her name right) has been "our" server for the last three years, and she is a beautiful person through and through.

iberostar varadero

Japanese Restaurant

We love the food at this resort. While some things are limited beyond the resort's control (for example, the fruits and veggies are grown in Cuba, so we are limited to local options such as pineapples, watermelon, papaya, etc, or the fact that most tomatoes are green), the options are endless. Personally I love the wood fired pizza, the pastas, the pineapple tray and the deserts! There is also a special Japanese and a Mediterranean option which you can book for a night, a BBQ burger shack by the beach, a more informal restaurant and new this year: a coffee shop (also included) with lattes, tea (including green tea!), hot chocolate and snacks.

iberostar varadero


Now, let's talk about atmosphere. The right resort for you depends on your expectations. For my family, we want something comfortable, fun, but not too crazy. This resort is family friendly (complete with a separate kids water park!), but also adult friendly. Another thing not to be overlooked is how clean the resort is. It always looks picture perfect, and when I come back to my room at the end of the day the towels are often shaped like swans!

iberostar varadero new years eve

Hand carved!

iberostar varadero new years eve

NYE show!

Finally, the biggest thing that keeps us coming back? Their stunning New Years celebration. From the ornate food I mentioned, to a high quality show with dancing, singing and acrobatics, we couldn't imagine a better way to ring in the New Year.

iberostar varadero spa pool

Reading in the cabana by the spa pool.

Something else to keep in mind. This hotel has wifi, but only in the lobby. I found this frustrating in my first year going, but since then I have come to appreciate it. Each evening after dinner I like to spend about 15 minutes catching up, but once that's done I put my phone away. this really forces me to enjoy the space I am at and who I am with. My boyfriend and I get better quality time. I get better sleep. And I read! I read three books while I was away this year. I have really come to appreciate using my phone as a clock, and a camera, and nothing else. One place to read that Stuart and I really enjoyed this year were the cabanas by the spa pool. It is a more quiet area of the hotel-- perfect to read, hop in the pool, and then get out and read some more. Being on the cabana together let us be together while immersed in our own books. There is something so special about quiet together time. Or time that you are together but separate.

iberostar varadero beach


We are already planning our trip for next year-- and we wouldn't change our trip for the world. Does your family have any places that you love to keep going back to? I would love to hear about it!

This post is not sponsored in any way. I just wanted to share about my most recent vacation!

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