Grounds: Both sections are very lush, well maintained and easy to get around; lots of palm trees. Very clean.
Coral Section: The grounds consist of ‘wide straight paths’ to the beach and around the grounds. The Coral section needs a bit of repair. Some rooms/buildings are closed for renovations. The pool area is attractive.
Sirenas Section: More of a grassed area with narrow winding paths to the beach and around the grounds, very manicured and attractive.
Lobby: Coral: Nice looking, good layout, open concept with seating throughout. A lobby bar at one side of the lobby with barstools and small tables and chairs. There is a tea corner at one end of the lobby with great cappuccino’s and pastries. The lobby looks out to the pool area. There is outdoor seating also off the lobby. There are a few steps down to the pool. The buffet restaurant is just off the lobby.
Sirenas: Much the same look however no outside seating. This lobby plays soft mellow music at night.
Rooms: Coral: A bit dated, in need of a spruce up and some repair. Had an in-room safe, balcony, tv with remote and mini fridge (note not all rooms have mini fridge or remotes for the tv). Large closet, but not much drawer space. Air-conditioning did not work very well at first; they repaired it mid week and it was nice and cold. Did not see Sirenas rooms, they call it an upgrade.
Beach: Beautiful; soft sand, turquoise water, no rocks, you can take long walks in both directions with resorts all the way along; facing the water to the left you can walk to town approx 20 minutes. Water off shore is a good depth; not too deep, but not the shallow wading pool type either. No palm trees on the beach. They had stacks and stacks of lounge chairs. Lots of palapa huts well spread out. Paddle Boats (free). The Coral Beach Bar is directly on the beach with easy access from all palapas. The Sirenas Beach Bar is not directly on the beach it’s just behind the sand dunes and trees.
Pools: Coral: 3 pools. Two are located side by side near the lobby. One is shallow about 1 to 2 feet and gets to about 4 feet in one small area, this pool has the swim up bar in the shallow end. The other pool is next to it with a bridge between them; it looks to be about 4 feet for the most part; with a small shallow end that resembles shore line, you can walk right in (it was closed). Another pool about 4 feet deep; located between 2 buildings in the grounds. All pools have loungers and lots of natural shade from the palm trees. They play local music at the theatre stage and you can hear it at the main Coral pool (nice). Sirenas: 1 pool. Not as much shade and looked more active; had loungers, a swim up bar and a snack bar serving food and drinks with table/chair seating.
Activities: Dance lessons daily at the entertainment stage. Volleyball on the beach and water exercises. Saw some dance lessons on the beach one day. Both sections have a games centre; ping pong, pool tables.
Nightly Shows: The stage is on the Coral side behind the pool; it’s theatre style, open air with a roof. Lots of seating. No bar. Good shows, very theatrical. No audience participation type. Kids show started at approx 8pm and adults show at 9:30 to 10:30. They play some local music before the shows you can hear it from the lobby area.
Disco: One on the grounds in Sirenas section; but we did not go. Open Thurs Fri and Sat.
Food: The food was actually tasty; always replenished. Much better then our first visit to Cuba (different resort).
Main Buffet: Both sections have comfortable indoor restaurants with air conditioning; both offer outdoor seating. Typical buffet items with made to order stations. Clean, wait service for drinks; birds do fly around. The Coral buffet is older looking, bigger and quieter. The Sirenas buffet is newer looking, but louder, they also had more food selections and a trio singing band.
Beach Restaurant: Coral section. Open air thatched roofed. Buffet, plus burgers and sandwiches. Open for lunch only.
Snack Restaurant: Coral section in one of the buildings towards the beach, open air; served burgers, fries sandwiches, hotdogs; lots of birds flying around. Open for lunch only.
Pool Snack Bar: Sirenas Section around the pool area. Open 24 hours; serves hotdogs burgers, fries, sandwiches.
Ala Cartes: Italian & Creole: Both on the Sirenas side; both outdoors near the pool. Mediterranean: Coral section, indoors. Other restaurants listed but closed.
Internet: 1 computer in the lobby of the Coral for both sections; it was not working the entire week.
Other: Staff and locals were friendly. Service was very good. The resort felt safe and always people walking around. Mixed even crowd of all ages; few kids. Lots of Canadians on the Coral section.
Getting pesos was no problem. We bought some at the airport on arrival; the line went fast, they had about 4 tellers. The resort also had a bank and no problems getting small bills; they have $1 peso bills and $1 peso coins. Cost on average 1.41 Cdn for one peso. Resort gave us the same rate as the airport. Although the bus ride is included; we took a cab to and from the airport; $30 (pesos) plus tip; one way. Approx 20 min drive.
Off the resort: Town of Varadero few shops, restaurants a park. Comfortable and safe feeling. Long street, spread out, not your typical Caribbean town. You can take horse n buggy ($10 one way to town) or little yellow scooter things, or a cab ($4 one way to town). We found things a bit pricier this time round. Double Decker bus $5 per person, can use the pass for the entire day.
To Plaza America $4 cab or scooter thing. Has a few shops, restaurants, vendors. Lots of people there.
Weather: Very hot and sunny and very hot and sticky at night, but not the hard to breath kind. Rained 2 mornings and cleared up by 8am. Rained 2 afternoons for about an hour; and again cleared up completely. Lots of mosquito’s. Bring lots of spray or cream; coils and small citronella candles might be a good idea too.
Varadero is a quiet relaxed place; no pushy vendors, the beaches are beautiful, people are friendly. There is a town but it always felt a bit deserted. We like to venture out off the resort more, go in and out of town, rent a car and explore; and this was lacking in Cuba for our liking. Always watch for those slippery wet tiles, they are everywhere.