The bus was air-conditioned and we had coastal views throughout the entire 2.5 hour trip. Our arrival in resort town Varadero was obvious, especially after just driving through the slightly dilapidated community of Matanzas.
When we arrived at the bus station in Varadero, we were debating whether or not to take a taxi to our casa. So when a man immediately came up to us and offered us a ride in a taxi, we obliged. Turns out that by "taxi", he really meant horse and buggy.
Luckily, after we got out of their as quickly as possible, we went over to the Beatles Bar for a show. Every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 10 pm this bar hosts an awesome outdoor rock and roll show with an energetic cover band. There were people of all ages, and we mean ALL ages, getting up to dance and just having fun in general. If you're in Varadero, it's a good way to spend the evening.
First, we took the Hop-on Hop-off bus to Cueva Ambrosio, making it our second visit to caves in Cuba. However, this time was much different than the first trip. Once we arrived at the caves, we were given tiny headlamps to carry around with us, and the guide brought us in so far to give us an introduction. After he mentioned that there are pre-Columbian drawings along the cave walls, and that fruit bats fly around the cave, he went back out to sit in his hut.
We were not expecting to be exploring these caves on our own, and to be the only people there, so that was a great surprise. We had lots of fun looking for cave paintings and wandering around until we got to the area with the multitude of bats. Both of us had been to zoos before and seen bats outdoors, but this was something else. It was pitch black and bats were flying at our heads (never hitting us of course), so we spent a bit of time crouched down on the cave floor. We took most of our pictures with flash, so that lit up the place, if only for a second.
The most surprising part about the museum is that although the top floor is under renovation, you can still go up and outside onto the balcony to admire the view. And what a view it was.
On the bright side, our trip to Cuba was awesome! We saw everything we wanted to see in Havana, went on a excursion to the Viñales Valley, and got to see the beach side of Cuba by going to Varadero. And we did all of this (including flights, taxis, accommodation, food, souvenirs, everything) for $1300 each! Very comparable to an all-inclusive vacation. Not to mention that that includes every single expense that we had during our time there, and while we didn't spend extravagantly, we also didn't skimp on anything we wanted to do (or drink). The flights alone were $688 each, so that means that while we were there we only spent approximately $77 each everyday, EVERYTHING included. And we came in under budget, which is what matters the most when it comes to finances. Great trip all around!
In case you missed any of our previous blog posts about our trip to Cuba, here they are:
5 Days in Havana (Part I)
5 Days in Havana (Part II)
Viñales Valley Wednesday
5 Days in Havana (Part III)
And finally, here are more pictures from Varadero: