Caribbean Snapshots: Varadero Beach, Cuba

Cuba's most popular beach offers sugar sands and turquoise waters

 

At first glance you might think you were looking at a picture from the sandy cays in the British Virgin Islands or maybe a beach in Cancun. But this is Varadero, the favorite beach on the biggest island in the Caribbean. More than 700 miles long, and sometimes known as La Isla Grande,” Cuba is framed by more than 3,500 miles of shoreline.

On the north central coast, a thin finger of land extends eastward, and includes a 15-mile strip of sugary soft sand known as Varadero. This area was made famous in the 1920s when the multi-millionaire Irenee Dupont built the Xanadu mansion. Today the historic structure serves as the clubhouse for the Varadero Golf Club, and the beaches that were once the exclusive playground of the ultra-wealthy now belong to the hundreds of thousands of visitors that come from Europe, Canada and the U.S. to soak up the Cuban sun.

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