Reserva Ecologica Varahicacos – Checking out an Ecological Reserve in Varadero

The “Reserva Ecologica Varahicacos” is an ecological reserve near Varadero, Cuba. We decided to check this out while in Cuba as it was super close to our hotel and looked like it had a few interesting sites to see! Read on to find out what it’s all about!

Getting There

The ecological reserve is on the hotel side of Varadero. You can get there easily with the red, double decker hop on/hop off bus that runs frequently along the hotel strip. It costs 5 CUC for a day of unlimited riding. The reserve also costs 5 CUC for admission and you will receive a rough English map.

The Trail

We did this walk in flip flops but I am quite comfortable in my sandals and wear them pretty much everywhere. I didn’t find the trail challenging – I would describe it as a stroll through the jungle with a few holes in the ground here and there. You’ll come across many termite nests, lizards, and interesting foliage while you walk. There is one cactus in particular that is over 500 years old.

At one point you will come across a few caves. They aren’t well marked and it’s hard to say for sure if you are supposed to go in them or not but from my research it looked like people generally go into them. Ried went into one and used a flash light to look around but left when it became obvious there were bats hanging around. I’ve read there are pictograms in some of these as well but we didn’t find any unfortunately! There is one cave with human remains that are over 2500 years old. There are some ropes around the skeleton but otherwise it is left open to air and complete unguarded (once you go through the gate you are totally on your own)! These caves used to house Cuban smugglers who called themselves “Musulmanes”.

Recommendation

Would I recommend visiting the “Reserva Ecologica Varahicacos”? If you want to go for a walk and see something a little different then the beach, it’s a fun 1.5 hour(ish) outing. I really enjoyed seeing the different plants and watching all the lizards scurry around. I definitely don’t regret our time spent here, felt quite safe, and would recommend it to those who like walking and want to see a different side of Varadero.

-Rachel

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