Situated in the heart of town, anyone visiting Varadero should add Parque Josone to their itinerary. Incredibly popular with tourists and locals alike, Parque Josone attracts around half a million visitors each year. As soon as you make your way inside its landscaped gardens, you’ll quickly realise why it’s such a hit.
The palm tree-lined pathways that wind through the grounds are great for serene strolls and admiring the tropical flowers dotted throughout the park. This tranquil sanctuary is also home to a variety of local birdlife, including resident communities of chickens, ducks, geese, swans and flamingos that all manage to get along with each other.
Many visitors are content with simply taking lazy walks through Parque Josone’s gardens. Others enjoy grabbing a bench, stretching out and watching the world go by. But if you do fancy getting a bit more active, there are no end of attractions to keep you well and truly occupied.
You can rent out a rowboat and take it out onto the park’s lake, or enjoy a soak in the cooling waters of the public swimming pool. There’s also a mini-golf course, a bowling alley, camel rides and a children’s playground. So if you wish to spend a whole day at Parque Josone, there’s plenty of entertainment beyond all that strolling and sunbathing.
You’re free to bring your own food and drink into the park so picnics are always an option. But rumbling stomachs can also be satisfied by the numerous eateries on offer. There are four restaurants to take your pick from, with a tempting selection of seafood, international, Italian and Creole cuisine. There’s also a little ice cream parlour to satisfy anyone with a bit of a sweet tooth.
Parque Josone also has a popular bar with a reputation for rustling up a pretty mean Piña Colada. These creamy concoctions are a heavenly way to cool off after all that time in the sun. It’s also worth noting that the park doesn’t close until midnight and there’s music playing here every evening - giving you plenty of incentives to hang around late into the night.
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If you are interested in Cuba's incredibly diverse indigenous biodiversity, the Alejandro de Humboldt National Park is worth a visit. Featuring 16 of the 28 protected national plant species and several endemic animals and birds, even those less attracted to flora and fauna will be impressed by the landscape and unspoilt beaches. It is best accessed from Baracoa.
A visit to the Almendares Park is an opportunity to relax in a lush, green setting in the heart of the city. Located by the river-side of the Playa neighbourhood, the park is an example of forward-thinking urban planning and offers some leisure activities for adults and children alike as well as the chance to see Habaneros relaxing with their families.
Playa Ancon just might be Cuba's best south beach. A 15-minute drive from Trinidad, visitors will find white sand, clear water, great diving, and sunny skies on the end of Ancon peninsula. There are three luxury resorts for those looking for an opulent holiday, as well as more modest options for the budget-conscious.
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