|Josone Park in Varadero|
From green to blue. After many visits to Varadero, it may be confirmed that Josone has not lost its splendor or its enchanting atmosphere (it is attended by 133 workers).
The fact that some 500,000 tourists visit the park every year is one indication of its attractions. Many appreciate its swimming pool (right by the ocean!) and a 5-star area, La Estrella, once a casino.
Its carefully-kept areas, always green, and its natural lake, christened “La Paz” (Peace), are its trademarks, perfect for a relaxed walk, jog, or bike ride.
The park and its name, Josone, have a simple history that goes back to the 1930s, when Basque native José Fermín Iturróz, then manager (1926-1956) of the Arrechabala rum factory, bought the first piece of land around the lake.
The first house was built in 1938 and is today the Dante Restaurant, specializing in – what more could one ask? – Italian food. Subsequently, a mansion was erected in the neoclassical style, where Iturróz and his family resided, which is now the Retiro Josone Restaurant, with Cuban and international cuisine.
A typically Basque cabana, used by the main architect of the project completed in 1946, has been dubbed “La campana” (the bell).
From the Josone a tunnel was built and under the first avenue, originally leading to the beach and now to the International Diving Center.
The name Josone itself has a history that some consider romantic, given that it comes from the first letters of the names José and Onelia, the wealthy Basque’s wife.
The park is a “different” sort of spot on the famous narrow peninsula, impossible for any tourist to skip when visiting Varadero.