Josone Park is a beautiful park and botanical garden that is located in the immediate vicinity of Varadero, province of Matanzas. In the mid-1940s, the land became the property of José Fermín Iturrioz y Llaguno, a senior executive of the Arechavala of Cardenas Company, that produces rum of the same name and the famous Havana Club.
It is said that the conception of building what constitutes Josone Park today was born from the idea José and his wife Onelia Mendez de Iturrioz, who decided to create a space in honor of the endurance of their love, hence their name is due to the union of the first three letters of their names: José and Onelia: Josone.
The land of around 9 hectares is located around a natural lagoon. In it there are numerous Caves called Figueroa Caves, where in the 1920s human skeletons of the ancient aborigines who inhabited Varadero were discovered and today they are part of the collection of the Museum of New York.
The first house that was built and that was the first house of the Iturrios marriage was built in 1943, it is of stonework and tiles and essentially maintains its original characteristics, later it became the home of the illustrious guests of the property. This constitutes today the Dante Restaurant.
The main house, the couple’s definitive home, was finished built in 1945 and essentially retains its original features and today constitutes the El Retiro Restaurant.
In the place there are other houses and cabins built in the Vasco style, origin of Mr. Iturrioz and others such as the old Josone Club, construction that has a pentagonal shape resembling a star. The original purpose of its construction was a recreation center for the employees of the Arechavala Company. It had then a Billiard and Domino room, another for bowling, reading room and pool.
After the triumph of the Cuban Revolution, the property became a visiting home of the revolutionary government. Célia Sánchez Manduley, a prominent combatant of the rebel army was charged with the custody and preservation of the place. Many personalities of politics have since passed through the Josone Park, among them: Salvador Allende, Agostinho Neto, Yuri Gagarin, Leonid Brézhnev, Mikhail Gorbachev, Indira Gandi, Raji Gandi, among others.
In 1989, the State Council of the Republic of Cuba ceded Cubanacan SA the Josone Retreat to be put in function of the international tourism of the nascent tourist pole of Varadero.
Among the attractions of this tourist destination of Varadero is the lagoon where you can ride on boats or water bicycles. In addition, the tunnel that José built under the first avenue that originally left the Varadero Beach and which today leads to the International Diving Center of Varadero is still active. Its beautiful gardens invite you to stroll or enjoy a picnic. In its many restaurants such as El Dante, La Campana, Antiguedades, Retiro Josone… you can taste the most authentic Creole food. The Restaurant can enjoy paellas and seafood and in the Restaurant of the International Diving Center the specialty is the seafood dishes.
In addition there is the Grotto Wine, Varadero Bar 1920 and a guarapera where you can enjoy that delicious sugarcane nectar, authentic tradition of Cuba.
Every year around 500 000 tourists visit this park.
Josone Park prices
- Boat rental in the lagoon: 0.50 cuc per person per hour
- Water bike rental: 5 cuc per hour
- Minitrain ride: 1 cuc per person
- Entrance to the swimming pool: 2 cuc per person
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