Varadero, covering Cuba’s narrow Hicacos Peninsula, is a popular beach resort town. Along its 20km of white sandy beaches along Atlantic Ocean coastline is a string of all-inclusive hotel and spa complexes, and a golf course. Near the peninsula’s eastern tip is Reserva Ecológica Varahicacos, a preserve with trails and an ancient burial cave. Parque Josone is a park with a pond and gardens.
The first tourists visited Varadero as early as the 1870s, and for years it was considered an elite resort. In 1910 the annual rowing regatta was started; five years later the first hotel, named Varadero and later Club Nautico, was built. Tourism grew in the early 1930s as Irénée du Pont, an American millionaire, built his estate on the peninsula. Many famous and infamous parted in Varadero, such as legendary gangster Al Capone.
After the Cuban Revolution in 1959, there was a decline in foreign tourists, especially from the United States, things are changing now however. Varadero receives more than 1 million tourists annually, mostly European and Canadian tourists. The number of U.S. tourists visiting Varadero, is likely to increase with the easing of travel restrictions this year.