Feature: Cuba’s Varadero beach resort, a popular tourism destination for foreigners

VARADERO, CUBA, July 1 (Xinhua) — The clear blue waters shining under the strong Caribbean sun and a growing hotel infrastructure have turned the Varadero beach resort into Cuba’s most popular tourism destination.

The beautiful beach resort, 141 km east of Havana, received about 500,000 foreign visitors, mainly from Canada, Germany, Russia, Italy and France, during the last high season (November-May), representing a 4-percent increase year-on-year.

A long beach, famous for its fine sand, is the main attraction for those who stay in the 57 hotels in Varadero.

“This is a beautiful beach,” Joachim Hefenberg, a young Belgian tourist who is on his first trip to the island, told Xinhua.

After performing an aerobics session along the shore, Apolonio da Costa, a Brazilian travelling with his wife Carla Mello, said that Varadero was the most beautiful beach he had ever seen and that he wanted to return to the Caribbean island.

For Mello, the place is “a paradise for tourists, who can find peace and safety here.”

Lying under a parasol with her two-year-old son, Argentine Ines Abradelo said that, besides the natural beauty, “the people here are very friendly.”

The Cuban government estimates that about 1.5 million visitors will spend their vacations in Varadero this year.

Tourism development is an engine that will revolutionize the entire country’s economy,” said Tourism Minister Manuel Marrero this week at the opening of the 9th Varadero Gourmet Festival, which has attracted delegates from 16 countries.

Seeing the tourism potential of the archipelago, the Cuban government has proposed an ambitious program of development by 2030, including the construction of 224 hotels to expand the national accommodation capacity to 103,000 rooms.

Varadero plays a significant role in that project, with four new hotels, an international 18-hole golf course, and a beer factory, to be built.

Also known as the Blue Beach, Varadero is considered one of the ten most beautiful beaches on the planet. It aims to attract more tourists to come and enjoy its natural beauty.