Following President Barack Obama's watershed visit to Cuba last month, the Caribbean island is moving one step closer to harmony with its northern neighbour. An application has been submitted for what will become the world's second-largest theme park, on the island's north coast, around an hour's drive east of popular holiday resort Varadero.
Challenging the size and scale of Dubailand, currently under construction in the emirate's desert, the park will be operated by a well-known, US-based giant and will feature several zones, including a waterpark, zoo and welcome area celebrating the island's culture, as well as six hotels, dozens of restaurants and retail outlets.
Currently, the closest Cuba comes to a theme park is The World of Fantasy, a state-run park on the outskirts of Santiago de Cuba, that was badly damaged by Hurricane Sandy four years ago. It features model dinosaurs and rockets, fruit-shaped huts and a bizarre clown-face entrance - not one for coulrophobics. Meanwhile, Cayo Saetia - on the north coast near Holguin - is an artificial island repurposed as a safari park, complete with zebras, ostriches and antelopes. Not exactly native to this corner of the Caribbean.
Cuba's new addition will feature a rollercoaster with a whopping 15 inversions, an ice-maiden themed hotel, parades, shows and nightly firework displays. Revolutionary Road, a working title for the entrance area of the park, will feature meet-and-greets with the operator's fictional characters and historic costumed figures from Cuba's recent history, while Cayo Castro will house a sprawling water park, with water-based attractions, flumes and Cuban-themed restaurants. Hemingway's Hideaway is likely to feature in at least one of the hotels - an adults-only bar serving the island's celebrated cocktail, the daiquiri.
While the operator has yet to be named, it is expected that - pending planning application decisions - construction on the park will commence in 2018, for completion by 1 April 2021.
Update: Did you spot the opening date?
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