La Isla de la Juventud, Cuba, is the only “island” authentic, the second and last of the Cuban archipelago (the rest are small islands or cays). With 50 km long and approximately the same width, the island remains a little outside, set from the revolution to get young students from different latitudes. Hence his new name: Isla de la Juventud.
Photography by Sami Keinänen
History of the Isle of Youth:
Speaking of history say that from the island, only a quarter of the wealth amassed in South America by the Spanish, came to fruition in Spain. A large number of treasures to be still in the sea off the coast of the island. Legendary pirates like Francis Drake, Henry Morgan, Latrobe Leclerc and Robert Louis Stevenson inspired his famous novel Treasure Island.
In 1809, the Spanish decided finally found the first Isle of Pines, Nueva Gerona. The city became synonymous with exile for opponents of colonial rule. In the Treaty of Paris which recognized independence of Cuba, the United States took possession of the second island of Cuba, and only in 1925, before international pressure, they acknowledged that the Isle of Pines belonged to the Cuban Republic.
Today, the island lived in the cultivation of citrus fruits, fishing and quarrying of marble.
The south of the island:
The south is very wild, covered with forests and wetlands, surrounded by coves and beaches, with great tourist center. It can be a very attractive walk along the coastal road that stretches between Guayacanal and Crocodile. Shall be referred to fishing villages, descendants of the English settlers arrived in Cayman Islands.
Southeast of the island:
One road leads to Playa Punta del Este, splendid beach of 15 km of virgin sand. Here, traces of the first inhabitants of Cuba, Ciboneys, in their caves with cave paintings of particular interest: a large mural made up of more than 200 glyphs before the arrival of Christopher Columbus.
To the west of the island:
On the other hand, the Red Beach, home to key tourist facilities on the island, especially in regard to diving. In these places are counted more than 50 seabed. The wall of black coral is not going over submarine rides.
Getting to the Isle of Youth?
From Havana by plane. Daily flights between Havana and the city of Nueva Gerona. Approximately 40 minutes flight. The move to the city (about 5 km) is included in the ticket price.
If you’re not going to stay in Nueva Gerona, a minibus and some taxis are waiting at the airport to take you to the Hotel Colony, where they stay most of the tourists. They are about 45 km drive.
From Southern Airboat Havana. There are four round trips daily hydrofoil between the port of Batabano Surgiredo (70 km south of Havana) and Nueva Gerona (7, 10, 13 and 16 hours). The journey takes just over two hours. From the port, it is necessary to take a taxi to the hotel Colony.
Hotels to stay:
The Colony Hotel: located in Siguanea road, km 44. With 80 rooms is the best hotel in the island. Pool and beach surrounded by coconut trees, stand, after a long dock where evening entertainment takes place by orchestras. There is a floating platform that serves as a restaurant, hence salaesn all kinds of excursions for diving.
Villa Gaviota Highway is located in Nueva Gerona. Faith in the 3km. It has 20 rooms. A 5 minute drive from the capital. It is a comfortable hotel with swimming pool.
The Pig, at 39th Street, corner of 24th and The Lamb, Street 39, corner 22. Both restaurants serve pork and lamb.
Shopping and souvenirs:
Do not miss the Youth Shop on 39th Street near the church. Where you can take memories as ceramics and other objects.