Isla de la Juventud
Isla de la Juventud (“Isle of Youth”) is the second-largest Cuban island and the seventh-largest island in the West Indies (after Cuba itself, Hispaniola, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, Trinidad, and Andros Island). The island has an area 3056 km²and is 100 km south of the island of Cuba, across the Gulf of Batabanó. The island lies almost directly south of Havana and Pinar del Río, and because of its superficial extension, population and for its economic characteristics,is considered to be a Special Municipality, not being a part of any province. The Isle of Youth is, therefore, administered directly by the central government of Cuba.
The largest of the 350 islands in the Canarreos Archipelago (Archipiélago de los Canarreos), the island has an estimated population of 100,000. The capital and largest city is Nueva Gerona in the north, and the second-largest and oldest city is Santa Fe in the interior. Other communities include Columbia, Mac Kinley, Santa Bárbara, Cuchilla Alta, Punta del Este, Sierra de Caballos and Sierra de Casas.
The island was called the Isle of Pines (Isla de Pinos) until it was renamed in 1978.
Much of the island is covered in pine forests, which is the source of the island’s large lumber industry. The northern region of the island has low ridges from which marble is quarried, while the southern region is an elevated plain. Agriculture and fishing are the island’s main industries, with citrus fruit and vegetables being grown. A black sand beach was formed by volcanic activity.
Places to go:
- NUEVA GERONA CITY
- PRESIDIO MODELO: Prison where Fidel Castro and some of his guerrilla men were kept from 1953-1955.
- ABRA FARM: Link to José Martí´s life.
- JONES JUNGLE: Botanical Garden.
- PUNTA FRANCÉS
- CAYO LARGO DEL SUR
- SINAGUE BEACH: There are 56 attractive diving sites, some of them in areas of dense and colorful populations of corals, gorgonians and sponges. Others are located where the drop-off falls sharply, also more than 20 caves, passages and tunnels, coral hillocks and valleys are included.