The Isle of Youth (or Isla de la Juventud in Spanish), which has received several names over the past five centuries, offers a wide range of tourist options, taking advantage of its exuberant nature and excellent beaches.
Located about 100 kilometers (60 miles) south of the largest island of the Cuban archipelago, the Isle of Youth benefits from its links to adventures and traditions from the times when corsairs and pirates sailed around the Caribbean Sea.
Among the offers available in that cozy territory is the so-called Isla de la Juventud Villa, a 20-room facility providing a wide range of recreational activities, excursions and tours of places of interest.
Chinese, Japanese and US colonies are added to the attractions of Bibijagua beach, which is famous for its black sand, due to the sea's erosive action on marble, which is very abundant on the island.
Diving is a major activity at the Colony hotel - located dozens of kilometers from Nueva Gerona, the region's capital - where boats can dock and vacationers can enjoy several diving programs, including underwater photography.
That area boasts a breathtakingly beautiful coral reef, a safe haven for numerous marine species, including tubular sponges, and where vacationers can enjoy cave diving, in addition to benefiting from the region's sulfurous waters.
The Punta Francés National Marine Park, on the southwestern coast of the Isle of Youth, is a must for cruise ships visiting the Cuban archipelago.
The boats' regular stopovers allow thousands of vacationers to enjoy excellent beaches, several nautical options and excursions to places of interest on the island.
Cruise companies chose Punta Francés because of its pristine and exuberant nature, crystal-clear waters and beautiful sea bottoms, and the existence of the world's best-preserved coral reef.
For nature lovers, the travel agency ECOTUR S.A. offers a wide gamut of offers that allows travelers to discover and learn about prehistoric sites, as well as about endemic plants and animals.
Among those options are tours of La Cañada protected area, Los Indios ecological reserve, Jones's Jungle (La Jungla de Jones), the crocodile breeding farm and the region's museums.
Vacationers can also enjoy trekking, bird watching, environmental interpretation, forests, countryside picnics, visits to aboriginal sites and flooded caverns.
For all these, the Isle of Youth has become a major destination in Cuba's tourist industry, as a valid alternative for leisure south of Havana.