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Nature and History South of Havana

South of western Havana province, some 100 kilometers (62 miles) from the big island, is the Isle of Youth, a region linked to legends, adventures and traditions, and characterized by a unique natural environment and many attractions for tourism.

Its capital, Nueva Gerona, was founded in 1830 under the name of Reina Amalia (Queen Amalia), in honor to the then wife of King Ferdinand VII. The city is characterized by its well-preserved architecture, marked by singular neoclassical features.

History is present in the El Abra Farm, where National Hero José Martí stayed briefly. The place is currently a museum that exhibits aspects of the life and habits in the farm over 100 years ago.

In the farm, the main house, the independent kitchen, the barn and the coach house, as well as the old aqueduct that supplied water to the building, are in a perfect state of preservation.

The Isle of Youth is also home to the descendants from the first Japanese settlers who arrived there in the early 20th century. The Japanese colony is considered the second largest group of its kind in the country.

At the same time, the fishing town of Cocodrilo, formerly known as Jacksonville, is home to the descendants from settlers from Grand Cayman and Jamaica, who incorporated their Caribbean rhythms into traditional music.

El Colony. Beach
Front View, Rancho del Tesoro
El Colony Hotel. House

In Punta del Este, in the southern part of the island, several caverns exhibit valuable exponents of cave art by Cuban aborigines, especially from the group known as "guayabo blanco", from the Siboney culture.

Many experts have considered the place a Sistine Chapel of cave art in the insular Caribbean, showing a lunar calendar, made up of 56 concentric circles (in red and black), and the nine planets of the Solar System.

Fossilized remains of humans, utensils and the so-called "Cruz Pinera" (Pinera Cross) - which shows the four cardinal points - have also been found during excavations and research in caverns.

Since the mid-20th century, the region has a peculiar botanic garden, known as Jones's Jungle. It was created by a couple of US citizens who arrived in the island in 1902, and experts considered it a small ecosystem.

Its 10 hectares are home to up to 20 varieties of mango trees and 10 of bamboo, in addition to cedar, palms, avocado, coffee and many others, creating a combination of autochthonous and exotic plants in a sort of jungle.

There are over 50 diving sites off Punta Francés, where there exists a 400-km (250-miles) coral reef, which experts consider one of the best preserved in the world. The region also boasts rich marine fauna and coastal ecosystems.

For all this, the Isle of Youth is gaining ground in the great tourist offer of the largest Antillean Island, and it is ready to welcome a large number of vacationers among thousands of travelers visiting Cuba every year.

Attractions  Accommodation  Marinas  
Casa Natal de Jesús Montané Oropesa

Calle 24 esq. a 45, Nueva Gerona

Isla de la Juventud
Cuevas de Punta del Este

Isla de la Juventud
Farm-Museum El Abra

Carretera Siguanea km. 1½

Isla de la Juventud
Finlay Cave

Ensenada de Caleta Grande

Isla de la Juventud
Galería de Arte
Art Galleries

Calle 39 esq. a 26

Isla de la Juventud
Los Indios-San Felipe National Park
Areas of Natural Interest

Isla de la Juventud
Museo de Ciencias Naturales

Calle 41 No. 4625 esq. a 54

Isla de la Juventud
Museum of Underground Struggle

Calle 24 e/ 43 y 45, Nueva Gerona

Isla de la Juventud
Nueva Gerona Municipal Museum

Calle 30 e/ 37 y Martí

Isla de la Juventud
Presidio Modelo (Model Prison) Museum

Reparto Chacón, Nueva Gerona

Isla de la Juventud
Punta del Este

Isla de la Juventud

Isla de la Juventud
Punta Francés-Punta Pedernales National Marine Park
Areas of Natural Interest

Al sur de la Isla de la Juventud

Isla de la Juventud
Taller de Cerámica Artística
Art Galleries

Calle 37 esq. a 24, Nueva Gerona

Isla de la Juventud
The Indian Cave

Camino Cocodrilo, Punta Francés

Isla de la Juventud

Carretera de Siguanea Km 46

Isla de la Juventud
MARINAS All services
Cámara Hiperbárica El Colony
Hyperbaric chambers

Hotel El Colony, Carretera de Siguanea km. 41

Isla de la Juventud
Cámara Hiperbárica Nueva Gerona
Hyperbaric chambers

Hospital "Héroes del Baire", Calle 39-A, Nueva Gerona

Isla de la Juventud
El Colony
Diving centers

Carretera Siguanea km. 42

Isla de la Juventud
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