Isla de la Juventud in Cuba is a colorful paradise yet to be discovered for most people. Located in the south of the country and by the Caribbean sea, this municipality is home to many different natural wonders, old legends and a unique history. Discover all the things you need to know about Isla de la Juventud in this article.
The history behind Isla de la Juventud
Perhaps you have heard about this land before but don’t recall it. Throughout the years, the island has had a long list of different names. Historically, this island was inhabited by the Siboneyes Indians who called it different names: Sigüanea, Ahao, Camaraco, Guanaja… Then, in the XVI century, Cristopher Columbus baptised it as La Evangelista. Not long after, the name was changed to Santiago by Diego Velázquez Cuéllar. Consecutively, the way locals referred to this piece of land kept varying: Santa María, San Pauli, Colonia de la Reina Amalia or Isla de Pinos.
Since 1978, the land is known as Isla de la Juventud. Fidel Castro chose that name to honor hundreds of young people who helped with the reconstruction of the island after Hurricane Alma in 1966. This island in Cuba is one of the most picturesque landscapes of the Caribbean. The area is still unspoilt, making it a quiet and relaxing paradise for the whole family.
Things to do in Isla de la Juventud
There are so many things to do in this island. The island is well-known for its impressive paradisiac beaches where divers find their dream spot due to its rich marine biodiversity. However, beaches in Cayo Largo such as Paradise Beach or Long Beach are also ideal for just laying on their white sand and enjoying a dip in their crystalline waters. A top recommendation for beaches would be visiting Punta Francés, a National Maritime Park accessible only by boat.
Nevertheless, Isla de la Juventud in Cuba is way more than just exceptional beaches. Another natural wonder of this part of Cuba is Cueva de Punta del Este. This impressive cave is a national monument and is also considered the ‘Sistine Chapel’ of Caribbean indigenous art thanks to its amazing pieces of rock art. Definitely, a must if you are visiting the island. Another natural gem that should be on your to-do list is La Jungla de Jones. A rare botanical garden created by two botanists over a hundred years ago. Nowadays, la Jungla de Jones is still home to more than 80 tree varieties, including the named Bamboo Cathedral.
If you are up for an adventure, one of the best things to do in Isla de la Juventud is to visit Criadero Cocodrilo. This original farm plays an important role in the preservation of crocodiles in Cuba and also offers a unique opportunity to closely observe these incredible animals. More on the cultural side, Isla de la Juventud also harbors peculiar traditions and customs. Visit its capital city, Nueva Gerona, and walk around its colorful streets to get a good taste of it. To learn more about the history of this piece of land, you can’t miss the Natural History Museum and El Abra State Museum.
Now that you know more about Isla de la Juventud, you probably want to include a visit to this unique island during your trip to Cuba. If you are unsure about how to do it or you just simply don’t want to take care of the logistics of the trip, no worries. Espíritu Travel got you sorted. All you need to do is check our trips to Cuba to get inspired by the things you would like to do in this amazing country. Then, you just need to contact us to let us know more about your needs and desires for the trip. We will get back to you with a bespoke itinerary designed just for you!