afterwards it was named Isle of Pines,
until 1975 when the name changed to Isle of Youth.
Little more than 100 kilometers south of Batabanó,
in the province of Havana, this enormous isle of capricious shape and
some 2 200 km2 of surface "which makes it the second largest one
of the Cuban archipelago" was for more than three centuries a compulsory
stop for all pirates and corsairs sailing in the waters of the Caribbean
Threatened by England, requested by Belgium to be sold
to them, and disputed by the United States, it also served as a settlement
for colonies of immigrants from Japan and the Cayman Islands, who settled
in the southeast side of the territory between 1903 and 1910, where they
founded a villa under the name of Jacksonville.
The Isle of Youth has several tourism attractions,
though the most well-known is, without a question, the "El Colony"
International Diving Center; located in the areas of the "Punta
Francés" Marine National Park, venue of international events
of underwater photography, Photosub, which is a testimony of the excellent
quality of its sea bottom.
The number 1 cave of Punta del Este, considered by
the experts the Sistine Chapel of rupestrian art, for it preserves on
its walls more than two hundred aboriginal paintings, is a very interesting
place for those who decide to travel to this isle. Its citrus plantations,
prime quality marble deposits and the production artistic and utility
pottery, are the three main pillars of its economy.
On the northeast side, with captivating black sand,
Bibijagua beach is a place of great interest. Not far from the beach
visitors will find two important museums: the Presidio Modelo (Model
Prision), a unique penitentiary in the Americas where the leader of
the Revolution, Fidel Castro, was imprisoned; and El Abra farm, declared
National Monument, which was very much related to the life of the Cuban
Apóstol, José Martí.
Sucu-Sucu is original from this land. This contagious rhythm has also
come to Cayo Largo del Sur to give life to the only all inclusive island
in the Caribbean. This paradise island has an international airport
and 24 kilometers of beach, out of which Sirena is the main attraction.
The opportunity of practicing underwater photography,
fishing, and Scuba Diving in more than 30 diving sites; going on tours
for the observation of birds in its large mangrove swamps, or visiting
the close Cayo Iguana, Cayo Rico or Cayo Rosario, all of them excellently
preserved and with unique beauty and privacy, are compliments of the
offer of this destination which, just like the Isle of Youth, enhances
the tourism values of the archipelago of Los Canarreos.