The Isle of Youth has had a versatile identity throughout history, being known by a thousand names until it is considered today as a special municipality of Cuba, not belonging to any of its 15 provinces. 

Conquered by the Spanish Admiral Christopher Columbus on June 13, 1494, who named it San Juan Evangelista, it is said to be the place where he spent the most time during his voyages to the new continent. Until 1978, it was called Isla de Pinos, then it adopted its current name in honor of the thousands of young people who studied there and collaborated in the development and reconstruction of the place after the passage of Hurricane Alma in 1966. Before that, it was home to the Siboney Indians, who left one of the most important rock art sites in all of Cuba, especially the Caves of Punta del Este, considered the Sistine Chapel of Caribbean Rock Art.

Located southwest of Cuba, in the Caribbean Sea, it has an area of 2200 km². It is the seventh largest island in the Caribbean and is characterized by its natural beauty and history. It is about 100 kilometers south of Havana and is accessible by ferry or plane. Its wide variety of landscapes and natural ecosystems make it the ideal destination for Isla Verde and its International Caribbean Film and Environment Festival.

In its diversity, it features a mountainous topography, with elevations reaching up to 300 meters above sea level. This creates various microclimates and ecosystems, ranging from tropical forests to mangroves and coral reefs, with some of the most beautiful diving spots in Cuba.

The endemic biodiversity of the place, distributed in its 16 protected areas, is another of its great treasures; its waters are deeply full of life, with more than 50 different species of corals and more than 200 species of fish. Numerous terrestrial species, including birds, reptiles, and mammals, coexist in harmony there. Among the fauna most difficult to find in other places, we can mention the iguana of the Isle of Youth, the land crab, and the fruit bat.

Island was used as a political prison during Batista's dictatorship before 1959, and some of the buildings that were part of the prison have been converted into museums and cultural centers, such as the impressive Presidio Modelo. 

Among the places to visit on the Isle of Youth, the Sierra de las Casas Biosphere Reserve stands out, where various ecosystems are preserved, including tropical forests, mangroves, and wetlands, as well as endemic species such as the cork palm and the Cuban parrot.

La Ciénaga de Lanier, an important wetland for the conservation of Cuban biodiversity, is another privileged site on the Isle of Youth. Also, Bibijagua Beach, distinguished by its completely natural black color of fine sands, formed by the erosive action of the waves and rain on the black marble rocks of the preceding mountain range. Nearby is the Punta Frances Natural Park, a protected area with several trails for walking and observing the local fauna and flora.

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