Melia Las Dunas Cayo Santa MariaPrice/night 112 € 124 €
Isla de la Juventud (Isle of Youth), is situated about 100km off the south coast of mainland Cuba and is the largest of the more than 600 isles forming the southern Archipelago of Los Canarreos. For more than three centuries, the Isle of youth was a compulsory stop for all pirates and corsairs sailing in the waters of the Caribbean Sea. The Isle of Youth is home to some of Cuba’s most important agricultural farmland and is a key producer of citrus fruits for export. The standard of living is generally higher, largely due to the preponderance of well cultivated, arable land which makes the problem of food shortages less pronounced than on the mainland. The Isle of Parrots, The Isle of Pirates, The Isle of Treasure, The Isle of Pines and nowadays, The Isle of Youth are the different names that this island has received. Natives used to call it Camarcó at the time it was discovered on his second journey, June 13 of 1494, by the admiral Christopher Colombus, on his second journey to the New World, who at the time named it La Evangelista. The Isle of Youth has several tourism attractions, 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; the most well-known is 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 one cave of Punta del Este 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 Prison), a unique penitentiary in the Americas where the leader of the Revolution, Fidel Castro, was imprisoned by the regime of Fulgencio Batista after leading the failed July 1953 attack on the Moncada Barracks in the Oriente Province; and El Abra farm, declared National Monument, which was very much related to the life of the Cuban Apóstol, José Martí. Others attractions are tours for the observation of birds in its large mangrove swamps, 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.