The special municipality named Isle of Youth or Isla de la Juventud, the largest of the more than 600 isles forming the southern Archipelago of Los Canarreos, is called by many the "isle of the thousand names".
The special municipality named Isle of Youth, Isla de la Juventud in spanish the largest of the more than 600 isles forming the southern Archipelago of Los Canarreos, is called by many the "isle of the thousand names". Natives used to call it Camarcó at the time it was discovered on his second journey, June 13 of 1494, by the admiral form Geneva Christopher Columbus, who at the time named it La Evangelista. Isle of the Treasure and Isle of the Parrots were names also given to this place before Spain decided to colonize it at the beginning of the XIX century, turning it into the colony of Reina Amalia (Queen Amalia), founding its capital, Nueva Gerona, on December 17 of 1830. Under the domain of the peninsula, it started to be called Isle of the Exiles, because it was precisely the place where those who opposed the metropolis used to be imprisoned; afterwards it was named Isle of Pines, until 1975 when the name changed to Isle of Youth. The Isla de la Juventud 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 Frances" Marine National Park, venue of international events of underwater photography, Photo sub, which is a testimony of the excellent quality of its sea bottom. 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; and El Abra farm, declared National Monument, which was very much related to the life of the Cuban hero, José Marti.