Isle of Youth
The Isle of Youth or "Isla de la Juventud" as it is locally called, is the second largest of Cuban islands and keys that make up the Cuban archipelago and the largest of the 350 islands that make up the Archipielago de los Canarreos of Cuba's south coast. Over the years this island has been known by many different names such as El Evangelista, Parrot Island, Treasure Island and Isla de Pinos. It was once a hideout for pirates like Sir Francis Drake and Henry Morgan and is said to be the inspiration behind Robert Louis Stevenson's Treasure Island. This island is the least populated region of Cuba and offers a secluded paradise for scuba diving holidays and beach escapes. Although getting to the Isle of Youth can be a bit of an adventure, the unhurried way of life and unspoilt surroundings are worth the effort. The island has countless black-sand beaches on its northern coast and pristine white-sand beaches on its southern Caribbean coast. Other attractions on the island include the indigenous cave paintings at Punta del Este, a large ecological preserve, a turtle sanctuary and the Prison Museum where several generations of Cuban revolutionaries, including Castro, were imprisoned. However, the main attractions of the Isle of Youth are its coral reefs, shipwrecks, abundant marine life and the steep drop-offs at Punta Frances - the Isle of Youth is a scuba diving paradise.
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