ISLA de la JUVENTUD
ISLA de la JUVENTUD (Isle of Youth)
Before the revolution, it was known as Isla de Pinos (Isle of Pines), sometimes also Isla de los Piratas (Isle of Pirates) or Isla del Tesoro (Isle of Treasure) - often also just "La Isla" -it is the largest Cuban isle (2,200 square km) with a very colourful history. It was discovered by Cristopher Columbus during his second sailing to the New World in 1494 but it didn’t attract the colonizers’ attention because of its wild rocky coast. But it attracted pirates’ attention (Francis Drake, Henry Morgan, John Hawkins, John Rackham & others), and they were running there their prosperous business until the middle of the 19th century. And it was just this isle that inspired Robert Luis Stevenson to write Treasure Island, a novel made into a film many times.
The southern part of the isle is closed and guarded by soldiers. An entry is only possible with a special permit and with a determined guide; a part of the isle is completely closed to the public - without a possibility of an exception. The protection results from the local rare ecosystems.