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Difference between revisions of "Isla de la Juventud"

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North America : Caribbean : Cuba : Western Cuba : Isla de la Juventud
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Revision as of 22:25, 6 October 2013

Isla de la Juventud is an island in Cuba.

Contents

Understand

Victoria, [1] is the local periodical.

History

Landscape

Flora and fauna

The large American crocodile and the smaller, endangered Cuban crocodile both inhabit the island.

Climate

Climate is Humid. Between May to Sept expect the temps to be 30c to 36c with the humidex 42 to 46 - June to November is also Huricane season. Between Oct. and May expect the temps to be 28c to 32c

Get in

By plane

Cubana de Aviación, from La Habana. The prices are going to change in 2007-01/02, increasing from 20' pesos to 90 something. Reservations are imperative, with at least 5 days in advance. Note: most Internet sources are outdated, Aerotaxi doesn't fly to Isla de la Juventud anymore.

      • Important for Tourists***

The flight from Havana and return is approx. $82 and needs to be booked well in advance. I wanted to go from the island back to Havana and there were no seats for 2 weeks. I went to the terminal each day which is a very slow process and managed to get one in 8 days.

      • Tourist pay by CUC*** Cuban citizens pay by pesos!

By boat

Bus from Ciudad de La Habana (Estación Central de Ómnibus) to Batabanó (Habana province, south of the capital): 5 CUP for everybody (Astro bus). Go to the small ticket office of the NCC company (hard to find, better ask where it is) in the Estación Central de Ómnibus. You get a reservation for Batabanó (if you pay in CUC, you'll have reserved places so you this reservation is a guarantee to leave) plus a ticket for a right to go on the bus (you pay inside). I'm not sure about the bus leaving hours, but they seem to be in the morning (09:00-12:00?).

The boat ("Kometa" catamaran) costs 50 pesos per person (25 for children of less than 12 years of age):

  • 50 CUC for foreigners
  • 50 CUP for locals.

No reservations needed to go to the island. Best to buy a ticket with one day in advance for the return (or you'll have to wake up at 5 A.M. to leave at 12 A.M.). 1 to 2 boats daily, excepts on Sundays. The trip isn't a experience per se (modern, long, highly cooled air, can't go on deck...). No bicycle can be brought on the island. Knifes and the such must be checked in (free, secure and minimal loss of time).

Fees/Permits

Get around

An old Lada with a driver will cost you 35-40 CUC a day. There are only 2 official car taxis on the island, the rest are bicitaxis. You can also rent a bicycle by the hour or the day.

See

Do

Beaches

Playa Negro is one of the beaches close to town. About 5km and is lovely. Clean, with a park area and a place to get food and drinks. This is where we go. The beach is Black sand compared to most of Cuba. This is because it was created by volcanic activity.

Playa Paraíso

Nice beach near Nueva Gerona. Poorly managed as of 2006-12 (rotting algae on the beach) but nice sea. There's a key about 1 km away from the beach (Cayo de los Monos) that can be accessed through vigorous swimming. It's also a nice place for sportive diving.

Diving

Yes there is diving and snorkling all around the island. The BEST place is 40km south west at the resort Coloney. Many drivers go there to see the sunken spanish ships! After all this is the island in the book called Treasure island!

Speleology

Hikes

Nice 20 min hike to the hills that oversee Nueva Gerona. Physical but nice. Ask for directions to get to the base of a hill (near "la Cueva del Agua") then just go up following trails when you find them. The base of the hill is filled with rubbish heaps but the top and the middle are nearly pristine.

Buy

Main areas is Calle 39 and the streets around it.

Eat

Drink

Sleep

Lodging

If you ask the taxi drivers they can help with BandB Bed and Breakfast is about 20 to 25CUC a night. Also ask on Calle 39, the main shopping street. The only resrt on this island is about 40km away. There is also places to stay not far from the airport but I have not actually seen them.

Camping

Yes there is camping 5km from town at Playa Negro. I do not know the cost. Not much though.

Backcountry

Stay safe

No security problems whatsoever on the island as long as you avoid the military zones.

Important warning on sex:

  • Sex with the underaged is one of the worse offenses a foreigner can commit in Cuba. Ask for I.D. when in doubt.
  • Isla de la Juventud is said to have the highest HIV contamination levels in Cuba. Use condoms (1 CUP in every generalist shop in Nueva Gerona).

Get out

In Nueva Gerona:

  • "Los Rumbos" night-club (1 CUC)
  • open dancing area near the Pinero prison boat and the quay (every day of the week after 9/10 P.M.)
  • the main plaza during week-ends.

Movie theater on the plaza (600 places, almost always nearly empty, 2 CUP).



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