Cuba has a rich history of pirates. This island was previously known as the Isla de los Piratas (Isle of Pirates) or Isla del Tesoro (Isle of Treasure) and has a very colourful history. It was discovered by Christopher Colombus on his second sailing of the new world, but was disregarded due to its rocky coast. Which is porbably why the pirates liked it so much! The likes of Francis Drake, Henry Morgan, John Hawkins and John Rackham amongst others ran their prosperous businesses from there till the middle of the 19th century. This is also the island that inspired the book Treasure Island by Robert Luis Stevenson.
Wou would have thought that for such a small island, a place could have so much history! But you will often find this with places in Cuba…
There’s not much else to do on Isla de la Juventud other than diving and snorkelling. The island is home to the Punta Frances Marine National Park, which is a paradise of caves, walls, canyons, wrecks, healthy corals and loads of fish.
Those who love wall diving will be impressed with the drop offs here. The walls are filled with tunnels and passageways to explore and the reef is covered in sponges and different corals. Sea life includes turtles, rays, sometimes a nurse shark, and fish such as barracuda, grunts, snapper, spadefish, triggers and macro stuff like small crabs and shrimp.
With over 50 dive sites around the island there is a lot to see!
Places like Pared de Coral Negro with loads of black coral at 30 metres and magnificent corals along the walls. Or the amazing Cueva Azul with its interesting shades of blue at the hole around 40 metres and Los Indios is a rocky wall with sandy plateau with huge schools of fish and rays chilling on the sand. But wait there is more…
The wrecks of the Jibacoa and Sparta lie in shallow water and great for any level of diver to enjoy. They used to be used for military target practice but now divers can enjoy the ships. It is possible to enter the wrecks but excellent buoyancy is necessary so you don’t damage the delicate life growing on them.Diving at Isla de Juventud