ISLE DE LA JUVENTUD
Isle of Youth
The island was discovered by Colombus on June 13, 1494. Later the Bay of Sigueanea was favored by pirates. In the 20th century a haven for riff-raff and swindlers and today it still revels in its reputation for going against the grain. It has a fascinating contemporary history as the setting for the socialist experiment of International Youth Brigades (hence the islandís name). But as late as Batistaís regime it was primarily a prison island with an enormous Ďmodel prisoní capable of housing up to 5,000. The Hotel Colony had been open only 23 days back in the 1950ís when Fidel kicked itís owner, Fulgenciao Batista out of the country. It was originally developed as an American enclave prior to the Revolution. Now it caters to divers, yachting and sport fishing. In just a 10 mile area along La Costa de los Pirates there are over 56 dive sites. Site 39 is renowned for the Caribbean Cathedral tallest coral column in the world, laced with canyons, caves, and grottoes. Also the Black Coral Wall and Stingray Paradise to dive with the rays. Also near Sigueanea a navel battle between Thomas Baskervilleís pirates and a Spanish fleet resulted in many ships being sunk. NE between Punta Frances and the Cape Cayo Los Indios are 3 well preserved Spanish galleons close together.