Isla de la Juventud, Cuba

Isla de la Juventud, Cuba

Isla de la Juventud is an island south of Cuba.

Getting there:
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).

Getting 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.

Beach 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.

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.

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