Welcome to Isla de la Juventud
Large, very detached and set to a slow metronome, La Isla is both historically and culturally different to the rest of the Cuban archipelago. Mass sugar and tobacco production never existed here, and until the Castro revolution, the island yielded to a greater American influence. Eclectic expat communities, which call on Cayman Island, American and Japanese ancestry, have even thrown up their own musical style, a sub-genre of Cuban son known as sucu sucu. Today the island, bereft of the foreign students that once populated its famous schools, is sleepy but extravagantly esoteric: with a prison masquerading as a museum and scuppered ships just waiting for you to dive down to – or to party in! The opportunities for getting (way) off the beaten track will appeal to divers, escape artists, adventurers and committed contrarians.