Cueva de Punta del Este

Isla de la Juventud

The Cueva de Punta del Este, a national monument 59km southeast of Nueva Gerona, has been called the 'Sistine Chapel' of Caribbean indigenous art. Long before the Spanish conquest (experts estimate around AD 800), indigenous people painted some 235 pictographs on the walls and ceiling of several caves. The largest has 28 concentric circles of red and black, and the paintings have been interpreted as a solar calendar. Discovered in 1910, they're considered the most important of their kind in the Caribbean.

There's a small visitor center and meteorological station. The long, shadeless white beach nearby is another draw (for you and the mosquitoes – bring repellent).

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Isla de la Juventud attractions

1. Criadero Cocodrilo

10.83 MILES

This farm has played an important part in crocodile conservation in Cuba over the last few years and the results are interesting to see. Harboring more…

2. Playa Larga

17.44 MILES

Playa Larga is the star of La Isla's south-coast beaches, lying about 12km south of the village of Cayo Piedra. The long strip of white sand fronting a …

3. La Jungla de Jones

19.23 MILES

Situated 6km west of La Fe, several kilometers off the main road (look for the sign), Jungla de Jones is a 'botanical garden' containing more than 80 tree…

4. Cementerio Colombia

24.85 MILES

The cemetery here contains the graves of Americans who lived and died on the island during the 1920s and 1930s. It's about 7km east of Nueva Gerona and…

5. Playa Bibijagua

24.89 MILES

This unusual beach on the island's north coast, 4km to the east of Chacón, sports black sand rather than white, and pine trees rather than palms…

6. Presidio Modelo

25.37 MILES

Welcome to the island's most impressive yet depressing sight. Located near Reparto Chacón, 5km east of Nueva Gerona, this striking prison was built…

7. Presa El Abra

26.43 MILES

Where have all the folk from Nueva Gerona gone? Gone to cool off in Presa El Abra, every one. On a scalding La Isla afternoon, you'd best join them. With…

8. Playa Paraíso

26.47 MILES

About 2km north of Chacón (about 6km northeast of Nueva Gerona), Playa Paraíso is a dirty brown beach with good currents for water sports. The wharf was…