Neuva Gerona Tourist Attractions
Nueva Gerona is the primary town on Isla de la Juventud. It was founded in 1828 but its population grew largely in the last half of the 20th Century. The grid pattern layout of the streets makes Nueva Gerona easy to navigate. Calle 39 is the main street where visitors will find all the main shops and amenities, including restaurants, bank, hospital, and more. Some of the main highlights are the Iglesia de Nuestra Senora de los Doloras which was built in 1853 and then rebuilt in 1926 after a devastating hurricane struck the island, as well as the Museo Municipal, Museo de la Lucha Clandestina, and the Museo de Ciencias Naturales.
Nueva Gerona - Presidio Modelo
Just to the southeast of Nueva Gerona is the famous Presidio Modelo, a former jail but now a museum. The Presidio Modelo has a beautiful façade with three large arches marking the entrance and arch windows lining the building, with of course bars that remind visitors this was once a functioning prison. It was built on the design of Joliet in Illinois, USA. This unique jail allowed guards to watch prisoners from the lower level galleries without ever having contact with the inmates.The prison's most famous prisoner was Fidel Castro, who resided here for two years from 1953 to 1955. His cell, 3859 is now on display for visitors to see. During World War II Presidio Modelo also housed alleged war criminals from enemy countries.
Finca El Abra
Finca El Abra is an old villa located just southwest of Nueva Gerona. It was the location where Jose Marti was taken and held for nine weeks before he was deported to Spain in 1870. Although Finca El Abra is privately owned and occupied, a portion of the villa has been set up as a museum and a tribute to Jose Marti. On display here visitors will find photographs, documents, and information on Jose Marti's time spent on Isla de la Juventud.Near the Finca El Abra is the Parque Natural Juan Antonio Mella, with gardens, a small zoo, and a high point, which offers beautiful views of the island.
Nueva Gerona - Municipal Museum
If you have time to kill on a rainy day in Nueva Gerona and only want to see one museum, try the Museo Municipal (Municipal Museum). The museum displays information on the history of Isla de la Juventud and the town of Nueva Gerona. Of particular interest are the displays related to pirates and buccaneers which were a big part of island's history. There are also exhibits on the revolution.The Museo Municipal is housed in the old Casa de Gobierno on Calle 30, and was built in the mid 1800s.