Cuba Politics

Cuba’s Forbidden Towns

Posted July 15, 2006 by eltessy in Cuba Politics.

There are three forbidden towns in Castro’s Cuba: Caymanera, Boqueron, and Jacksonville (Cocodrilo), a visitor can only get there if previosly has a special waiver or permission from the goverment.

The town of Caymanera lays beside the US Guantanamo Bay Naval Base Territory Existen en la Cuba de Fidel Castro un grupo de Pueblos cautivos, para poder salir o entrar a esos pueblos es necesario poseer un permiso especial del gobierno.

El primero de esos pueblos es Caimanera, situada sobre una pequena isla de unos 1,770 metros de largo y 700 de ancho. Rodeada de salinas y las aguas de la bahia. La cercania de la Base de Guantanamo es el motivo por el cual la entrada o salida a este pueblo esta estrictamente prohibida. Por la misma razon Boqueron esta igualmente cerrado a los visitantes, este es otro de los pueblos prohibidos de Castro.

El ultimo de los pueblos cerrados es Jacksonville, en el extremo sur de la Isla de Pinos, que esta habitado por descendientes de los emigrantes de las islas Cayman y de Jamaica, que aun hablan ingles. Por lo que son una minoria linguistica en Cuba. Inexplicablemente este caserio esta rodeado por una gigantesca “Zona Militar” donde no es posible entrar si no se obtiene un permiso espcial del gobierno. El nombre original de Jacksonville fue remplazado por el de Cocodrilo, sin que existan motivos para ello, sin embargo los poblados ocupados exclusivamente por haitianos en la provincia de Camaguey, aun mantienen sus nombres originales en creole.

Member Comments

On July 07, 2008, London wrote:

Visiting Cocodrilo (Jacksonville) in the Isle of Pines/Youth is fairly easy as a day trip—but it’s true that it’s impossible to spend the night there without special permission. Although the population was entirely of Caymanian origin, today the ville’s approximately 300 inhabitants are mainly settlers from Oriente. There remain only two small families of Caymanian origin, with only the oldest members able to speak English.

On July 07, 2008, manfredz wrote:

could someone please translate the rest of theh article - looks like it might make interesting reading. Thanks.

On July 08, 2008, arteest wrote:

Can it be “quick and dirty,” manfredz? The second paragraph just reiterates what it says in English—that you need permission to visit/stay.

3rd paragraph-The first of the towns is Caimanera, located on a small island, 1770 metres long by 700 wide, surrounded by salt mines and the bay and it’s proximity to Gitmo is the reason you need permission. For the same reason, Boqueron is closed to visitors.

The last town is Jacksonville, located at the south end of Isla de Pinos which is inhabited by desendents of immigrants from the Cayman Islands and Jamaica and, for that reason, they speak only English which is a minor language in Cuba. It is surrounded by a huge military zone which is off limits unless one has permission from the government. The original name of Jacksonville was replaced by Cocodrilo and townspeople live in Camaguey province but keep their original creole names.

Feel free to correct me, anyone… I’m tired. grin

On July 08, 2008, manfredz wrote:

thanks arteest

On July 08, 2008, arteest wrote:

There’s not much to Boqueron. Apparently its inhabitants work at Gitmo.  We drove from the city of Guantanamo to Baracoa. You can’t stop anywhere on that highway and its patrolled by Cuban army guys in Jeeps. It was one of only 2 places in all of Cuba where my mobile didn’t work. I thought it was because of the base but apparently Etecsa will now be extending phone service out that way.

You’re welcome, manfredz. Do you need a translator in the Fall??? grin

On July 09, 2008, manfredz wrote:

thanks, but i usually bungle through with englsh/german/french/hand gestures.

On July 09, 2008, arteest wrote:


On November 16, 2011, cookie wrote:

My Father was stationed in Guantanomo Bay 1956-1959.  Military families were allowed to go off base on Sunday which were “seize fire” days.  It’s ironic that the only towns we were allowed to travel were Boqueron and Caymanera.  We would spend the day most of the time in Boqueron at a place we called Ben’s.  It was by a fast moving stream and the natives would bathe there, soap and all.  Ben would fix us fried plaintains and a pig was always barbequing outside over the fire.  We loved it there.  After we left Cuba, we heard that Ben had been hung from a tree for “franternizing with the enemy”.  I have always wanted to go back to Cuba and especially this little town.  Doesn’t look possible soon.