It is the largest island in the Archipelago of the Canarreos, which Cayo Largo also belongs to, and the second in the entire Cuban archipelago.
There is a population settlement very close to the tourism resort with around 90000 inhabitants. Its capital is Nueva Gerona, founded as recently as 1830. Among its principal attractions is the Bibijagua beach with its fine black sands, and the International Scuba Diving Center at the Hotel Colony in Punta Francés.
It bore the name of Isla the Pinos until 1978.