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Weekly report on Cuba's tourism industry
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Cuba: The Reign of the White Ibis

Cuba, a fast-growing tourist destination in the Caribbean region, has several islets whose diversity attracts thousands of foreign vacationers every year.

In addition to the contribution made by emblematic destinations such as the beaches Vardero and Santa Lucía, Santiago de Cuba or nature tourism in Topes de Collantes or Elguea, Cuban keys complement the country's recreational options.

In that direction, Jardines del Rey (King's Gardens), the keys north of the eastern Cuban province of Ciego de Avila, is among fastest-growing destinations in the country.

Conqueror Diego Velázquez named the archipelago, consisting of Cayo Coco, Cayo Guillermo and Paredón Grande, after Spanish King Ferdinand the Catholic.

Cayo Coco is the fourth largest islet in the Cuban archipelago, covering an area of 370 square kilometers. Its main attraction is 22 kilometers of excellent beaches, complemented by mangrove and coconut trees.

The key takes its name from the White Ibis, a bird popularly known as Pájaro Coco (Coconut Bird).

American White Ibis.
American White Ibis.
American White Ibis.

The most popular beaches among tourists are Coloradas, Jaula and Flamencos. The region has several diving sites that can be compared to a huge aquarium.

Some 200 animal species live on the islet, including birds and reptiles such as iguanas, as well as more than 360 species of plants, many of which are endemic.

Cayo Coco has first-class hotels, artificial lakes, swimming pools and a wide range of recreational options and services in an environment that has barely been touched by human activity to guarantee an unforgettable stay.

The islet is linked to mainland by a causeway over the sea that starts in Turiguanó, in northern Ciego de Avila, famous for its lagoons, where trout fishing and its beautiful rural landscapes are major attractions.

The region's tourist infrastructure has grown rapidly. The goal is to have more than 20,000 hotel rooms, which are complemented by a modern airport, ports, nautical bases, natural parks and, of course, ecotourism.

The proximity to a 400-meter-long coral reef, which experts considered the world's second largest after the Australian Coral Reef, adds a touch of class to Jardines del Rey, an excellent place for scuba diving and snorkeling in warm crystal-clear waters.

Several colonies of flamingoes and other migratory birds choose the islets to nest, a situation that has been preserved by building a tourist infrastructure that respects the natural environment.

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