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Weekly report on Cuba's tourism industry
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Cuba: Islets for Tourism

Cuba, a tourist destination par excellence in the Caribbean region, has a potential that includes dozens of islets and keys that make up the Cuban archipelago, each of which has unique characteristics for tourism.

Precisely, north of the eastern Cuban province of Ciego de Avila is one of the fastest-growing tourist destinations in the country: Jardines del Rey (King's Gardens).

The peculiar landscapes in Cayo Coco, Cayo Guillermo and Paredon Grande made Conquistador Diego Velázquez give that name to the region in honor of Spanish King Ferdinand the Catholic.

The main islet in the zone, Cayo Coco, ranks fourth in extension in the Cuban archipelago, with an area of 370 square kilometers and the additional attraction offered by 22 kilometers of excellent beaches, complemented by a vegetation of mangrove and coconut trees.

In addition, Cayo Coco is surrounded to the north by a wall of corals that runs along 400 kilometers, being the world's second largest coral reef.

Among the region's islets, Cayo Guillermo is one of the smallest, with barely 18 square kilometers, although its flora is very rich, including mahogany, mastic trees and savine.

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The key has five kilometers of beautiful beaches, one of which is called El Pilar, in honor to the yacht of the same name that belonged to US novelist Ernest Hemingway. The beach has dunes that are up to 16 meters in height.

The keys are surrounded by channels that originated from old rivers that were submerged after the sea level rose due to the latest thaw.

Some of the islets, like Cayo Romano, were used by Cuban aborigines as a refuge in their clashes with the forces of Diego Velázquez in 1511.

Several colonies of flamingos and other migratory birds chose the abovementioned keys to nest, a situation that humans have preserved by building a tourist infrastructure that prioritizes the natural environment.

The region's infrastructure for tourism has grown rapidly and the goal is to have more than 20,000 hotel rooms, in addition to a modern airport, ports, nautical bases, natural parks and, of course, programs of ecotourism.

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