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

The Cuban archipelago, a tourist attraction par excellence, has a wide range of islets and keys, many of which have barely been touched by humans and offer excellent beaches. Precisely, off the north coast is one of the fastest-growing tourist destinations in the country, Jardines del Rey (King's Gardens). According to legend, the exuberant nature of Cayo Coco, Cayo Guillermo and Paredón Grande led Governor Diego Velázquez to name the archipelago after Spanish King Ferdinand the Catholic. The main key, Cayo Coco, is the fourth largest islet 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. Jardines del Rey also has the highest dunes in Cuba, whose origin is linked to the withdrawal of the sea, so most part of the sand was exposed to the action of the sun, and after drying, the wind dragged it inland. That way, after many years, these beautiful landscapes were created in Loma del Puerto, Cayo Coco and Playa Pilar, on Cayo Guillermo. The dunes in Playa Pilar are 15 meters above sea level and are considered the highest in the insular Caribbean region, while those on Cayo Coco are 10-14 meters above sea level. In both cases, they are breathtakingly beautiful and fragile, so they are a well-preserved major natural resource. The tourism infrastructure in the region has grown fast with plans to build more than 20,000 hotel rooms. There is a modern airport, ports, marinas, natural parks and, of course, nature tourism programs. For now, some 6,000 rooms are available in 17 hotels, in addition to a complementary recreational infrastructure. The proximity to a 400-kilometer-long coral reef, considered the world's second largest, after the Australian coral reef, adds a touch of distinction to tourist offers in Jardines del Rey, where diving enthusiasts can enjoy the beauty of the region's sea bottom, with excellent visibility and a pleasant temperature. Several colonies of flamingos and other migratory birds choose the islets to nest, a situation that man has preserved by building the tourist infrastructure without damaging the natural environment. On Cayo Coco is the natural park El Bagá, where tourists can go trekking or horse riding and navigate in aboriginal canoes.

Cabo de San Antonio. View from the Roncali Lighthouse
Excursion to Cayo Iguana.
Pier on Cayo Iguana.

The Cuban archipelago, a tourist attraction par excellence, has a wide range of islets and keys, many of which have barely been touched by humans and offer excellent beaches. Precisely, off the north coast is one of the fastest-growing tourist destinations in the country, Jardines del Rey (King's Gardens). According to legend, the exuberant nature of Cayo Coco, Cayo Guillermo and Paredón Grande led Governor Diego Velázquez to name the archipelago after Spanish King Ferdinand the Catholic. The main key, Cayo Coco, is the fourth largest islet 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. Jardines del Rey also has the highest dunes in Cuba, whose origin is linked to the withdrawal of the sea, so most part of the sand was exposed to the action of the sun, and after drying, the wind dragged it inland. That way, after many years, these beautiful landscapes were created in Loma del Puerto, Cayo Coco and Playa Pilar, on Cayo Guillermo. The dunes in Playa Pilar are 15 meters above sea level and are considered the highest in the insular Caribbean region, while those on Cayo Coco are 10-14 meters above sea level. In both cases, they are breathtakingly beautiful and fragile, so they are a well-preserved major natural resource. The tourism infrastructure in the region has grown fast with plans to build more than 20,000 hotel rooms. There is a modern airport, ports, marinas, natural parks and, of course, nature tourism programs. For now, some 6,000 rooms are available in 17 hotels, in addition to a complementary recreational infrastructure. The proximity to a 400-kilometer-long coral reef, considered the world's second largest, after the Australian coral reef, adds a touch of distinction to tourist offers in Jardines del Rey, where diving enthusiasts can enjoy the beauty of the region's sea bottom, with excellent visibility and a pleasant temperature. Several colonies of flamingos and other migratory birds choose the islets to nest, a situation that man has preserved by building the tourist infrastructure without damaging the natural environment. On Cayo Coco is the natural park El Bagá, where tourists can go trekking or horse riding and navigate in aboriginal canoes.

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