Cuba, a stronghold for tourism in the Caribbean, has a wide network of hotels and extra-hotel facilities in major urban centers.
Full of natural, historic and cultural attractions for tourism, the Caribbean island complements its offer with options on dozens of islets that make up the Cuban archipelago.
Indeed, Cuba has about 200 bays, 2,000 keys and islets and 588 kilometers of beaches of major tourist importance.
Precisely, in that environment, Jardines de la Reina (Queen's Gardens) stands out off the south coast of eastern Ciego de Avila and Camagüey provinces, with some 170,000 square kilometers distributed in narrow and relatively small keys that are rich in bushes, vegetation and sandy dunes.
Its name comes from a tribute by Genoese Admiral Christopher Columbus to Spanish Queen Isabel la Catolica (Elizabeth the Catholic).
The archipelago was declared a marine reserve in 1996, and part of the area was designated as a National Park in 2010, as well as being a genetic reservoir for exclusive species of insects and mollusks that it treasures and for its biological diversity.
Therefore, tourism, which also includes diving, bird watching and recreational fishing, takes place on an ecological and sustainable basis, which allows maintaining its natural values almost intact.
It is also an important spawning area for four species of marine turtles in Cuba and the habitat of one of the largest populations of conch (Lobatus gigas, formerly Strombus gigas) in the country.
In addition, studies show that the keys of the central-western portion of Jardines de la Reina, known as the Labyrinth of the Twelve Leagues, were formed by the accumulation of loose sediments, only retained by the vegetation, in which mangroves and bushes abound.
For diving enthusiasts, an international center operates there, so naturalists can dive in the entire region involving the keys Grande, Caballones, Anclitas, Piedra Grande and Cachiboca.
The main attraction for diving enthusiasts is the prolonged and safe coexistence with several species of sharks, including the silky and the gray sharks from the Caribbean.
On the other hand, in the edge of the shelf, divers can watch black corals and several species of marine fauna, which are natural relics of a meticulously preserved ecosystem.
Tourists can descend to the seabed to watch the sharks that inhabit this highly protected area.