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Cuba: Nature and Diving in Jardines del Rey

Cuba, an attraction par excellence for tourism, extends its offer beyond its limits with the incorporation of unexplored islets and keys for the enjoyment of vacationers.

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

The exuberant nature of islets like Cayo Coco, Cayo Guillermo and Paredon Grande made Spanish Conqueror Diego Velazquez name that place in homage to Spanish King Ferdinand the Catholic.

The almost 40 kilometers of paradisiacal beaches, mostly in their natural state, stand out due to their fine white sand of coral origin, soft currents, warm turquoise waters and little underwater slope.

Diving enthusiasts can find at only three miles from the coast a wall of frontal type, with almost 100 kilometers in length, where corals grow, providing great beauty the sea bottom.

In that environment, corals, gorgonians, crustaceans, mollusks, echinoderms and vertebrates such as turtles, dolphins, sharks and fish of beautiful colors and variety abound.

Sol Cayo Santa María Hotel. Swimming pool
Cayo Ensenachos. Snorkeling.

Another essential element for the ecology of the coastal areas is algae, since they provide food for herbivorous species, serve as a refuge, provide oxygen to the water and contribute to the formation of the reefs and white sands of beaches.

Jardines del Rey has nine areas suitable for diving, among which stand out Media Luna, Los Felipes, the area off Flamenco Beach, Las Coloradas, east of Cayo Coco, and the northern part of Paredon Grande and Anton Chico.

Also in Jardines del Rey is Cayo Cristo, in front of the Old Bahamas Channel, with exceptional sea beds for diving, underwater fishing and underwater photography.

Different mangrove species and vegetation on dunes, including trees, shrubs, palms, grasses and creepers, some with aesthetic and ornamental values, characterize the local flora.

As a complement, there are colonies of pink flamingos in the vicinity of Cayo Coco and Cayo Guillermo, which attract the attention of nature-lovers, who visit that destination every year.

Known scientifically as Phoenicopterus ruber, these animals lay a single egg a year, but they achieve a high survival rate if they are in protected areas, and can live between 25 and 30 years on average.

A striking curiosity of this unique bird is that it usually sleeps or rests on one leg and the other placed under the wings, where it also hides its head.

The infrastructure of the tourist industry in that region shows a dynamic growth, with the final goal of reaching over 20,000 rooms, in addition to a modern air terminal, ports, nautical bases, natural parks and, of course, programs for ecotourism.

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