February 2012
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Travel – Jardines Del Rey – off the north Coast of Cuba




Jardines Del Rey is a chain of islands and an archipelago off the north Coast of Cuba. The provinces of Ciego de Ávila and Camagüey lie on the north part of the islands. It lines the shore of Cuba, that is between the Atlantic and the Bay of Buena Vista and Bay of Jigueys. The land area of these is about 200 km (124 mi) approximately; spread on a north-west to south-east direction, and it is also a part of the Sabana-Camaguey Archipelago. The group of islands includes Cayo Coco, Cayo Guillermo, Cayo Romano and Cayo Paredon Grande. More importantly, this is an island chain of beach resorts. This chain includes islands of Cayo Coco and Cayo Guillermo.

The cays and islands are from north to south:
? Cayo Guillermo
? Cayo Coco
? Cayo Romano
? Cayo Guajaba
? Cayo Sabinal
The islands include Cayo Santa Maria, Cayo Paredón Grande and Cayo Cruz.

Attractions of Jardines Del Ray:
• Bagá Nature Park: This was formed on December 29, 2002. It is spread over 69 acres of land forests and on Cayo Coco lagoon and is named after the Baga tree (árbol Del pan). This nature park is an interpretative centre, goes through a Bagá forest, a Taíno village and includes fauna exhibits such as crocodiles, iguanas, flamingos and Cuban Hutias. This park is a natural habitat for Caribbean Flamingos.
• Roseate Flamingos: Phoenicopterus rubber which is also known as Roseate Flamingos forms colonies here. Almost 12,000 pairs are present on the southern part of the cay.
• Guillermo Cay: This is a 13 square km (five square miles) cay and is of about 4 km length. It has three beaches and calm waters with scenic beauty. Pilar beach is famous.
• The best diving sites of this place is as below:
La Jaula Depth: 30 meters: This cay has big gorgonians, sponges in variegated shapes and colors, large snappers (Lutjanus sp.), groupers (Epinephelus sp.), stingrays (Dasyatis sp.), eagle rays (Aetobatus narinari), reef sharks (Carcharhinus sp.) and nurse sharks.
• Las Coloradas Depth: 12 meters: This site has caves, crevices and tunnels, large gorgonians and sea fans, tarpon (Megalops atlantica), big parrot fish (Scarus sp.), queen angelfish (Holocanthus ciliaris), angelfish (Pomacanthus sp.) and a variety of tiny coral fish.
• Casasa Depth: 5 meters: This site has great barracudas (Sphyraena barracuda), several species of turtles, stingrays (Dasyatis sp.), schools of grunts (Haemulon sp.), schoolmaster (Lutjanus apodus) and other coral fish species.
• Los Tiburones Depth: 16 meters: This site has reef sharks (Carcharhinus sp.), groupers (Ephinephelus sp.), snappers (Lutianus sp.), several species of barjacks (Caranx ruber), horse-eyejacks (Caranx latus) and many medium-size coral fish.

Best time to visit / climate:
The best time to visit Jardines Del Ray is between December and April. One can avoid the horrendous storms and hurricanes and avoid the sticky heat of the Cuban summer which can be unbearable for some.

Location on Google Maps:


View Larger Map

How to get there:
There is an international airport on Cayo Coco which can also be reached by driving; and a marina is accessible on Cayo Guillermo.
To get around one can take a taxi or rent a car to move around.
By plane: One can reach Cuba from Canada, Mexico and Europe by arriving at Jose Marti International Airport that is outside Havana. Cubana de Aviacion is the major carrier in Cuba and connects to Mexico, South and Central America, Canada and Europe. One can either take a taxi to Havana centre or take a bus service.
By boat: There are no regular boats or ferries to Cuba but private vessels may enter the marina Hemingway in Havana or marina Aqua in Varadero.

By plane: Cubana de Aviacion or Aero Caribbean covers larger distances and operate on routes:

Cubana de Aviación
Havana – Camaguey – Havana, Yakovlev Yak-42D
Havana – Santiago – Havana, Yakovlev Yak-42D

Aero Caribbean
Havana – Camaguey – Havana, ATR 42-300/320
Havana – Guantanamo – Havana, ATR 42-300/320
Havana – Baracoa – Havana, ATR 72-212
Havana – Bayamo – Havana, ATR 42-300/320
Havana – Cayo Coco – Cienfuegos – Havana, ATR 42-300/320
Havana – Cayo Largo del Sur – Varadero – Havana, ATR 42-300/320
Havana – Cienfuegos – Cayo Coco – Havana, ATR 42-300/320
Havana – Las Tunas – Havana, ATR 42-300/320
Havana – Manzanillo – Havana, ATR 42-300/320
Havana – Moa – Holguin – Havana, ATR 42-300/320
Havana – Nueva Gerona – Havana, ATR 42-300/320
Havana – Santiago – Havana, ATR 42-300/320
Havana – Varadero – Cayo Largo del Sur – Havana, ATR 42-300/320

Global Air (Mexico)
Havana – Cayo Coco – Holguin – Havana, Boeing 737-200
Havana – Holguin – Cayo Coco – Havana, Boeing 737-200
Havana – Santiago – Havana, Boeing 737-200

By train: The main line runs between Havana and Santiago de Cuba. It stops at Santa Clara and Camagüey. Cienfuegos, Manzanillo, Morón, Sancti Spiritus, and Pinar del Rio are the other cities that can be reached by train. Tren Frances operates between Havana and Santiago de Cuba alternately.

By bus: Viazul is the bus service in Cuba for public transport to tour the island. Astro is another bus line for touring in Cuba.

By boat: Cienfuegos or Trinidad incorporates the Canarreos Archipelago and the Juventud Islands or Jardines de la Reina Archipelago to Windward Islands is the bases for boat rides.

Places to stay (hotels / restaurants along with website / contact numbers):

Cuba Hotel Reservation
Gran-caribe.com
Travels2cuba
umbrellatravel

Blogs / Sites about Jardines del Rey:

http://www.fadiloktay.net/?p=15
http://jardinesdelrey.com/
http://www.umbrellatravel.com/cubablog/?p=251
http://www.lonelyplanet.com/cuba/travelblogs

Images and photos of Jardines del Rey:

Google search
http://outdoors.webshots.com/album/557736059UwTPJJ
cuba-maps.com
http://www.cubatravelphotos.com/

Videos of Jardines Del Rey from Youtube:

Jardines del Rey

Jardines del Rey – Cayo Coco e Cayo Guillermo

Snorkeling at Pilar Beach in Cayo Guillermo Cuba

Fishing Jardines Del Rey Cuba




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