(143 square miles, 370 km in size) has over 13 and a half miles (22 km) of fine white sandy beaches bathed by turquoise water protected by coral reefs.
Ninety percent of its territory is covered with vegetation (mainly forest), and over 200 of spcies of birds-including a colony of more than 30.000 Roseate Flamingos (Phoenicopterus ruber ruber)- live here. Few other places in the Caribbean can compete with the beauty of the seabed and number of fish in this area.
There are four scuba diving centers and 20 diving sites along 20 miles (32 km) of coastline.
In its warm, clear water, that is between 16.5 and 131 feet (between 5 and 40 m) deep, you can see Parrotfish (Sparisoma spp.), Grunts (Haemulon spp.), Yellowtail Snappers (Ocyurus chrysurus), Queen Angelfish (Holacanthus ciliaris). other Angelfish (Pomacanthu spp.), Anemones (Lebrunia danae), Spiny Lobster (Panulirus argus) and a great variety of underwater plants.
Located at the end of the key and west of Punta del Cuerno is very near the Cueva del Jabali recreation center, on the coastal strech between Punta del Puerto and Playa Dorada. A road leads from here to the sand dune of Loma del Puerto. The trail of Loma del Puerto is a tiny walkwalkway that allows for the observation of the coastal flora. One can follow it from Playa Prohibida until the very middle of the key, where it seems to stop only to go on along the northern coast all the way to the dune of Loma del Puerto, a peculiar geo-morphological formation resulting from the continued accumulation of sand transported during hundreds of years by the waves and the wind. This is how beautiful, natural, 13-meter high lookout was formed.
Playa Lan Conchas
Located between Punta Caimanera and Punta Rasa is one of the smallest but coziest beaches on Cayo Coco. Near this beach is the Talasotherapy Center a facility that offers different services to improve quality of life.
Streches from Punta Rasa to Penon de las Colorades where visitors will come across the Rocarena Restaurant.
(5 square miles, or 13.2 square km, in size) is much smaller but just as fascinating. It has two miles (three and a half km) of beaches and the tallest sand dunes in the Caribbean Islands (they reach over 52.5 feet, or 16 m, above the sea level).
Cayo Paredon Grande
(Just over 2 square miles, or six square km, in size) is another jewel in terms of beaches and natural invironment. It has a beautiful wrought iron lighthouse (built in 1857) that is over 157 feet (48 m) tall.
Because of their rich biodiversity and beautiful scenery, Cayo Coco and the islets near it are part of the Buenavista preserve of the biosphere. Cayo Romano-300 square miles, or 777square km, in size, making it almost an island-is very close by.
Location and How to Get There
These Cayos are in the Jardines del Rey Archipelago, off the nothern shore of Ciego de Avila Province, in east-central Cuba, 268 miles (432 km) from Havana. Direct flights from Europe and other parts of the Americas put in at Ciego de Avila's Maximo Gomez International Airport, which is linked to Cayo Coco by a highway 60 miles (97 km) long, the last ten and a half miles (17 km) of which are on a spectacular stone causeway bordered by the sea. Cayo Coco also has a modern international airport whith several flights each week. Moreover, a stone causeway links this island to Guillermo and Paredon Grande. Or you can arrive by boat, putting in at the Puerto Cayo Guillermo Marina or at Casana Port.
The archipelago's main temperature is 26C for the high and 17C the low. June, July and August are the warmest months while December, January and February are the coolest with a main temperature of 20C. Influenced by the sea, temperatures at the keys are milder than in mainland. The seawater main temperature varies from 28 to 30C degrees. The keys have a 90-day rain season a year. The average rain accumulate is 40 inches a year. Two well-defined seasons from May to October and the dry season from November to April. Around 17 km/h winds blow predominantly from the northeast. Ocean waves are usually moderate.
On July 26th, 1988 the causeway, linking to Cayo Coco with the mainland was completed, paving the way for the tourist developement of Jardines del Rey. In 1993, tourist exploitation began, when former President Fidel Castro inaugurated the area's first hotel, built in the style of the first, early 16th century Cuban Colonial villages. The construction of these roads over the sea has not stopped, in spite of the magnitude of the project for a small country like Cuba, besieged by scarcities and economically blockaded. Already connected with the mainland through Cayo Coco, are Cayo Guillermo, Cayo Romano, and Cayo Paredon Grande. A causeway also connects Cayo Sabinal and Cayo Cruz from Northern Camaguey.