Marina Gaviota Cayo Coco
Cayo Coco is in the Jardines del Rey (King’s Garden) archipelago, part of the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. ‘El Pedraplen’ A 48-kilometre causeway, joins Cayo Santa Maria to the mainland. Lying off the north coast of Villa Clara province, is 120 kilometres from Santa Clara, adjacent Cayo Santa Maria, is a small island 13 kilometres long.
These cayos are a charming island paradise with clean white sandy beaches, shallow clear water, stunning natural scenery and an abundance of diverse wildlife. Birders particularly like the island, spotting anhingas, seagulls, flamingoes, woodpeckers, hawks and the tocororo, the national bird of Cuba. It’s also home to numerous species of reptiles, amphibious, fish and mammals.
Divers will find an amazing variety of fish lurking in the coral formations, or go trekking on Cayo Santa Maria, Majá, Fragoso, Cobos, Las Brujas, Ensenachos, Español de Adentro, Francés and Las Picúas. And history buffs explore the ancient caves.
It is 1.5 hours drive to the City of Santa Clara - Santa Clara contains the mausoleum for the fallen of the Revolution. Included in this mausoleum is Che Guevara himself. In order to maintain the sanctity of the place, photography inside the mausoleum is strictly prohibited. Also, there are no souvenir-sellers to be found nearby. There is also a Che Guevara museum, as well as a huge square (Plaza de la Revolucion) overlooked by a large statue of Che.
5/10 minutes east of the center is the "Monumento a la Toma del Tren Blindado" - the site of one of the most important battles in Cuban history, where Che Guevara and his men ripped up the railway line, derailing an armoured train, and defeated the men inside. The site shows the actual bulldozer used, and a number of the actual train carriages in situ. Inside the carriages are exhibits, with accompanying text, in Spanish only.
Scuba Diving in Jardines del Rey
Jardines del Rey consists of several tiny islands off Cuba’s Atlantic coast, about 250 miles (450 km) from Havana. The islands include Cayo Coco, Cayo Guillermo, Cayo Paredón Grande, Cayo Romano, Cayo Guajaba, Cayo Sabinal, Cayo Santa Maria and Cayo Cruz.
It is said that Diego Velazquez was who from 1513 and 1514 baptized this group of cays as Jardines del Rey (Gardens of the King), honouring Ferdinand The Catholic, King of Spain in that epoch, and as a response to Admiral Christopher Columbus who in his second trip around the island called the archipelago located in the central-southern coast of it as Jardines de la Reina. Its warm, clear water is between 16.5 and 131 feet (between 5 and 40 m) deep, you can see Parrotfish, Grunts, Yellowtail Snappers, Queen Angelfish and a great variety of underwater plants.
The coral reef, at a depth of 10-30 meters and over 10 km long, has such an abundance of fish that dives might believe they are in an aquarium. This site is practically unmatched in the world. Large shoals of tarpon, jacks, spadefish, big snappers, groupers, sharks and barracudas provide a special attraction to the diving activities.
The fishing area passes through the channels of this small key located in Caibarién, north coast of the Villa Clara Province between 1.5 until 10 meters deep. Flats boats with expert guides are available for Tarpón, Bonefish, Permit, and Snook among other species.
It is important to know that Cuba develops sport fishing only under the method of “tag and release” (catch and release) according to the international trends for the preservation of species and environment.