Diving around Jardines del Rey is some of the best diving in Cuba. The reef is 32km long with an average depth of 10 metres deep and drop offs to 30 metres, the diving here is perfect for any level. The clear waters and abundance of fish and coral species, you'll think you're diving in an aquarium!
You will find a dive centre in Cayo Guillermo and Cayo Coco, there are no other dive centres on the cays. There are over 30 dive sites in the area with things to see such as sharks, groupers, snappers, morays, rays, lots of fish, corals, grottos and caves.
The best deep dive in the islands is La Jaula (The Cage) with huge gorgonians and large fish, maybe a ray or reef shark cruising the reef too. Beginner divers and macro photographers will love Casas which is a very shallow, clear dive with lots of coral and barracudas.
Las Coloradas (The Red) is full of caves and crevices to explore and big schools of tarpon but probably the most exciting site in the area would have to be Los Tiberones (The Sharks) where lots of reef sharks hang out along with groupers, snappers and other big fish.
Spend a good few days cruising the waters around Jardines del Rey, you won't be diappointed.
(By Kelly Luckman)
Meaning Gardens of the King, this group of island that stretch for over 200km on the north coast of central Cuba are a popular toutirst destination for foreigners wanting to relax on white sandy beaches and get away from it all. The main islands are Cayo Coco, Cayo Guillermo and Paredon Grando, which are connected to the mainland by a causeway.
The airport for the area is in Cayo Coco, with direct flights to Havana and Toronto in Canada or package holidays from Europe. You can drive from the mainland but there is a toll along the road or you can catch a boat to the marina on Cayo Guillermo. Take an organised tour to see the different islands or rent a taxi for the day to get around. To get a taste of real Cuba then you'll need to leave the islands and head to Moron on the mainland.
The islands of Cayo Coco and Guillermo are the most popular places to stay with several all inclusive hotels, ranging from about $80-$150 a night. There are some bargains if you do your research and find a cheap special offer including flights, food, accommodation and drinks. The hotels usually provide entertainment to keep you occupied at night such as dance lessons or shows.
Most people come to the area to enjoy the pristine beaches and super clear, warm waters. Snorkelling and diving are very popular here and with over 200 species of birds, including a colony of Flamingos, it really is a nature lover's paradise and taking a walk can lead you some really beautiful places. Try stopping at the inn La Silla which has a lookout tower where you can view the birds. Playa Pilar has been voted one of the most beautiful beaches in the world.
Take a cultural visit to La Güira, an ancient coal burners' settlement where there traditional abodes still remain. Check out the caberet show in the Cueva del Jabali (Wild Boar Cave) for something different. The Isle of Turiguado has some great rodeo shows or head onto the water for a sunset cruise, island hopping trip, glass bottom boat ride or try kitesurfing for the first time.
This is the place to slow your pace of life and really enjoy some of the most beautiful beaches on offer. The perfect way to spend a week's vacation.
(By Kelly Luckman)