Jardines de la Reina: Marine Reserve and National Park (Cuba)

Jardines de la Reina: Marine Reserve and National Park (Cuba)

Tue, 07/30/2019 - 12:35
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Jardines de la Reina is an archipelago off the southern coast of Cuba. Cuba's second largest archipelago, it is formed by more than 250 virgin coral islands and numerous cays. Both a marine reserve and national park, the island group is one of Cuba's largest protected areas.

Jardines de la Reina

Jardines de la Reina is an archipelago off the southern coast of Cuba, in the provinces of Camagüey and Ciego de Ávila. Both a marine reserve and national park, the island group is one of Cuba's largest protected areas.

Cuba's second largest archipelago, it is formed by more than 250 virgin coral islands and numerous cays. Part of the archipelago is also known as Laberinto de las Doce Leguas (The Labyrinth of the Twelve Leagues).

The archipelago is located in the Caribbean Sea, between the Gulf of Ana Maria, Gulf of Guacanayabo and the Caballones Channel. It extends on a general northwest to southeast direction, paralleling the Cuban coast for 150 km (93 mi) from Cayo Breton to Cayos Mordazo.

Other cays in the archipelago include Caguamas, Cayos Cinco Balas, Cayo Anclitas, Cayo Algodon Grande, Cayos Pingues and Cayo Granada.

The archipelago is a popular destination for diving and sport fly-fishing. Only catch and release fly-fishing and a limited, well-regulated lobster fishery is allowed n the park, although many other fisheries occur outside of the park limits.

Jardines de la Reina Marine Reserve & National Park

A marine reserve was established in 1996, covering a large swath of the archipelago. In 2010, Jardines de la Reina was established as a national park (Parque Nacional Jardines de la Reina). With an area of 2,170 sq km (840 sq mi), it is one of Cuba's largest protected areas.

Species of fish found here include Cubera snapper, Bonefish, Yellowfin grouper, Black grouper, Atlantic goliath grouper as well as Strombus gigas (the large Caribbean conch) and Whale shark.

Jardines de la Reina is one of the most popular scuba destinations of Cuba. The underwater landscapes include canyons, pinnacles and caves. Healthy mangroves, sponges and black corals cover the reef. The archipelago also hosts numerous silky and Caribbean reef sharks.