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- Cayo Largo
Ecological Reserve
- Los Indios
Ecological Reserve
- Punta del Este
Ecological Reserve
- Punta Francés
Natural Park
- Sur de la Isla de la Juventud
Managed Resource Protected Area
- Jungla de Jones
Attractive site for various plant species
Part of the National Network of Botanical Gardens
- Pinar Calizo
Featured Natural Element
- Cayo Campos-Rosario
Natural Wildlife Refuge
Ecological Reserve Cayo Largo

Towards the east of the Isla de la Juventud is the archipelago of Los Canarreos, the most important of the four surrounding Cuba. From the height resembles an irregular pearl necklace on a huge iridescent velvet carpet. There, in its easternmost point, is located Cayo Largo del Sur.

Cayo Largo del Sur is the second largest island of the archipelago. It is located 135 kilometers from Nueva Gerona (Isla de la Juventud), 125 of Cienfuegos and 177 of Havana and Varadero.

Its name originates from its elongated shape of 25 km long and 37.5 square kilometers. Its narrowest part is 1 km and 6.5 km the widest, which is complemented with a history dating back to the time of the aborigines, as remains found of the Siboney culture have shown. Christopher Columbus on his second voyage to the Indies in 1494, passed along this location, as well as numerous pirates operating in the waters of the Caribbean Sea who made this sites their meeting point.

It is a place of unparalleled beauty, blessed with the bounties of nature with an attractive landscape, preserved in their natural environment. Its beautiful beaches are located in 24 kilometers of fine white sand and clear blue green waters surrounded by dense vegetation and large areas of wetlands. It ranks as one of the best places for diving in an environment of beautiful coral reefs in shallow waters inhabited by fire corals and jars venao (deer antlers), brains, fans, gorgonians, and fish such as yellowtail , macaw parrot, cura bonefish, black groupers, snappers, dog snappers, grunts, catalinetas, tarpon, pompano, etc.. It is abundant and varied flora and fauna.

The terrestrial flora of coastal vegetation consists predominantly of coast mate, the ciruelillo, the hicaco, the cuabilla, guano coast and common plants of this type of terrain. Vines, salvias and mangroves adorn and protect old dunes.

The terrestrial fauna is made up by multiple species, such as pelicans, seagulls, iguanas, turtles, hawksbill, loggerhead, corúas, pitirres, mockingbirds, hummingbirds and herons. There is a farm dedicated to the preservation of the three endemic turtle species of the area and the rescue of endangered nests. There are thousands of sea turtle hatchlings, which are released.

The coral reef that protects the area, has over 50 miles long and its seabed are one of the best preserved in the world, with a large variety of corals that provide shelter to thousands of fish.

The sea and land most relevant conservation species are: turtles, some species of corals, fossil dune systems and lagoons.

This ecological paradise is a favorite destination for lovers of nature from all over the world. There are very good hotels. The main beaches are: Sirena and Paraiso in the west end of the island; Lindamar in the south, near the hotel zone, Punta Mal Tiempo in the southwest; Los Cocos, Blanca and Tortura beach to the east and Luna beach north of the island, near a small village.

Playa Sirena 2.3 km long, is one of the most beautiful, with fine white sand, which its geomorphological formation keeps always cool. It is favored by the beauty of its sea, with a rich flora and fauna and a diverse population of black coral in less than 35 meters deep. Playa Lindamar is curved like a shell and framed by white rocks 5 km long and Paradise Beach are beaches of dreams as their names imply. Playa Los Cocos is known by its coconuts. Playa Blanca is protected by rocks and Playa Tortuga is the site chosen by the turtles, which come at night to spawn and lay their eggs safe, away from the tide.

The modern hotel complexes are embedded in a natural environment, where man has managed to harmonize perfectly with the ecosystem, while respecting and preserving the ecological reserve rich seabed, endowed with coral reefs and cays also complemented by near by keys, where there are numerous species of flora and fauna on land and sea. Cayo Largo del Sur is a true ecological paradise for lovers of nature and the sea.

© Isla de la Juventud 2011
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