Ciego de Avila

On the north coast of Cuba, exactly at the Sabana-Camagüey Archipelago, lie the keys, isles and islets that the Spanish conquerors named –between 1513-1514– Jardines del Rey (King’s Gardens), in honor of Fernando the Catholic, Spanish king at the time.

Cayo Coco and Cayo Guillermo, caressed by the waters of the Atlantic Ocean, located in one of the most beautiful coral reefs of the world, are unique places because of the wide range and profusion of their sea species and luxuriant vegetation. Both keys belong to Ciego de Ávila City, 460 km. east of Havana City and 110 km. west of Camagüey, and are linked to the main island via a 27 km. long road over the sea called pedraplén that crosses Bahía de Perros (Bay of Dogs) north of the province.

The keys are also linked to each other by the same pedraplén. There is an airfield at Cayo Coco. Crossing this road may be an amusing and interesting trip, because dolphins both sides of the pedraplén and huge colonies of pink flamingos can be seen from it.

Ciego de Ávila has also a lot to offer to the visitors. Driving from Cayo Coco towards the capital city you can find the Dutch settlement of Turiguanó, built at the beginning of the 60's to provide shelter to a cattle raising community; and the lagoons La Redonda (4.5 km2), with an international center for trout fishing; and La Leche (67 km2), annual venue of the traditional Aquatic Carnival of Morón and recently included as one of the sites for the World Championship of Formula T-1 speed boats.

The city of the Rooster, as Morón is mostly known, is the closest one to Jardines del Rey. Downtown, the city preserves some buildings of high architectural and urban value, and in its outskirts, we can see some of the remains of forts La Trocha de Júcaro a Morón, a defensive system built by the Spanish army during the second half of the XIX century to try to stop the Cuban Liberation Army from moving from east to west, and considered one of the most important military engineering works throughout all the Hispanic América.

The surrounding environment also offers great swamps and lagoons of the north of Morón, and the area of La Loma de Cunagua, where we can find some forty duck, pigeon and dove hunting sites, among which the most well-known are: Los Aguachales, Falla, Chicola, Canal La Yana and Puente Largo. In the last one, you can also enjoy trout fishing, activity that can also be done at the damp Liberación.

Máximo Gomez International Airpoirt is located almost half way between Morón and Ciego de Ávila, a city that was founded in 1840 and marked by the prevalence in its architecture of portals built one right next to the other, neoclassic columns and Creole tiles.

El Teatro Principal (Main Theater), whose construction finished in 1927 and considered one of the best ones in the island for its acoustics; the church of San Eugenio de la Palma, patron of the city, La Casa de la Cultura (the House of Culture) and the Gallery of Art, the nearby Finca de Oasis; or the Bioplants Center, attached the Higher Institute of Agriculture of Ciego de Ávila are as well very attractive places in a province of rich cultural traditions preserved with excellence in the Jamaica neighborhood, in Baraguá; in the traditional celebrations of Majagua; in the parrandas of Chambas and Punta Alegre, or in the work of the Haitian group Okay, based in the municipality of Venezuela.