Jardines de la Reina Marine Park is one of the biggest treasures of the Caribbean, in a bigger scale can also be considered as one of the world’s best-preserved marine areas. Within Jardines de la Reina marine park the only allowances in the marine park are for Bonito fishing in the south of Jardines (blue water fishing, Open Ocean) and Lobster fishing with artisanal means.
All Caribbean marine regions are interconnected exchanging energy and matter, the migrations of fish, turtles, larvae’s, birds, etc. This involves many areas from the east coast of the US to the Gulf of Mexico and from Bermuda to Lesser Antilles, the North Coast of Sur America and more, all ecosystems are interdependent in this region. This Archipelago "Gardens of the Queen" comprises a whole set of islands, keys, islets and banks located south the Gulf of Ana Maria at the southeastern section of the country.
The Gulf of Ana Maria is one of the largest and most habitat-diverse shelf areas of the place, covering the waters south from provinces Camaguey, Ciego de Avila and Sancti Spiritus. The Gulf is the deepest here (20-25m in some areas) surrounded by the main island in the north, and the "Jardines de la Reina" Archipelago in the south (hundreds of mangrove islets and keys) spreading from east to west.
Extensive sea grass beds and muddy areas as well as numerous patch reefs cover the gulf; an array of islands and barrier reefs separates the gulf from the Caribbean Sea. Mangroves fringe the islands and mainland. All these conditions combine to provide abundant populations of seabirds, reptiles and the Caribbean’s richest marine biodiversity and biomass.
The "Gardens of the Queen", are a complex network of untouched marine ecosystems that have been regarded by many knowledgeable scientists and organisation as a reference of what is the original status of a coral reef, the underwater paradise is all that comes into the mind when you first enter the water, the vertical walls covered with brightly huge sponges, the black corals extending the branches in the contrasting blue water, many species of gorgonians, fragile laminar corals showing its beautiful shapes through crevices, canyons and caves built along thousands of years of invertebrates work, converting tons of calcium carbonate into architecture masterpieces, all this combined with one of the biggest fish diversity and biomass of the Caribbean makes each dive an unforgettable experience.
The amazingly healthy mangrove system provides nursery area for young fish populations, filtering the water that goes to the reef together with the seagrass beds and in return receiving from the reef protection against the open ocean wave energy, all interconnected in a very fragile network that here keeps its variety, richness and splendour intact.
You will find the biggest populations of adult fish in the Caribbean as Sharks, Snappers and Groupers, Jewfish up to 400 Pounds are an every day experience. Sharks are one of the main attractions and can be seen everywhere. It is possible to dive with 6 different species: Silkies, Reef, Lemon, Black tip, Great Hammerhead and Nurse sharks and from July to November is easy to swim with Whale Sharks.