Cayo Coco is a small island part of the "Jardines del Rey" (King's Gardens) archipelago located off the northern coast of Cuba (Atlantic side), in the province of Ciego de Avila. It’s a popular tourist destination known for its stunning beaches and coral reefs. Cayo Coco has a superficies of about 370 sq. km (143 sq. mi), making it the second largest in the Jardines del Rey after its neighbor Cayo Romano (465 sq. km). It’s named after the white ibis which is locally called coco bird.
The tourism development in the King's Gardens started in 1992 with the opening of the Hotel Villa Cojimar (now the hotel Sercotel Club Cayo Guillermo), followed by the Hotel Guitart Cayo Coco in 1993 (now Hotel Colonial by Iberostar). At that time, there was no international airport on the island. The area was served by the Ciego de Avila Airport, located about 90 minutes by road from Cayo Coco. The new “Jardines del Rey” Airport (located on Cayo Coco) was inaugurated in December 2002. Cayo Coco currently boasts several all-inclusive resorts, and a few others are still to be built. The “Jardines del Rey” tourism project was planned to eventually include 32000 hotel rooms.
Cayo Coco is connected to the main island of Cuba by a 27 km (17 mi) long causeway which runs across the Bahia de Perros. The causeway was built in only 16 months and was inaugurated in 1988. Fourteen bridges were subsequently created to limit the impact on the environment and restore the tidal flow. Cayo Coco is also linked by short causeways to Cayo Guillermo to the west, and to Cayo Romano, Cayo Paredon and Cayo Cruz to the east.
From an administrative point of view, Coco Coco is part of the municipality of Moron, but the cay itself is uninhabited. The beaches and water sports are the main reasons to visit the island, but it’s also a nature lovers paradise. A great part of Cayo Coco is covered by scrubland and swamps, and is populated by endemic wildlife and by wild cattle wandering around.
There’s only one road that connects Cayo Coco to Cayo Guillermo, and a portion of this road used to be the runway of the first local airport on the island. The area where the old airport was located is now part of a nature park called Parque El Baga.
The nearest town is Moron, and this is where most of the hotels’ staff live. The province of Ciego de Avila has an area of 6.783 km2 with more than 420,000 inhabitants and its capital is the city of Ciego de Avila, founded in 1840.
Lily & Normand