Where is Cayo Coco ?

Cayo Coco is an island with an area of 370 km2, the second largest in size after its neighbor Cayo Romano with its 465 km2. They are part of a group of several islands called « Jardines del Rey » (King's Gardens in English) and which itself is part of a bigger archipelago called « Sabana-Camaguey ».

Cayo Guillermo is located west of Cayo Coco and considered to be the little sister of Cayo Coco, an area of barely thirteen square kilometers. These islands are located North of Cuba in the Atlantic Ocean.

This archipelago counts over 2,500 islands and islets (cays) located off the Atlantic coast of Cuba in the provinces of Ciego de Avila and Camaguey.

The island of the Jardines del Rey which saw the first tourist development, Cayo Guillermo in 1992 with the opening of the Hotel Gran Caribe Club Villa Cojimar, followed by the Guitart Cayo Coco on the neighboring island Cayo Coco, in 1993.

At that time, there was no international airport on the island. Tourists had to use the airport located in the capital of Ciego de Avila. The construction of the dam « Pedraplen » long of 27 kms connecting Cayo Coco to the big island of Cuba in 1988 began the era of tourism on both islands of the King's Gardens. A seven-kilometers causeway, which ends with a 300 meters bridge, to connect Cayo Coco with Cayo Guillermo.

Please note that since the spring 2014, Cuban Immigration systematically stamps all passports when entering and leaving the country. And also: as of May 1, 2015, the Cuban Departure Tax is no longer paid at destination. It should now be included in the price of your trip when buying a flight-only or package to Cuba.

In October 2013 the Cuban Government announced its intention to eliminate their dual currency system (CUC and CUP). To the best of our knowledge, it seems like no schedule has been officially announced yet for this plan to eliminate the CUC and revalue the CUP; and so far (2015) there's no indication yet about when the CUC will be put out of circulation. More news to come.

Visit our website that chronicles the announcements and events related to The Cuban Thaw (the normalization of US-Cuba relations).

There is an island in this archipelago which is booming fast, Cayo Santa Maria. It is located about 25 kms (bird fly) west of the Cayo Guillermo. Cayo Santa Maria is also connected to the main land by a 48 km dike. Cayo Santa Maria is the second most important tourist hub in Cuba, after Varadero.

Pedraplen, Cayo Coco, CubaCayo Coco is connected to Cuba by a causeway of 27 km with a 17 km section in the sea with fourteen bridges to limit the impact on the environment. This dam was inaugurated in 1988 after only 16 months of work. There is a toll booth at the entrance of the dyke. The fee is  2 CUC per car payable only in CUC. When you travel on the road connecting Cayo Coco to Cayo Guillermo, do not be surprised to see cows wandering on the road. Be careful! There is only one road that connects Cayo Coco to Cayo Guillermo. In the western sector of Cayo Coco, there is a section of the road that used to be a runway for the first airport on the island. This area is now part of the Parque El Baga.

Cayo Coco and Cayo Guillermo are located in the province of Ciego de Avila. The nearest village is Moron, where the employees working in the hotels live. The government has built several houses (4,000 rooms), near the entrance to the causeway for employees of all the hotels. This will facilitate the transfer for those who must borrow the dam every day.

The province of Ciego de Avila, who previously was paired with the neighboring Camaguey until 1976, 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. At this time there were only 263 inhabitants.

Click to see photos of roads in Cayo Coco, Cayo Guillermo and the causeway.

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About the authors: We are Lily and Normand, globetrotters and Cuba lovers. Our travels took us to many wonderful countries around the world, but Cuba will always have a special place in our heart. We have been there more than fifty times. We like to call it our « segunda casa ». We are Canadians and we need to escape our harsh and long winters once and a while! Traveling and building personal websites are our greatest passions.

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