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. 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.
Cayo Guillermo is located just 20 km. west of Cayo Coco International Airport, 125 km. away from Ciego de Ávila International Airport and only 1 km. away from the coral reef.
This is one of the smallest keys in the zone, with an area of just 18 sq. km. However, its 5 km. of beautiful beaches are considered among the most exuberant. One of them, El Pilar, named after the yacht of the same name belonging to the famous American writer Ernest Hemingway, has sand dunes up to 16 meters high, plus crystal-clear sea water which makes it one of the best beaches of the Cuban archipelago.
This key has the peculiarity of its different sites having names drawn out of the aforesaid writer’s life, who used Cayo Guillermo as one of his favorite fishing spots. The novelist mentioned the key in its book “Islands in the stream”.
Among the flora and fauna of the key, mangrove, at the southeast coast
where pink flamingos and pelicans dwell, stands out. Besides, there is
luxuriant forest vegetation with species like mahogany, seedbed and juniper.
There is a wide range of tropical fish in addition to crustacean at the atlantic region of the reef. The paradisiacal seabed of this key, like a huge aquarium, can be seen due to the existence of diving centers.
Guillermo is one of the main destinations for sportsfishing in Cuba. There
are good facilities for deep water fishing, and some fresh water lagoons
at the main island are easily reached.