The Jardines Del Rey islands have not only been developed with All-Inclusive resorts. Two large shopping and entertainment complexes have been created to quell the shopping desires of visitors to the islands. The first of these is the Pueblo Las Dunas Mall located on Cayo Santa Maria.
Inaugurated in the fall of 2011, the Pueblo Las Dunas Village Shopping and entertainment center is the second of its type on the Jardines del Rey Island of Cayo Santa Maria after the acclaimed Pueblo La Estrella. Equally easy to access on the hop-on hop-off 1 CUC bus, the distances from your hotel are listed below. Prices at both Cayo Santa Maria “Pueblos” should be considered duty free, because they are excellent overall, including the numerous food courts and bars incorporated into each village.
The Cayo Santa Maria Jardines del Rey Pueblo Las Dunas Mall sells everything from Cohiba Cigars to fashion items and everything else imaginable. This village style Mall even has its own outside market with mini stalls and kiosks selling authentic Cuban souvenirs.
The Marcaribe Discotheque is where people in the know go for a night out in the Jardines Del Rey Archipelago, as opposed to the numerous resort discotheques. More of a true “authentic” discotheque like you’re familiar with from back home, there’s a great blend of local Cubans mingling with tourists from all of the resorts on this group of three Jardines Del Rey Islands off the coast of Caibarien. If you’re tired of seeing the same faces at your disco, head down to Marcaribe!
Pueblo Las Dunas has several bars which are all good and offer a little more lively fun than the typical all-inclusive hotel bars at the hotels in Jardines Del Rey Island and Cayo Santa Maria. The El Mosquete Bar is a classically designed bar with a mezzanine deck inside, great people watching! Bar Bolera is a state of the art 6 lane bowling alley, with digital readouts and excellent bar with top level spirits along with international beers.
Catering to the visitors of Jardines del Rey are two impressive restaurants; the first is the Galeon del Puerto or sometimes called the Barco del Pirata. It’s built inside a full-scale replica of a Spanish Galleon, right in the center of Pueblo Las Dunas. Galeon del Puerto serves all types of food from a simple burger to an excellent steak dinner. Drinks are also served all day and the décor, complete with seating stalls and, Galleon theme throughout, is a true delight. Then there’s the excellent seafood restaurant called the Isla de Tortuga or Tortoise Island, the breaded prawns here are simply fantastic, as is the Lobster or surf and turf special.
El Fortin Store is a general purpose store. Whether is be a battery for your camera, print some photos for friends or some emergency photo equipment then the will probably have it. They’ll also save photos for you and copy images to a USB Drive if your camera has run out of storage space. The El Ponton store, just next door to the above, is a general goods store offering everything from souvenirs to clothing, soft drinks and knickknacks you may need. They also have the all-important mosquito repellent, sunscreen towels and beachwear. Outside in the plaza there are a myriad of market stands selling genuine Cuban handmade items (NOT Chinese rubbish). Many of the store owners are the artisans who actually make the items on sale, a real pleasure to see the variety of items and colorful offerings.
Cayo Santa Maria Art Sales
Galleria Las Dunas started selling all types of Cuba Art in 2012, displaying works of art from the Villa Clara province’s young artists, covering all genres from Ashtrays to framed works of Art. Correct documentation is supplied with all artwork sold, including official export papers for Cuban and your own customs back home plus, certificates of origin and authenticity.
Yhi Spa Wellness Center
Even if you have visited Cayo Santa Maria for the day and are not staying on the island, there’s a Spa and wellness center at Pueblo Las Dunas and, it’s very good indeed. Of course, if you have a Spa on your resort you may wish to skip this paragraph, but for those who don’t, this is an excellent alternative and nice day away from your hotel for some pampering. Conveniently located at the entrance of Pueblo Las Dunas, right between the hotels Melia Cayo Santa Maria and Melia Las Dunas, the “Yhi” name is Melia’s own and the name it uses internationally for all its hotel spas. The Yhi Spa Aguas Claras offers an impressive selection of treatments that will soothe mind, body and soul, as well as a broad hydrothermal circuit and numerous relaxation areas. The Aguas Claras Yhi Spa building is also home to the Yhi Beauty Salon. The name “Yhi” is derived from the name of the goddess of light in Australian Aboriginal Karraur mythology.
Pueblo Las Dunas Gym
The gym offers both machines and free-weight training, numerous of the latest digital treadmills and bikes plus a conveniently located TV to watch something while you pound away. Entrance is 10 CUC for two hours and you get to use the showers at the Yhi Spa. The gym is used by Melia Resort staff also , so you can often strike up an interesting chat.
Jardines del Rey Car Rental, Scooter and Bicycle Rental
If you’ve booked a rent a car in advance on these three Jardines del Rey Islands, CubaCAR at this mall on Cayo Santa Maria will probably be where you collect it. The same office rents bicycles and scooters by the hour or per day. This car rental center is the primary car rental office on Cayo Santa Maria and is where one-way car rentals are returned in Jardines del Rey after the rental period.
The closest airport which serves the first three Jardines del Rey Islands is the Las Brujas Airport (IATA: BWW,) its an airport actually on the island of Cayo Las Brujas, serving Cayo Las Brujas, Cayo Santa Maria and Cayo Ensenachos, which has domestic flights from/to Cayo Las Brujas, Cuba and is 0 km km from Cayo Las Brujas, 18km from Cayo Ensenachos and 28km from Cayo Santa Maria.
The next airport is the Santa Clara – Abel Santamaría Airport (IATA: SNU / MUSC) which has international and domestic flights from Santa Clara, Cuba and is 110 km (68 miles) km from Cayo Las Brujas, Cuba.
The next closest airport is Sancti Spiritus Airport (IATA: USS) has international and domestic flights from Sancti Spiritus, Cuba and is 149 km (93 miles) from Cayo Las Brujas, Cuba.
For Cayo Coco, Cayo Guillermo and Cayo Romano the nearest major airport is Jardines del Rey International Airport (CCC / MUCC). This airport has international and domestic flights and is located on Cayo Coco, Cuba and is 7 km from the center of Cayo Coco, 3km from Cayo Romano and 13km from Cayo Guillermo.
Another major airport is Ignacio Agramonte International Airport (CMW / MUCM), which has international and domestic flights from Camaguey, Cuba and is 209 km from Cayo Coco, Cuba.
Finally, there’s the Abel Santamaría Airport (SNU / MUSC) has international and domestic flights from Santa Clara, Cuba and is 101 km from Cayo Guillermo, Cuba.
The Jardines del Rey Archipelago consists of thousands of islands along Cuba’s northern coast. While many of these islands are tiny islets and cays, some are larger islands which have either been developed or, are in the process of being developed, for tourism. Jardines del Rey means The King’s Gardens in English and is quite an apt name for this glorious virgin area of Cuba.
The main islands in order of size are:
Cayo Romano 777 km²
Cayo Coco 370 km²
Cayo Sabinal 335 km²
Cayo Guajaba 107 km²
Cayo Fragoso 101 km²
Cayo Cruz 26 km²
Cayo Cruz del Padre 26 km²
Cayo Santa Maria 13 km²
Cayo Guillermo 13 km²
Cayo Paredon Grande 8.7 km²
Cayo Las Brujas 6.7 km²
Cayo Esquivel (North and South) 2.1 km²
Cayo Ensenachos 2 km²
The islands within the Kings Gardens Archipelago range from about 10 to 50km away from Cuba’s north coast and are technically located in the Atlantic Ocean. The whole archipelago called Jardines del Rey includes over 2,500 islands and islets spanning the provinces of Matanzas, Villa Clara, Ciego de Avila and Camaguey.
The Cays of the Jardines del Rey first saw tourist development in the 1990s, Cayo Guillermo in 1992, with the opening of the Hotel Gran Caribe Club Villa Cojimar, followed by the first resort called Guitart Cayo Coco (now the Hotel Colonial) opened in 1993 on the neighboring island Cayo Coco.
Initially, there were no international airports on any of the islands. Tourists flew into the Maximo Gomez airport located in the capital of Ciego de Avila. The construction of the pedraplen causeway from the mainland began in 1988, its 27kms (16 miles) length connecting Cayo Coco to the mainland of Cuba was concluded in just 3 years and, with it began the meteoric era of tourism on both islands in the King’s Gardens. A seven kilometers causeway, which ends with a 1.5 km bridge, was built to connect Cayo Coco with Cayo Guillermo.
The construction of second pedraplen causeway from the mainland began in 1988 and was completed 10 years later in 1998, its 48kms (29 miles) length connecting Cayo Santa, with it began the explosion of tourism on the latest tourism destination of the King’s Gardens. A 38 kilometers causeway was later constructed to connect Cayo Santa Maria with Cayo Las Brujas.
To give an idea of distances between major destinations in Cuba, Cayo Coco is 506km (314 miles) from Havana. Varadero is 466 km (289 miles) from Cayo Coco, whereas the closest cities to Cayo Coco are Ciego De Avila (population of 86,100) at 101km (62 miles) and Moron (population of 60,600) 62 km (38 miles). Cayo Coco and Cayo Guillermo are just 30km apart and are connected by the aforementioned causeway.
Though there are no direct flights, to give an idea of just how close Jardines del Rey in Cuba is to The Bahamas, the Clarence A. Bain Airport (MAY) in the Bahamas is just 214 km (132 miles) from Jardines del Rey International Airport – Cayo Coco, Cuba (CCC).
The United States of America is very close to Jardines del Rey with Key West Florida is just 261 miles (420 kilometers) by flight from Cayo Coco, Jardines del Rey.
Are you looking for cheap flights to Cuba’s Cayos? Immediate confirmation of your flight to Jardines del Rey Cuba is just 2 clicks away. We also offer a price comparison of all available airlines to Cuba and Jardines del Rey to allow you to get the best flight deals to Cuba right now. Our Cuba flight checker is free and can help you plan your vacation budget.
- Cayo Coco Flights
- Cayo Guillermo Flights
- Cayo Santa Maria Flights
- Cayo Ensenachos Flights
- Cayo Las Brujas Flights
Once you have booked your flight to Jardines del Rey Cuba, you can conveniently book your hotel, car rental or any other service on this one website, we are also available on our chat system should you need any personal help with your travel to Cuba or to coordinate your whole trip to Jardines del Rey. We also offer VIP arrival services, airport transfers and much more, just ask us on our chat system and well coordinate your whole trip for you!
Take our advice; you don’t need to stay at an all inclusive hotel costing $1000s to be able to visit the exquisite islands within the Jardines del Rey chain. You can stay at a Casa Particular close to Jardines del Rey and then visit the islands within less than an hour from all of the locations we propose. Making a trip out to any of the Jardines del Rey Island from your homestay accommodations in Cuba can be very rewarding and, there are so many things to do on each of the islands that don’t require you to stay at the 4 and 5 star hotels located here. There are no rules nor restrictions impeding access to the amazing coastlines, beaches and entertainment centers of each of the islands so, give it a shot! You won’t be sorry you included any of these islands in your tour of Cuba.
The following specific Jardines del Rey Island websites offer precise Casas you can book online now. All are extremely close to the respective islands listed:
Once you have booked your Casa Particular then Rent a Car in Cuba to be able to visit the islands and other places on your journey!
Make your road trip to Jardines del Rey complete and rent a car. Visit any of the islands in this impressive chain of keys on Cuba’s northern coast.
You can book to pick up a rental car or drop off a rental car in Jardines del Rey on the following specific islands:
The remaining islands of Cayo Romano, Cayo Sabinal, Cayo Guajaba, Cayo Paredon, Cayo Cruz del Padre, Cayo Esquival, Cayo Fragoso do not offer car rental at this time. Primarily due to the absence of causeway access and the islands relative size. However, you can collect and return your rent a car at the above islands, which are all very close by.
If you are looking for Jardines del Rey Car Rental, we are specialists and offer everything from economic cars to the latest jeep 4×4 models. We also offer 7 and 9 seat minivans on the above Jardines del Rey Islands Cuba. Booking your Cuba Car Hire in Jardines del Rey is crucial to your trip. There are few cars available on these islands and pre-booking guarantees your car is taken to the island of your choice. Checking our rates and availability at the links above and you’ll be able to find the car to suit your budget and ensure it is ready and waiting on the exact day and time you choose.
Book your car in Jardines del Rey with Havanautos, CubaCAR, REX or Via Rent a Car now to avoid setbacks or unnecessary unplanned costs while you’re in Cuba.
If you’d prefer a “one-price” offer, we have our FlexiDrive® Road Trip program. It includes both a rental car and hotel voucher to visit any hotel across Cuba within the program, drive at your own pace, without making forward bookings of more than 24 hours in advance and ensuring absolute freedom to discover our beautiful country. The FlexiDrive® package is available from 7 to 30 days, you decide the duration!
Our exclusive Cuba-One-Way® program also caters for those of you who wish to collect your Cuban rent a car in say and island within Jardines del Rey and return it in another city, ensuring that your exact itinerary starting from Jardines del Rey is organized in advance. This also works in reverse, where you can collect a car in say Havana and return it to any of the above islands.
CubaCel offers excellent coverage on most of the Jardines del Rey Island chain. Whether you are visiting just one island or, several within the Jardines del Rey Archipelago, we offer specific advice for mobile phone users on any of the islands. This includes network coverage for both roaming use and those of you who have chosen to get a Cuban phone number to save money.
Visit the individual websites below to obtain more information about where to get a Cubacel SIM card and how to reduce your mobile phone network charges. Also, how to avoid expensive roaming charges by getting a Cubacel temporary SIM card, then after use the available top-up cards sold at the hotels listed on each specific page. Take a look at the page for the island or islands you intend to visit for concise and clear details about using your mobile phone for both call and data packages in Jardines del Rey. We list all the Cubacel offices on each island along with places you can simply get a mobile recharge for your Cuban SIM card.
We want you to stay connected in Cuba, so please take a look at our Cubacel wireless guides above.
Without doubt, Cayo Cruz is going to be the next island gem to benefit from tourism development. Not just because Pulitzer Prize winner Ernest Hemingway featured the island in the novels “Islands in the Stream” and “The Great Blue River” but, because the island has better attributes than those previously developed. It seems leaving “the best till last” is a phrase ideally coined here.
Cayo Cruz Beaches
Cayo Cruz has considerable expanses of white sand beaches covering 86% of the island. These beaches being a natural result of its predominantly prehistoric origins, remnants of skeletal fragments of foraminifera, calcareous algae, mollusks, and crustaceans which have eroded over time to create the most delicate white sands. These beaches covering 22.5km (14 miles) are called Playa Cara, Playa Onda, Playa Sigua and Playa Dorada. The aforementioned beaches on Cayo Cruz measure from the low 5 meters, up to 20 meters in width.
Cruise Ships & Yachts
Just about every cruise ship traverses the sea along Cuba’s northern coast through Old Bahama Channel. Ships emanating from the Miami Cruise port can be seen sailing just off Cayo Cruz on a daily basis. Cayo Cruz and its longish lateral extension make it an ideal docking point for these cruise ships, as such, making Cayo Cruz a natural cruise destination for the future. Furthermore, the islands geographic position lends itself to deeper waters. Within 300 meters of the coast, depth is easily adequate for modern cruise vessels, unlike Cayo Coco and Cayo Guillermo. Another advantage is the islands pedraplen causeway, linking it to Playa Jiguey on Cuba’s mainland, making Cayo Cruz an ideal Cuba Cruise destination, due to the extensive possibilities for port excursions into Camaguey and numerous surrounding towns. As a future cruise destination, Cayo Cruz simply cannot be overlooked.
Connection to the Cayo’s of Coco, Guillermo & Romano
Another major advantage with Cayo Cruz is its existing unpaved interisland roads which traverse Cayo Romano, then leading to paved roads on Cayo Coco and Cayo Guillermo and the secondary access to the mainland via the Ciego de Ávila Causeway, which links Cayo Coco to the mainland. In fact, Cayo Cruz will be the only island with two excellent and, centrally located, mainland road networks.
Current development plans for Cayo Cruz
3 luxury hotels have already been “quietly” approved by Cuba’s tourism authorities and foreign investment council. Environmental studies, previously carried out, allow for 13,800 bathers on its beaches, without untoward environmental effects. Yet, internal documents limit the amount of rooms on Cayo Cruz to just 3000. This leads us to think that Cayo Cruz will not only have a sparse number of ultra 5 star all-inclusive hotels but, will also utilize its northern facing coastline for yacht marinas to accommodate live-aboard visitors to the key. The limit set by the Cuban authorities for buildings on Cayo Cruz is a minimum of 120 meters from the beach to the south and 150 meters to the north. All buildings will face the Atlantic side due to the extensive mangroves on the southern coasts.
So, while Ernest Hemingways alter ego Thomas Hudson describes the island of Cayo Cruz well on page 357 of Islands in the stream, there is no doubt that there will be a lot more to say about the island over the next few years.