The Canarreos Archipelago is the Cuba's largest one. It is a territorial unit composed of 350 islands and keys, with a special status that goes back to the new division made in 1976.
The most visited by tourists is Cayo Largo, an island inhabited by different species of birds, turtles, iguanas and crocodiles. It's been said that its name comes after its elongated shape, which coincides with a history dating back to Indian times.
The Canarreos Archipelago is considered one of the best places for diving, having an environment full of coral reef in shallowed waters, where gorgonians, fish species and a varied flora coexist. Its coastlines have a surface over 25 km, with a water's average temperature equivalent to 26ºC throughout the year.
Some of its most outstanding beaches are: Sirena, Lindamar, Luna, Tortugas -a place chosen by the aforementioned animals for nesting-, Los Cocos, and the largest of all resorts: Playa Blanca.
Isla de la Juventud is another island that draws tourists' attention. That's the same island which inspired Scottish writer, Robert Louis Stevenson to write his novel Treasure Island. There is a strong contrast between North and South. The North is all covered by big pines, besides being the most inhabited area. It has two main cities: Nueva Gerona and La Fe.
Meanwhile, the South, with its small towns devoted to fishing, remains almost untouched, and it is full of dense tropical forests. The main attractions here are: the seven caves of Punta del Este, the botanical garden, and a small zoo. There're also the dam, the Abra museum, and the Bibijagua beach, this latter very famous by its black sand, due to the sea erosive action on the marble rocks.
All the Canarreos Archipelago's islands and islets have a high degree of preservation, surrounded by coral reefs and inhabited by different species of the flora and fauna, such as: iguanas, pelicans and turtles.
Turtles have, in this environment, a protection program for their spawning which takes place between April-September. Cayo Largo del Sur coasts are a supporting point for the reproduction of species like: loggerheads, green and hawksbill turtles.
There are protected areas that include education of all the actors engaged in the agricultural and fishing development of the region, which are part of a more comprehensive project on behalf of the Canarreos Archipelago's environment preservation.