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You will explore Cuba’s pristine Gardens of the Queen (Jardines de la Reina) National Park with internationally recognized Cuban marine scientists as your guides. The Jardines de la Reina National Park is a string of islands and surrounding waters located 60 miles off the southeastern coast of Cuba. Due to the intact connectivity of the seagrass beds, mangroves, and coral reefs, the remoteness of the area, and the history of protection from coastal development, the Gardens of the Queen represents a “baseline” for a nearly pristine Caribbean marine ecosystem; an ecosystem that is home to healthy populations of Caribbean reef sharks and goliath groupers, important grazers like Rainbow parrotfish and Long-spine sea urchins, recovering endangered species such as Elkhorn coral and nesting Hawksbill sea turtles.Itinerary Overview:
Day 1 - Saturday
Welcome and pick-up at Camaguey Airport by 6 pm or Santa Clara Airport by 5 pm.
Transfer to Jucaro for boarding the M/V Oceans for Youth vessel. Boarding begins at 5 pm.
Dinner and orientation starts at 7 pm.
Days 2 - 6
Arrive in Gardens of the Queen National Park and begin exploring marine and coastal habitats with Cuban biologists and resource management experts to include daily snorkeling and island excursions (with 2 optional scuba diving sites including 4 dives total). Habitats to explore and learn about:
~ Pristine marine lagoons and expansive sea grass meadows
~ Mangrove forests and channels
~ Patch and crest reefs with rare, endangered corals
~ Deserted cays and sea turtle nesting beaches (in season)
~ Daily marine ecology seminars by Cuban marine scientists
Day 7 - Saturday8 am transfer to Camaguey or Santa Clara Airports (2 separate transfers) with lunch provided for a 1 pm arrival at your airport for departure.
Join us aboard the M/V Oceans for Youth
as we "Explore, Learn, Protect".