The Cuban government is environmentally minded. In 1996, the 837-square-mile marine area and archipelago of Gardens of the Queen located south of the main island of Cuba became a no-take reserve—the largest in the Caribbean—and in 2010 was designated a national park.
The reefs of the park host an exceptionally healthy marine ecosystem. When visiting the dive sites you will witness lush coral forest with abundant fish populations. Many of the dive sites are walls that bottom-out at around 60 to 100-feet (18 to 30m). There are many swim-throughs and over-hangs to explore. Finding large tarpon and nurse sharks in these enclosed areas is common.
Along the walls the intrusive visitor from the Pacific, lionfish are spotted in large numbers. By keeping a watchful eye in the sand, large southern stingrays can be found. Taking a closer look at the fauna, tiny feather duster and bristle worms can be spotted on the hard corals. Among the sea fans and sponges a variety of crabs and snails can be observed. Queen conch and other mollusk can be found in large numbers.
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