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relics from the past. Half a day’s travel southeast from Havana is the world-class marine protected area (MPA) Jardines de la Reina, or Gardens of the Queen. And diving these pristine reefs certainly

does make one feel like royalty. Whereas many islands in the Caribbean have suffered greatly at the hands of destructive and ir-responsible tourism practices, pol-lution from unsustainable coastal development, and severe habitat degradation from overfishing, Gar-dens of the Queen is a diamond in the world of marine ecosystems that has thankfully been protected

from all of this. Fidel Castro was actually an avid scuba diver and friends with the famous French oceanographer Jacques Cousteau, and he established Jardines

de la Reina as an 850-square mile no-take marine reserve. It has been a National Park since 1996 and fewer than 1,000 divers are allowed to visit there annually. Commercial fishing there is illegal, so the

species diversity and sheer quantity of marine life is astounding and un-like anything that exists in other parts of the Caribbean today. The only things you can see more of in Cuba than old cars, are sharks. Cuba boasts some of the “sharkiest” reefs in these waters be-

Iguanas live on many of the

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