Cayo Coco (Coco Key) is an island in central Cuba, known for its all inclusive resorts. It lies within the Ciego de Ávila Province and is part of a chain of islands called Jardines del Rey ("King's Gardens"). The cay is administered by the Morón municipality. It has a surface area of 370 sq km and is named after the white ibis, locally called coco (coconut) birds. The island is known for its long beaches and many resort hotels.
Used as a hideout by buccaneers in the early colonial period, the island was home to a small settlement of fishermen and charcoal producers until 1955 when the freshwater supply was exhausted and the market for charcoal ended with the spread of electrification after the Cuban Revolution. A causeway connecting the island to the Cuban mainland was built in 1988, beginning the era of resort construction. The first resort, Guitart Cayo Coco (now the Hotel Colonial Cayo Coco), opened in 1993. The Cuban exile group Alpha 66 attacked the resort with machine guns in 1994 and 1995, but there were no injuries.
The causeway linking Cayo Coco to the mainland is 27 km (17 mi) long and runs across Perros Bay (Bahia de Perros). It was built in 16 months and 3 million cubic meters of stone were needed to build it. The construction caused concern among environmentalists as the causeway disturbed the tidal flow and thus the life-cycle of waterlife. Despite fears, wild flamingos still live in the shallow waters and can often be seen from the causeway although not as often as before the construction. A number of gaps were subsequently created in the causeway to restore water flow. Cayo Coco is linked by short causeways to Cayo Guillermo to the west and to Cayo Romano to the east.
Still largely wild with swamps and scrubland populated by wild cattle, the islands boast about a dozen large international hotels currently offering approximately 5000 rooms: the Jardines del Rey project plans to eventually offer 32000 rooms.. Beaches are attractive for tourists and the massive coral reef off the north coast attracts divers from around the World.