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There are many wonderful reasons to visit Cuba, escape from our shockingly cold Canadian winters being chief among them. The tropical destination has far more to offer than just sun, sand and beautiful beaches though. There’s Cuban culture, music and architecture too — as anyone who’s ever been to Havana can tell you. But one of the country’s most incredible spots can go completely unseen unless you venture beyond the beach and below the waves.

Cuba’s coral reefs — which can be easily explored off the coast of Varadero, a popular tourist destination — are one of the most vibrant and thriving coral reefs in the world. The country’s strict limitations on development along its coastline have kept the reefs healthier than the ones bordering many other Caribbean islands. And a healthy coral reef means that a wide variety of marine life can be found there. Divers and snorkelers can expect to see angelfish, crabs, damselfish, giant groupers, starfish, manatees and dozens of other colourful sea creatures, the likes of which you’ve probably only seen during repeat screenings of Finding Nemo.

Sunwing

Although coral reefs are in danger because of climate change and pollution, Cuba’s conservation efforts — which the country hopes to extend beyond its borders — prove that this natural resource can be protected.

If you’re dreaming of visiting Cuba’s gorgeous reefs (and let’s be honest, it’s winter in Canada, so of course you are) Sunwing Experiences’ Tour to the Caribbean excursion lets you explore this underwater wonder. Check out the video above for more information and get ready to dig your swimsuit and flip flops out from the bottom of your closet.

For more on this amazing getaway destination, be sure to check out Discover It: Cuba, premiering on February 26 at 8 p.m. ET on Discovery.