The Palm Islands Park and Nature Reserve is situated 5.5 kilometers away from the shoreline northwest the city of El Mina and is comprised of three rocky flat islands filled with eroded limestone and bordered by infinite salty sea water. The global area of the reserve is approximately 5 km2 and since 1995, it has become entitled as a protected area under the Barcelona Convention. The island is a refuge for an endangered species of turtles called loggerhead and rare monk seals. It is a spot for migratory birds to rest and nest.
The biggest in size of the three islands is the Palm Island known in Arabic as Jazeerat al-Nakheel or Jazeerat al-Araneb. This is due to the enormous number of rabbits that were raised on the island during the French mandate beginning of the 20th Century. The center of the island contains ruins and remnants of human civilization such as a fresh water well, an ancient salt evaporation pond and residues of a crusader’s church. Lately, The Island underwent renovation and restoration and the authorities of the province deemed the island to be a landmark of recreation and research.
The other two islands are the Sanani Island and Ramkine Island and their sizes are approximately 45,000m2 and 34,000m2 respectively. Ramkine Island contains some remains of the 20th century like a lighthouse built during the 1960’s, cannon emplacements and buried galleries. The islands are considered public property and were announced as protected areas by law.
The initial digging of the Palm Island took place in October of 1973 and revealed the infrastructure of some buildings and their architectural details, such as columns that date back to the Crusader Era. The islands were first open to the public during the year 1999 and are only open for visitations during July and September. Camping and fire building are forbidden as the Palm Islands were declared as a protected area by UNESCO in 1992 and a site with rich cultural heritage.