Cuba has 5,700 kilometers of coastline in addition to 4,200 islets with much of it undeveloped. You can find dozens of spectacular dive sites in Cuba, the largest island in the Caribbean. It has 7 international marinas and 39 international diving centers. Added to this is its tropical climate with an average water temperature of 26 degrees making it more than favorable to diving at any time of the year. With so many options to choose from, it was tough selecting the 5 best places to dive in Cuba.
What makes Cuba such a divers paradise? It’s because the edge of the island is a marine platform which is surrounded by coral reefs. Diving in almost any part of the island we can find countless tropical fish and crustaceans, sponges and starfish, as well as different types of turtles and mammals such as the manatee which faces extinction.
5- Dive in Holguín. Guardalavaca
A place that mixes history with the exoticism of an off-the-beaten tourist route. Christopher Columbus arrived at the beach in Guardalavaca in the 15th century and from there he entered the province of Holguín. The Eagle Ray Diving Center is one of the most eastern diving centers on the island. Your most precious dive takes you through the Old Channel of the Bahamas up to 40 meters deep. It has perfect visibility thanks to its turquoise waters which allows a quiet dive to enjoy an immense underwater landscape. As you continue you will reach an immense vertical wall, which oscillates between 20 and 40 meters, where black corals grow. This marine animal, common along the Cuban coast, is very difficult to find in other areas of the world. Its range is limited since it is considered a semi-precious coral that is used as an amulet and jewel. In any case, as a good diver, the ideal is to let it live so that this impressive marine landscape is preserved for future divers to enjoy.
4- Dive in Bay of Pigs
This area is not only famous for the attempted invasion by US forces, it currently has one of the jewels of the dive sites in Cuba. Interestingly, the most appreciated place in this area is on land, it is called Punta Perdiz. It is a cenote similar to what can be found in Mexico where the sea sneaks through underground tunnels to this cavity, flooding it with colorful fish that are protected in the multiple caves. It is an ideal place for lovers of cave diving because of the amount of stalactites. The mangroves and vegetation in the area protect the bay, which means that there are many young fish that are protected in these areas. Another highlight is where you can dive without having to take a boat in Punta Perdiz, where you can see a sunken ship and a vertical wall very close to the coast. This place is a highly recommended for people who like snorkeling, since there are many fish that can be seen from the surface.
3 – Dive in Trinidad & Cienfuegos. From Playa Ancón to Playa Rancho Luna
After discovering these two World Heritage Sites declared by UNESCO, divers can enjoy up to 40 types of corals along their coasts. In the peninsula of Ancón (near Trinidad), where the Cayo Blanco diving center is located. This area has tunnels and an impressive wall that falls 200 meters. It is an area with an abundance of marine life full of tropical fish and sea fans. It is also highly recommended in this area Guajimico, an aboriginal name that predicts what they will find: means place of the fish.
To dive in Cienfuegos we highlight the Rancho Luna beach. Its main charm is the fishing boats that are sunken in this area. They are not very deep and you can enjoy watching marine life flourish around them. For more experienced divers, we can find the so-called tongue of the Lighthouse, an underwater platform that falls a hundred meters where we will see giant gorgonians, up to two meters in diameter. This impressive area is one of the best to practice underwater photography in Cuba. In addition, in winter months you are able see whale sharks. There are no many dive sites in Cuba where you can see this sharks.
2 – Dive in María La Gorda, Pinar del Rio
This dive site is one of the most valued for its impressive ocean floor. It has its origin in a chain of land that has been shaped by the currents that come from the Gulf of Mexico. The point of immersion is in the Guanahacabibes peninsula, a biosphere reserve for more than two decades that includes 18th century shipwrecks. The corals are visible from five meters deep, so those who only do snorkeling can also enjoy the tropical nature. In the months of May and June the sand on the beaches is full of turtles that come to build their nests and in August and September the whales approach the coast and the baby turtles emerge from their sandy nests. The diving center is located at the only hotel located in the area, you are also able to enjoy nature walks in the national park.
1 – Dive in Jardines de la Reina
This dive site is the most well-known in Cuba and also be among the most impressive in the world. It is an archipelago formed by 250 virgin islands to which Christopher Columbus gave the name Jardines de la Reina (Queen of the Gardens). In 1996, they were declared a marine park due to the exceptional state of conservation of marine flora and fauna. Its bottom, full of starry corals and unevenness, has been created over thousands of years of evolution. At 17 meters deep, the Farallón rises, a mountain crossed by tunnels that end in a white sand bottom. The caverities are about three meters wide by 10 meters high with openings that allow the entry of sunlight, a paradise for divers. It is a diving center for experts, since the only way to dive in these waters is a liveaboard or floated hotel, a minimum stay for a week is required (Saturday to Saturday). It is a very intense experience, but that marine lovers will certainly not forget.
Other dive sites in Cuba and dive near Havana
For those marine lovers who are short on time, there are there areas relatively close to Havana: the Marina Hemingway, Blue Reef and the beaches of the East. You can find in all this dive sites in Cuba the necessary to rent, equipment and instructors with dives between 5 and 35 meters deep. They are not as impressive as the 5 mentioned, but undoubtedly the waters of the Caribbean are always enjoyable for divin.
A little further east, if you have a bit more time, there are the beaches at Varadero which also have dive centers.
If you continue east you will find more dive sites in Cuba. Near Santa Clara, there is Cayo Santa Maria and further still is dive centers in Cayo Guillermo and Cayo Coco. These keys are the Caribbean in its purest state. At depths of between 10 and 30 meters, medium-sized endemic fish such as sibalos, palometas or pacuales swim along with others of greater importance, such as barracudas. The visibility is excellent, up to 20 meters.
The dost of diving in Cuba
The development of dive sites in Cuba is very extensive, with excellent professionals at all the dive sites on the island. You are able to rent the necessary equipment, however given the conditions of the island, we do recommend making a detailed check of all the equipment before enter into the sea. The temperature of the water allows you to dive at almost any time of the year with wetsuite of only three millimeters thick. The price varies depending on the activity, but you can do scuba diving from between $35 to $50. Of course, remembering that you must wait 24 hours after your last dive before you are able to fly home so as to avoid dehydration or decompression problems.
In any of the Espíritu Travel trips we offer diving as an excursion or extension to your trip in Cuba.