In Cuba, the temperature doesn’t vary much throughout the year, usually oscillating betwewn 22°C (71F) to 32°C (89F). Furthermore, with 5000 km (3100 miles) of near virgen coastline, Cuba provides some of the best snorkeling spots in the world. It boasts healthy corals, colorful fish and sealife of fantastic forms wait for you under the waters. In Espiritu Travel we want you to know the best snorkeling places in Cuba and with our trips to Cuba you will be able to enjoy them.
There are thirty-nine international diving centers around the island with instructors and facilities to rent the necessary equipment. So that you can see the incredible visibility of the waters and the abundant marine life for an unforgettable experience. In this article we tell you the 8 best places to snorkel in Cuba.
María la Gorda, Peninsula of Guanacahabibes (Western Cuba)
María la Gorda is located on the very western tip of Cuba which is the Guanahacabibes National Park. Also declared a Biosphere Reserve, the Peninsula of Guanahacabibes has one of the most diverse coral reef ecosystems of the Caribbean. Its white sand beaches are a nesting place to four species of marine turtles. Actually, the area has been home of one of the oldest Cuban conservation projects, where university students contribute to the protection of these reptiles marking the nests and counting the babies.
Despite its difficult access, María La Gorda Dive Center is an ideal place for diving and snorkeling as well as relaxing. An impressive seabed, huge black and fire corals, natural caves and ruins are just some of the surprises waiting at the western tip of Cuba. If you decide to visit it between May and August, you may see the turtles arriving to lay their eggs or the baby turtles emerging from the nests.
Playa Jibacoa, near Havana
Playa Jibacoa, a gorgeous bay surrounded by forests and hills and only 1 hour east of Havana. Those looking to snorkel in shallow water will be in a paradise with colorful fish, crabs and stunning corals.
The nicest spots are located right off the beach. There are interesting tunnels and grottoes, and even historical sites where local guides could show you old anchors and cannons embedded in the coral.
Bay of Pigs, now infamous for great snorkeling
Most people know about the failed U.S invasion in the Bay of Pigs, but few have heard about the awesome snorkeling spots hidden around the Caribbean’s largest wetland ecosystem.
Located at the southern area of the country, 3 hours away from Havana, the park supports great biodiversity which is also can be seen in its marine zone. Just a few meters offshore the visitor encounters hundreds of fish and corals, many of them endemic thanks to the isolation of the place. Among the most popular snorkeling spots are Playa Larga and Caleta Buena, the latter, a snorkeler’s heaven of turquoise waters, large gorgonians and underwater caves. You can also have a lovely buffet lunch right on the beach.
Rancho Luna Beach, near Cienfuegos
Cienfuegos is the only Cuban city with a marked French style, but also nearby is Rancho Luna Beach. For those with pirate’s spirit, there will be nothing like finding the old sunken boats that have decorated its seafloor.
Get out your GoPro while snorkeling so that you can take photos among the flourishing marine life that transformed the broken vessels in nature wonders. If you are lucky you will be able to see a whale shark in Rancho Luna Beach which are sometimes seen during the months of December and January. With our trip a week in Cuba you can visit Cienfuegos and discover Rancho Luna Beach for snorkeling.
Ancon Peninsula, just outside of Trinidad
There is much to see and to do in Trinidad. This World Heritage city and its Valley of the Sugar Mills is a trip to colonial times when sugar production enriched the area in a way never seen before. However, other gems await for snorkelers and divers at Playa Ancón like pristine reefs inhabited by more than 20 different species of corals and tropical fish.
Cayo Santa María
Cayo Santa María is an island (cayo) located near the small village of Caibarién on the northern coast of Cuba, which also happens to have some stunning beaches too. Its crystalline water and incredible marine life make it an unmissable spot for snorkeling lovers. Explore beautiful lagoons, take photographs of turtles and dolphins and follow new clues to find the lost pirates’ treasure that supposedly is hidden along the coast.
Playa Esmeralda, northern coast in eastern Cuba
If you are looking for almost magical marine landscapes, then Playa Esmeralda is your place. The rocky beach situated on the northern coastline of the eastern Holguin province offers a unique topography where squid and black corals that can hardly be seen in other places, live around an immense natural wall of nearly 20 to 40 meters. It’s a breathtaking experience! In Espiritu Travel we have a trip to the eastern of Cuba to visit incredible places.
Jardines de la Reina, the crown jewel of snorkeling
Named by Christopher Columbus in honor of the Spanish queen, Jardines de la Reina (Gardens of the Queen) is an archipelago of 250 islands situated at the southern coast of Cuba, off the south central coast of Cuba. Due to the great diversity and conservation of its flora and fauna, it was declared a Protected Area and National Park.
If you want to dive or snorkel here, plan to spend more than a week, the archipelago is difficult to reach and requires a 7 night stay on either one of the liveaboards or the floating hotel.
Some final advice for a safe and sustainable adventure
Just a few words: as a responsible snorkeler you should avoid touching the corals or swimming in the areas where the reefs are shallow to prevent any damage to them. Don’t forget also to protect your skin from the tropical sun. We recommend you to use eco-friendly product such us Thinksport SPF 50 Sunscreen to protect these wonderful ecosystems for future generations.
In any of the Espíritu Travel trips we offer snorkeling options as extension to your trip in Cuba. Are you ready to explore some of the amazing Cuba’s snorkeling spots? Contact us today and we will help you to build your adventure.