In the middle of the Caribbean Sea, surrounded by crystal clear waters, we find an island that treasures a magnificent underwater biodiversity waiting to be admired. Thanks to the well-preserved seabed and the remains of the fleets found in them, experts consider Cuba a paradise for underwater archeology and diving. Discover the best places to dive in Cuba that we tell you in this post.
According to the Ministry of Tourism, there are more than 500 diving areas in Cuba, characterized by their exotic corners, caves, vertical walls and tunnels. During your trip to Cuba with Espíritu Travel you will dive along cliffs, channels and reefs accompanied by an expert guide with whom you will dive the seabed of Cuba.
Discover the best places to dive in Cuba
According to the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) Cuba is among the most important destinations in the world to practice diving. The system of tides and currents is quite light both on the accidental and eastern coast of Cuba. The transparency of the waters is optimal, with an average visibility of 99 feet. The average water temperature is around 79º F, so you can dive perfectly with A lycra in the summer and 3mm wetsuits in the winter.
Explore Cuban marine biodiversity with our Suba Diving Tour!
1. Jardines de la Reina: one of the healthiest marine ecosystems on the planet
Southwest of the island, between the provinces of Camagüey and Ciego de Ávila is the Jardines de la Reina archipelago. Jardines de la Reina is a space of singular attraction, shallow, crystalline, and virgin waters, exotic nature and a wide variety of animal life. It is an ideal destination if diving is for you a way to experience beauty. Now, if you like strong emotions, this is also the ideal place, because you can dive together with sharks as ferocious as the hammer and with terrifying saltwater crocodiles.
2. María la Gorda
North to the island and 300 km from the capital is María la Gorda, in Pinar del Río, one of the most extraordinary diving destinations in the country and Latin America. It has 32 dive sites that will seduce you by its exuberant coral gardens, by the varied fauna and the exquisite transparency of its waters. Two of these sites are the most famous: Hall of Mary, where you will be amazed by corals and delicate sea lilies, and the Black Coral Valley, the largest extension of black coral on the island.
3. Isla de la Juventud
The Isle of Youth (Isla de la Juventud) is located about 70 km from the island of Cuba. You can get there directly by plane or catamaran. The varied underwater fauna is one of its main attractions. A diversity of colorful reefs awaits to be discovered by your eyes in the immensity of the seabed. Starfish, mollusks, turtles and sponges are some of the species that you will be able to appreciate if you dive in this area.
4. Bay of Pigs
In Matanzas you will find Bay of Pigs, located in Ciénaga de Zapata Natural Park, declared a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO and a true wonder for diving enthusiasts.
The area is made up of beautiful beaches, among which Playa Girón and Playa Larga stand out. Its transparent waters hide in the interior coral formations with caves and bottoms of wrecked ships that are home to a rich marine life. In this area you will also find caves and natural pools ideal for cave diving lovers.
5. Rancho Luna Beach, near Cienfuegos
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.
6. Cayo Largo del Sur
It is, together with the Isla de la Juventud, the second largest island in the Canarreos archipelago and you can only access it by boat or plane. It has crystalline waters in which numerous coral banks inhabit, keeping a certain similarity to the Bahamas or the Maldives. It is home to a wide variety of wildlife, including turtles, flamingos, pelicans, iguanas, and a coral reef with more than 30 spectacular dive sites.
Located in Holguín, it is also known as the Coral Garden. It is surprising for its shell shape, fine white sand, warm and calm turquoise waters. The diving area covers 18 km with more than 22 identified sites. It is an underwater relief that in some places is irregular and complex with high mogotes, caverns, small valleys and vertical wall cliffs; in others, the platform descends and forms wide terraces covered with gorgonians, sea fans and corals. In the shallower area you will find La Corona, a giant coral formation that resembles a crown.
8. 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.
International marine photography competitions
Two important international underwater photography competitions are held annually in Cuba, the IMASUB, in María la Gorda, and the FOTOSUB, which was traditionally held on the island of Youth and which, as of 2013, has its headquarters in Cayo Largo del Sur.
If you are a photography lover check out our photography Cuba tours.
Be a respectful snorkeler: 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.
Corals, transparent waters, varied species, shipwrecked galleons and white sands wait for you in Cuba. There is a reason why diving experts consider Cuba a paradise of unspoiled nature, submerged in the warm Caribbean Sea. In any of the Espíritu Travel trips we offer snorkeling options as extension to your trip in Cuba. Contact us today!