When you hear about Cuba, scuba diving is not the first association that comes to your mind. Perhaps you think of handmade cigars, aged rums, and old cars but would you believe that Cuba has the third largest reef in the world? Jardines de la Reina is a complex ecosystem of small virgin islands and mangrove forests where you can find untouched reefs, an abundance of colorful fish, sharks, and mighty crocodiles. Jardines de la Reina is located 80 km off Cuba’s southern coast, extending for 150 km and with an area of 2,170 km), this is one of the largest protected areas in the Caribbean. This 13-day exploration will be, first to a full week diving in this magical ecosystem followed by adventures on land in Trinidad and Havana.
Day one: Welcome to Cuba - On Board!
After arriving in Cuba* you are met by our driver and whisked off to the liveaboard waiting at Júcaro. Today you will have time to relax onboard and meet the staff that will be accompanied you during the next 8 days.
*Arrival airport: Santa Clara or Camagüey
*The liveaboard stay is Saturday to Saturday.
Day two: Liveaboard
Today you will start your diving adventure. A marine biologist will explain all you need to know about Cuban marine conservation and the Gardens of the Queen’s unique ecosystem. You will be immersed in a participatory workshop throughout your diving week that integrates perfectly into the diving schedule while building on a long term sustainable conservation initiative through active engagement from each diver and Cuban marine biologists and guides. All travelers will be granted a certificate of participation and completion of this workshop along with a full itinerary of activities that will certify you as legal under the US regulations for your diving week.
You have 2 dives per day and one night dive per week included.
Day three: Liveaboard
Day 3 of your dive experience in Jardines de la Reina.
Day four: Liveaboard
Day 4 of your dive experience in Jardines de la Reina.
Day five: Liveaboard
Day 5 of your dive experience in Jardines de la Reina.
Day six: Liveaboard
Day 6 of your dive experience in Jardines de la Reina.
Day seven: Liveaboard
Your final day of diving in Jardines de la Reina.
Day eight: Júraco to Trinidad
Return to the mainland for disembarkation at approximately 9 am. You are picked up at the port in Júraco for your private transfers to Trinidad. Upon arrival, check in to your accommodations, get settled in and there is time for lunch.
After lunch, you have an immersive privately guided visit around Trinidad. This walk takes you on a stroll through the cobblestone streets seeing the classic colonial buildings while learning how this gem of a city, was once of the wealthy places in Cuba. At the end of the walk, you can visit the Santander family pottery workshop known as Casa Chichi which was founded four generations ago.What else you can do in Trinidad?
- Explore the lively streets of Trinidad
- Visit one of the interesting museums
- Shop for local art at one of the many galleries
Day nine: Day Excursion to National Park Topes de Collantes
Discover Cuba’s natural side at the National Park Topes de Collantes, a place of extraordinary beauty where the Sierra Escambray mountains and sea collide. Relax, have a picnic lunch and bathe in one of the waterfalls after hiking (moderate in difficulty) around this little piece of paradise.
If hiking isn’t your thing, you can experience Valle de lo Ingenios by horseback or car.What else can you do?
- Private Salsa classes with a professional dance instructor
- Private cooking class with a chef
- A day at a local beach
Day ten: Trinidad to Havana via Cienfuegos
Today you are picked up for your private transfer to Havana. Time to explore more of Cuba, starting with a stop at Cienfuegos, for a guided visit of the UNESCO World Heritage City. Continue your way, making a second stop at Finca Vigia, a fifteen-acre estate on the outskirts of Havana better known as Hemingway’s House. After the quick stop there, you continue for another 20 minutes, finishingng at your casa in Havana. You have the evening to enjoy on your own.
What else can you do in Cienfuegos?
- Guided visit of Cienfuegos by bike
- Cienfuegos kayak adventure
Day eleven: Havana, Inside and Out
Today you’ll get to check out the iconic sights of Havana, as well as visit Partagás Tobacco Factory. After learning everything about cigars, it is time to hop in a vintage American convertible for a cruise along the Malecón and tailored to your personal interests. Finish the day by visiting the community art project of Fusterlandía.
This evening experience Havana’s famously vibrant nightlife and dancing in a salsa bar, or check out some of the up and coming talents at one of the legendary Troubadour sessions.What else can you do in Havana?
- Private Cuban cooking class & market adventure
- Private visit to artist studios
- Shop for vintage jewelry and handmade artisan products
- VIP entrance tickets to über-cool Fabrica de Arte
Day twelve: A Free Day in Havana or A Day in the Cuban Countryside
Wonder what life is like in the Cuban countryside? Today you experience the slow and relaxed way of life in the tranquil farming town of Viñales (2,5-hour drive). Enjoy horseback riding through the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Valle de Silencio. You also visit a tobacco plantation. In the evening, relax at your retreat at a charming family-run boutique B&B or enjoy live music at the cultural center in town.
Don’t feel like doing more driving and want a leisurely pace than spend the day exploring Havana on your own.
Day thirteen: See you later Cuba
Today you say goodbye to Cuba, transfer to Havana airport to catch your flight home full of memories of Cuba and wishing your stay had been longer.
Since all of our trips are custom designed, add another night in Viñales or Havana to extend your stay!
Your cabin on the liveaboard would have private room and bathroom. There are a variety of types of room, depending on budget. On land we offer everything from charming casas particulares to boutique style B&Bs or hotels. All ¨casas¨and B&Bs in our portfolio have private bathroom facilities and air conditioning, and we have hand picked our accommodations to ensure the highest standards and are well located.
Experience the real Cuba
It’s a given that during your trip, you see the highlights and historically important sites but what really sets the experience apart is our local guides. Our five star guides bring Cuba to life through their personal stories and life experiences, They are all about showing you the real Cuba to discover things you won’t find out about any other way
Why travel with us?
Customized and private trip
We’re full of ideas and we take time to design a trip for you that ticks all the boxes. We have the knowledge and contacts to ensure that your trip is a once in a lifetime. Our five star guides bring Cuba to life through their personal stories and life experiences, They are all about showing you the real Cuba to discover things you won’t find out about any other way.
We pride ourselves on delivering an enriching ‘local’ experience in Cuba– and therefore we feel it’s our responsibility to leave a positive impact as well as reduce negative impacts. We are committed to working in a socially and environmentally conscious way, and making a positive difference. Click here for more details about our responsible travel journey.
What our clients have to say?
Over the years we’ve been creating inspirational and immersive trips for our clients, and what better testament to this than to hear the great things they have to say about their experience, and our service. We have plenty of great reviews to share, be sure and click here to read some.