Cuba is a country comprising the island of Cuba as well as Isla de la Juventud and several minor archipelagos. Located in the northern Caribbean where the Caribbean Sea, the Gulf of Mexico, and the Atlantic Ocean meet. With its 5,600 kms of unspoiled coastline, pristine coral reefs, clear Caribbean waters and an abundance of curious sea creatures, this country offers some of the best diving to divers of all levels of experience.
The Cuban government has long-standing environmental protectionist measures in place which have resulted in high levels of biodiversity, the coral reef ecosystems in Cuba appear to be much healthier than the other reefs found in Caribbean waters. Divers can enjoy beautiful seascapes, coral gardens, caves, sponge prairies, shipwrecks that with a story to tell, colourful walls, narrow channels, Underwater tunnels and many other charms that defy the imagination.
Scuba diving in Cuba can be enjoyed year round. However, to avoid disappointment, Dive and Cruise team does not recommend divers overbooking trip in advance in the Cuba’s north shore (place like Varadero, Cayo Santa María) during the winter months (especially in Sep - Oct), as there is a high risk of hurricanes can negatively affect nautical departures. Diving on the south shore (place like Canarreos Archipelago, Island of Youth, Bay of Pigs, Zapata Peninsula) is usually less affected by winter weather conditions. The rainy summer season (May – Oct) can sometimes result in reduced visibility compared to winter diving in Cuba.
Liveaboard Diving Regions :
Gardens of the Queen
Gardens of the Queen (Spanish: Jardines de la Reina), is an archipelago in the southern part of Cuba that was named by Christopher Columbus to honor the Queen of Spain. With an area of 2,170 kms and comprises 600 cays and islands, it is Cuba's largest marine protected National Park, it has the most unspoiled environments in the Caribbean, also the most popular scuba destinations of Cuba.
The underwater landscapes include canyons, pinnacles and caves, healthy mangroves, sponges and black corals cover the reef. The Jardines de la Reina also host abundance of silky sharks, Caribbean reef sharks. Divers also can find Cuban snapper, bonefish, yellowfin grouper, black grouper, atlantic goliath grouper as well as Strombus gigas (the large Caribbean conch) and Whale shark. In the mangroves labyrinth it’s possible to find crocodiles and you can even snorkel close to them.
In Jardines de la Reina , divers will mainly make two types of dives: shark and reef dives. And the sea is almost no currents as most of the area is protected from waves and rough seas. The water temperature averaging between 26°C and 29°C, with great visibility of 30 - 40 meters. It is a safe environment for even dive newbies.
About The Crocodiles Snorkel in Gardens of the Queen:
There is an area back in the mangroves where dive operators over many years have developed a relationship with a few resident American crocodiles. Less aggressive than the infamous Nile and Australian crocodiles, American crocodiles are normally shy, but not in the Gardens of the Queen.
Once you get near the site the guides will call out the name of the familiar crocodile! If it is the right time of day and the mood strikes, the crocodile will often swim out to the boat. Almost all the crocodile photos you've seen lately in photo competitions and dive magazines are these few crocodiles are familiar to the guides.
These crocodiles work hard for the little bit of raw chicken the guide give to them as a reward, but the popularity of these photos isn't just because the animal is so charismatic, it's also a product of the remarkable background. This is an absolutely magic environment of clear water (at high tide anyway), with abundant seagrass below and mangrove forest above. If an over/under photo with a crocodile is on your wish list, there may be no better place on the planet to get than the Gardens of the Queen.
Zapata Peninsula & Bay of Pigs
Zapata Peninsula is located in the southern province of Cuba, also know as Bay of Pigs or Bahía de Cochinos, it was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2003. It contains the largest and most important wetlands in the Caribbean, covering 1.5 million acres (6,000 square km)!
The immense Zapata Biosphere Reserve includes marshes, peat bogs, mangroves, coral reefs and forests that support a complex web of life, including crocodiles, birds, shellfish, turtles, frogs, and countless plants. The extensive ecosystem made up of mangrove forests, keys, seagrass beds, coral reef barriers and deep reefs, including the Cazones Gulf, a deep underwater canyon that is the main recruitment site of important commercial species such as porgies and groupers.
Liveaboard trips here is an idyllic playground for both ecotourists and scuba divers. All the water surrounded this protective area, will be your diving zone for the week. Here has great visibility, calm seas without strong currents. Diving is possible all year round, best time is between Nov and May.
Located south of the main island of Cuba, in the Caribbean Sea, it comprises roughly 350 islets. Liveaboards in this region often visit place like Isla de la Juventud (Island of Youth), or other smaller islands like Rancho Luna, Cayo Trabuco, Cayo Sigua, Cayo Largo, Cayo Rosario, Punta Frances and Jagua Bank etc.