scuba diving cuba
Cuba is the largest island in the Caribbean. This comes as no surprise as one of the favorite destinations for diving enthusiasts. In particular, those who are seeking shark sightings, corals, and caverns will be in for a treat.
The Cuban people are known to be warm and friendly. This warmth is matched by the warm waters that surround this archipelago. The most fascinating thing about the diving destinations in Cuba is that most of them are undisturbed and in their pristine conditions.
During your dive in Cuba’s best dive locations, you will unique a variety of sea life. Most of them, such as sharks and groupers, are more than willing to interact with divers. Aside from that, Cuba is also home to one of the largest reef barrier systems in the world. This promises exciting dives and unique formations worthy of exploration.
The water in Cuba is also known for its impressive visibility that can reach a depth of up to 40 meters. This makes it possible for divers to easily spot sharks and dolphins during their dive. Aside from these aforementioned marine creatures, you will also be able to spot numerous shark species, hawksbill turtles, and jewfish in many diving sites in Cuba.
The protected areas in Cuba are open for up to 300 dives each year. There are also no inhabitants on nearby islands to these dive sites, which helps to keep them unspoiled. This is also part of the reason why the marine life are curious to interact with humans as they are not nearly as exposed as other sites in the Caribbean.
The ease of access to the diving sites in Cuba is part of the reason why this is a well-loved activity. While Cuba is a favorite tourist destination for many as the island nation has plenty to offer, you can guarantee that your trip won’t be complete without experiencing a dive.
BEST DIVE SITES
Jardines de la Reina (Gardens of the Queen)
This dive site is located about 100 kilometers off the southern coast in Cuba. It is a group of small cays that run parallel to the coast of Cuba. There are up to 100 small cays within a 150-kilometer range. This area of the archipelago also consists of many uninhabited marine sanctuaries.
This marine park is open for diving with tour operators that have rights to this site. This means that you need to arrange this trip beforehand if you want to experience the unique diving conditions and marine life in this particular diving site. Among the highlights of this dive trip are the pristine reefs, healthy corals, and reef fishes.
Jardines del Rey (Garden of the Kings)
Just like the Garden of the Queens, this diving site also consists of a few small dive destinations in one group. This is made up of tiny islands about 250 miles off Havana and along the Atlantic coast of Cuba. While there are plenty of islands, the best diving opportunities can be found in Cayo Santa Maria, Cayo Santa Lucia, and Cayo Coco.
This archipelago is home to several notable dive sites in Cuba, with the largest island being Isla de la Juventud (Isle of Youth). The reefs in this dive site are known to be in excellent condition. You can also encounter a variety of pelagic fishes and sharks. The visibility of the water starts to drop when you reach the 40-meter level, though.
This diving site is located east of Isla de Juventud, in the southern coast of Cuba. It is one of the best known places to dive in Cuba, especially for those seeking a shallow dive without compromising on the quality of marine life you will encounter.
There are vibrant coral heads, tunnels, and steep walls waiting to be explored. You will also have the chance to interact with barracudas, lobsters, sharks, groupers, snappers, and eels.
Bay of Pigs
This dive site is located about 2 hours to the southeast of Havana. This is one of the shore diving sites in Cuba, which is easily accessible from the beach. It is home to over 17 species of coral plants and numerous tropical fishes. You will also be able to explore a purpose-sunk wreck known as Jaruca in this area.
Maria la Gorda
This dive site is located on the westernmost part of Cuba. This area is also home to many international dive centers and is known as one of Cuba’s best-protected zones for diving. The area is part of the Guanahacabibes National Park with dive sites that include caves, swim-throughs, and plunging walls.
BEST TIME TO DIVE
Cuba offers conditions for year round diving. But if you want to make each diving trip count, you can plan your diving adventure for the months of November to late April. During this time of the year, the sea conditions and water visibility are at their best.
You can also expect favorable diving conditions from May to July if you are diving in the southern coast of Cuba. You need to avoid the hurricane season, which is from May to late October.
Classic cars and cool cocktails sum up Cuba so well that they’ve been married together on this Havana tour. See Havana in style on a 2-hour tour in a classic 1950s American convertible. Cruise at low altitude through the faded elegance of Havana. Book here!
Discover the beauty of the Caribbean Sea surrounding Cuba on a sea cruise from Varadero. Relax on board the boat and make use of the open bar. Swim and snorkel in the inviting waters off Cayo Blanco. Benefit from an included lunch and more. Read more!
Experience the countryside of Cuba from a different perspective on a jeep tour of the Yumurí Valley. Cool off with a swim or snorkeling session at Playa Coral and Saturno Cave. Discover the “City of Bridges” on a tour of Matanzas and much more. Book here!
Taste a variety of street foods as you journey through Havana. You can exoperience the pedestrian thoroughfare Calle Obispo, as you learn about the area’s history. Read more!
COMMON TRAVEL QUESTIONS
A diving trip to Cuba is one of the must-add to your bucket list, especially for diving enthusiasts. Check out this list of common questions so you can get information you need to plan your trip.
Do you need travel insurance to Cuba?
It is recommended that all travelers to Cuba obtain a comprehensive travel, medical, and diving insurance. You will be asked to show your insurance policy upon arrival in the country.
What is Cuba diving famous for?
Shark diving is one of the most sought after experiences in Cuba. About 100 of the world’s 500 shark species can be found in Cuba. There are current government measures being done to protect and preserve the vulnerable shark species on the island.
Aside from shark diving, Cuba also boasts of an intact marine ecosystem that includes mangroves, coral reefs, and sea grass beds.
What are other attractions in Cuba?
Aside from diving, Cuba offers many festivals, sporting events, natural attractions, and more. The city of Havana alone boasts of a high concentration of tourist attractions that offer a cultural and historical experience.
Some of the most notable tourist attractions in Cuba include Zapata Peninsula, Alejandro de Humboldt National Park, Callejon de Hamel, Pico Turquino, and more.
How to dive Cuba?
Cuba is home to international dive centers. This gives you plenty to choose from when you are looking for liveboard operators to take you to a variety of diving destinations.
How about snorkeling in Cuba?
Just like diving, snorkeling is another popular tourist activity in Cuba. There are more than 300 snorkeling sites to explore in Cuba.
Cuba is the largest Caribbean island that lies between the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean. The total area is 110,860 sq km and population is approximately 11,392,889. You’d love to visit Varadero for its popular beach area and the place filled with tourists or Maria la Gorda where snorkeling and diving are fun.
Capital city of Cuba: Havana
Best times to visit Cuba: November to March and July to August are the best months to visit Cuba. Weather is cooler and dry; prices are at its peak, book ahead of time.
Visa requirements for Cuba: A tourist visa card is required on most nations upon visiting Cuba although there are few countries that don’t require a visa upon entry.
Currency of Cuba: Currencies of Cuba are Cuban peso (CUP), Cuban convertible peso (CUC).
Official Language of Cuba: Spanish is the official language of Cuba.
UNESCO World Heritage sites in Cuba
There are 9 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Cuba and 3 on their tentative list.
- Archaeological Landscape of the First Coffee Plantations in the South-East of Cuba (2000)
- Historic Centre of Camagüey (2008)
- Old Havana and its Fortification System (1982)
- San Pedro de la Roca Castle, Santiago de Cuba (1997)
- Trinidad and the Valley de los Ingenios (1988)
- Urban Historic Centre of Cienfuegos (2005)
- Viñales Valley (1999)
- Alejandro de Humboldt National Park (2001)
- Desembarco del Granma National Park (1999)
WHERE TO STAY