Scuba Diving in Cuba
Bespoke Cuban Travel & Experiences
Because Cuba’s warm tropical waters, sea life and exquisite reefs are unscathed and its waters unpolluted, this island offers some of the most inspirational scuba diving in the world. There is an average visibility of 30-40m, and a wide range of species – 50 species of coral, and 200 species of sponge. The best scuba diving can be found in María la Gorda, Isla de la Juventud, Playa Larga, Playa Girón, and Los Jardines de la Reina. There are also good dive opportunities in Varadero, Cayo Coco, Cayo Guillermo, Guardalavaca and Cayo Largo del Sur. Those who prefer a well-developed tourist infrastructure and a mainstream resort atmosphere prefer the latter selection; the former selection represents more rustic, off-the-beaten track locations.
Cayo Coco and neighbouring Cayo Guillermo are two more commercial options visited by thousands of pelicans and other sea birds. At Cayo Coco, the coral reef extends for more than 13 miles, with white, fine sands and clear waters offering glorious coastal shelves. Cayo Guillermo is home to a beautiful coral reef home to brain coral, sponges, caves, crevices, walls and tunnels and a huge variety of fish because of its proximity to the Bahamas Trench. Cayo Largo in the south is cut off from the world, a tourist island of untouched beaches with a great infrastructure and a coral reef devoid of strong currents – perfect for beginners. You’ll need to take a domestic flight from Havana. Maria la Gorda offers some of the best scuba the island has to offer. The reefs are wonderfully healthy, the marine life is abundant and varied, and this part of western Cuba is incredibly unspoilt. Its tiny resort is laid back and focused solely on diving. Just offshore you’ll enjoy a vertical plane of black-coral walls cut with tunnels and caverns, 18th-century shipwrecks and wonderfully colourful fish. Cayo Levisa is close to Havana, and home to sponges, black coral and some of the larger tropical fish living around significant shipwrecks of the 17th and 18th century. Playa Giron near the Bay of Pigs is renowned for shelf diving, with sheer drop-offs near the shore.
Cuba’s diving instructors are certified by SSI, ACUC or CMAS, and most speak English. Experienced divers should bring their C-Card with certification level along with their logs. NAUI safety standards are applied at all centres, and all of Cuba’s dive areas have sites for experienced divers and for novices. Charter your own boat and crew and enjoy your own Pirates of the Caribbean adventure.