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Dive Courses

Scuba Dive Courses: Open Water Referral, Open Water, Advanced
About Dive Courses in Cuba (including how much time is recommended for certification and what dive schools operate in Cuba)
Course & WoWCuba Price Chart by Dive Center
Dive Request Form

Scuba Dive Courses

Open Water Referral

Includes: 4 to 5 open water dives, boat (in dive centers that don’t offer shore diving), all dive equipment, and instructor.

Requires: presentation of foreign passport, signed theoretical/pool work (accepted from int’l dive schools, including PADI), signed medical waiver, 2 1″X1″ photos. Normally the period between completing theory/pool work and performing the open water dives required for certification will not exceed 6 months. After that period has expired, you may need to take a refresher course and update theory work before completing dives. Children under 18 must present a permission letter signed by parents or guardians.

Your Dive License: once you’ve been approved for int’l dive certification, typically these are not issued in Cuba by PADI (a US-based dive school), but rather ACUC, SSI, etc.

Open Water

Includes: all theoretical & practical course material, pool & classroom sessions, 4 to 5 open water dives, boat (in dive centers that don’t offer shore diving), all dive equipment, and instructor.

Requires: presentation of foreign passport, signed medical waiver, 2 1″X1″ photos. Children under 18 must present a permission letter signed by parents or guardians.

Certification: At present, these are most commonly provided by ACUC, SSI dive schools, etc. Once obtained, building on this certification (advanced diver, etc) with other schools is possible.

Gaviota Dive Centers Marlin Dive Centers Cubanacan Dive Centers
Open Water minimum age requirements: 14 years 12 years 14 years


Includes: all theoretical & practical course material, 4 to 5 advanced dives, boat (in dive centers that don’t offer shore diving), all dive equipment, and instructor.

Requires: presentation of foreign passport, open water dive certification, signed medical waiver, 2 1″X1″ photos. Children under 18 must present a permission letter signed by parents or guardians.

Dive course rates exclude

Ground handling fee ($8 USD/person), Agency administrative service fee ($40 USD/up to 6 travelers per invoice), Gratuities for dive & boat staff

About Dive Courses in Cuba

Once you earn your dive card you’ll have up-close access to a fascinating, colorful underwater world in almost any dive destination where you may travel worldwide. In Cuba you can discover an extensive, healthy and in some cases practically virgin coral reef richly populated with tropical fish, fauna, sometimes even large marine mammals such as whales and sharks, manatee, stingrays, turtles, wrecks, caves, tunnels, grottoes, sinkholes and more.

The basic level for certification courses is the Open Water course and in Cuba almost all dive centers have highly qualified and experienced staff on hand who can impart an open water course and provide all required documents to obtain international certification.

Several Cuban dive centers offer Open Water Referral courses where ypur complete the requisite theory and pool work in your country of origin. You then bring the signed documentation provided by your instructor to the dive center in Cuba and the Cuban divemaster is authorized to accompany and monitor your performance on the 4-5 open water dives required for certification. In this case, the Open Water certification paperwork provided by the Cuban dive center is usually ACUC or SSI (not the certification course school in your country of origin). For divers looking to later build on their basic Open Water course and move on to Advanced courses once you’ve achieved the minimum required experience as an open water diver, most international scuba schools accept Open Water certification interchangeably (regardless of the school of issuance) when divers are seeking to achieve higher levels of instruction and build on their skills and knowledge. Check out Wikipedia’s List of diver certification organizations for further information on these and other internationally-recognized dive schools.

Is Open Water Certification right for you?: Most people who’ve never tried scuba diving before often get their feet wet with a resort or discover scuba course prior to committing to certification. A resort course includes a pool session and 1 or 2 shallow dives in the ocean accompanied by an instructor. For some the shallow dive is just enough to whet their appetite for more, and scuba diving evolves into a lifelong passion or occasional hobby while traveling. However, some who try the experience in the pool may later not be comfortable with breathing underwater, and a small fraction of potential divers are overcome by fear once they reach the point of actually submerging in the ocean. Only you can know whether you might be comfortable with the experience, but a considerable number of divers elect to first undertake a sampler course before initiating an Open Water international certification course. WoWCuba provides assistance in reserving and prepaying certification but not resort or discover scuba courses, which are fairly easily contracted locally in most Cuban dive centers.

Should you reserve in advance?: Absolutely. Reserving dive coursework in advance is highly recommended to ensure that the course study material will be available in your language at the dive center when you begin the course.

How to get started: It’s usually recommended to plan for at least 5 days in the vicinity of the Cuban dive center in order to complete an open water course in Cuba, although you won’t be dedicating all of that time exclusively to dive activities. Weather considerations are a factor WoWCuba urges potential divers to take into consideration when programming dive courses in advance. New divers are sometimes overly optimistic about the time required to complete a course during the winter months in Cuba when cold fronts can often negatively affect nautical departures, especially on the north shore. On Day 1 you are normally provided with the course materials for independent study. A brief classroom period is scheduled with the instructor, as well as pool time for new divers to become familiar with the equipment required to breathe underwater and experience negative floatability in a controlled environment. You’ll later complete a brief theoretical exam which generally involves a series of multiple-choice answers. The experience is completed with a series of 4 to 5 open water dives (in a depth not exceeding 20 meters) accompanied by the dive master before certification is issued. The check-out dives are normally performed over two half days.

Bilingual dive instructors are certified by prestigious international agencies including the American Canadian Underwater Certification (ACUC), the Confederation Mondiale d´Activites Subaquatiques (CMAS), Scuba Schools International (SSI) and more. PADI (US-based outfit) does not operate in Cuba, but PADI certification is accepted in Cuba. WoWCuba has English and Spanish-speaking divers on staff who have personal experience diving in almost every Cuban dive center. We contract dive services with almost all state-managed dive centers in Cuba and can pre-arrange dive packages and/or certification courses on behalf of travelers. Interested in simplifying your travel arrangements with one-stop shopping? WoWCuba can unify your travel planning, saving you time and money by taking care of transportation to/from many dive centers, accommodations, and even domestic flights as part of your package.

Course & WoWCuba Price Chart by Dive Center

WoWCuba Dive Course Rates/diver in USD Operator Rates valid to > Open Water Referral Open Water Advanced
Guanahacabibes Peninsula, Pinar del Rio Gaviota valid in Maria la Gorda dive center 31/10/21
Guanahacabibes Peninsula, Pinar del Rio Gaviota valid in Cabo San Antonio dive center 31/10/21
Cayo Levisa, Pinar del Rio Cubanacan valid in Cayo Levisa dive center 31/10/21 264.75 399.72 342.62 (8 dives)
Havana Marlin valid in Marina Hemingway and Copacabana dive center 31/10/21 343.92 298.49
Cayo Largo Marlin valid in Cayo Largo dive center 31/10/21 308.88 525.61 342.62
Varadero, Matanzas Marlin valid in Barracuda & Chapelin dive centers 31/10/21 343.92 297.03
Varadero, Matanzas Gaviota valid in Marina Gaviota dive center 31/10/21 402.32
Zapata Peninsula, Matanzas Cubanacan valid in Zapata Peninsula dive centers 31/10/21 250.48 378.96 376.36 (8 dives)
Cienfuegos Marlin valid in Faro Luna dive center 31/10/21 324.45 259.56
Cayo Las Brujas, Villa Clara Gaviota valid in Marina Las Brujas dive center 31/10/21 402.32
Trinidad, Sancti Spiritus Marlin valid in Ancon dive center (Marina Trinidad) 31/10/21 343.92
Jardines del Rey, Ciego de Avila Marlin valid in Cayo Coco (Blue Diving) & Cayo Guillermo (Coco Diving) dive centers 31/10/21 337.43 272.54
Santa Lucia, Camaguey Marlin valid in Shark’s Friends dive center 31/10/21 343.92 272.54
Covarrubias, Las Tunas Cubanacan valid in Covarrubias dive center 31/10/21 264.75 399.72 342.62 (8 dives)
Rafael Freyre, Holguin Gaviota valid in Playa Pesquero (Marina Gaviota Puerto Vita) dive center 31/10/21 402.32
Guardalavaca, Holguin Marlin valid in Eagle Ray dive center 31/10/21 356.90 298.49
Marea del Portillo, Granma Cubanacan valid in Marea del Portillo dive center 31/10/21 264.75 399.72 342.62 (8 dives)
Santiago de Cuba Marlin valid in Sierra Mar, Marina Santiago & Carisol / Corales dive centers 31/10/21 337.43 259.56

Dive Request Form

Advance reservations of fewer than 5 dives/diver only available with WoWCuba when booked in conjunction with WoWCuba's minimum booking requirement (1 hotel night, 3 car rental days, or other multi-day WoWCuba tour package). View booking Terms & Conditions.