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
Dive License: typically these are not issued by PADI (a US-based dive school), but rather ACUC, SSI, etc.
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
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.
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 or Cabo San Antonio dive centers||31/10/19||238.80||315.00||225.00|
|Cayo Levisa, Pinar del Rio||Cubanacan||valid in Cayo Levisa dive center||31/10/20||264.75||399.72||342.62 (8 dives)|
|Havana||Marlin||valid in Marina Hemingway and Copacabana dive center||30/11/19||–||338.73||297.20|
|Cayo Largo||Marlin||valid in Cayo Largo dive center||31/10/19||308.88||525.61||342.62|
|Varadero, Matanzas||Marlin||valid in Barracuda & Chapelin dive centers||30/11/19||–||343.92||277.73|
|Varadero, Matanzas||Gaviota||valid in Marina Gaviota dive center||31/10/19||–||402.32||297.20|
|Zapata Peninsula, Matanzas||Cubanacan||valid in Zapata Peninsula dive centers||31/10/20||250.48||378.96||321.85 (8 dives)|
|Cienfuegos||Marlin||valid in Faro Luna dive center||30/11/19||–||319.26||255.67|
|Cayo Las Brujas, Villa Clara||Gaviota||valid in Marina Las Brujas dive center||31/10/19||–||402.32||297.20|
|Trinidad, Sancti Spiritus||Marlin||valid in Ancon dive center (Marina Trinidad)||30/11/19||–||338.73||–|
|Jardines del Rey, Ciego de Avila||Marlin||valid in Cayo Coco & Cayo Guillermo dive centers||30/11/19||–||332.24||266.05|
|Santa Lucia, Camaguey||Marlin||valid in Shark’s Friends dive center||30/11/19||–||338.73||266.05|
|Covarrubias, Las Tunas||Cubanacan||valid in Covarrubias dive center||31/10/20||264.75||399.72||342.62 (8 dives)|
|Rafael Freyre, Holguin||Gaviota||valid in Playa Pesquero (Marina Gaviota Puerto Vita) dive center||31/10/19||–||402.32||297.20|
|Guardalavaca, Holguin||Marlin||valid in Eagle Ray dive center||30/11/19||–||329.64||254.37|
|Marea del Portillo, Granma||Cubanacan||valid in Marea del Portillo dive center||31/10/20||264.75||399.72||342.62 (8 dives)|
|Santiago de Cuba||Marlin||valid in Sierra Mar, Marina Santiago & Carisol / Corales dive centers||30/11/19||–||329.64||254.37|