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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

Dive License: typically these are not issued 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

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: 16 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

Scuba diving can be an extremely rewarding experience for those who obtain international certification. Once you obtain your dive card it will permit you 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 whereby the diver completes the requisite theory and pool work in their country of origin, and upon presentation of the signed documentation provided by their foreign instructor to the dive center in Cuba, the Cuban divemaster is authorized to accompany the dive student on the 4-5 open water dives required for certification and monitor their performance. 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 their country of origin). For divers looking to later build on their basic Open Water course and move on to Advanced courses once they’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?: Individuals 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 two 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 by any means. Weather considerations are a factor WoWCuba urges potential divers to take into consideration when programming dive courses in advance as new divers can be 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 presented with the course materials for independent study. A brief classroom period is scheduled with the instructor, as well as pool time for the new diver to become familiar with the equipment required to breathe underwater and experience negative floatability in a controlled environment. The dive student will 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 dÁctivites Subaquatiques (CMAS), Scuba Schools International (SSI) and more. PADI (US-based outfit) does not operate in Cuba, but PADI certification is accepted in Cuba. As an accredited travel service provider in Cuba’s Chamber of Commerce, WoWCuba has English and Spanish-speaking divers on staff with ample underwater experience in almost every Cuban dive center. WoWCuba contracts dive services for almost all state-managed dive centers in Cuba and can pre-arrange dive packages and/or certification courses on behalf of travelers. For those interested in simplifying their travel arrangements and one-stop shopping, WoWCuba can also take care of transportation to/from many dive centers, accommodations, and even domestic flights if required.

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
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
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
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
Santiago de Cuba Marlin valid in Sierra Mar, Marina Santiago & Carisol / Corales dive centers 30/11/19 329.64 254.37

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.