Diving

What better way to know the depths of Cuba, than by diving them.

Cuba’s surrounded by a practically virgin coral reef, and much of it is still very much colorfully alive, a time-warped place where you can see endangered elk coral, huge groupers, sea turtles, eagle rays, sharks, dolphins and more. WoWCuba has two advanced divers on staff, both residents in Cuba with experience diving in almost all Cuban dive centers.

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Diving Options

Why book diving with WowCuba?
Cuba’s surrounded by a practically virgin coral reef, and it’s still very much colorfully alive, a time-warped place where you can see endangered elk coral, huge groupers, sea turtles, eagle rays, sharks, dolphins and more. WowCuba has two advanced divers on staff, both residents in Cuba with experience diving in almost all Cuban dive centers. Everything from the popular tourist destinations like Varadero to more off-the-beaten spots like Cuba’s shark capital in Jardines de Reina, archaeological sites in Santiago de Cuba & Granma or the Tanque Azul cave system in Caletones, Gibara. With over 2 decades of Cuban diving and nautical experience, we’re a great source of information for those new to the sport, or for seasoned divers looking for new adventures. We have tour operator contracts with almost all dive centers in Cuba, or can sometimes just often point you in the right direction if you’re looking for one we don’t offer.
Why reserve & prepay dive services in Cuba?
Some Cuban dive centers may have limited equipment or daily capacity. If a group books in before you, then you may literally miss the boat. We’ve seen it happen. Other dive centers may have little demand for dive services, so if you show up last minute without a prepaid advance reservation and you’re the only person interested in diving, they may not be able to authorize the departure of the dive boat for a single diver because of the associated fuel costs. Or maybe no dive guides were scheduled to work that day. A prepaid booking eliminates this issue since prepaid dive departures are contractually guaranteed for the requested date regardless of the # of divers. Weather pending, of course. That’s the only unknown when booking in advance. In the event of inclement weather, most dive centers usually offer to make up for unused dive services on the next available date. If alternative dates won’t work with your travel itinerary, then in certain dive centers we can negotiate refunds for unused dive services. Refunds are always less administrative/banking fees applicable only when cancellation of services was involuntary and clients present documentation from the dive center affirming the coast guard’s order to suspend nautical departures. In places like Jardines de la Reina or Cayo Largo refunds aren’t possible. But in many other dive centers they´re still flexible with refunds for weather-related cancellations. If taking a Certification Course, then when you reserve in advance you can be sure they will guarantee the availability of the course study materials in your chosen language.
What if all you want to pre-book is 1-2 days of diving or a resort course?
Unfortunately, if you don’t have any other travel commitments with WowCuba (see our Minimum Booking Requirements below), we usually shy away from these kinds of requests. Why? Because, especially in winter months with cold fronts, the likelihood that dive boats will be able to navigate on precisely the only day you have slotted as available in a specific dive center is low, maybe 50/50 at best. That means too much administrative work/too little return for us later for travelers expecting a refund. We’re a for-profit business, remember. Not just cool adventurers. Honestly, if all you’re looking to book with WowCuba is a day or two of diving with no other travel services, it’s better just to take your chances locally on dive departures; it’ll cost you less money in the long run and us less hassle. For Resort Courses, some people chicken out last minute. Just book one locally, it’s not like it’s a certification course where you need assurance in advance that there will be course materials available in your language.
WowCuba’s Minimum Dive Booking Requirements:
See About Diving in Cuba and Dive Tips (on our Diving in Cuba introduction page) for more reminders on weather considerations, reserving flights before/after diving + more. For Certified Divers: When booking & prepaying a minimum of 5+ dives/diver with WowCuba, there are no additional booking requirements. WowCuba only assists with prepaid reservations for fewer than 5 immersions per diver when booked as part of a WowCuba primary travel package consisting of: at least 1 night in hotels, 3 days car rental, or a WowCuba tour package (including accommodations). Scuba Dive Certification Courses: WowCuba assists in reserving and prepaying certification (not resort or discover scuba) courses.
Scuba Dive Courses
View Dive Courses for information on prepaid scuba dive certification courses available through WowCuba.
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Request Dive Quote in Dive Quote Form.

Scuba Dive Certification 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. 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 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. Open Water minimum age requirements: 14 years.
Advanced
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 require a permission letter signed by parents or guardians.
Dive courses exclude
Gratuities for dive & boat staff.

FAQ about Diving Courses

Diving Courses
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
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.
Request Dive Course Quote.
Request Dive Course Quote you can see Dive Course Quote Form.

Certification Courses Offered by Dive Center

WOWCuba Dive Course Rates/diver in USD Operator Valid in (dive center) Open Water Referral Open Water Advanced
Guanahacabibes Peninsula, Pinar del Rio Gaviota Cabo San Antonio
Guanahacabibes Peninsula, Pinar del Rio Gaviota Maria la Gorda
Cayo Levisa, Pinar del Rio Cubanacan Cayo Levisa
(8 dives)
Havana Marlin Marina Hemingway & Copacabana
Cayo Largo Marlin Cayo Largo
Varadero, Matanzas Marlin Barracuda & Chapelin
Varadero, Matanzas Gaviota Marina Gaviota
Zapata Peninsula, Matanzas Cubanacan Zapata Peninsula (all)
(8 dives)
Cienfuegos Marlin Faro Luna
Cayo Las Brujas, Villa Clara Gaviota Marina las Brujas
Trinidad, Sancti Spiritus Marlin Ancon (Marina Trinidad)
Jardines del Rey, Ciego de Avila Marlin Cayo Coco (Blue Diving) & Cayo Guillermo (Coco Diving)
Santa Lucia, Camaguey Marlin Shark’s Friends
Covarrubias, Las Tunas Cubanacan Covarrubias
(8 dives)
Rafael Freyre, Holguin Gaviota Playa Pesquero (Marina Gaviota Puerto Vita)
Guardalavaca, Holguin Marlin Eagle Ray
Marea del Portillo, Granma Cubanacan Marea del Portillo
(8 dives)
Santiago de Cuba Marlin Sierra Mar, Marina Santiago & Carisol / Corales

Cuban Dive Centers, Ordered West to East

Dive Center Location Area Province Operator
Gaviota Cabo San Antonio Just past Villa Cabo San Antonio Cabo San Antonio, Guanahacabibes Pinar del Rio Gaviota
Gaviota Maria La Gorda Villa Maria la Gorda Maria la Gorda, Guanahacabibes Pinar del Rio Gaviota
Cayo Levisa Cayo Levisa Cayo Levisa Pinar del Rio Cubanacan
El Colony just past Hotel Colony Bay of Siguanea (on the south shore) Special Municipality: Isle of Youth Marlin
La Aguja Marina Hemingway Santa Fe Havana Marlin
Copacabana Hotel Copacabana Miramar Havana Marlin
Tarará Marina Tarara Tarara, Havana's Eastern Beaches Havana Marlin
Playa Larga (Octopus) Hotel Playa Larga southwestern Zapata Peninsula (Bay of Pigs) Matanzas Cubanacan
Punta Perdiz between Playa Larga & Playa Giron central Zapata Peninsula (Bay of Pigs) Matanzas Cubanacan
Playa Giron Hotel Playa Giron southeastern Zapata Peninsula (Bay of Pigs) Matanzas Cubanacan
Caleta Buena 8 kms east of Playa Giron extreme southeastern Zapata Peninsula (Bay of Pigs) Matanzas Cubanacan
Cayo Largo Marina Cayo Largo Cayo Largo Special Municipality: Isle of Youth Marlin
Barracuda Darsena Varadero/Kawama (close to Varadero entrance) Varadero Matanzas Marlin
Chapelin Chapelin Marina (mid-Varadero) Varadero Matanzas Marlin
Gaviota Varadero Marina Gaviota Varadero (at the tip of the peninsula) Varadero Matanzas Gaviota
Faro Luna Hotel Faro Luna Cienfuegos Cienfuegos Marlin
Gaviota Las Brujas Villa las Brujas Cayo Las Brujas Villa Clara Gaviota
Guajimico Villa Guajimico (halfway between Trinidad & Cienfuegos cities) Guajimico Cienfuegos Cubamar
Ancon Hotel Ancon Ancon Peninsula, Trinidad Sancti Spiritus Marlin
Blue Diving Melia Cayo Coco Cayo Coco Ciego de Avila Marlin
Coco Diving Melia Cayo Guillermo Cayo Guillermo Ciego de Avila Marlin
Jardines de la Reina Avalon floating hotel & dive boats Jardines de la Reina Ciego de Avila Marlin & Avalon
Shark´s Friends Brisas Santa Lucia Santa Lucia Beach Camaguey Marlin
Covarrubias Villa Covarrubias Covarrubias Las Tunas Cubanacan
Marea del Portillo (Albacora) Hotel Marea del Portillo Marea del Portillo Granma Cubanacan
Sierra Mar Hotel Sierra Mar 10 kms east of Chivirico Santiago de Cuba Marlin
Gaviota Playa Pesquero Hotel Playa Pesquero Rafael Freyre Holguin Gaviota
Gaviota Oriente Marina Gaviota Oriente* (aka Marina Gaviota Puerto Vita) Bahia de Naranjo, Rafael Freyre Holguin Gaviota
Eagle Ray 300 m west of Club Amigo Atlántico-Guardalavaca Guardalavaca Beach Holguin Marlin
Santiago de Cuba Marina Santiago Santiago de Cuba Bay Santiago de Cuba Marlin
Carisol-Corales Hotel Carisol-Corales Baconao Santiago de Cuba Marlin

Details of the Cuban Dive Centers

Cabo San Antonio Diving
Where is it? The westernmost part of Cuba, in the Great Natural Park Guanahacabibes, declared a UNESCO Natural Biosphere Reserve. A remote and beautiful location.

Getting there: Taxi transfers are available through WOWCuba from Havana (~ 5 hours each way) as part of your travel package. Many of our independent/individual travel clients instead opt for a rental car which affords them more local exploration opportunities enroute and once in the remote destination.


Accommodations: Villa Cabo San Antonio 16 air conditioned cabanas, with cable tv, minibar, private bath, safety deposit box and international telephone service.

The diving: Located within the Guanahacabibes Peninsula, national park and reserve of the biosphere. There are two dive zones, one to the north and the other to the south. The configuration of the bottom is scaled, allowing multilevel diving. All sites are within a short distance from the shore and just minutes from the hotel. Abundant black coral walls, flora and fauna in excellent condition, no currents due to its geographical position, diving facilitated all year round. Caves in the ocean and on land for practicing cave and cavern diving.




Frequency: The marina is just a few minutes from the hotel (by car). The dive boat can make 2-3 daily departures for groups. Night diving departures depend on demand.
Maria La Gorda Diving
Where is it? The westernmost part of Cuba, in the Great Natural Park Guanahacabibes, declared a UNESCO Natural Biosphere Reserve. A remote and beautiful location.

Getting there: Collective bus service no longer operates to this destination. WOWCuba can pre-book Viazul buses between the Havana and Pinar del Rio terminals and combine that with prepaid taxis between Pinar del Rio and Maria la Gorda (and vice versa). Some clients book their own Viazul bus tickets and then negotiate taxis locally on arrival at the station in Pinar del Rio. Others prefer to visit Viñales on their return rather than going directly back to Havana. Many of our independent/individual travel clients instead opt for a rental car which affords them more local exploration opportunities enroute and once in the remote destination.




Accommodations: María la Gorda Hotel 55 air conditioned rooms, with cable tv, minibar, private bath, safety deposit box and International telephone service.


The diving: Located within the Guanahacabibes Peninsula, national park and reserve of the biosphere. There are two dive zones, one to the north and the other to the south. The configuration of the bottom is scaled, allowing multilevel diving. All sites are within a short distance from the shore and just minutes from the hotel. Abundant black coral walls, flora and fauna in excellent condition, no currents due to its geographical position, diving facilitated all year round. Caves in the ocean and on land for practicing cave and cavern diving.





Frequency: The dive sites are very close to the hotel. The dive boat goes out three times daily. Night diving departures depend on demand.
Cayo Levisa Diving
Where is it? Cayo Levisa belongs to the Los Colorados archipelago which crowns the north coast of the province of Pinar del Rio, Cuba’s westernmost province.

Getting there: Taxi transfers are available through WowCuba as part of your travel package. Current road conditions between the dock in Palma Rubia and Havana (via the north shore route) require that you plan for at least 3 hours for transfer service to avoid disappointment.


The diving: Due to equipment restrictions, diving is limited to a maximum of 5 divers in this destination at present. The coral reef located northwest of the key possesses varied fauna and fish in a range of shapes and colors, and its excellent state of preservation is truly impressive. Coral formations abound including massive star/brain coral, coral hillocks, feathery sea fans, tube sponges, and tropical fish such as parrots, barbers, black sea bream and grouper. 17th and 18th century wrecks are accessible and of great archaeological interest.




Accommodations: Villa Cayo Levisa is a 20-minute boatride from the mainland (collective boat departures daily @ 10 am, returns @ 6 pm) and features 53 air conditioned rooms, with cable tv, minibar, private bath, safety deposit box and International telephone service. Exclusive boat departures available in alternative time slots, additional fee required.


Frequency: The dive sites are relatively close to the hotel. Dive departures are generally programmed in the morning and this dive center permits a maximum of 2 daily dives/diver.

Isle of Youth Diving - El Colony
Where is it? Cuba’s special municipality lies off the south coast of Havana Province, in the Gulf of Batabano. Cuba’s least populated region, with just 75,000 inhabitants, 24,000 of them divided between the island’s two main towns of Nueva Gerona and La Fe. Formerly known as the Isle of Pines, Fidel was imprisoned here following the attack on the Moncada Garrison. The prison has been turned into a museum in Nueva Gerona.




Getting there: Connect with an inexpensive daily domestic connector flight from Havana, or via the ferry (8 hrs), hydrofoil or catamaran (2+ hours). The flight is the best and least complicated option (and the only for which WowCuba provides assistance). The early morning flight (providing it arrives on time) allows for same-day diving. Return flight times do not allow for diving on the return day. Transfers are available from the airport to the Colony Hotel (RT). Domestic flight schedules in Cuba can be erratic, so do not plan for tight international connections.





Accommodations: Hotel Colony with airport transfer service available.

The diving: 56 sites at the La Siguanea Inlet, a.k.a. the Pirate Coast. High quality bottom, canyons, caves, grottoes, black coral wall, world’s tallest coral column, wrecks/galleons. Look out for buried treasure here! This zone is said by some to be one of the best in the world for diving, used for underwater photography contests. Your host is the El Colony International Dive Center. The dive boat departs daily at 09:30 and returns at 17:00. The dive sites are ~ 1 hour away from the dock. Dive certification courses are not available at this time in the Colony Dive Center.



Havana Diving
Where is it? On Cuba’s northwestern shore, Havana is Cuba’s capital with almost three million inhabitants.

Getting there: International flights are offered to Havana & Varadero, the closest airports to Havana.

Accommodations: Although you’re free to stay in any property in Havana and simply arrange for daily taxis to the dive centers we recommend the following if interested in being closer to the dive centers: Club Acuario at the Marina Hemingway, Hotel Copacabana in Miramar or Tarara self-catering house options.


The diving: There are three main international dive centers, two of which are currently operating (as of fall 2021); La Aguja located at the Hemingway Marina, Copacabana in Miramar, and the Tarara Marina in Havana’s Eastern Beaches (which has no current dive instructor). There are roughly 24 sites identified from Cojimar in eastern Havana to the Mariel Bay in western Havana. There are an additional 10 sites in the Beaches of the East area. The dive area runs parallel to the coast and the sites are at depths of 5 to 35 meters. Vistas include coral fields, sponges, tropical fish, small caves and shipwrecks. 1/2 day dive departures are generally planned to take place in the morning.




Zapata Peninsula Diving
Where is it? The Zapata Peninsula (a.k.a Bay of Pigs) is on Cuba’s south shore, about a 2 hour drive from Varadero.

Getting there: Land transfers available from Havana or Varadero.
Accommodations: Playa Larga, Playa Giron

The diving: Three international dive centers in Playa Larga, Playa Giron, Caleta Buena feature mainly shelf diving in addition to peculiar deep caves in the area which are found at the Fish Cave. Punta Perdiz features attractive coral formations and shipwrecks accessed via tunnels.

Caleta Buena features large colonies of varied coral, and black coral is abundant. A variety of sponges in yellow or bright orange, with barrel, tubular or basket shapes. Diverse marine flora, large sea fans and abundant tropical fish can be viewed. Caleta Buena’s wrecks and cave diving in sinkholes/40-meter vertical flooded caves make it unique.

Punta Perdiz is about ½ way between Playa Larga & Playa Giron and 100m from the Punta Perdiz restaurant. It consists of tunnels and walls that descend in steps. It has an extensive sandy bottom filled with small coral formations that can be seen at a depth of 2 meters and extend to the edge of the slope. Different species of coral abound as well as sea fans, sponges, large fish and schools of colorful tropical fish. Along the north side of the coral ridge at a depth of 6 meters there’s a small wreck which is often explored via its small engine room.



Playa Larga & Playa Giron: Open water diving in sinkholes and brackish water-flooded cave system linked to the Zapata Swamp, and multilevel diving make diving in this area unique. Dives are made directly from the coast. You can expect to see elkhorn/brain/leaf/star coral, sea fans, starfish, columns, bridal bouquets and tube sponges and multiple schools of multicolored fish and crabs. Attached to the wall you’ll discover sponges, gorgonians and large coral formations


Cayo Largo Diving
Where is it? Off the southern coast of Cuba, it’s 177 km south of Havana and 120 km east of the Isle of Youth. Strictly for tourism, the 26 km island’s only Cuban inhabitants are workers in its tourism industry. The diving is based out of the Cayo Largo Marina. Daily transfers included from all Cayo Largo hotels to/from the Marina.



Getting there: Daily domestic flight from Havana or in certain seasons, direct weekly charter flights from Canada (with Cubana) and other countries.

Flights to Cayo Largo: Daily flights available, transfers included.

Accommodations: The dive center (marina) has a small 10 room hotel, Villa Marinera (right at the marina) as well as the nearby all inclusive Sol Cayo Largo or Iberostar Playa Blanca properties. WowCuba can facilitate accommodations in the property of your choice in conjunction with your dive package.


The diving: 30 dive sites, barrier reef just 1 km offshore, vertical wall, grottoes, sunken ships. The dive center is the Cayo Largo del Sur International Dive Center.
Varadero Diving (Marlin)
Where is it? Varadero is Cuba’s famous 20-km long powder-fine white sand beach area located on a peninsula on the northwest coast of Cuba.

Getting there: International flights are offered to Varadero. Alternatively, flights into Havana can be coupled with an inexpensive two-hour land transfer to Varadero.

Accommodations: Varadero Hotels

The diving: Diving is offered with Marlin from the Barracuda International Dive Center (beside Kawama Hotel), the Chapelin Marina, and transfers are included from/to area hotels. See interactive Varadero satellite map to find your hotel location in relation to the various marinas. For clients who have multi-dive packages confirmed in advance, when weather is inclement on the north shore divers are transferred at no additional cost to the Bay of Pigs on the south shore so that their dive services are not adversely affected. Sites in Varadero available with Marlin dive centers alone total 21 and highlight shipwrecks, flooded caves, gulf walls, coral barriers and even friendly moray eels. A daily schedule at each dive center visits 2 dive sites per day, with a weekly rotation that is intended to avoid repetition. Groups may customize their diving itinerary upon arrival with dive instructors. Gaviota also has a marina in the eastern tip of Varadero, but note that WowCuba’s offers below are valid for the Marlin marinas in western and central Varadero.







Marlin Varadero weekly regular dive schedule:
Monday
1st dive: Cangilones del Mono – coral reef at 27-30 meters depth
2nd dive: Caribe – a boat sunk over a reef
Tuesday
1st dive: BP – 90 meter boat sunk at 27-30 meters depth over a sandy bottom
2nd dive: Cayo Piedra coral reef at 4-13 meters depth
Wednesday
1st dive: Sietrea – remains of the citadel of an oil tanker sunk near a reef at 30 meters depth
2nd dive: Neptuno – German ship sunk over a coral reef at 8-10 meters depth
Thursday
1st dive: Jocú reef with natural pools at 30 meters depth
2nd dive: Barriga del Sietrea – remains of the belly of an oil tanker sunk at 16 meters depth among coral reefs with natural pools
Friday
1st dive: Skylight coral reefs with several tunnels, caverns, natural pools and abundant tropical fish in a depth of 13-21 meters
2nd dive: Sunken tugboat surrounded by various military vehicles including jeeps & tanks in a sandy bottom at 18 meters depth
Saturday
Tuesday’s program is repeated.
Sunday
Neptuno & Caribe
Varadero Diving (Gaviota)
The dive center: Located in the famous Varadero beach area, the Gaviota Varadero dive center invites professional and recreational divers to discover a beautiful underwater world with 16 sites in transparent waters, crowned by an incredible variety of marine flora and fauna, among which you can find schools of fish including yellowtail snappers, snapper, as well as barracuda, spectacular eels and coral. Furthermore, in the Cayo Piedras del Norte Marine Park, the first and only of its kind in Varadero, you’ll discover sunken ships of different types, adding an exclusive touch to this dive center. Dive services operate Monday through Saturday (closed Sundays).




Facilities: Snorkeling in coral reefs, day and night dives at varying depths, international ACUC certification courses, specialties and instructor courses, as well as dive initiation courses in pools and introductory courses.

Cayo Piedras del Norte Sunken Ship Park

The vessels in the sunken ship park are attractive for their characteristics, ideal for dive activities, seducing the professional or recreational diver into this silent world of unparalleled beauty and color, composed of schools of multiple species of fish and coral in their structures, making it an obligatory site for dive lovers. This is the first and only Marine Park in Varadero, situated just 9 nautical miles from the Gaviota Marina in Varadero, just 20-30 minutes by boat, where the average water temperatures are between 25-30 degrees Celsius and the average annual horizontal visibility is 30 meters.




Due to the amount of time the boats have been underwater, most are covered in coral, converting them in artificial reefs, due to the number of organisms that have colonized them. Fish are abundant around and within their structures where they find shelter and protection, offering great color and vitality to the Underwater Park, which together with the excellent lighting and visibility make this area ideal for underwater photos and video. Among the most common fish you can observe are the maidens, yellowtail snappers, angelfish, barbers, and adult specimens of eels, barracudas and other colorful small fish. You’ll also observe the presence of small sponge and coral species that, together with the fish and lobster species, offer a beautiful scene in the Cayo Piedras del Norte Underwater Park and make it an unforgettable adventure for divers.





The sunken ships

A 102-meter long 1500-ton Russian Patrol Ship equipped with double 57mm cannons in the bow, double 76 mm cannons in the stern, two double 30 mm cannons on the sides, antiaircraft missiles with 2 rockets in launch position, and 2 antisubmarine reactive bombs sunk in 27 meters of water with its highest point just 2 meters from the surface, allowing for diving at varied depths depending on the experience and preparation of divers.




La Ciudadela, an oil tanker sunk in 30 meters of water, with its highest point at 16 meters.

The Morenas boat, a steamship which sunk in 1940 in 9 meters of water.

A 300-ton, 29-meter steel tugboat sunk at 17 meters.

“El Patico” and “Mal Tiempo”, shrimp boats sunk at a depth of 10 meters.
Cienfuegos Diving
Where is it? Cienfuegos is called the Pearl of the South, on Cuba’s central south shore. The city is consistently awarded and recognized for its efforts to maintain the clean environment of its waters. There is a beautiful bay and boardwalk showcased in the town.


Getting there: International flights are offered by some airlines directly into Cienfuegos. Alternatively, Havana or Varadero can be combined with land transfers or you may consider a rental car to have more opportunities for exploring in the afternoon.


Accommodations: Rancho Luna, Faro Luna

The diving: There are 30 sites identified in the area. From Faro Luna International Dive Center, you can visit shipwrecks, coral formation barriers so tall that they sometimes reach the surface, and channels. The area is noted especially for the clarity of its waters, making it an ideal site for underwater photography.


Cayo Las Brujas Diving
Where is it? Cayo Las Brujas is connected to the north shore of Villa Clara province via a causeway. The dive center here also services neighboring Cayo Santa Maria and Cayo Ensenachos.

Getting there: Most international travelers to this area purchase all-inclusive flight/accommodation transfer packages to Cayo Santa Maria/Cayo Ensenachos. Independent travelers may also choose rental vehicles or taxis to the hotel zone.


Accommodations: Villa las Brujas is an intimate hotel located right at the marina. Various all-inclusive resort options also exist for visitors in neighboring Cayo Santa Maria and Cayo.

The diving: Coral reefs, wrecks, and a variety of fish, turtles, and occasionally even sharks can be spotted in the dive zone. The dive center varies immersions between 15 identified dive sites.

Frequency: The dive center offers two daily departures (morning or afternoon), with 2 dives per departure. The dive center is closed on Sundays.
Guajimico Diving
Where is it? Guajimico is in Cienfuegos province, halfway between the cities of Cienfuegos and Trinidad on Cuba’s south shore.

Getting there: Taxi or rental car are common choices for independent travelers exploring this area. Some international (mainly French) travelers/tour operators use this 3* camping property as a base camp for weekly touring programs due to its proximity to varied natural and cultural opportunities, and striking natural landscapes (rock wall).


Accommodations: Villa Guajimico features “camping” in air conditioned cabañas with running hot water, cable tv and other basic comforts.

The diving: There are just 7 dive sites identified in the immediate area. The dive boat at Guajimico is one of the most comfortable we’ve experienced in Cuba with very easy access for immersions and considerable capacity.

Trinidad Diving
Where is it? Cuba’s most colonial city, Trinidad, is on Cuba’s south central shore about 80 km from the city of Cienfuegos.

Getting there: The Trinidad airport does not receive international flights, so many passengers fly through Cienfuegos or make a domestic connection through Havana or Varadero. Land transfers are available or you might consider a rental car to maximize your local exploration possibilities.


Accommodation: Ancon, Trinidad del Mar, Costa Sur.

The diving: The area is especially characterized by high medians and narrow channels that form tunnels in some areas. Dive center is the Cayo Blanco International Dive Center located in the Marina on the Ancon Peninsula.

Jardines del Rey Diving
Where is it? Off of Cuba’s northeastern coastline is a string of cays connected to the mainland by a causeway. Cayo Coco and Cayo Guillermo are the islands where the diving is based.

Getting there: Direct flights are offered from many countries to Cayo Coco. Alternatively, some offer flights into Ciego de Avila. A third alternative is to fly into Havana and take a domestic connector flight. There are two offered daily. Domestic flight schedules in Cuba can be erratic, so WOWCuba recommends exercising prudence when arranging for international departures after diving, leaving an ample window for delays.



Accommodations: Cayo Coco & Cayo Guillermo hotels

The diving: Dive sites are distributed in front of the cays. The coral reef is over 10 km long, at a depth of 10 – 30 meters. Some say the abundance of fish in this area give divers the sensation they’re in an aquarium. International dive centers include the Coco (in Melia Cayo Guillermo) and Blue Diving (in Melia Cayo Coco).


Santa Lucia Beach Diving
Where is it? On Cuba’s northeastern shore, 20 kilometers of beach in Santa Lucia are protected by one of the largest and best preserved coral barriers in the tropics with flocks of pink flamingo making their home in nearby lagoons.

Getting there: International flights to Camaguey, or domestic flights to Holguin or Ciego de Avila followed by land transfer to Santa Lucia.

Accommodations: Santa Lucia Hotels

The diving: A dive zone (depths ranging from 7 to 35 meters) with 35 sites offers shipwrecks, the remains of a Spanish fort, fish, and hand-fed sharks. The dive center is called Sharks Friends. A show where the instructors hand-feed 3-5 migratory bull sharks operates from mid-August/early September to the end of November. Reservations for the show are not available in advance as departures strongly depend on weather conditions, the moon, etc. Offers for the shark show (including a digital recording of your experience) must be purchased directly at the dive center. In this dive center, WowCuba offers regular immersions only for advance purchase.



Covarrubias Diving
Where is it? Covarrubias is located on the north shore of Las Tunas province.

Getting there: International flights are offered by some airlines directly into Holguin. Alternatively, domestic flights exist between Havana & Holguin (or las Tunas, but with less frequency). Rental car or taxis are also options for travel to Covarrubias Beach.


Accommodations: Villa Covarrubias.

The diving: There are 26 sites identified in the area. Covarrubias features a presence of black coral, elkhorn/brain/leaf/star coral, sea fans, tropical dogfish, saws, groupers, snappers, trumpet fish, barracudas, and more.

Marea del Portillo Diving
Where is it? The Albacora dive center is located at the Marea del Portillo resort on the south shore of Granma province in eastern Cuba.

Getting there: International flights are offered by some all-inclusive package tour operators to Manzanillo are ground transfers to Marea del Portillo are normally included in their 1 and 2-week charter packages. Alternatively independent travelers may contract taxi or rental car services to arrive in the area.


Accommodations: Marea del Portillo, Farallon del Caribe, Punta Piedra hotels

The diving: Part of the National Park, an extensive dive area is covered from Cabo Cruz to Rio Maceo with a practically virgin coral reef. In 16 identified dive sites, you can discover tropical fish, huge sponges, black coral colonies, elkhorn/brain/leaf/star coral, sea fans and gorgonians. The greatest treasure, considered National Heritage sites, are the 17th and 18th century wrecks of Spanish galleons and British schooners from Admiral Cervera’s fleet.



Playa Pesquero Diving
Where is it? About 1 hour north of Holguin in northeastern Cuba, Playa Pesquero is Cuba’s largest all-inclusive hotel.

Getting there: Flights into Holguin are followed by a one-hour land transfer to the hotels on the north shore. Rental cars are also an option.

Accommodations: Hotel Playa Pesquero

The diving: 22 dive sites are identified and the Marina Puerto Vita services the hotel’s dive center. The coral reef is 10 miles long and is populated with tropical fish, varied coral & cave formations making for a fantastic underwater landscape for divers to explore.

Guardalavaca Beach Diving
Where is it? About 1 hour north of Holguin in northeastern Cuba, Guardalavaca is a popular Holguin sun destination.

Getting there: Flights into Holguin are followed by a one-hour land transfer to the hotels on the north shore. Rental cars are also an option.

Accommodations: Guardalavaca Hotels

The diving: 27 dive sites are identified and the Eagle Ray Diving Center on the western tip of the beach takes you diving in the Old Bahamas Channel in sites from 5 to 40 meters with coral barriers, tall crags, cozy dales, and vertical walls.


Description of seabed: The dive zone has an extension of 30km. Some of the most notable include Canto Azul, Coral Garden, Cueva Uno and Pesquero de Esponjas with indescribable beauty presented to the diver in fauna and multicolored vistas. The underwater relief is irregular and complex in some sites, and in others the platform gradually descends with ample shapes of terraces completely covered in gorgonias, sea fans, and coral.



Santiago de Cuba Diving
Where is it? Cuba’s former capital is located on the Caribbean in the southeast corner of Cuba. It’s called the most Caribbean of Cuban cities.

Getting there: International flights are offered into Santiago, as well as daily connections via domestic flights from Havana.

Accommodation: Los Galeones, Brisas Sierra Mar, Carisol-Los Corales, Santiago de Cuba hotels.

The diving: The area is primarily concentrated in the Baconao Park Zone (at the Carisol/Corales center), with the exception of Chivirico to the west where diving is excellent from Sierra Mar. Sixteen dive sites are in the immediate vicinity of the location of the former Bucanero hotel. There are thirteen more sites in front of Daiquiri Beach. In the eastern end of the park there are at least 6 more notable sites accessed via the Sigua center. Characteristics of the area include the formation of large coral crags that communicate through tunnels and narrow channels. There are large fish, crustaceans and mollusks. The bottoms hold shipwrecks where you can personally feed enormous groupers. A fleet of 5 Sunken Spanish and 2 US naval ships and the Underwater Archaeological Park / National Monument are the main attraction in the Sierra Mar dive center.






UNESCO states:
“The Park, which covers an area of 240 km2, contains seven archaeological sites located in Playa Siboney Las Cuatro Bocas, Playa Mar Verde, Rancho Cruz-Buey Cabón, Ensenada de Juan González, Aserradero and Playa La Mula. Many archaeological remains are found scattered on the ocean floor as well as important ecosystems that should be protected as a whole. This National Monument to five Spanish ships and two U.S. ships that took part in the naval battle of 1898 underscores the historic event that put an end to the Spanish-Cuban-American War and marked the beginning of new and different relations between the three countries involved.”














































































































































































































































































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