The Hotel Colony, on the Isle of Youth, is an ideal base for visiting the world famous scuba diving sites off Punta Frances. Located 42 kms from Nueva Gerona on the Siguanea Bay, the former casino & hotel was built in 1958 by Batista and opened as a Hilton property just weeks before the Revolution.
The simple accommodations are distributed between 77 hotel rooms and 23 bungalows (a recommended upgrade). The food services in the hotel are just mediocre, but in our experience the dive staff usually goes the extra mile in preparing lunches aboard the dive boat. There are no other restaurants or services in the general area. The dive center is just a 5-minute bus ride from the hotel.
Getting There: Flights from Havana to Gerona are relatively inexpensive and quick compared to the catamaran/ferry service. WoWCuba can assist with domestic flights & taxi transfers in advance as part of your accommodation/dive package, but in our experience the taxis are often best left for local payment (~$30 each way) versus the prepaid route.
Dive Sites: There are 56 sites concentrated along the “Pirate Coast”. Declared a marine reserve, diving is only permitted with a guide. Abundant grottoes, canyon walls, caves and shipwrecks make this one of the best dive locations in the world. Of particular interest is the black coral wall, reputed to be the tallest in the world. There are dive sites for all levels of expertise.
Diving in this destination is generally a full-day experience (~ 9 am-5 pm) due to the distance of dive sites from the marina.