Do you want to turn the clock back 30 years and feel the spirit of freedom? Well, it just so happens that we’ve a time machine just for you! So pack your bags and grab your passport because we’re going to Cuba!
Cuba’s shores are washed by the Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico and we feel that it need hardly be mentioned that the beach tourism here is some of the best in the world! Diving is possible off any part of coastline, with the main deciding factor being the purpose of your dive. We’ve collected information on the most interesting places for diving but, first of all, let’s have a short word about the weather:
Every season in Cuba brings warm and comfortable weather. As is in other tropical countries, there is a rainy season from May to October, and this means that humidity will likely be higher than usual during those months. The water temperature is about 25-28 degrees Celsius, the air temperature is over 26-28 degrees (only dipping down to about 23-28 degrees Celsius in the winter) and underwater visibility ranges between 30-40 meters. So, even in the worst of conditions, diving off Cuba is possible all year round!
Let’s begin with the resort at Varadero, the most popular locale. This 20 km-long peninsula is flanked by its white sand beaches, restaurants and nightclubs. It is the best choice for those who want to combine diving with seaside relaxation and night parties.
One prominent dive site is the Cave of Ojo del Megano. It’s the deepest dive site in Cuba, with a depth of approximately 70 meters. The walls of this cave are covered by sponges, among which you can find some real giants: Bright yellow-blue angel-fish, snappers and huge groupers stand out among the other reef fish, all while lobsters hide in the cracks and crevices. The water is crystal-blue here, so you can see absolutely every little detail.
The next place is the wreck of the Neptuno. This ship sank near Keys Blancos and rests 11 meters down. Unfortunately, the ravages of time haven’t been all too kind to the vessel and nowadays she looks more like a bucket of bolts than a ship. But around and within this wreck you can meet moray eels which have been somewhat domesticated by the local dive guides. For some special treatment, they’re happy to pose in front of your camera. You should, however, listen attentively to your dive guide or you might lose your fingers.
It is difficult to surprise an experienced divers with “typical” reefs dwellers. But a visit to Cenotes is guaranteed to spark some emotions in every diver and those who just want to see this unusual locale.
Cenotes are so-called “wells” that are formed by the collapse of a cavern ceiling. Groundwater and rainwater flood the chamber below and produced these natural wonders. Mexico is the most famous country for cenotes but you can find them in Cuba too.
20 km from Varadero is Saturn Cave, where an underwater river flows out into an enclosed lake. The depth is about 30 meters. Upon entering, divers are greeted by shafts of sunlight shimmering down onto stalactites and stalagmites, which come together to create a seemingly unreal atmosphere. It’s often said that even the air here has great medicinal properties. Blind fish and some species of shrimps can be found here. The water is unbelievably crystal in colour, its vibrant hues give off a real otherwordly feeling which will make you question your own eyes.
The “Fish Cave” (Cueva de Los Peces) is about 15 km away from Playa Largo. Unlike Saturn Cave, the cavern ceiling is open and looks like a lake. In this cave, water, both fresh and salted come together and form a unique combination. The depth reaches 70 meters, so deep divers and lovers of technical diving prefer this locale. A lot of tunnels and a labyrinth of narrow passages are hidden underwater, so cave diving skills are indispensable here. Crabs, turtles, different species of fish and even little crocodiles dwell in the cave’s waters. The water here is so clear that it’s even possible to see the underwater dwellers even without diving!
There are a lot of different cenotes in Cuba and you should definitely enquire at diving centers about the possibility of diving in them. Believe us, it’s an unforgettable experience!
Santa Lucia is situated in the northeast of Cuba on a long coastline. The pink flamingo is the calling card of this place but there is something else that you should see: In addition standard dives on reefs or along walls this place is famous for the opportunities it offers for swimming with bull sharks or even taking part in feeding them. This spectacle can be observed in the La Boca Channel, 26 meters down, near the wreck of the Nuewa Mortera. Dive guides cut a fish to attract sharks, some up to three meters long! They swim around at just an arm’s length from the excited divers. It’s only possible to see this show between November and February as, in other months, the sharks may not be here.
If you are not a thrill seeker, Santa Lucia also possesses a perfect coral reef which is full by marine life in all manner of sizes and colors.
The Bay of Pigs will prove a perfect place for novice divers or those who just want to refresh theirs skill. It’s possible to conduct your dives right from the shore and depths range from 3 to 30 meters. There are no currents, visibility is perfect and the variety of marine life is a rich treasure trove! 12 dive sites are located near the bay, which vary in difficulty and underwater landscapes. Among the assortment of underwater dwellers you can typically meet here royal triggerfish and cochinos. In Spanish, this kind of tropical fish sound like a pig. It’s the secret behind the unusual name of this dive site.
Cuba certainly can’t leave anyone feeling bored and offers opportunities to dive in three different areas. Everyone can find that little special something. Cuba can shock with its contrasts, but absolutely can’t fail to leave a positive impression. You’ll remember this country frozen in time not only for its amazing nature, but also the drone of its vintage cars, pulsing salsa music and the rich smells of its legendary cigars.