An underwater paradise
With sunken wrecks, extensive coral reefs, caves, forests and unsurpassed biodiversity, Cuba’s seabeds are confirmation that the underwater beauty of the island and archipelagos is equal to that of its many land attractions. We visit the five most important dive sites from a list of more than 5,000 in a unique destination that you can fly to from 21,250 Avios.
1 Jardines de la Reina
This name of this amazing archipelago located between the provinces of Camagüey and Ciego de Ávila, on the island’s southwest, refers to Queen Isabella I of Castile. Its waters – which amazed Columbus on his second trip to the Americas back in the 15th century – are among the best conserved in the Caribbean. The shallow and transparent sea is the perfect destination for the most extreme adventurers, who can swim with hammer sharks, whales and crocodiles, as well as turtles and manta rays in its corals and mangroves. You can reach the Jardines de la Reina, a Unesco Marine World Heritage Site, from the Port of Júcaro.
2 María La Gorda
In a spectacular biosphere reserve, María La Gorda is located in Cuba’s most western point, specifically, the Guanahacabibes peninsula, in the province of Pinar del Río. One of the most colourful destinations for scuba diving thanks to its gorgonia and black coral, it boasts a very long list of scuba dive sites, with Salón de María and Valle de Coral Negro being the most popular. Hawksbill, leatherback and loggerhead sea turtles, along with grey sharks, bull sharks and nurse sharks all live here alongside stunning endemic species such as the reef squirrelfish and the queen angelfish-
3 Isla de la Juventud
Due to its location, 60km southwest of the main island, Cuba’s second largest island is an authentic natural paradise whose seabeds have been recognised by National Geographic as among the best preserved in the world. It boasts 56 dive sites that can be reached from the Centro Internacional de Buceo El Colony, one of Cuba’s top scuba diving agencies. It was once navigated by explorers such as Sir Francis Drake, but today turtles, mackerel, barracudas and sharks swim among sea stars, coral and sunken
4 Bahía de Cochinos
Located in the Parque de la Ciénaga de Zapata, a Biosphere Reserve since 2001, Bahía de Cochinos offers sites with extraordinary visibility such as El Tanque, Punta Perdiz, Caleta Buena and Los Cocos, in addition to caves and cenotes such as La Cueva de los Peces. Located between Playa Larga and Playa Girón, its 72m depth mean it’s Cuba’s deepest dive site. The Bahía de Cochinos seabed boasts an abundance of black coral formations shaped like moose antlers, colourful sponges and tropical fish.
5 Cayo Largo del Sur
The Canarreos archipelago in southern Cuba is home to more than 30 beautiful scuba diving sites. A coral reef very close to the shore allows novices to enjoy a quiet dive at sites such as Punta de Barrera, Canal de la Barracuda and El Ballenato. There is also a dramatic drop for the most adventurous divers, along with caves and sunken ships.