Diving in the Cuba is full of surprises! You never know what you might find in the crystal clear waters surrounding the Caribbean's largest island. Cuba offers something for everyone, from wrecks to pristine reefs, caves to walls, canyons, drop offs and an array of interesting marine life to satisfy your diving desire. With many chilled out diving towns around the coast, you'll have a great time both above and below the water in Cuba.
The water conditions are pretty good all year round although there might be the risk of hurricanes in October and the rainy season from Jun-Oct can sometimes cause dives to be cancelled. water temperature can hit a low of 22°C in December to a high of 29°C in July, visibility usually ranging from 20-40 metres in good weather conditions.
There are all sorts of cool marine animals to see including sharks, rays, eels, turtles, spadefish, schools of snappers, grunts, tarpon and tuna and all sorts of macro life such as crabs, shrimps and jewfish. Whale shark season is November if you wanted to increase your chances of seeing them then it's the best time to visit.
If you don't have much time then choosing a dive destination close to Havana is a good idea. A short flight or boat ride to Isla de la Juventud will put you in a fantastic dive location. The area is renowned for being some of the best diving in the country with superb drop offs and walls with tunnels and passages, wrecks and loads of sea life, you'll get a great diving adventure here. Cayo Largo is another island close by but its mainly resort orientated. The diving here is shallow and calm; great for beginners and macro divers or a little further from the island are deeper walls, which are great for the more advanced diver.
A short drive from the capital and you hit the Mantanzas province. Varadero is the all inclusive resort capital of Cuba and is home to some interesting diving such as wrecks, a small blue hole for deep diving enthusiasts and the freshwater Saturno Cave. Also in this area is Playa Giron, the gateway to the Bay of Pigs and Zapata Marshes, some very cool diving.
A little bit further east is the city of Cienfuegos, boasting some of the cleanest and clearest waters in the country and the impressive site of the cathedral of 'Notre Dame', a place you need to see to believe. The aquarium-like diving in the Jardines Del Rey will wow you with its rich diversity of life living in the waters here. The top liveaboard diving in Cuba is found at the marine park of Jardines de la Reina, the top place to view many different species of sharks along the impressive wall dives. This is untouched diving at its best.
All the way down the most south eastern part of Cuba is Santiago de Cuba, with caves and wreck diving galore, enormous fish and big schools, it's surely worth the trip.
So where will you end up diving in Cuba? With so much choice you can plan a good few weeks diving with the options available and see the wonders that the Cuban waters have to offer. You'll be raving about the diving, so be sure to let us know where your favourite spot is.
(By Kelly Luckman)
The largest of the Caribbean Islands, Cuba is one of the most interesting countries on the planet to visit. Rich in history, culture and controversy, the story of Cuba is full of revolution, struggles, triumphs and after such a long time the country now seems to have its place in the world. Everywhere you look you'll find things of beauty: The beaches, islands, architecture and the people, proud of their heritage and wanting to share it with you.
The easiest way to get to Cuba is to fly into Havana, with regular flights from Mexico, Canada, parts of Europe, the UK, Central and South America. Charter flights with an all inclusive holiday is a great way to enjoy the country, be sure to obtain a visa before entering or at the airport when you arrive. Once you arrive in Havana its easy to get a domestic flight, catch a bus or hire a car (recommended) to see the country.
If you decide on an all inclusive trip to Cuba then you'll end up in a hotel but you won't get a taste of the real Cuba and that's why we travel to a foreign country right? The best experience is to stay in a Casa Particular, a private house that is licensed to have tourists stay. They are cheap, usually around $20 a night and to stay with a family you will get the inside information about the best places to visit, also the food is much better if you stay with a local family. Cuban restaurants are notorious for their bland, tasteless meals.
There are so many wonderful things to discover in Cuba. Start in Havana and get the history of the country at the Museums there, it's important you know why Cuba is like it is to have a full appreciation for it. Stroll along the Malécon, visit the cigar and rum factories and be sure to find yourself in a bar, surrounded by salsa dancers, swinging to the beat with a Mojito in your hand. It's quite a site to see the 1950's American cars in Havana city, you'll feel like you've stepped back in time!
Take a trip over to the beautiful islands of Cayo Largo del Sur or Isla De La Juventud to relax on the stunning white sand beaches, dive, snorkel or enjoy the vast amount of wildlife the island have to offer. Stop in the Bay of Pigs at Playa Giron and check out the unique ecosystem of the Zapata Marshes. Further south is Cienfuegos and Trinidad, two beautiful cities for you to get lost in for a few days with waterfalls, gardens, interesting architecture and a great night life.
Along the northern coast of central Cuba, just off the city of Moron you'll find the Jardines del Rey, a group of gorgeous island that you can drive over to from the mainland, with some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Right at the south eastern end of Cuba you'll find Santiago de Cuba. If you're after a relaxing holiday on the beach then Varadero is for you but you won't get a taste of the country so you might as well stay closer to home.
Immerse yourself in a flurry of colourful culture, history, dance, beaches, the home of Mojitos and a wonderfully different world to what you know. There are treasures untold waiting for you in Cuba.
(By Kelly Luckman)