The largest island in the Caribbean, Cuba features protected marine areas only reachable by liveaboard including the Caribbean reef shark mecca known as Jardines de la Reina.
Cuba boasts multiple protected marine environments located in remote waters. For example, the Jardines de la Reina is located approximately 50 miles (80km) from south, central Cuba and consists of 230 islets spread over 150 miles (240km). There are also the 350 stunning islands known collectively as the Canarreos Archipelago. In both of these areas, there are no hotels. You’ll need a liveaboard to dive in these pristine environments. A typical dive safari in Cuba lasts 7 days and 6 nights.
We offer a number of quality liveaboards in Cuba for online booking. Five are a part of the world-class Avalon Fleet. From the Tortuga which remains stationary in the Gardens of the Queen to the Avalon II which offers the highest luxury available on the Cuba’s seas, there is a boat in the Avalon Fleet for every need or budget. On the other hand, the sailing yacht known as Vision III can carry up to 6 divers to the Canarreos Archipelago in an unforgettable and intimate style.
Liveaboard diving in Cuba revolves around two destinations: the Jardines de la Reina and the Canarreos Archipelago. Both are highly protected environments with colorful reefs and a plethora of large marine life.
The Jardines de la Reina, or the Gardens of the Queen in English, boasts the world’s third largest coral reef, guaranteed shark sightings and mighty crocodiles. On a liveaboard you can expect to see Caribbean reef sharks and silky sharks. For many years, these sharks have been fed and show no fear of humans, often approaching very close to scuba divers. On the other hand, you’ll also have the opportunity to snorkel with Cuban crocodiles, if you dare!
South of the Cuban shore, the 350 islands of the Canarreos Archipelago offer endless dive sites enjoyable via liveaboard. The two large islands, namely Isla de la Juventud and Cayo Largo, are ideal for land excursions with unspoilt beaches and clear waters. Night diving in this area is particularly rewarding with great shark sightings. Barracuda, nurse sharks and grouper can be seen among healthy coral reefs.
Much of the diving in Cuba is suitable to beginners, making this a great destination for your first liveaboard experience.
BEST TIME TO GO
November to April
The best time to dive in Cuba is from November to April.
Within these months, you can expect dry conditions. You’ll also find almost no current, warm water averaging from 79 °F (26 °C) to 84 °F (29 °C), and amazing visibility of 100 feet (30 meters) or more.
On the other hand, May to October is the rainy season and also hurricane season. October carries the highest risk of hurricanes, although Cuba has historically escaped the majority of hurricanes in the Caribbean. At this time of years, surface conditions are liable to be at their worst. But these months still feature great diving. You just might want to take out trip insurance in the event cancellation is necessary.
Although the Cuba diving season can be split into two seasons, scuba diving in Cuba is fantastic year-round. The sharks and crocodiles are present in every month and liveaboards depart throughout the year.
The most popular airport to fly into is in the capital, Havana. Havana International Airport is well-served from flights around the world, but there are up to 10 other international airports on the island.
There are three main departure points for liveaboards in Cuba. Those traveling to the Jardines de la Reina will depart from Jucaro Port. If you’re traveling to the Canarreos Archipelago, you may depart from either Trinidad or Cienfuegos. Most dive operators provide guests with transfers from Havana to these departure ports.