Cuba is an idyllic scuba diving destination, whose attractions delight professional divers, enthusiasts and novices alike. The waters around the main island, and the more than 4,000 cays and islets that make up the Cuban archipelago, are warm and extraordinarily clear, with an average visibility of 30 to 40 metres. The diversity and pristine quality of the reefs are unrivalled almost anywhere on the planet. Upwards of 30 fully equipped international dive centres offer reef snorkeling, as well as both day and night dives to depths of up to 40 metres.
Secluded María la Gorda, on the western edge of Pinar del Río is famous for stunning walls of black coral, teeming with sea life. Explore Cuba’s longest reef (the second longest in the world) off Camagüey’s Playa Santa Lucía, or swim alongside yellowtail snappers and queen angelfish off the coast of Jardines del Rey. Shipwreck seekers can head for the sunken Spanish warship off the coast of Santiago de Cuba in the south or dive to Varadero’s El Neptuno in the north.
Main dive sites:
- Los Canarreos Archipelago: 56 designated dive sites at Puertosol Colony International Scuba Centre and Cayo Largo del Sur.
- Guanahacabibes Peninsula: Access to more than 50 dive sites from María La Gorda International Scuba Centre.
- Havana: 72 scuba sites available through 4 international diving centres. Immersion area is more than 100 km by 3 km. A coastal belt of white coral sand lies approximately 20 km east of the city.
- Santa Lucía: An extensive coral reef with 34 designated dive points and numerous shipwrecks.
- Varadero: More than 25 diving sites, including the popular Cayo Piedras del Norte underwater park, where old yachts, frigates and planes have been deliberately sunk for recreational exploration.
- Playa Girón: The top attraction here is the sheer drop off the island’s underwater platform.
- Holguín (northern coast): More than 20 dive sites, off the Esmeralda and Guardalavaca beaches.
- Ancón Peninsula: 2 well-defined dive sites at Playa Ancón and Cayo Blanco de Casilda.
- Santiago de Cuba: Scuba centres operate out of Baconao Park (Sigua and Bucanero) and Guamá municipality. Site of the Caribbean’s best preserved sunken ship, the Spanish warship Cristóbal Colón.
- Jardines del Rey: Coral reefs of Cayo Coco and Cayo Guillermo offer attractive underwater landscapes.