One of the most popular holiday types we sell at Captivating Cuba is the scuba diving holiday. Cuba attracts swarms of divers every year, attracted by its calm, warm waters, its stunning coral reefs, sunken shipwrecks and dazzling array of tropical fish. The waters boast an average annual temperature of over 24 degrees centigrade, and with an average visibility of 98 feet, allowing divers an excellent view of the underwater paradise the Cuban dive sites offer. The lack of strong currents and variety of dive sites available mean that the island is a perfect training ground for Cubaís diving virgins, as well as offering a challenge for those who were born in a wet suit!
So without further ado, hereís a list of Captivating Cubaís top 5 Cuban diving sites:
Maria la Gorda
Located on the west of Cuba, local to Pinar del Rio, Maria la Gorda is a beautiful dive spot surrounded by nature ñ itís one of the least developed areas of the island. The dive site itself is found in the Guanahacabibes Peninsula, which is a world biosphere preserve and has two dives zones, with underwater sights including black coral walls, 18th century shipwrecks, flora and fauna. There are also caves around for those looking to experience cave and cavern diving, and possibly night diving trips if the demand is there. The site is a 4 hour transfer from Havana, but it is well worth the trip to experience what is one of the finest Cuba dive sites.
If youíre looking for something a little more accessible from the islandís capital, then Cayo Levisa may be the answer. Located on the north west of the island, about an hourís trip from Havana, the Cuban dive site is home to sponges, black coral and some of the islands larger tropical fish. Itís also home to some of the islandís more memorable shipwrecks, with 17th and 18th century wrecks of archaeological interest free for divers to explore. If you want to make diving the focus of your holiday, the Hotel Cayo Levisa allows Cubaís divers to stay in one of its 40 rooms for the duration of their trip
Located on the southern side of the Cuba, Cayo Largo showcases virtually untouched beaches and coral reefs. The sea also includes mountains of coral reefs and a wide range of fish and chelonians ñ and because of the nearby coral reef, the Cuban dive spot is protected from strong currents making it ideal for beginners. Although this is around 177 kilometres from Havana, local domestic flights can be taken between the two locales and take around 45 minutes.
Just east of the Bay of Pigs is Playa Giron. The international dive centre here deals mainly in shelf diving with additional trips out to local deep caves in the region. The main attractions of this Cuba dive site are the sheer drop offs near shore which are punctuated with swim throughs, making for memorable shore dives. The site has some shallow shore dives to initiate beginners, while more experienced divers will be enamoured by the inland cave dives available.
Because of the distance from Havana (a road transfer will take upwards of 4 hours), I would recommend staying in one of the Hotel Playa Gironís 290 rooms. Itís certainly popular with Cubaís divers ñ indeed; in 1994 a ship was deliberately sunk for the benefit of the diving population.
Last but not least on my list is Faro Luna, found in the Cienfuegos province on the south of the island. The city has received many accolades for maintaining the clean environment of the water ñ and as a result of this and the 28 dive sites in the region, it remains a popular area with Cuban diving enthusiasts. The Faro de Luna Diving Center has shipwrecks, marine life and coral formation barriers so high they are visible on the surface. The waters here are so clean and clear that the zone is highly recommended for Cuban divers who wish to engage in some underwater photography.
Those visiting Cuba to dive are in for a real treat. Iíve only namechecked 5 Cuban diving sites here that warranted extra special mention, but the clear, warm waters, tropical fish and stunning coral formations mean that wherever divers in Cuba go, they are unlikely to be disappointed.