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Dive into the secret underwater world of Cuba

23rd March 2016

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Warm waters, low currents, protected coral reefs... Cuba should be your destination of choice if you want to up your diving game.

With visibility of up to 40 metres, your views of this Caribbean island’s underwater treasures – from Maria la Gorda at its westernmost point to Santiago de Cuba in the east – go almost entirely unrestricted.

Cuba also happens to be one of our top destinations for this year, and with tourism opening up on the other side of the pond it won’t be long before our transatlantic cousins discover it too. Better dive in before the Americans beat you to it...   


Maria la Gorda

Blurstriped grunts, Maria La Gorda, Aquario 

Situated in western Cuba, Maria la Gorda (‘Mary the Fat’) is one of the most remote diving spots in the Caribbean.  The area is renowned for its clear warm waters, and the sea bed is rated one of the best in this part of the world.


Coral reef with colourful sponges, Maria La Gorda, Almirante

There are over 50 dive spots in the area, and with abundant marine life and palm-fringed beaches Mary the Fat is host to some of the finest dive sites in Cuba. It also lies within a Biosphere Reserve that is one of the best preserved in the world.

Symmetrical brain coral, Maria La Gorda, Aquario

Although they’re not native to the area, from May to June, the beach will be populated with turtles building their nests. There’s also a huge selection of sea life that can be viewed year round, with barracuda, lobsters, eels and angel fish to name just a few of those that frequent the crystal clear waters.


Yellow Rope Sponge, Maria La Gorda, Almirante

Oh, and also there are the remains of Spanish galleons and numerous tunnels and caves all waiting to be discovered amongst the black corals. It’s not like another world – it is another world.


Ancon Peninsula

The Ancon Peninsula is located near to Trinidad, where catamaran trips take people out for snorkelling and diving in Cayo Blanco and Cayo Iguanas. The star of the sea here is the unspoiled coral reef situated just off the coastline.


The Cayo Iguanas are a collection of uninhabited islets, each surrounded by coral reefs and clear blue waters, whilst Cayo Blanco is home to feisty hermit crabs and iguanas. The area is protected as a national marine park, where tropical fish can be found in the depths of the Caribbean Sea.

 Hermit Crab, Cayo Blanco

Bay of Pigs


There are two local diving bases in the Bay of Pigs, Playa Larga and Playa Girón, which both have permanently good conditions for diving. The underwater world features rugged terrains created by colonies of stony corals and sea sponges, populated with coral reef fish. With hundreds of species of fish and coral just a few metres away from the shore, you’ll be sure to encounter an array of tropical beauty in this unforgettable diving spot.


Zapata peninsula, Bay of Pigs, Playa Giron

Caya Coco

Cayo Guillermo, Ciego de Avila

This is one of the best diving spots in the world. With an array of fauna, flora, fish and a 10km long coral reef, alongside beautiful beaches on the coastline, this is a truly stunning location. There is a huge variety of fish in the area - spadefish, snappers, dolphins, sharks, barracudas and lionfish make this location particularly special for those who want to discover the wonderfully diverse species inhabiting the underwater landscape.


Santiago de Cuba beach

Santiago de Cuba Province, Daiquiri Beach

In the southeast corner of Cuba, this former capital city sits on the Caribbean coast.  The area has numerous dive spots, all of which share a common feature; large coral crags that communicate through tunnels and narrow channels. 

There’s a variety of large fish, crustaceans and molluscs, but the biggest attraction here is the Spanish ship that sunk in the war of 1898 and is located in the Ensenada Juan Gonzales, around 25km southwest of Santiago.

Images supplied by Alamy


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