10 Best Scuba Diving Spots in Cuba

Cuba's top dive spots: Jardines de la Reina, Maria la Gorda, and more

Vibrant underwater fantasy scene with marine life and ruins.

In the heart of a calm and safe sea, Cuba offers many dive sites, each one wonderful from the other.

What makes marine explorations even more fascinating is the rather impressive number of galleons and pirate ships that ran aground in the course of the XXVIII and XIX century that are still in the depths.

The inhabitants of the sea are not displeased by this, as they find refuge there, colourful and abundant fish.

From North to South or from West to East, the island is a mine for ocean lovers, adventurers or divers in search of new landscapes to explore. Here are a few examples.

Avalon – Jardines de la Reina

The Jardines de la Reina archipelago is renowned as one of the best diving and fishing sites in the world.

Thanks to its isolation and environmental protection measures, the marine park has an abundant fauna of giant groupers, barracudas, rays, obispos, turtles and reef sharks.

The Avalon is reserved for shark enthusiasts.

At 25 meters where visibility is good and currents are weak, you can see up to twenty reef sharks.

This site is not for the shy.

Cueva Azul (The Blue Cave) – Isla de la Juventud

The Isle of Youth has, to its credit, the largest number of dive sites in Cuba (56 sites). This natural paradise is home to giant corals, caves, galleries, huge “sugar loaves”, impressive walls and a wide range of fish.

The Blue Grotto, an ideal diving site, is accessible through a gallery with three different exits (the exit is located at a depth of 35 or even 42 meters).

In addition, sponges, coral formations and schools of manjúas welcome divers.

Before leaving this magical place, you will be at a depth of 1,500 metres.

Yemayá – María la Gorda

María la Gorda and Cabo de San Antonio, the two international diving centres, have the most varied dive sites on the island.

Located at the western end of Cuba, they are romantic sites with unforgettable sunsets on white sandy beaches.

The site known as Yemayá is special.

You will have to go down a vertical wall and enter through a mysterious cave following observations of a profusion of fish, giant gorgonians and black corals.

Martín, guide and diving instructor, is the specialized person to accompany you on this marine excursion.

Ojo del Megano – Varadero

Located some 6 km from the coast. The expedition is organized by the Club Barracuda de Varadero.

Ojo del Megano is a vertical gallery (in English, “blue hole”), in other words an ancient underwater cave whose roof has collapsed. At a depth of only ten metres, the cave is a natural refuge for various species of fish, including snappers, barracudas and chernas, in addition to predators.

The walls are covered with a large number of lobsters and several coral fish.

With a circumference of 45 meters with a depth of more than 70 meters, Ojo del Megano offers an easy and pleasant trip.

Banco de Jagua – Cienfuegos

The excursion is organized by the Faro Luna Club on a quiet day, some 80 km from the coast.

Banco de Jagua looks like a mountain emerging from an abyss, hence the difficulty of the immersion.

At a depth of 18 to 40 meters, one can admire a wide variety of corals, sponges and various marine species, including barracudas, bass, chernas, snappers, parrot fish, poisonous rays, turtles, gatas, reef sharks, hammerhead sharks and, depending on the season, whale sharks.

Colón – Santiago de Cuba

100 km from the city of Santiago in a beautiful place known as La Mula, where the Turquino River flows into the Caribbean Sea.

El Colón contains the best preserved wrecks from the colonial era.

Only six meters from the coast you can go straight down to the stern and if you go towards the bow, at 32 meters you will appreciate other remains.

The bottom is sieved with bullets, casings and other metal pieces.

Stones dragged by the current produce a mystical sound that gives a magical touch to the site.

Tiburones Toro

Sharks’ Friends Centre, Playa Santa Lucía

Here is another site for shark lovers.

As visibility is not very good, choose a clear day to witness the feeding of whale sharks by experienced divers.

This takes place at a depth of 28 meters during the ebb and flow of the sea.

El Acuario – Cayo Largo

The beaches of this beautiful little island have the whitest and finest sand in the archipelago.

You will find a large number of seagulls, pelicans, sea turtles and iguanas.

In addition, the waters contain more than thirty dive sites.

El Acuario is located at a depth of fifteen meters, where coral fish, poisonous rays, obispos, turtles and gatas live.

El Ebano – Playa Girón, Bay of Pigs

Twenty-four dive sites are scattered from Playa Larga to Playa Girón, all accessible from the coast.

A turquoise sea with very clear water invites you to scuba diving, snorkeling and offers excellent visibility.

Close to the coast, we descend through a beautiful canyon to the point where the wall rises to a depth of 23 metres.

In this place, there is not a great variety of fish, but the wall and the sea are spectacular.

Under the cliff, on the way back, you must visit the small caves, another attraction of the site.

Boca de Caldera  – Habana del Este

Boca de Caldera can be considered the best diving area in Havana, accessible through the rocky coast.

You will have to swim some 200 meters.

At a depth of five meters, you will find a small cave that will lead you to the first 12-meter wall.

In addition, the good visibility and the absence of sea currents will allow you to enjoy an impressive garden of corals, sponges and gorgonians, as well as a large population of coral fish.

Eric Testi is an avid diver who has more than 3,500 dives to his credit, most of which were in Cuban waters.

Together with his wife, Déborah Andollo, the diving instructor has participated in various underwater documentaries, most recently with NHK of Japan, in addition to his participation in several environmental defense projects.