View Full Version : Where to Dive in Cuba?

09-21-2007, 02:39 AM
I have been asked by a group to organize a dive trip to Cuba, but I have never been there myself. Can anyone offer any advice on where I should be looking at for the best diving? The group would be interested in being based at a resort, I would think, and recreational dives to 100'.

09-21-2007, 02:43 AM
Americans are the last to ask, the State Department punishes US citizen travelers to Cuba.

It would be really cool to see all the old cars from the 40's and 50's! Take lots of photos for us!

09-21-2007, 01:54 PM
Americans are the last to ask, the State Department punishes US citizen travelers to Cuba.

It would be really cool to see all the old cars from the 40's and 50's! Take lots of photos for us!

There are a few island nations you can enter from and not worry about your passport being stamped though ;) Cuba is a beautiful country with some great diving (including cave systems.) Hopefully once Fidel is gone for good we can normalize realtions with them again. Hope you have a great trip snake; definitely bring back lots of pictures (and a few boxes of cigars would not be bad either :p )

09-23-2007, 01:57 PM
Have a look at http://www.cuba-junky.com.
or try this for their scuba page http://www.cuba-junky.com/cuba/watersport.html

It gives alot of info about the island - both under and above the water.

I have heard that diving in cuba is beautiful.


09-24-2007, 03:52 PM
Merci, Lottie :). So no one has had the opportunity to dive there? What are the penalties for Americans going there?

09-26-2007, 06:15 AM
never returning home:)

Papa Bear
09-26-2007, 06:22 AM
Very much like Caymans! I would do it in the water!:D I know people who dive Gitmo!

12-12-2007, 07:13 PM
Americans are the last to ask, the State Department punishes US citizen travelers to Cuba.

That's what they want you to think! It's only an economic embargo. So research, educational and nonprofits can go. You just need a special permit from the State Department. There are special flights from Miami, but most just connect through Mexico or Canada. To get the permit, you have to affiliate youself with some University and do some "research", or with a Church, Mission, red cross etc. There are actually quite a number of Americans there but they keep a low profle as many Cubans still have a distaste for the American Corporate-Government but NOT the American people.

The Cubans don't stamp your passport (not even Canadian ones) and it makes no difference to the Cuban Customs guy whether you're from the US or from Botswana :)

The main thing is taking on US Customs & Immigration when you get back! :eek: You have to prove that you didn't spend a penny in Cuba of your American earned money. If you can do that easily then you are able to come and go no problem. And they will not hassel you if you have the State Department issued permit. As for souvenirs and such, the same rule applies.

12-12-2007, 09:04 PM
I've actually been there a couple of times.. to Cayo Guillermo (beside Cayo Coco), as well as Jibacoa. The dive shops are pretty primitive, but the diving is beautiful. There are many swim throughs, corals, and fish galore. There are even caves, but I doubt you'll find anyone to take you to them. They are way off the beaten path. The dive boats are quite small (my experience at both locations), and the waves can be both non-existant, as well as throwing you all over the ocean.

Here's a pic of the the dive boat at Jibacoa...


At Jibacoa, there is also amazing snorkelling (even though I am not a big snorkelling fan). The reef starts about 20' from shore, and is home to approximately 120 species of fish in that area alone. I saw puffer fish, spotted rays, and many other "neat" things just snorkelling.

Keep in mind that my camera wasn't the greatest...:o

This was taken while snorkelling in Jibacoa...


While diving in Cayo Guillermo...


The dive crew at Jibacoa were amazing. Although they weren't a "state of the art" dive shop, the people were very accomodating. I would recommend bringing your own regs, BC, wetsuit, fins, mask, and yes... even a snorkel.:p

Cayo Guillermo was ok, the diving decent, but if I had to choose between the two, I would pick Jibacoa again. The resort had better food, more to see, and a bigger dive team.

Cayo Largo is supposed to have some incredible diving, but it can be a tough spot to get to, as the weather etc. can be very unpredictable. I recommend the end of May/early July for the Northern spots, such as the places I went.

If anyone would like some more info, don't hesitate to ask! :)

12-12-2007, 09:05 PM
Hmm.. I noticed that image links don't work here :o

12-12-2007, 09:35 PM
I've been to Cayo Largo and it's gorgeous. Will post a trip report soon in the Cuba section :D Went in Dec and the weather was a little windy but otherwise perfect. When planning a trip, just remember that hurricane do hit Cuba & hurricane season is May-Nov :)

12-12-2007, 11:20 PM
Hmm.. I noticed that image links don't work here :o

They work here fine.
Thanks for the pics.

12-13-2007, 01:22 PM
When planning a trip, just remember that hurricane do hit Cuba & hurricane season is Nov-May :)

Isn't it from June to November?

12-13-2007, 03:13 PM
Isn't it from June to November?

Yes - offically the season starts 1st June til 30th November...but August and September are the main months that hurricanes can occur.

12-13-2007, 03:50 PM
Isn't it from June to November?

ooops, typo! Changed that in my post :p

Thanks for pointing it out Chantelle :)

12-13-2007, 04:26 PM
Glad to be of assistance *bows*

Both times I went, it was either the last week in May, or the first two weeks in June, and it was absolutely perfect! :)

12-13-2007, 05:24 PM
Can you tell us more about the resorts? What were the accomodations like, etc.? And costs? Did you go down as a group? Do they have group rates?

12-13-2007, 06:41 PM
The resort in Cayo Guillermo was pretty basic. The people were very friendly and accomodating, but it was pretty much like hanging out in your back yard. Nothing fancy at all. The food was pretty bland, and beef was hard to come by (wait 'til you see the cows there.. no grass to feed on and food is expensive.. and they run wild in the 'streets' with the horses). The accomodations were also basic, but they were clean, and the cleaning people were really wonderful. We brought little things to leave in the room for them, to which they were very greatful. I would have returned to this place, as it was a nice, relaxing place to go, but not for a two week stay.

Jibacoa gets my vote all around. The entertainment staff were always planning things during the day, and would get to know most of the guests during their stay. This is where we opted for a two week stay. The resort was top notch, as was the food. There was a different theme to the buffet every evening (eg. Mexican food night, American Food night, Italian etc..). The staff would all dress up, and during Mexican night, there were maracas, mariachi bands, and alot of fun. They also had shows every night, for those that wanted to come out, by the pool area, on a big stage. I actually ended up singing there (I sing) as well. They recorded it and wanted to keep the tape to play there. Just an awesome place all around, and the staff really treat you like part of the family. Every night after the shows, they'd end things off with the Sun Dance... I even bought the CD, but I can't remember how the whole thing goes...:p There are dance lessons every day, volleyball tournaments... hockey.. if you can imagine that.. even beach darts. There is a gym as well, attached to the dive shop, where you can work out on your own, or even take a pilates class. The dive shop is pretty small, but the crew are pretty wonderful.... ahhh... pftt.. now I really DO need to go back...I think I left a piece of me back there!!! Oh yeah.. and there's a disco there too, that is pretty fun.. oo.. and a piano bar. They have a couple of people that take turns at night, where you all sit around the piano bar and sing along. It's just freakin' awesome.....

Oh yeah.. and I'm not sure about group rates, there were just two of us. I actually have pics of alot of the staff there.. they were incredible. There was one lady who would make sure she had a couple of oranges by the beach bar, and make me freshly squeezed orange juice for my vodka... :)

The story doesn't seem to end here.... They also had trips that you could take into Havana. We opted not to go the tourist route, but to hire a taxi driver to take us in for the day. A much better option in my opinion. He showed us all of the cool spots, and even took us off the beaten path (really off the path.. like.. offroading...) to show us some really beautiful caves. He even took us to his home town and showed us where he lived and hung out.

There are also horse riding trails, where I saw some of the biggest freakin' bulls I've ever seen, just wandering the streets. I realized why the leader guy had a bull whip now... There were buzzards, donkeys, horses.. all wandering. He took me by the Cuban camp sites too.. a little different than what we're used to, that's for sure.

I do have other pictures, but I'll have to post them when I get home.

Just freakin' incredible...

12-13-2007, 07:16 PM
On the mainland you get more produce and a wider variety of food. I was on Cayo CoCo and I think there was only 1 or 2 flights per week so everything would come in by plane or boat. The few times we went, there was some sort of Chef rotation/kitchen training [They sent their Corportate Executive Chef from HQ Italy] going on and the food was really good. They have theme nights every night and had a schedule posted in front of the dining room. There's always a pig roast. I think the desserts were just okay.

The quality and type of food you get also depends on the resort you stay at and their target customer. I found that the Melia & the Sol resorts have decent standards and are usually right on the beach.

Each resort also offers a full range of schduled activities, volley ball, water polo, pool hockey, poolside aerobics etc.

On Cayo Coco there isn't much to do outside of the resorts.

12-15-2007, 02:47 AM
Hmm.. I noticed that image links don't work here :o

Duhhh... I just realized that I didn't have the "show images" thing checked off in my User CP Options...:rolleyes: