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Scuba Diving In Cuba

Aug 17, 2008
Why Go?

Scuba diving in Cuba has become hugely popular in recent years, and it's easy to see why. The water is warm and crystal clear, and the vibrant underwater wildlife and excellently preserved coral reefs make it a key destination for avid scuba divers.

The sheer number of great dive sites in Cuba is staggering, far too many to explore in a single Cuba diving holiday. Many keen scuba divers return to the island year on year to explore some of the more out of the way places. The sites also present a good variation in their level of difficulty, so diving in Cuba is suitable for both beginners and veteran divers.

Scuba diving in Cuba is a big business and there are plenty of companies to choose from, especially around the most popular dive sites. Note that if you have dived before, you must bring your certification card with you. If you are a beginner, many companies run courses that will get you certified in a few hours.

When Should I Go?

The rainy season runs from May to October; the most popular (and expensive) time to go diving in Cuba is between November and May. Plenty of good diving can still be done all year round - the average water temperature is a balmy 24 degrees Celsius. Be aware that once every two years or so Cuba experiences a hurricane between August and September along its east coast, so it is worth researching if a hurricane is expected to hit before you book your holiday!

Where Should I Go?

There are great dive sites suitable for Cuba diving holidays around the entire coast of the island, but the resort of Cayo Coco is a particular highlight. Located on the north of the island, a magnificent coral reef is half a mile from the coast and this particular part of the Cuban coast is teeming with tropical fish, giving divers plenty to see underwater. Out of the water, Cayo Coco features the finest beaches in Cuba, and the numerous hotels and dive companies that are set up at this resort mean that you'll have little trouble finding places to stay and companies to dive with.

Maria la Gorda is equally popular, and is regarded as one of the best sites for scuba diving in Cuba. Situated in the midst of a national park, Maria la Gorda provides a more secluded experience than Cayo Coco - there's little here except for natural beauty, a few apartments and restaurants, the dive centre and some of the best diving on the island. The dive sites are characterised by steep drops, and sheer walls that are riddled with caves and tunnels to explore.

If you'd prefer to go diving amidst ship wrecks rather than coral reefs, then Santiago de Cuba is the place to go, as there are a number of well preserved wrecks that are safe to explore.

How Much Will It Cost?

Naturally, the cost of scuba diving in Cuba will vary depending on the season you visit and the company that you go with. Single dives typically cost between $25 - $50 US, with discounts available if you buy several dives at the same time. Many companies now offer Cuba diving holiday packages, including flights, accommodation and diving costs, which can offer good value and save you the hassle of putting everything together separately.
About the Author
Emma Lelliott is the general manager of Captivating Cuba, an independent Cuba holiday specialist. With offices in Havana and the UK, Captivating Cuba are experts in putting together the very best Cuba diving holidays.
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