Scuba Diving and Snorkeling in the Caribbean is often associated with such locations as the Blue Hole in Belize, Sting Ray City in Grand Cayman, Santa Rosa Wall in Cozumel and Wreck Diving off the coast of Aruba. While these are among the most sought after spots in the Caribbean, there is another Island in the Caribbean that, although not usually associated with the best Dive and Snorkel sites in the world, can hold its own even to some of the most demanding underwater enthusiasts .
While mostly known for the pristine beaches, beautiful architecture and rich culture, Cuba is home to over 500 Diving and 360 Snorkeling sites within the Cuban Archipelago, many of which have been declared National Parks or protected areas. Preservation of Cuba's natural ecosystem on both land and water are taken very seriously to ensure that the warm waters and stimulating biodiversity remain vibrant and healthy. The Main Island and Cayos of Cuba have an exceptional diversity of marine life and offer a variety of opportunities from reef exploration, walls, narrow channels and wrecks. Conditions surrounding the island are consistent ideal with clear warm waters and no strong currents.
Jacques Cousteau once proclaimed that he saw more fish on Cuban reefs than anywhere else in the world. You do not just have to be a seasoned diver though; excellent snorkeling is available through the island from just meters offshore to full day excursions along the reefs and wrecks. Five of the best places in Cuba to dive are:
Bay of Pigs is known for its underwater caves and mysterious ocean walls and features lots of gorgonians, sponges and corals. A thriving marine life will satisfy Snorkelers and Divers alike as most of the diving is done from the shore.
Maria la Gorda is a biosphere reserve on the westernmost part of Cuba. Although quite remote, it is very rewarding for both Divers and Snorkelers as the seabed is among the top places in the Caribbean and contain an abundance of marine flora and fauna.
Holguin on the north coast is home to countless schools of underwater species and superb coral reefs. Numerous dive centers offer excursions at very reasonable rates.
The Cayos also on the north coast comprise of inlets and Cays including Cayo Coco, Cayo Santa Maria, and Cayo Guillermo. With 20 miles of Coral reefs and perfect visibility, you'll encounter turtles, moray, lionfish and dolphins among the thriving underwater world. Divers will experience incredible walls and impressive coral formations.
Santiago de Cuba on the southern coast has wrecks, vibrant flora and fauna, and fantastic underwater topography.
All of these locations in Cuba have accommodation ranged from All-Inclusive resorts to more modest hotels. Many of the resorts include snorkeling as part of their All-Inclusive package and also offer day excursions to more remote locations at very affordable rates.
With a safety record that is tops in the world and extreme high regard to diver safety. By never having more than 5 divers per dive master and always having a highly qualified doctor manning their 10 recompression chambers means Cuba is not only one of the most spectacular places to live but also one of the safest.
The incredible beaches of Cuba are incredible not only on the land but under the water as well. If you are traveling to Cuba just to soak up the sun and enjoy the laid back Cuban vibe, grab a snorkel and enjoy the world hidden under the turquoise waters. For Divers looking for world-class diving at less than world-class prices, give the reefs and coral around Cuba and you'll discover that diving in Cuba will not only meet but exceed your expectations.