Cuba is a diver’s paradise. There are dozens of sunken Spanish galleons and modern vessels and aircraft, and the coral formations astound. Visibility ranges from 15 to 35 meters. Water temperatures average 27–29°C.
Cuba has almost 40 dive centers. Most large resort hotels have scuba outlets. Certification courses are usually for the American and Canadian Underwater Certification (ACUC), not PADI. Cuban dive masters are generally well-trained, but equipment is often not up to Western par, and dive shops are meagerly equipped. Spearfishing is strictly controlled. Spearguns and gigs are not allowed through customs.
Cuba has four principal dive areas: the Archipiélago de Las Colorados, off the north coast of Pinar del Río; the Jardines de la Rey archipelago, off the north coast of Ciego de Ávila and Camagüey Provinces; the Jardines de la Reina archipelago off the southern coast of Ciego de Ávila and Camagüey Provinces; and Isla de la Juventud and Cayo Largo. The so-called “Blue Circuit” east of Havana also has prime sites, as do the waters off the tip of Cabo de Corrientes, at the westernmost point of Cuba (good for whale sharks). Isla de la Juventud, with many of the best wrecks and walls, is primarily for experienced divers. Varadero is of only modest interest for experienced divers, although it has caves and wrecks.
© Christopher P. Baker from Moon Cuba, 5th Edition