Cuba has some of the Caribbean’s most spectacular diving, much of it almost entirely virgin. The coral formations rival those of anywhere else in the region, and the wreck diving is varied and fascinating: take your pick from Spanish galleons to 20th-century Soviet warships. These are the major venues worth planning a trip around:
- The “Blue Circuit”: You don’t have to leave Havana to dive. Wrecks litter the Atlantic seabed, with dive sites extending for 10 kilometers east, beginning at Bacuranao.
- Playa María la Gorda: This site near the western tip of Cuba is the place to dive with whale sharks. El Valle de Coral Negro (Black Coral Valley) is another highlight, and there are Spanish wrecks in the bay.
- Cayo Levisa: This tiny, coral-fringed cay off the north coast of Pinar del Río Province is a dedicated dive resort.
- Punta Francés: Spanish galleons and coral formations await divers a short distance off the south shore of Isla de la Juventud.
- Ciénaga de Zapata: The Club Octopus International Dive Center, at Playa Larga, will take you diving in cenotes, water-filled limestone sinkholes. You can even dive wrecks of landing craft that grounded during the Bay of Pigs invasion.
- Playa Santa Lucía: Although the hotels here aren’t much to speak of, the diving is sensational. A big draw is shark feeding, performed by the dive master.
- Jardines de la Reina: Never mind shark feeding. How about riding a shark? The “Gardens of the Queen,” south of Camagüey, are virgin territory, with stupendous coral reefs, colorful fishes, marine turtles, moray eels, and other desirable stars of the show.
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