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Diving in Cuba

Discussion in 'Greater Antilles' started by Dann, Sep 27, 2011.

  1. Dann

    Dann Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: KW, ON, CA
    24
    1
    0
    Hello

    Went to Cuba in April 2011, stayed and dove at Jibacoa. Keeping an open mind - this place is not bad, considering the 20cuc/dive and the proximity to all dive sites. Also, the ppl working there were very friendly.

    Now, we're ready to vacation again, this time at beginning of December. Question is: go back to Jibacoa or choose another destination such as: Rancho Luna or Playa Giron? Anyone here dove with the last 2 and has some insight? There's not a lot of info on these.
    My understanding is that Rancho Luna has pretty decent dive sights, including some walls and wrecks. Playa Giron is near the Bay of Pigs.
    Any word on the resorts themselves as well as the dives there? including the dive shops and sites?
    anything would be greatly appreciated. thanks
    Dan
     
  2. koksie

    koksie Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Willemstad, Curacao
    53
    0
    0
    I spent two weeks in Cuba this summer, of which 3 days diving at Maria la Gorda. Nice sites, but not spectacular. Great underwater mountains, not that many special fish. On the other hand, I live on Curacao so I am somewhat spoiled:).
    The only diveshop at Maria la Gorda is horrible, bring your own gear if you can since the maintenance of the gear is really bad. They may have issue with spare parts but giving a customer a regulator without the membrame inside is more than simple bad maintenance. I did 5 dives and not a single time I received proper rental gear. If you go there and rent gear, be prepared to dive with leaking BCD, regulator and first stages since I have tried close to 15 sets but not a single one was without leaks.
    Furthermore the diveshop is really after your money and the food in the only restaurant is horrible. That said, I would not recommend you to go there.

    I did not dive at Playa Giron (my buddy was ill) but I snorkeled there and I have to say: the snorkling was very nice, much better than at Maria la Gorda. They have several dive shops in the area, the one I saw up close was halfway between Playa Larga and Playa Giron. It was a small hut on the side of the road but the gear looked relatively new and they did a busy trade. In that area there are several shops, so if I were you I would hop along the coast, staying everywhere for a few days of diving and then move on. Have fun!
     
  3. Dann

    Dann Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: KW, ON, CA
    24
    1
    0
    hey Koksie

    Thanks for the heads-up. We always take our gear with us (except tank and weights) :)
    It's sad to hear about your experience on Maria la Gorda, since it's supposed to be one of THE places to dive in Cuba.
    We had a great experience at villa chameleon jibacoa, including diving.
    Regarding safety, I did have concerns for my daughter (10yrs old at the time) before getting to know the DM at Villa Jibacoa. However, he turned out to be an excellent DM and looked after my girl as if she were his own!
    Anyone else has had any good/bad experiences at rancho Luna/ faro Luna resorts?
    Thanks
    Dan
     
  4. koksie

    koksie Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Willemstad, Curacao
    53
    0
    0
    Well, maybe my bad experiences with the diveshop at Maria La Gorda influenced my story about the diving there. Furthermore I am quite spoiled from the diving I can do here.

    If I would have to rate the divesites, I would problably given them 7,5 out of 10. Curacao gets 8 out of 10, just like Bonaire. The geology of the underwater world was quite nice, white sand at 40m, from there large steep mountains rising up to 8-10 m. There are three dives each day and you can choose which you want to join. Since all dive sites are max 10 minutes by boat, they go back to the base after each dive. Because of that, you can easily skip a dive and stay on the beach if you want to. The first two dives are normally deeper (30m) than the last dive, which goes to about 15m.
    I found the first two dives nicer in terms of terrain and wide-angle, the third dive much better in fish life and coral.
    Maria La Gorda is suposed to be the second best dive area in Cuba, after Isla de la Juventud, but it did not live up to my expectations. But, then again, it was the only place in Cuba I have dived, so maybe the other spots are indeed better, as some people I met on the road were telling me. Did not have the time to check it out though.
     
  5. Mark Derail

    Mark Derail Photographer

    # of Dives: 25 - 49
    Location: Montreal, Quebec CA
    1,090
    185
    0
    Obviously this thread doesn't get much attention from our fellow Americans, it being illegal for them to travel there.

    I wonder if Americans could travel there, would that drive up the prices? Currently it's the cheapest destination in the Caribbeans for Canadians.

    From other divers I have heard from, going to Cuba for diving wasn't worth it, may as well spend a bit more for a liveaboard.

    However, I'd like to go there even if in a whole week I only dive 4 times. Haven't been there yet.
     
  6. Dann

    Dann Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: KW, ON, CA
    24
    1
    0
    Hey DM

    I would agree that if Americans traveled to Cuba the price would go up, due to demand (looking at the number of US population and proximity to the island). Would not only drive the price up but also push for additional development.

    Regarding diving in Cuba, our experience was good. In terms of the "wow" factor, it's definitely not there. However, it's not bad either (reef life and condition was better than Mexico). Our trip was a R&R trip - not a dive trip per se, as will be the next trip. I just need the 7+ days to unplug away from work and cold, and if I can throw some diving in the mix, sun, sand and good times ... for $700 + dives - why not! Price-point for liveaboards is higher than that. Also, it's difficult for me to go on one with an 11 year old.

    As for the number of dives - you'll be able to put in 10-15 dives over 4-5 days depending on how keen you are.
     
  7. gb_williams

    gb_williams Barracuda

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Smyrna, Georgia
    205
    114
    43
    I'm definitely a gringo (shhhhh) but have wanted to see Cuba for 40 years. I also want to dive there. Especially the wrecks, the walls and the reefs around Santiago. Can anyone tell me about getting to Santiago de Cuba from La Habana and what to expect from the local dive operators and the dives?
     
  8. Torontonian

    Torontonian Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: Toronto, Ont., Canada
    511
    9
    18
    Americans can go into Cuba no problem. Many Americans do go to Cuba. The American Embassy in Havana is functioning, taking care of business for lots of Americans there.

    When you enter Cuba, they do NOT stamp your passport. So Americans won't have anything on their pasport to indicate they've been to Cuba. Heck, there was just that American lady that tried to swim from Havana to Florida, and received lots of press coverage.
     
  9. DandyDon

    DandyDon Old men ought to be explorers ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: One kilometer high on the Texas High Plains
    45,784
    3,001
    113
    New Orleans airport was just approved for flights, but travel is still very restricted. From: New Orleans airport to offer Cuba flights - Travel - News - msnbc.com
    DAN dive insurance won't work there either since DAN cannot pay expenses there.
     
  10. Dann

    Dann Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: KW, ON, CA
    24
    1
    0
    Good to know about DAN not covering Cuba. Thank you.

    As an update - we're going to Santa Lucia (Shark's friends). Hopefully will be a good trip. Will update when I return.
     

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