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Varadero Cuba

Discussion in 'Greater Caribbean and Bermuda' started by swimmer_spe, Dec 29, 2018.

  1. swimmer_spe

    swimmer_spe Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: Sudbury, Ontario
    637
    97
    28
    I will be going to Varadero Cuba, staying at the Ocean Vista Azul.

    What are the diving operations like? I plan to bring my own regs, BCD, mask, snorkel, fins and wetsuit.
     
  2. Snoweman

    Snoweman Loggerhead Turtle

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: Atlanta, GA
    1,623
    618
    113
    When are you going? We are tentatively planning a trip in March. I would like to know about the diving, too.
     
  3. swimmer_spe

    swimmer_spe Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: Sudbury, Ontario
    637
    97
    28
    I am here now. I booked a tour that did things that brought me to the Bay of Pigs. I was able to dive when I got there.
     
  4. Snoweman

    Snoweman Loggerhead Turtle

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: Atlanta, GA
    1,623
    618
    113
    What's your general impression of Cuba? I hope you will post a trip report.
     
  5. swimmer_spe

    swimmer_spe Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: Sudbury, Ontario
    637
    97
    28
    I am enjoying myself. Well worth coming here. Well worth diving.

    As far as a trip report, I wasn't planning on it, but if you remind me after Wednesday, I can with some pictures.
     
    Snoweman likes this.
  6. Ayisha

    Ayisha DIR Practitioner

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Toronto, Canada
    2,893
    1,157
    113
    My impression of the diving in or around Varadero was not very good. A lot of coral bleaching and not a lot of life. Incredibly beautiful beaches though.

    Diving in the area around Marea del Portillo is mediocre, fairly average Caribbean diving. Some colourful reefs, some sea life, not a lot of big critters. Beautiful area nestled at the foot of the Sierra Maestra mountains where Castro hid for a couple of years before his Revolution.

    Diving in the area of the Bay of Pigs is also pretty average Caribbean diving. Diving in El Brinco cenote (cavern) was fun. It gets pitch dark very fast though long before the cave entrance, so a word to the wise.

    We chose not to dive near Havana and just explored the sights and sounds, walking around, visiting restaurants and having a marguerita.

    Jardines de la Reina was fantastic diving! We were on the Avalon liveaboard Tortuga, and we had an excellent experience. Healthy, colourful reef, abundant sea life, and large critters on every dive. Sharks, sea turtles, sting rays, spotted eagle rays, green or spotted moray eels, grouper, etc. on every dive. That was amazing diving and I haven't seen it equaled in the Caribbean. The closest second in the Caribbean was specifically Lighthouse or Glover's atolls in Belize long before they became popular tourist destinations.

    Hope that helps to give you an overview of some of the diving areas. Jardines de la Reina has really increased in price the last few years, but If you can make it, it should be quite a great experience.
     
    swimmer_spe and Snoweman like this.
  7. Snoweman

    Snoweman Loggerhead Turtle

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: Atlanta, GA
    1,623
    618
    113
    We are potentially going as two couples. The husbands dive, and the wives do not. A live aboard won't work for us on this trip, but I may suggest it to my dive buddy (the other husband) for another trip. How much was the cost of the live aboard. They don't post it on their website.
     
  8. Ayisha

    Ayisha DIR Practitioner

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Toronto, Canada
    2,893
    1,157
    113
    We signed up to Avalon's specials email and a little later received an email for a "Buy 3, get 1 Free" special. We gathered 7 divers and they honoured the 25% off each, so the liveaboard cost us $1822 CDN total per person including taxes, fees, and transfers. The regular cost of the liveaboard in 2015 was $2400 CDN, but the last I heard it had gone up to around $3000 CDN in 2016 due to US demand and expectations for loosening the embargo, but the situation could be in your favour now price-wise. They also have some competition now, whereas at that time, they had the only permit to dive in the protected marine area. I think Aggressor is running a trip there. There may be others.

    Regarding the price, we can book a 5 star all-inclusive resort with airfare, diving, and all taxes and fees for about $1200 from Toronto to anywhere else in Cuba, so their prices are expensive *for Cuba* to us, but Jardines is worth the extra expense.

    I have a detailed write-up with links to pics at: Jardines de la Reina, Cuba Trip Report - September 2015
     
  9. Diesel_Diver

    Diesel_Diver Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Bay of Fundy region
    137
    45
    28
    Never saw any resorts that included diving, it’s available as an extra fee but not included. Which resort was it included at?
     
  10. Ayisha

    Ayisha DIR Practitioner

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Toronto, Canada
    2,893
    1,157
    113
    If you re-read my post, quoted below, I didn't say anything about a *package price*. I said that it can be booked for about $1200 CDN total including diving and all taxes and fees. The all-inclusive resort is booked as a package, and the diving is booked as a package. I also normally book around a month before or less before a trip. Even Jardines was booked 6 weeks before.

    A 3-star all-inclusive is even cheaper. I went to Marea del Portillo with my LDS 2 years ago for $1022 CDN including airfare, diving, and all taxes and fees. My non-diving husband cost $722 CDN total. At the time my Jardines post was written in 2015, before the LDS trip became popular, the total price for a diver on that trip was about $800 CDN.

     

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