Diving in Cuba
For the island's visitors, Cuba scuba diving is one of the most enjoyed watersports choices. Pristine coral reefs, clear Caribbean waters, and an abundance of curious sea creatures are just part of what makes diving in Cuba such a joy. Cuba boasts thousands of miles of coastline, which lends itself nicely to those looking to plan Cuba diving holidays. The scuba diving resorts Cuba offers are getting more and more plentiful each year, and with facilities that meet all the modern demands, you can bet that safety and fun are the two primary objectives. Both novice and experienced divers will find scuba diving in Cuba to be highly rewarding and memorable. The Cuban government, which is embracing the country's tourism industry more than ever, has declared a number of the country's best dive spots as protected areas. This means you can enjoy an environment that is most definitely well-suited for the cause.
If you have never been scuba diving before, or if it's been quite some time since you last did, many Cuban diving facilities/centers offer instructors that can help you brush up on all the basics. Usually, after orientation and education sessions, you can start small, scuba diving in shallow waters. Cuba's mainland beaches, and its cays and islands have plenty of flats, where the water is hardly waist deep, allowing for acres of shallow roaming territory. At Cuban dive centers, beginners can often qualify to get in the water by combining a couple hours of class with sessions in a pool. Scuba diving in Cuba can be enjoyed year round, as the water temperatures vary little from month to month. Diving in Cuba is a fairly affordable endeavor, even should you decide to dive more than one day. Rates can be significantly lower during the Cuba off-season, which generally runs from mid-April through December.
Cuba diving holidays are easier to plan than ever. Various Cuba vacation packages feature scuba diving as a major component, and they can help you find the best destination for your Cuba scuba vacation. Generally, you can arrange to go diving in Cuba at one of the many Cuban beach resorts if you haven't arranged your expedition before arrival. Most of these resorts are all inclusive, though you will usually have to pay extra for scuba diving. The Paradisus Varadero Hotel at Varadero beach offers one full scuba session in its all inclusive packages, which is a nice bonus. Hotel Iberostar Varadero is another example of the scuba diving resorts Cuba offers. You can get scuba diving lessons here that can prepare you for an exciting underwater experience. Basically, the Cuban scuba charters are mostly found near the Cuban beach resorts, and they offer certified trainers and all the equipment that you will need. Great care is taken by Cuban scuba centers to maximize safety, so you can worry less about that, and more about enjoying yourself.
Drift diving, which basically involves going where the currents take you, is one of the kinds of diving you can enjoy in Cuba, and many excursions also include wreck diving. Wreck diving is where you drop in to explore a sunken ship, or anything else resting on the sea floor that is man made. In Varadero, you can visit a sunken torpedo boat, or check in on a fallen transport plane. Divers visiting Santiago de Cuba, can arrange expeditions at the local diving areas to see Spanish ships that were casualties of the Spanish-American War. Cave diving is also possible to enjoy on Cuba diving holidays, but should really only be considered by experienced divers. Cave diving offers a very different experience, and can be a perfect compliment to ocean diving.
When diving in Cuba, not only can you enjoy miles of coral reefs. Various channels and tunnels can be explored, and underwater caverns provide mysterious confines that beg inspection. Hundreds of colorful fish species fill the waters off Cuba's shores, and mollusks, crustaceans and sea fans are just some of the marine life you will see. Over 200 different kinds of sponges can be found while diving in Cuba, which can make for quite a study. While diving during the day is preferred by most, night diving in Cuba is also popular at various dive shops. If you like to snap underwater shots while diving, you might visit Cuba's Isla de la Juventud, which has it's own international contest to see who can take the best underwater picture. The El Colony International Scuba-Diving Center on Isla de la Juventud, is just one of the many Cuba dive locations where you Cuba diving holidays become a reality.
Top image: jeshua.nace (flickr), CC BY-SA 2.0