Cuba: A Great Place To Go Scuba Diving

Awesome Dive Sites Cuba scuba diving on Cuba where to go diving on Cuba

Until a little over a year ago I could have never imagined I would become a scuba dive addict… Diving was something my husband Frank had dreamed about for years, but truth to tell, the idea of going diving scared me!

I was afraid I would feel claustrophobic being completely surrounded by water. I couldn’t have been more wrong, diving doesn’t feel claustrophobic to me at all! In fact, it’s quite the opposite: it feels like ultimate freedom!

I love flying over the beautiful coral, surrounded by colorful fish, spotting the occasional turtle or stingray while hearing nothing but the sound of my own breathing.

Since getting my PADI Open Water in the Philippines, I have explored the underwater world in Malaysia, Thailand and now Cuba!

Cuba: A Great Place To Go Scuba Diving

Scuba diving in Cuba

I had read about the many diving possibilities in Cuba, but I wasn’t sure if there would a dive center near Guardalavaca where I was staying for the majority of my time in Cuba. Luckily there was, located on the beach 300 meter from my hotel, Club Atlantico.

Eagle Ray Marlin Dive Center Guardalavaca Cuba

Dive school in Guardalavaca: Eagle Ray

The dive center is called Eagle Ray Marlin Diving Center and when I visited (March 2016) it was opened every day. There are usually 2 dives a day: at 9am and 11am.

I went diving on Saturday (I went on both the 9am and 11am dive) and Monday (I went on the 9am dive only).

On Saturday there were just 4 people on the dive and 2 dive masters. Since it had been more than 9 months since my last dive, I very much appreciated dive master Alejandro helping me putt my gear together properly. Don’t get me wrong, I assembled my own gear (very important to check your own stuff and know if everything works!), he just gave me some pointers on things I forgot.

Safety first!

Eagle Ray Marlin Dive Center Guardalavaca Cuba

On Monday there were a lot of people, so we split up in 2 groups of 7 people. I didn’t mind the larger group size that much, however I do prefer smaller groups (4 people per dive master). Ah well, the awesomeness of my Monday dive more than offset the slightly higher number of people being on the dive.

I paid 90CUC for 3 dives, which comes down to 30CUC per dive (around €26/$30). The more dives you do, the lower the price per dive.

About the dive sites around Guardalavaca

Cuba 26 Awesome Dive Sites Guardalavaca
26 Awesome Dive Sites in Guardalavaca Cuba

There are 26 dive sites in front of the beach of Guardalavaca, I went to 3 of these dive sites:

• Sirena
• Coral Garden
• Laberinto

What surprised me was how close the dive sites were to the shore. Just 5-10 minutes on the boat and I could pretty much wave to my mum (who I traveled around Cuba with:-) who was relaxing on the beach.

When I asked one of the Dive Masters about his favorite site he mentioned Laberinto (lucky me that we went there:-). In the Lonely Planet of Cuba Corona is also mentioned as a nice dive site.

Cuba: A Great Place To Go Scuba Diving

Scuba dive site 1: Sirena

The Sirena dive site is between 18 and 40 meter deep and it was my first wall dive! I have to admit it took me a while before I was able to fully enjoy my surroundings as it had been more than 9 months since my last dive. Diving isn’t difficult, but you do get better the more often you do it.

I had to refresh my skills during the first part of the dive and get back into the routine of breathing slowly, moving slowly and checking my dive console for information about my air and depth. Once I had gotten back into my ‘dive groove’ I was wowed by the impressive coral formations on the steep wall.

Highlight of the dive: my first wall dive and seeing 2 lion fish!

Cuba: A Great Place To Go Scuba Diving

Cuba: A Great Place To Go Scuba Diving

Scuba dive site 2: Coral Garden

Being the second dive of the day, this was the shallow dive, between 6 and 15 meters deep. What I love about shallow dives is how the sunlight filters through and sparkles off the colorful fish.

16 Highlights Of East Cuba

Another reason I like shallow dives is because I get cold quite easily. Well, that may be an understatement. My husband would say this is a severe understatement, he sometimes calls me his little vampire… I don’t know why, but my body sucks at maintaining a proper temperature.

But I am rambling, back to diving. When I am diving in water below 26 degrees Celsius I get cold. Last year in El Nido the water temperature was round 24 degrees Celsius and I couldn’t stop shaking when I got out. I actually started wearing 2 wetsuits, a long one and a short one on top of that, following the advice of my awesome instructor who had the same problem…

Unfortunately, there was only a short wetsuit available in Cuba and after the first dive at Sirena I was cold. Brining my to my second point (finally;-) why I like shallow dives: it’s a little less cold at 12 meters than it is at 30 meters. Warmer and lighter.

Highlight of the dive: seeing a huge crab (unfortunately no picture)!

Scuba diving in Cuba is highly recommend! I had read about the many diving possibilities in Cuba and was not disappointed. In Guardalavaca, on the East side of Cuba, there are 26 different dive sites. I visited three: Sirena (18-40m), Coral Garden (6-15m) and Laberinto (15-30m). During these dives I saw lion fish, stingrays, lots of colorful fish and a huge lobster. Diving is awesome!Scuba diving in Cuba is highly recommend! I had read about the many diving possibilities in Cuba and was not disappointed. In Guardalavaca, on the East side of Cuba, there are 26 different dive sites. I visited three: Sirena (18-40m), Coral Garden (6-15m) and Laberinto (15-30m). During these dives I saw lion fish, stingrays, lots of colorful fish and a huge lobster. Diving is awesome!

Scuba dive dive site 3: Laberinto

The dive site is 15-33 meters deep and it was my absolute favorite dive site in Cuba! The site is like a maze (hence the name) because of the massive rocks and coral formations on these rocks. Swimming between the steep walls we came across 2 lion fish, a needle fish, 2 stingrays and last but certainly not least, a giant lobster! A beautiful dive!

Highlight of the dive: having Daniel as a dive buddy who had an underwater camera, meaning I at least have some photos of my dive to share with you! I really have to buy my own camera…

Cuba: A Great Place To Go Scuba Diving

scuba diving in cuba

Altogether another great dive experience,
I can’t wait to go again…

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25 Comments

  1. April 9, 2016 / 4:51 pm

    What a great scuba experience. I am a scuba diving addict and now I want to go to Cuba to see this too but there are a lot of amazing destinations to go diving. It is hard to choose.

    • Lotte
      Author
      April 9, 2016 / 5:36 pm

      So nice to hear from a fellow scuba diving addict:-). And I agree Karla, so many great destinations to choose from… What’s your favorite dive spot?

  2. April 9, 2016 / 5:43 pm

    Just like you , I recently got my scuba license and was addicted IMMEDIATELY, omg the underwater world, I have been missing so much! I am glad you have told me there is scuba in Cuba, maybe ill have a chance to check it out since I am commonly all over Latin America. ps. don’t lobsters look creepy underwater with the mask 😛 aha thats what I always thought

    • Lotte
      Author
      April 9, 2016 / 9:45 pm

      I KNOW (Monica style;-)! The underwater world is so amazing… If you have any tips about great dive spots in other countries, I’m happy to hear them! And yes, the lobster was creepy but so cool to see this creature in its natural habitat. It’s difficult to show in a picture how big it was, but I didn’t feel like swimming next to it to create a good perspective;-P

  3. April 9, 2016 / 7:41 pm

    Scuba diving has always seemed scary to me, but after reading this post, I might want to try it some day! The pictures are beautiful!

    • Lotte
      Author
      April 9, 2016 / 9:42 pm

      I can totally recommend giving it a try! You don’t have to go for a complete course immediately, just do a fun dive and see if you like it:-). The underwater world is mesmerizing…

  4. April 9, 2016 / 10:36 pm

    I am so envious, Lotte! Not only did I earn my advanced open water scuba certification (alas, now expired), but I also live only a few miles away from Cuba in Florida. I seems like everyone is going these days, so hopefully I will make it soon!

    • Lotte
      Author
      April 9, 2016 / 11:39 pm

      You can always take a refresher course;-). And with Obama visiting Cuba and the borders opening up I hope you can make it to Cuba soon!

  5. April 10, 2016 / 4:46 pm

    I often wonder if I could get past my fear of the ocean to scuba diving… It seems like what you describe as the feeling of total freedom under the water would actually be preferable than being on the water. The lionfish look really amazing! It does seem like I am definitely missing out on a beautiful underwater world!

    • Lotte
      Author
      April 10, 2016 / 9:22 pm

      I understand Jackie! I had been wondering if I would like it for a long time as well. You could always give diving a try! If you don’t like it you can stop wondering and know you tried and didn’t like it;-). Or perhaps you’ll completely fall for the wonderful underwater world like I have…

  6. melody pittman
    April 11, 2016 / 3:15 am

    This is the first post ever that I have heard anyone mention scuba diving in Cuba. I did not know that. Awesome to know as my daughter and husband are both divers. Your photos are wonderful! 😉

    • Lotte
      Author
      April 11, 2016 / 5:47 pm

      Ah that’s great to hear Melody, glad I could introduce you, your husband and daughter to the diving possibilities in Cuba:-). Haha, thanks, not my pictures, but next time hopefully;-)

  7. April 12, 2016 / 1:57 am

    I’ll be honest I’ve wanted to go to Cuba for a long time but hadn’t thought about diving there before. I’m getting certified next month and guess I’ll have to hurry up and get over there. Thanks for sharing.

    • Lotte
      Author
      April 12, 2016 / 10:39 am

      So cool you’re getting certified next month, good luck! Definitely worth going to Cuba, for diving and so much more;-)

  8. April 13, 2016 / 2:51 am

    Oh wow, the beauty of Cuba is now surfacing! I never really thought you can do this in Cuba as most of the posts I read are from Havana. Learning new things every day!

    • Lotte
      Author
      April 13, 2016 / 8:58 am

      That’s great Trisha! Glad I showed you a side of Cuba you didn’t know yet:-)

  9. April 13, 2016 / 7:44 am

    I’m not at all surprised to see that Cuba is a great scuba destination. There are so many beautiful beaches to explore and the water is crystal clear.

    • Lotte
      Author
      April 13, 2016 / 8:51 am

      The beaches were gorgeous indeed! And visibility while diving very good too:-)

  10. April 17, 2016 / 9:51 pm

    Fabulous shots. Like those spots not flooded with tourists, the pristine nature remains. Love it.

    I house sat for a couple in Savusavu, Fiji a while back. I was floored by its beauty. They said in the early 90’s it looked like a place outta the Avatar movie. Other worldly beauty, killer whales and huge game fish in the bay, unspoiled, gorgeous coral reefs right up to their front lawn.

    Cool share. Signing off from sunny NYC.

  11. May 17, 2016 / 12:56 pm

    Wow!!! Great post..Actually me and my whole family planning to go for scuba diving..I love adventurous trips and my kids too..:) and I think the things you covered through the post are quiet impressive, good job and great efforts. I found it very interesting and enjoyed reading all of it…keep it up, lovely job..

    • Lotte
      Author
      May 19, 2016 / 10:05 am

      Thank you Jean! I wish you and your family an adventurous holiday and enjoy scuba diving:-)

  12. June 4, 2016 / 7:59 pm

    Welcome to the undersea world, watch your wallet, it can be very addicting…and then blow your budget! I recommend Little Corn Island in Nicaragua, Fiji, the lesser dived islands on the West coast of Thailand, and though cold, Vancouver Island in Canada!

    • Lotte
      Author
      June 4, 2016 / 11:24 pm

      Haha diving is extremely addictive indeed! Thanks for the tips:-)

  13. Stan
    February 19, 2017 / 11:13 am

    The cost per one dive is rather reasonable, but tell me, are there any other diving clubs around you would recommend?

    • Lotte
      Author
      February 19, 2017 / 3:28 pm

      There were no other dive schools at Guardalavaca beach, but there are definitely more in Cuba. Jardines de la Reina is supposed to be a really beautiful dive site.

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