Snorkeling in Cuba
Snorkeling Cuba means exploring the pristine waters of the largest island in the Caribbean Sea. This island is well known for its rum, cigars and dancing, but it is slowly rising as a popular snorkeling and diving area as well. Imagine an incredibly long coast line lines with pearl white beaches and surrounded by turquoise waters with an incredible marine environment. Cuba snorkeling involves possibilities of exploring hundreds of small islands and experiencing some thriving marine environments. The Cuban government has realized the importance of preserving their underwater world, and so there are many marine reserves which results in some spectacular diving over some incredibly well preserved ecosystems.
MARINE LIFE IN CUBA
Due to there being so many marine reserves and therefore thriving coral reefs, there is a high diversity of marine life in these waters. There are some larger species including a few different species of reef sharks, Hammerhead sharks, sea turtles and the beautiful, graceful eagle rays. Some of the other stunning marine life includes Groupers, Barracuda and Nurse Sharks. The amount of tourists which are allowed to visit this area is capped each year, to help preserve the fragile and beautiful coral reefs.
BEST SNORKEL SITES IN CUBA
Across the Cuban archipelago, snorkeling is world class and home to some of the richest waters anywhere. It's possible to reach some spots from the mainland, but the best way to experience the variety of sites on offer is by boarding a live aboard snorkeling tour, sailing in and around the stunning turquoise lagoons and islands. Liveaboard cruises in Cuba will commonly visit the pristine marine reserves at Jardines de la Reina and the Canarreos Archipelago.
JARDINES DE LA REINA: translated into English 'Gardens of the Queen' is a snorkeling and diving area which consists of 230 islets stretching for 240 km (150 mi) and they are located to the south of Cuba. This area is heavily related to maintain the reef preservation so it does not suffer any damage. Here you will spot some larger marine species including Hammerhead sharks, Eagle rays and sea turtles.
CANARREOS ARCHIPELAGO is a chain of 350 islets surrounded by crystal clear waters. These snorkel spots are surrounded by pearly white beaches and incredibly calm seas. There wil be a chance for you to see some sleeping sharks which are commonly sighted here. Beside sharks you may also spot Groupers, Barracuda, Nurse Sharks and some stunning, colourful coral reefs.
WHEN TO GO TO CUBA
Due to a pleasant tropical climate, Cuba is a year round snorkeling area with warm, calm waters and pleasant outside temperatures. The average visibility at all the snorkel spots is around 30 m (95 ft) which means snorkeling is possible at numerous different locations, no matter the depth. The average water temperatures year is quite stable at around 25 C (77 F) which is a pleasant snorkeling area temperature. The high season for diving is between December and March, things might be slightly more expensive but these months are the optimal snorkeling times. The low season is from April to November, however, it is absolutely still possible to go snorkeling during these months with still above average weather conditions.
HOW TO GET TO CUBA
The capital of Cuba, Havana, is the main airport you can fly into to reach these different snorkeling spot. The international airport of Havana is Jose Marti International Airport which is a well served international airport, and commonly flights will come here directly from all over the world, including Europe, Latin America, North America and Asia. The notable exception is the United States - due to the Cuban Trade Embargo only a select few charter flights are permitted to fly between the US and Cuba. This airport is located near the coasts from where the snorkel sites are.
If you are planning to explore these sites by liveaboard, then often the crew will organise to pick you up from Havana and take you to the ports.