A Complete Guide to Diving & Snorkeling in Cuba + Hotspots with Tips

Last Updated on January 3, 2022

Here you can read our complete guide on diving and snorkeling in Cuba, including opportunities, best spots and places for scuba diving in Cuba. With its warm waters and gentle waves, Cuba is the perfect place for a spot of scuba diving or snorkeling. Dive out to the huge coral reef to see shipwrecks, sharks, fish and other fascinating marine life, or go underground into one of Cuba’s incredible cave systems. You’re spoilt for choice with Cuba’s breath-taking underwater ecosystems.

Diving & Snorkeling Hotspots in Cuba

Jardines de Reina

The famous coral reef, Jardines de Reina, or Gardens of the Queen, is a protected area 60 miles off the southern coast of Cuba. It’s one of the world’s healthiest coral reefs and hasn’t changed much since the days when Christopher Columbus first discovered Cuba in 1492.

Offering divers the chance to explore 250 virgin coral and mangrove islands, and encounter 6 species of shark including black tips, nurse sharks and maybe even the magnificent hammerhead. The Cuba Diving Centre has expert PADI trained instructors and takes just 500 divers each year out to this stunning coral reef.

Cuba wreck diving
Cuba wreck diving

Maria la Gorda

Maria la Gorda offers 50 sites of high level diving, from five to fifty minutes away by boat. The waters around Maria la Gorda are very clear, with visibility of up to 30m, perfect for spotting the colorful fish and coral that live in the sea here.

There are plenty of sunken shipwrecks to explore and canyons brimming with marine life such as barracudas, lobsters, eels and angel fish. The Villa Maria la Gorda Diving Centre is PADI registered so you know you’re in safe hands, and if you don’t fancy going in at the deep end, they also offer fantastic snorkeling trips so you can still enjoy this underwater paradise.

Saturno Cave Varadero

Cuba has over 20 fascinating cave systems sprawling beneath its white sandy beaches and bustling cities, and they’re a fantastic place to try snorkeling in the cenotes (underwater lakes). The Saturno Cave system in Varadero is the most famous for its huge expansive caverns and impressive rock formations.

Dive into the clear waters that reach a depth of up to 20m and see the shy fish and blind shrimp that live in the dark depths. Admission is just 5 CUC (£3.40) to the caves and you can bring your own snorkeling gear or hire some at the caves for this magical Cuban experience.

Isla de la Juventud

The mysterious Isla de la Juventud (Isle of Youth) is home to many tall tales of pirates and treasure, and is one of the top places for scuba diving and snorkelling – but not just to search for gold doubloons!

Isla de la Juventud
Isla de la Juventud

Robert Louis Stevenson based Treasure Island on this island just off Cuba’s south coast and you can see why. Join a dive with the world renowned Hotel El Colony Dive Centre and explore the wrecks of potential pirate ships, see friendly turtles and big barracudas, alongside the multi-colored fish and coral that inhabit this incredible area.