Shore Day Trip Live Aboard
Country: Cuba Area: Cuba
Water Temp: 24 - 30°C (75 - 86°F)
Visibility: 20 - 40m (66 - 131 ft)
The enchanting island of Isla de la Juventud is one of Cuba’s best diving destinations for keen divers. The unspoilt beauty of the island has stunning coral reefs in its pure blue Caribbean waters plus the nearby breath taking Punta Frances Marine National Park.
Isla de la Juventud aka “Isle of Youth” is one of the best diving destinations in Cuba. An island situated in the waters off the South Coast of Cuba, its unspoilt wilderness is mainly only visited by keen divers.
The Isle of Youth is mainly visited for diving, there isn’t much else to do for non divers compared to the energetic busy main island of Cuba. Due to this, although there are sites suitable for inexperienced divers it isn’t really a destination for beginners or non divers and tends to just be visited by more experienced divers wanting a dive dedicated trip.
The climate in Cuba and the Isle of Youth is tropical and in general there is a drier season from November to April and a rainier season from May to October. The country can be prone to hurricanes due to its temperature and location and these are most common in September and October. The dive season is year round but in the rainy and hurricane season there is a chance that the weather conditions can cancel any diving trips. The best time to visit is from January to May as it has pleasant weather which isn’t too hot and also is less crowded with tourists unlike the Christmas and New Year period.
Seashore, Isla de la Juventud, Credit
The diving offered from the resorts on the island is boat diving and tends to be 2 or 3 dives in the day with a tasty lunch served on the boat on the surface interval. The other method to dive the waters around the Isle would be via a Liveaboard Cruise which can be boarded on the main island and takes in all the top dive sites of Cuba.
Punta Frances Marine Park is a diverse and beautiful diving destination near to the Isle. Reached by boat in 1 ½ hours there are stunning colourful corals, walls, drop offs, and lots of interesting topography and swimthroughs to explore. Great visibility and easy currents mean that the dives here are relaxing and fun with plenty to see. The numbers and types of fish vary from day to day and the dive site but can frequently include Nassau Groupers, Black Groupers, Barracudas and occasionally even a Sea turtle, an Eagle Ray or a few sharks. One of the most frequently sighted large fish is the giant Tarpon which easily grow to over 2m long.
Fish, Isla dela juventud, Credit
Other attractions of the area are the strange Black coral wall found at 30m deep at Pared de Coral Negro and many shipwrecks such as the Jibacoa and Sparta Shipwrecks that lie together at this shallow dive site. The Jibacoa is visible from the surface and the Sparta lies on its side still with its guns, ladders and anchor ropes. It is possible for divers experienced in wreck penetration to enter both wrecks but buoyancy must be excellent as you do not want to damage the corals. Both are covered with coral are have become very interesting artificial reefs and thanks to the low depth are full of light which makes this a very photogenic area.
The island can be reached by the main island of Cuba by a flight from Habana or boat trip departing from the port in Batabano and it is best to book in advance to ensure a place, especially for the flights which are always full.
Cuba is an amazing country which offers so much more than diving and any diver should take the time to explore the rest of the country and soak up some of the culture rather than spend their whole time underwater.
I'm looking for advice on accommodation and dive operators, as well as an idea of price levels. Thank you in advance!
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