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Five great diving sites in Cuba

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The calm clear waters of Cuba and its huge variety of diving sites make it a perfect destination for divers of all abilities. With an average sea temperature of 26°C, diving is possible throughout the year. Whether you want to explore a shipwreck, investigate an underwater cave or just admire the beautiful marine life, a diving holiday to Cuba has everything you need. Choosing where to base yourself can be difficult, so here are five of the best diving sites in Cuba.

Isla de la Juventud

The Isle of Youth is situated 80 kilometres south-west of Cuba and is the second-largest Cuban island. Water temperature varies from 24°C in December to 29°C in July and visibility is between 20 and 40 metres. The rainy season of June to October could cause some dives to be disrupted.

Dive sites around this islet range from areas of beautiful corals and sponges for the beginner to steep coral walls with sheer drop-offs and several wrecks for the more adventurous.

Fish seen here include yellowtail snappers, stingrays, barracudas and green morays. You may see the occasional nurse shark, with turtles, parrotfish and squirrelfish also swimming in these waters.

Cayo Largo

Cayo Largo is situated approximately 80 kilometres south of Havana and 120 kilometres east of Isla de la Juventud. Sheltered from strong currents by a huge coral reef located one kilometre offshore, Cayo Largo is one of the best dive sites for beginners.

Isolated beaches, warm pristine waters and unspoilt reefs make this area very popular.

The coral seabed has channels descending to 33 metres, which then form huge coral mountains. You are likely to see a wide variety of marine life here, including chelonians, sponges and vertical reef walls covered with gorgonians.

Maria La Gorda

Maria La Gorda is on the west of the island and the dive site is located on the Guanahacabibes Peninsula, within a national park. This is one of the remotest and least developed parts of Cuba.

Sea temperatures range from 22°C in December to 29°C in July, with superior visibility of between 40 and 70 metres. Close to the coastline, a series of steps in the seabed makes this site ideal for multi-level diving. The steps then drop very steeply, creating magnificent coral walls with many tunnels and caves.

There are several eighteenth-century shipwrecks to explore here and marine life includes stingrays, barracuda, eagle rays and dogsnappers. This is also home to more than 20 species of coral.

Cayo Levisa

In the north-west of Cuba, CayoLevisa is very secluded and only accessible by boat. The coral reef is home to more than 500 species of fish, including black breams, red snappers, moray eels and stone bass.

Trigonias, which are considered to be the oldest living fossils in Cuba, can be found here, in addition to sea fans, gorgonias and over 200 species of sponge. Depths range from 10 to 35 metres and there are some interesting seventeenth- and eighteenth-century wrecks to investigate.

Faro Luna

This beautiful diving site in the south of Cuba is well known for the clarity of its waters and is very popular with underwater photographers. Huge coral formation barriers can be seen from the surface and the channels between them drop down to between 10 metres and 40 metres.

The average water temperature here is 26°C and visibility is usually about 30 metres. A wide variety of exotic fish swim in these waters, including angelfish, parrotfish, chubs and surgeonfish. Occasionally in the winter months, whale sharks are seen in this area.

There are several shipwrecks here, with some ships having been deliberately sunk to create artificial reefs which shelter many shoals of fish. This area provides excellent diving for beginners and experts alike.

Cuba is an attractive holiday destination with diving options for novices and experts. Warm, clear waters with no strong currents make an ideal training environment, while interesting shipwrecks and a variety of exotic marine life appeal to more advanced divers. With its diverse range of diving sites, Cuba is difficult to beat.

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