I never thought of Cuba as a great location to scuba diving. When thinking about Cuba, I thought of Guantanamo, Bay of Pigs, Fidel Castro and the revolution, the embargo, old cars, and Cuban cigars. Visiting Havana and then diving in the Gardens of the Queen off of Jucaro was a remarkable experience. Our trip was booked through the Aggressor Fleet Aggressor Fleet) through their people-to-people Oceans for Youth Travel Program (Oceans for Youth). We spent two days in Havana and seven days of diving aboard the Jardines Aggressor I. I would have really liked to have had the opportunity to have spent more time in Havana as I found the people, culture, and the sights that we had time to see and explore truly amazing. The diving part of this trip included 8 days of diving with a “Mike & Mike” photo trip (Jim Church School of Underwater Photography).
I found the reefs and diving in the Gardens of the Queen – Jardines de la Reina – very healthy. This area was established as a protected marine park in 1996. The crew aboard the Jardines Aggress I was one of the best I have experienced. This is a fairly new liveaboard, but the crew did an amazing job and ranks up there with one of the top crews in the Aggressor Fleet.
Check out the links and find out more about this program. This trip also made me want to brush up on my Cuban history. I recommend a great book by Clifford Staten entitled The History of Cuba (The History of Cuba).