Underwater photography by Andy Kirkland

Cuba, November 2004

Getting a bit more exotic now ….

This trip took almost 3 weeks.

After a night at the Ambos Mundos hotel in Havana, the first week was based at Faro de Luna, near Cienfuegos. As this is a big regional centre, many of the bigger fish have been … well … eaten. This is the result of embargos and rationing.

The Faro de Luna dive centre is about 5 mins walk from the hotel. Many of the resources are shared with the Whale Shark dive centre, which is based at the nearby (walking distance) Rancho Luna hotel – so the boat is based at Faro, but the compressor is at Whale Shark.
This centre is ACUC affiliated.
Typically, the day started at 9:00 am, with dives at 10:00 and 12:00 (it can blow up a bit in the afternoon), so you’re normally back by the pool by 1:30pm. They’ve only got a small launch, and most of the dives are fairly close to the shore.
The hotel itself was fine, but seemed to be a stop-off for coach tours, so we were the only ones staying all week. There are probably more divers staying at Rancho de Luna.

Hotel Faro de Luna Old Car
Customs House

The second week was based at the Hotel Colony on the Isla de la Juventud (“Isla of Youth”). We got there a couple of weeks after Hurricane Ivan, and there was still some rebuilding going on, but the diving was superb.
The Dive sites are to the south of the island; the hotel is inside the “spur”, so there’s a longer journey to get to and from the sites – you’ll be out all day, getting back about 4pm normally. The boats are bigger, though, and they’ll cook up a lunch on board.
The dive centre is CMAS affiliated.
Pretty well everyone at the hotel was there to dive. The nearest town is Nueva Gerona, about 45 mins away on the bus. This is where the airport is.

Sunset on the Isla Sunset on the Isla
Sunset on the Isla Dive boats
Dive Boats

Don’t expect dive luxuries – I had difficulty in getting hold of a log book ! Most tanks are 12L A-clamp (all of them are on the Isla), so there’s not much point in taking your DIN regs, unless you’ve a converter. Memory cards, rechargeable batteries – even ballpoints and paper – are in short supply as well, so take your own supplies (and maybe some spares to give away).

Electrical fittings apparently vary by province. US adapters seemed to work in Cienfuegos and Havana, whereas on the Isla European adapters were needed.

Wrapped up with a couple of nights back at the Ambos Mundos inHavana.
Cuba – and Havana in particular – are well worth a visit, if only to experience completely different cultural values.

Edificio Bacardi Fort
Fort Fort

Arranged through Scuba en Cuba

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