Our first contact with Cuba and Havana went pretty well, we were picked up at the airport as planned. The trip in the collective taxi went well and we got in touch with local means of transport and road infrastructure ... The welcome at the hotel was very good as the rooms and bedding only downside breakfast and again just because I lacked a fresh juice .... The transfer bus was at the meeting point, I just hadn't figured out that it took 8 hours to reach our boarding destination…. Arrival on board in the evening for the Mojito welcome !! At first glance, a spacious and organized boat for photographers, large tables at head height are available to allow the handling of the boxes and the loading of the headlights. Spaces are available to dry coveralls and other jerseys as well as individual boxes to store small equipment. Overall, the diving space is truly remarkable for the space and the layout. The cabins are spread over 3 levels, those that I had the opportunity to "visit" on the ground floor were rather decent size (8 to 10m2) plus a bathroom space (shower, sink and a real WC for a boat) and a functional air conditioning. The cabin layout allows the storage of clothes and bags for the living room (a chest is available in each cabin). The cabins adjacent to ours were equipped with small balconies. Also on the ground floor, large living room with giant screen, video equipment and available 110V charging location (only 110V…) 1st level: outdoor lounge and restaurant 30 places for meals. 2nd level: sun-deck, 15 deckchairs available, a working Jacuzzi ..., a bar and armchairs for evenings with guests, an exceptional view ... The crew is very caring for everyone and at all times (hot towels after rinsing fresh water after returning from diving) From the point of view of the meals, we feasted (lobsters, local fish, local vegetables, rice… and fresh fruit systematically) with a special mention for breakfast after the first dive despite the lack of fresh juice… Distribution of guests: Russians, Americans, Japanese, Dutch, French. Another permanent and unwanted guest, THE MOSQUITO! even with the air conditioning, always active and very present .. (I am a mosquito magnet, repellents are necessary and I had them, but for the cabin, you need to have a bomb ...) Finally for the dives, We had 24 proposed dives, 23 were feasible we made 18 by choice, my partner and I considering the 4 th dive as being too much (the box is really too far) At no time did the staff ask us for proof of our qualifications (cards), the check dive was a masquerade, probably the most rotten site in the area… we were 5 customers, 2 3-star instructors, 2 dive master, 1 advanced ... The dives were organized in three groups and therefore 3 dive boats on 3 different sites, the Russians, the Americans and the others, so we were only 6 or 7 divers on the site a real luxury ... The following 17 sites were of very good quality and very diversified, shallow depths for the French… (20m on average) many sharks chasing the yellow bottle of the various staff masters. Flora and fauna of the Caribbean. Average temperature, 30 ° c. Lots of particles and therefore average visibility (the dive master lost us 2 times, it is true that for a guide, with a camera it is complicated to guide his group…). We really had the opportunity to make beautiful dives a little short no doubt but on average lasting an hour :) How to end an almost perfect week. When we got back to Havana, the bus was full, visiting places for tourists and therefore commissions for drivers and other staff members (this is the deal) Our stay in Havana was quite pleasant, the b & b was very good (unfortunately the hosts only spoke Cuban and I wish I had talked to them more). Unfortunately, we were out of step / on the premises and the various sites / museums that we would have liked to visit were closed or under construction… In conclusion, for the next time, it is necessary to plan in addition to the cruise a time to visit Cuba, the journey times to the pick up site for the cruise are very important. it can be interesting to plan two days of visit before the cruise with an appointment in Santa Clara then a return of 3 days by visiting the Atlantic coast…
Little seems to have changed since Christopher Columbus discovered these pristine reefs, which he named 'Gardens of the Queen' to honor his patron, Queen Isabella I of Spain. With fewer than three thousand divers allowed per year, it is one of the last relatively intact reef habitats in the Caribbean. Protected since 1996, it hosts many endangered and vulnerable species, such as staghorn and elkhorn corals, hawksbill turtles, and up to 10 species of sharks. You might even spot some American crocodiles lying motionless in the mangroves.
The dive operator partners with many scientists, including world-famous oceanographer Sylvia Earle. Jardines de la Reina is a Mission Blue Hope Spot. During your trip, you will likely have the opportunity to converse daily with local scientists onboard.
For divers of all levels, in search of the most pristine coral reefs of the Caribbean. Photographers will enjoy seeing sharks and crocodiles.
All guests are granted a certificate of participation and completion of this humanitarian and environmental project, along with a full itinerary of activities that will certify them as legal under US and Cuban regulations.
Departure and arrival is from Juraco, about 3-4 hours drive from Santa Clara or Camagüey, or 5 hours from Havana.