THE BEST OF CUBA
THE BEST OF SHARK DIVING IN CARIBBEAN
Orpheus Dive Singapore
How To Get to Cuba
The island is the largest in the Caribbean and located 93 miles (150 km) south of Key West in Florida, and just 13 miles (21 km) south of the Bahamas. Jardines de la Reina is a chain of islands that runs parallel to Cuba’s west coast for about 93 miles (150 km), in the Caribbean Sea.
The Cuban Archipelago “Queen’s Gardens” is located in the Gulf of Ana Maria and is approximately 93 miles (150 km) long. The area includes innumerable islands, keys, islets, and banks. Muddy areas, beaches, mangroves, sea grass beds and reefs all provide a home to abundant populations of seabirds, reptiles such as caimans, and a rich marine biodiversity and biomass.
Sharks, sharks and sharks – up to 6 different species can be seen on a single dive! Common species include Caribbean reef, silky, and nurse sharks, lemon, blacktip, great hammerhead, bull and, from July through November, whale sharks can also be seen. Sharks, together with snappers, tiger and goliath groupers of up to 400lbs (180kg), are the main attractions on most dives; just like every species at Jardines de la Reina, they too are abundant.
Black Coral I and II – These are the shark dives at the Gardens of the Queen and there are often lots and lots of sharks present. Silky sharks and Caribbean reef sharks, which are the most numerous, are not generally aggressive unless they feel threatened. Since they experience no threats from man, they seem to view a diver as a bubble-blowing curiosity. That said, it is best to keep your hands close to your bodies so they are not mistaken as small fish.
Farallón – Considered to be one of the best dives in Jardines de la Reina, Farallón can be likened to a giant coral mountain, and translates into English as ‘The Cliff’. This dive is 50ft (15m) at the top of the ‘mountain’ and the sandy bottom is reached at 100ft (30m). This site is a magnet for pelagics, large schools of grunts, jacks and silver tarpons. Turtles, rays, silky sharks and Caribbean reef sharks add to the lineup of sights to see.
Pipín – This is where the big boys play. Schools of jacks and even bigger schools of tarpons, numbering 10-50, cut jagged lines in the ocean. A lone, patrolling hammerhead may make a cursory inspection of the dive party before disappearing back into the blue. Groups of silky sharks (up to 12) arrive to view the scuba divers on their safety stop. One does wonder just who is being observed, the ocean inhabitants or the strange, bubble blowing ‘aliens’…
Vicente – This is the Queens Gardens’ drop off site characterized by its large vertical wall. Spectacular coral gardens welcome divers at 65ft (20m) and vibrant coral interspersed with massive black coral colonies and all their inhabitants can be observed until a depth of 130ft (40m).
El Galeon – This is 2 dive sites for the price of 1: an old galleon and a nearby fishing boat. The former has been around long enough to have been well and truly colonized by the sea. You can explore the large hard brain coral heads, around which scuttle innumerable lobster and crabs.
Anclitas – Hawksbill sea turtles are often spotted here, along with barracuda, stingrays, tarpons, Caribbean spiny lobster, tiger grouper, soapfish, hogfish, and saucereye porgy.
Cabeza de la cubera – Meaning ‘Snapper’s head’, this site features, surprise surprise, many varieties of snapper, as well as grouper. Indeed it is said that the biggest goliath grouper ever recorded was seen on this reef. Don’t be alarmed if these gentle giants follow you very closely, due to fish feeding practices of the Cuban liveaboards
Jardines de la Reina is a year round diving destination. Current is minimal, visibility expansive, water temperatures are comfortable and marine life abundant.
Liveaboards depart every week, for 52 weeks of the year. Cuba’s tropical climate varies slightly during the year. The drier season is from December through mid April where the average sea temperature is 73 to 77°F (23-25°C), it can get cooler at night. The height of summer is August where temperatures increase to about 83°F (28°C).
Hurricane season is from June through November. These months have higher rainfall due to tropical storm activity. According to the NOAA (National Oceanic & Atmospheric Association), Cuba experiences the lowest frequency of hurricanes and tropical storms compared to other parts of the Caribbean. Whale sharks pass through the Queens Gardens from July through November.
Currencies – Try and avoid US dollars since you will be subject to a 10% special additional tax/commission.
The best currencies are Euros, Canadian Dollars, or Sterling since these are the most common and the exchange rates are generally quire reasonable. Bear in mind that the CUC is pegged to the US Dollar (at 1:1) so a stronger US Dollar means a stronger CUC (and hence less CUCs for your Euros/Sterling etc.). Other currencies, which are universally accepted at banks or Cadecas, include the Swiss Francs (CHF), Mexican Pesos (MXN) and Japanese Yen (JPY).
Electricity / Internet – In Cuba the power sockets are of type A and B. The standard voltage is 110 V and the standard frequency is 60 Hz.
- You need a power plug adapter in Cuba, when living in Singapore.
- You also need a voltage converter.
- Be extra careful with certain appliances because of the difference in frequency.
ROYALTON HICACOS VARADERO
Experience and enjoy the time of your life at this luxury all inclusive resort.
About Royalton Hicacos Varadero
The Royalton Hicacos Varadero portrays the essence of what Royalton Resorts & Hotels represents as one of the leading hotel in the region. We stand out as one of the best luxury all-inclusive resorts because we offer desirable and tranquil retreats in the world’s top vacation destinations.
The Royalton Resorts & Hotels All-In Luxury™ concept invites you to explore and experience a rich selection of superior facilities, luxury hotel features, elite services, and world-class amenities.
This environmentally friendly resort stands alone on the mile long sand bank of the Ligitan Reefs located in the Sulu Sea. Your days will be filled with sun tanning on the beach or your private balcony, and marvelling at the world class dive sites around Kapalai and Mabul, as well as day trips to Sipadan Island with its outstanding wall dives. Each trip ends with great food and freshly cooked snacks after diving.
If you’ve never tried macro diving before, then you’re in for a treat – what a place to start! Shore diving at Kapalai is free of charge, as is the wonderful snorkelling, where you can watch the spectacularly colourful mating mandarinfish, right under the resort jetty. It’s easy to fall in love with macro diving when it’s this simple!
Royalton Hicacos Varadero Resort & Spa has 404 rooms including 401 junior suites, one Presidential Suite and two Royal Suites. The hotel has a unique style, surrounded by lush gardens and typical Caribbean vegetation.
1. Junior Suites
2. Royal Suites
3. Presidential Suites
4. Wheelchair Accessible Rooms
Prices to be confirmed when booking.