Cuba, abundant fish, caverns and sharks

This is part of my research on the best dive sites of the world.
145 km from Florida, in-between Jamaica and the Bahamas, surrounded by 4 195 islands and coral gardens, lies Cuba. With its classic american cars, Cuban music, colorful houses and its various dive sites.

The best dive sites are known to be around Isla de la Juventud, Maria la Gorda and Jardines de la Reina (the gardens of the queen).

Video Jardines de la reina

Isla de la Juventud
South of Isla de la Juventud lies Punta Francès Marine National Parc. Which gives the island the reputation of being the dive destination with the most abundant fish of the Caribbean. With approximately 50 mapped dive sites, 1000 fish species, numerous caverns and overhangs.

Maria la Gorda
A small village, a unesco world heritage, with deep chrystalline water.  With more than 40 dive sites along a long barrier reef which forms an overhang pierced with caverns, tunnels and canyons. The kingdom of Tarpoons and groupers. It is a natural reserve, no fishing, which makes the fish numerous. Black coral valley lies between 25 and 30m, where as the name says, you can observe abundant bouquets of the very rare, black coral.

Cuba has some of the world most deserted, long, white sand beaches, with crystal clear blue waters. Rich in natural beauty,  Cuba`s nature has over 8000 flower species, 800 endemic birds, wild boar and deer. A climate where temperatures vary from 26°C ( 80°F) to above 32°C ( 90°F). Humidity and rain are more present from september to October. Hurricaines are rare, but possible in September and October. Water temperature vary between 24 and 29 °C (75 and 84°F). Visibility can reach 30 to 40m.

Video of the marine life Maria la Gorda & Isla de la Juventud

Other dive sites: Shark valley, The queen`s garden.

Where to dive and sleep, Villa Maria la Gorda. They advise us to bring all the equipment with us, even camera`s.
link: http://netssa.com/maria_la_gorda_diving_center_cuba.html

Dive centres Isla de la Juventud: Hotel el Colony,  www.wowcuba.com/scuba,info@wowcuba.com or Ecotur, calle 47 or Burbuja, calle 49. Taxi to go dive 25US go and back, Tel. 323121.
Where to sleep, in town, Nueva Gerona,  casa particular Odalis Pena Fernandez, 10US without airso, 15US with airco. 2 rooms with 2P beds, fridge, private bathroom, good cheap food, Tel. 53 (46) 32 23 45.
Conservation society: members@environmentaldefense.org.

Useful links:

Cuban tourist board: www.cubatravel.cu
Info about Cuba, www.cuba.com, http://www.cubalinda.com/English,
Travel and culture, www.havanajournal.com.
A list of all the dive centres in Cuba, http://www.cubalinda.com/English/Activities/ScubaDiving/ScubaCenterList.asp

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