There are plenty of opportunities to go scuba diving in Havana, you don’t have to go to any of the beach resort areas to experience great diving in Cuba.
Just twenty minutes out of Havana, at Playa Bacuranao, there is a wreck site that is also connected to a beautiful cave system you can explore on the same dive.
I had the pleasure of doing this dive with Blue Dive Cuba in the spring of 2021 mid-pandemic!
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Scuba Diving Havana Del Este From Playa Bacuranao
The Blue Dive Dive-Mobil picked me up at my casa particular in Old Havana, packed to the brim with gear, taking us out to the start point for today’s dive at Bacuranao Beach 25 minutes outside the city.
Immediately appearing as we turn off the highway is a magnificent view of the sea and blue sky only disturbed by palm trees before the fine sandy beach starts.
To be scuba diving in Havana, you need to get a bit out of the city, and today’s scuba dive is at the city district called Habana del Este, East Havana.
Arriving at Playa Bacuranao, the starting point for today’s adventure feels really great. After months stuck in the city during the pandemic, a day out is exactly what I need. This dive site is said to be really good.
Gabriel from Blue Dive Cuba picked me up at home this morning, in Old Havana. The dive center Blue Dive Cuba has managed to keep open for business despite the pandemic, but all precautions are taken in preparations and transport.
I went to the dive shop and tried and tested all the equipment a few days before the dive day, so all is ready and set to go this beautiful morning.
Also read: Best scuba diving locations in Cuba!
Scuba Diving In Havana & Safety
The car is loaded with a couple of other divers as well. In total, we are a group of nine people heading for today’s target; a small wreck a few hundred yards outside Playa Bacuranao.
I feel the tranquil chill that sandy beaches with turquoise seas and infinite horizons tend to provide. I really do miss going to the beach! (All beaches were closed during the pandemic).
Although I still am a Padi Advanced diver, in recent years it has been a while between dives. Therefore, it is very useful that Gabriel is going through all the gear and safety regulations before we enter the water.
You never know if some detail is lost in the mist for people like me that go on dive adventures only now and then! A great reminder of personal fallibility.
Pre-Dive Briefing In The Waves (And A Long Surface Swim)
After all the gear is assembled and checked, correctly attached to my body, and approved by Gabriel we head for the beach.
In the small waves, everyone gathers, and Gabriel goes through today’s dive, including security and dissemination of diving partners for safety.
I feel informed and ready, although there was a small detail that my level of Spanish did not pick up. The length of the surface swim!
In Cuba, there are intricate rules for who can enter what type of boat where (long story) so launching from boats is not an easy option.
Most Cubans are not at liberty to enter any boat without permission. I don’t know if that was why, but the surface swim was quite a distance.
Also read: 33+ Legendary Things To Do In Havana Cuba!
Beautiful Decent Onto The Small Wreck
With a few current-related issues and increasing wave size, the surface swim provided me with more than sufficient salty sips and my face with a bright sun-kissed tomato look the next day.
But! Finally, we were there, and I could see the frame of the wreck below.
Do you keep thinking you should have had a GoPro? Going diving in Cuba is a perfect opportunity to get one! Unlike other great diving destinations, the dive guides here often do not have cameras to help you out, so maybe this is the reason you need to finally get it!
Descending on the stern, we slowly landed over a bright sandy bottom with lots of light at about 15 meters.
From my Norwegian (not very visibility-spoiled) point of view, the visibility was very good! The sun finding its way and hitting all the right light and dark places, providing playful golden waves on the sandy bottom!
The wreck outside Playa Bacuranao is not very big and quite open, so you can also enjoy swimming without the danger of getting lost or stuck.
Also read: Where To Stay In Havana | Best Hotels, Neighborhoods and Areas 2022!
An extra treat I did not know beforehand was that the rock formations around the wreck site consist of a labyrinth of natural tunnels and open caves.
The swim through these formations was absolutely beautiful! The natural path of the labyrinths was a bit up and down and around and under, and at one point through!
This is the kind of nature experience that makes scuba diving so incredibly amazing.
On a day like this when the sun peers through the waves and lands on all the little stones and cracks and boulders around, the world consists of just air and light and scuba diving is the best zen activity ever!
The Return Swim To Shore Was Luckily Easier
Our way back to shore was a lot easier, swimming at around 5 meters deep after the natural labyrinth. When surfacing after the security stop, the surface swim distance luckily was almost done.
Although about two hours in the water in total and the swim a little longer than I prefer, this day was worth it. The wreck was quite tiny but absolutely interesting. Yet, for me, it was the natural caves and labyrinth that made this dive extraordinary!
The sun rays hitting the boulders and bridges of stone, are so beautiful, making a brilliant shiny sub-marine day!
Also read: Check out this wall dive at Punta Perdiz close to the Bay of Pigs!
Wrap-Up Scuba Diving In Havana
Apart from the Blue Dive scuba diving shop, there are several centers for scuba diving in Havana, listed below. I have no personal experience with these centers, so I am not able to give you a review!
Also read: What Is Cuba Known For? 22 Enticing Things You Want To Know!
Best Scuba Diving In Cuba
There are plenty of astonishing opportunities for scuba diving in Cuba, in almost all destinations on the Cuban shores there are dive shops and centers helping you out.
For anyone looking for Cuba dive trips, the best-known Cuba scuba diving spots are Varadero, Cayo Coco, and Cayo Santa Maria. The Cayos, or the Keys, are resort islands outside of the main island of Cuba.
There are super options for diving in Cuba also around Trinidad, Cienfuegos, and north of Viñales Valley as well as on the western part of the Cuban main island around Santiago de Cuba.
In addition, there are several options for Cuba scuba diving liveaboards, if you are a passionate diver with the submarine world as your main objective for exploration.
The international diving adventure company Bluewater travel is hosting Cuba scuba diving liveaboards on different dive locations in Cuba.
Or you can check out this guide from Katy Jane Dives, comparing different liveaboard options in Cuban waters.
And of course, wherever you can go scuba diving, you can also go snorkeling in Cuba. The Caribbean waters are beautiful also without a tank of air!
Scuba Diving In Cuba | Scuba Diving Cayo Largo
Scuba Diving In Cuba | Scuba Diving Cayo Coco
Scuba Diving In Cuba | Scuba diving Varadero
Do you have any questions about Cuba? Leave a comment, or send me an e-mail! Happy to help!
Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or for any advice!