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Dive Review of Avalon Cuban Diving Center/Tortuga in
Cuba/Gardens of the Queen

 
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Avalon Cuban Diving Center/Tortuga: "Tons of Sharks and Groupers", Jul, 2015,

by ROBERT PECORARO, NY, US (Sr. Reviewer Sr. Reviewer 8 reports with 8 Helpful votes). Report 8536.

No photos available at this time

Ratings and Overall Comments 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Accommodations 4 stars Food 5 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity 4 stars
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling 4 stars
Value for $$ 4 stars
Beginners 4 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments I went on a group trip in July. Since Cuba is not totally open yet for American tourists, I went on a license, pre-approved by the US Treasury Dept. Avalon Cuban Diving Centers has several live boards that operate in the Gardens of the Queen (Jardines de la Reina). They are the only company allowed to operate there. Everything is arranged through them, including local transportation to and from Havana, once you arrive. I stayed on the stationary live aboard called Tortuga. It is a converted barge in the middle of the mangroves and is serviced by smaller dive boats that shuttle divers to the dive sites. The Tortuga is large and comfortable. It is a floating hotel which has two stories. The rooms were also large and comfortable. The food was plentiful and quite good. The dive masters were excellent and attentive to the needs of the divers. They run a safe operation. The week long packages includes three dives a day. More can be arranged for a surcharge. The reefs in this area are pristine. I can imagine that Caribbean reefs must have been this healthy 50 years ago. There were tons of big fish, including many sharks and groupers. We also had ample opportunity to swim with friendly American Crocodiles. The reefs were often covered with so many reef fish that it resembled a living carpet. I would definitely consider this one of the best Caribbean dive destinations, if not the best.
Websites Avalon Cuban Diving Center   

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience Over 1000 dives
Where else diving Continental US, Hawaii, caribbean, Indo Pacific, Africa, Asia, South pacific, Antarctica
Closest Airport Havana Getting There Fly to Havana and overnight there. Bus pick up in the morning for a 6 hour drive and 3 hour boat ride to the mangrove area.

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny Seas calm
Water Temp 82-84°F / 28-29°C Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility 70-100 Ft/ 21-30 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions Buddy teams can dive their profile
Liveaboard? yes Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks Lots Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles 1 or 2 Whales None
Corals 4 stars Tropical Fish 5 stars
Small Critters 4 stars Large Fish 5 stars
Large Pelagics 5 stars

Underwater Photography 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Subject Matter 5 stars Boat Facilities 4 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 5 stars Shore Facilities 4 stars
UW Photo Comments No rinse buckets on the small dive boats. There was a rinse bucket on the Tortuga upon return. There was plenty of room for cameras on board the Tortuga
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Note: The information here was reported by the author above, but has NOT been reviewed nor edited by Undercurrent prior to posting on our website. Please report any major problems by writing to us and referencing the report number above.

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