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Dive Review of Avalon II in
Cuba/Jardine de la Reina

 
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Avalon II: "Avalon II: Americans No; Others Maybe", Aug, 2018,

by NEAL LANGERMAN, CA, US (Sr. Reviewer Sr. Reviewer 8 reports with 8 Helpful votes). Report 10505 has 3 Helpful votes.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience Over 1000 dives
Where else diving All of continental USA; Caribbean, Gulf, Sea of Cortez, Eastern & Western Pacific & more
Closest Airport Santa Clara (SNU) Getting There Very difficult for USA passports. See article. We traveled via Mexico City, for personal reasons. Via Miami also will work.

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny Seas calm
Water Temp 29 to 30 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 10 to 25 Meters

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions Max depth around 30 meters, not strictly enforced.
Liveaboard? yes Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

Sharks Lots Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles > 2 Whales None
Corals 4 stars Tropical Fish For Subscribers Only
Small Critters For Subscribers Only Large Fish For Subscribers Only
Large Pelagics For Subscribers Only

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

Subject Matter For Subscribers Only Boat Facilities 2 stars
Overall rating for UWP's For Subscribers Only Shore Facilities For Subscribers Only
UW Photo Comments I shot a 12-24 mm all week except for the last day, when I switched to a 60 mm. I probably would have switched to a 10.5 at least once during the week, except for the ... Subscribe to get the full story. For Subscribers Only  Active subscribers continue reading here

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

Accommodations For Subscribers Only Food 4 stars
Service and Attitude For Subscribers Only Environmental Sensitivity For Subscribers Only
Dive Operation For Subscribers Only Shore Diving For Subscribers Only
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ For Subscribers Only
Beginners 2 stars
Advanced For Subscribers Only
Comments
Submitted by Sharron Sussman and Neal Langerman
The bottom line is the diving is fantastic, but the associated hassles, especially for Americans significantly reduces the experience.

Travel to Cuba for Americans under the Trump Rules
Those traveling on a US Passport must comply with the U.S. Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC) rules. These rules are complex and require a detailed itinerary from 08:00 to 17:00 each day, with record maintenance for five years post travel. The Avalon portion of a trip is not too difficult, but any add on visit to Cuba can be very onerous. The OFAC contractor, EcoTours, is difficult to work with and very inflexible. The frustrating process of obtaining a travel license for us consumed 8½ months. Often during that period, we seriously considered cancelling.

U.S. currency incurs a 10% surcharge when exchanged for Cuban currency (CUC). Visiting U.S. citizens should obtain Euros in the USA and have a non-USA passport holder make the exchange. U.S. credit cards are not accepted. The maximum exchange you can make in one transaction is 500, which may not cover a boat tip for two persons and a day or two additional in Cuba.

We were told there was an exit fee of CUC25, but it was never collected, so we came home with CUC50 (equal to about $50 USD), which is not exchangeable outside Cuba. All in all, the non-diving administrative stuff was a huge hassle.

Avalon II

As stated initially, the diving with sharks, groupers, tarpon and a plethora of Caribbean fish was spectacular. Dives were typically in the 50 100-foot (17 35 meters) range, with a guide in front and at the rear. The guides wer ... Subscribe to get the full story. For Subscribers Only  Active subscribers continue reading here
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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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