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Dive Review of Avalon in
Cuba/Jardines de la Reina

 
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Avalon, Oct, 2012,

by Graham McGregor, Kilmacolm, GB (Sr. Contributor Sr. Contributor 29 reports with 2 Helpful votes). Report 6729 has 1 Helpful vote.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 251-500 dives
Where else diving Galapagos, Maldives, Sipadan, Malapascua, Red Sea, Caribbean, Hawaii, Florida, Spain
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, dry Seas choppy, no currents
Water Temp 30 to 31 Celsius Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 15 to 30 Meters

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions All dives were guided but you could pretty much stay dowwn as long as you wanted
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? no

What I Saw

Sharks Lots Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles > 2 Whales None
Corals 4 stars Tropical Fish 4 stars
Small Critters 3 stars Large Fish N/A
Large Pelagics N/A

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

Subject Matter N/A Boat Facilities N/A
Overall rating for UWP's N/A Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments [None]

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

Accommodations 5 stars Food 5 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity 4 stars
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 5 stars
Beginners 4 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments Jardines de la Reina is mangrove/coral chain about 65 miles off the south coast of Cuba. It has been a marine park for about 20 years. Given that diving is limited to about 700 divers each year, the reefs are in very good condition, significantly better than most other parts of the Caribbean.

Avalon Divers are the only operator in JDR. They have a couple of liveaboards but they were not in iuse during our stay. We stayed on their "houseboat" - Tortuga and dived off a skiff. Dive sites were within 10 to 20 minutes away. There were only 8 of us on Tortuga, so we all had a room each. The rooms accommodate 3 or 4 people in sinles/bunks. There's plenty of room if only one in the room - it would be a bit tight if the room is full! Separate small bathroom/shower in each room. Hot warer was plentiful.

Tortuga was a good base. The food was great, fresh seafood/fish at lunch and dinner. After the last dive each day you return to a complimentary Mohito and pizza - fantastic.

This is one of the places to go to experience shark action. We had many sharks on virtually every dive - Caribbean Reef sharks or Silky sharks. We also saw Nurse sharks. Avalon take a small bait box down on some dives (not all), which means a plethora of sharks. It's not a shark feed as such but there are loads of sharks around, extremely close. This is not a location for the nervous or feint-hearted. Avalon have three dives a day in their standard package but we paid an extra 35 Euros per person for a 4th day dive each day. Well worth the money.

It is a bit of a journey to get to and from JDR. You have to overnight in Havana and then its a 5/6 hour coach trip across Cuba, followed by a 3 hour boat transfer. Is it worth it - definitely.
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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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