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Dive Review of Memories of Jibacoa in
Cuba/Memories of Jibacoa, Varadero

 
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Memories of Jibacoa: "Good beach, poor diving", Jul, 2018,

by Jocelyn Gill, ON, CA (Reviewer Reviewer 3 reports). Report 10455.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations 3 stars Food 3 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity 1 stars
Dive Operation 2 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling 3 stars
Value for $$ 3 stars
Beginners 3 stars
Advanced 1 stars
Comments Iíve been to a number of Cuban dive destinations (Cayo Largo, Havana, Santiago de Cuba), and this one was the worst. Itís very unfortunate that Cubans need to over fish these waters. The result of this over fishing was a distinct lack of any large vertebrates such as groupers, barracuda and cera, sharks, turtles, southern sting rays, green morays, manta rays, and mammals, etc. There was also a distinct lack of large schools of fish such as blue chromis, tangs and creole wrasse. However, there were a few surprises, such as soap fish, scrawled cow fish, orange file fish, glassy sweepers, and a large Caribbean squid. The dive master has also habituated a large spiny lobster that was a hit with our newbie diver. The dive master guided us through coral cuts and nice archways to show us the other attractions: 3 coral encrusted canons, and 3 anchors. Hurricane Irma (2017) left quite a bit of damage, overturning large elkhorn corals and ruining a large expanse of staghorn coral. There is, however, signs that the coral is growing back. It will take many years for the corals to look their best again, Iím sure. The snorkeling was average, but Iím sure it will improve with time as the reef recovers. Needless to say, macrophotography was the only real option. Any macro photographer will find something worth photographing if they put their mind to it.
We were able to dive our own profile, but, when we asked for an afternoon and a night dive (I was looking forward to trying out my fluorescent photography set up), we were told that the dive masters stop working after the morning dives (usually 2). We asked if we could rent our tank for a beach dive (night dive?) and were told that Cuban law prohibits tourists from diving in Cuban waters without a certified guide. We offered to pay a premium price for a night dive, but they were simply not interested. Diving with gloves is also prohibited, (no touch policy). Itís a shame they implement such (good) rules for protecting their reefs, but still allow overfishing off their beach.
The service at the dive center was mediocre. The dive personnel were not quick in helping bring our dive gear to the 23 foot open air panga that was launched from the beach. We were a foursome of older divers (58 to 65) and would have appreciated a bit of help. Perhaps this is result of a Communist attitude? (everyone takes care of themselves?), or perhaps they have not perfected the ďins and outsĒ of the service industry. It was obvious to me that their hearts were not in it.
The attraction to this resort was the beach, which was top notch. The accommodations were for the most part, adequate, and the hotel staff were quick to see to our needs. The food was typical resort food, which was also adequate but not outstanding. The hotel briefing was informative, but the music entertainment was truly top notch. There was also a show every night featuring dancers and singers, but, being ďolderĒ we retired for the night early.
If you are an experienced diver and bring your own gear to destination sites, I would say give this destination a pass. If you are new to the sport, or want to only snorkel, give it a try. Itís a cheap holiday for a chance to get wet.
Websites Memories of Jibacoa   

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience Over 1000 dives
Where else diving Red Sea, Indonesia, Komodo, Nova Scotia, British Columbia, St Lawrence seaway, lakes and quarries in Canada, Caribbean islands (many), Mexico (Cozumel, Puerto Vallarta), Florida, Belize, ABC islands, Roatan, Great Barrier Reef, Queensland.
Closest Airport Varadero Getting There Sunwing Vacations

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny Seas calm
Water Temp 30-31°C / 86-88°F Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 50-70 Ft/ 15-21 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions No afternoon nor night dives available.
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? no

What I Saw

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

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

Subject Matter 3 stars Boat Facilities 2 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 3 stars Shore Facilities 3 stars
UW Photo Comments Underwater photographers with a ton of experience might want to give this destination a pass. If you are looking for a cheap dive destination to practice your macro photo techniques, there are small critters that are fun to photograph, like arrow crabs, light bulb tunicates, Pederson shrimp in corkscrew anemone, and of course, señior spiny lobster.
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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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