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Dive Review of Villa Maria La Gorda in
Cuba

 
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Villa Maria La Gorda: "Not as awesome as I had hoped", Sep, 2015,

by Jay Bitzer, TX, US ( 1 report with 1 Helpful vote). Report 8553 has 1 Helpful vote.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations 3 stars Food 3 stars
Service and Attitude 3 stars Environmental Sensitivity 2 stars
Dive Operation 3 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 3 stars
Beginners 3 stars
Advanced 3 stars
Comments Diving in Cuba has long been on my bucket list, so I was really looking forward to it. However, it didn't live up to my expectations. Villa Maria La Gorda is a fairly large, modern resort, with multiple, four-room buildings spread out over a large area. The centrally-located dining room is large, comfortable, and clean. The food is not bad, but after five days, having the same thing every day got a bit old.
The dive shop is on site. I say "shop," but it's really just an office for their operation. They have two dive boats which were plenty large and seemed to be fairly well-maintained other than the smoke coming from one of our engines. We had 12 in our group, and had a boat to ourselves.
The dive sites are very close (5-10 minutes), and the water was calm and warm (84 degrees!). Diving depth varied from 30-90 feet. Visibility was so-so, probably averaging 60-75 feet.
The coral formations were in pretty decent shape, and the structure was among the most interesting I had seen anywhere. Very cool swim-throughs and canyons and chimneys. Black coral on some dives. Nothing that matched the size or beauty of my long-ago dives in the Bahamas or Roatan, but better than I've seen lately at places like Grand Cayman.
The biggest disappointment was the fish life, or lack thereof. Even though we were in a protected area, there just weren't a lot of fish, and nothing bigger than a medium-sized grouper. Everyone in the group commented on the disappointing fish life.
The dive crew at Maria La Gorda were for the most part friendly, but left something to be desired in terms of their oversight and leadership of the dives. One divemaster routinely swam ahead of the group and seldom looked back to check on anyone. Another divemaster missed the boat coming back in heavy current, and his entire group surfaced 100 yards plus downcurrent from the boat. It was not the quality of service we had received in most other places.
The bugs at Maria La Gorda will eat you alive, often in spite of bug spray. I'm not sure what was biting us, but I suspect sand fleas or sand chiggers, maybe some ants. Most of us were covered with bites.
Having said all those negative things, the resort is beautiful, quiet, and hey-it's Cuba. I don't plan to return (hard to get to, costly, and not super diving), but I'm glad I went, and the easy diving, Cuban cigars, lovely beach and relaxing stay made for a good time.
Websites Villa Maria La Gorda   

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 101-250 dives
Where else diving Bahamas, Belize, Florida, Roatan, Utila, Hawaii, Grand Cayman
Closest Airport Havana Getting There About a five hour drive from Havana.

Dive Conditions

Weather rainy Seas calm
Water Temp 82-84°F / 28-29°C Wetsuit Thickness 2
Water Visibility 60-75 Ft/ 18-23 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions 90 foot limit. No restrictions or even suggestions on air usage (e.g. being back on board with at least 500 psi)
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? no

What I Saw

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

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

Subject Matter 2 stars Boat Facilities 2 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 2 stars Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments [None]
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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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