Jardines de la Reina / Cuba

Tarpon

Jardines de la Reina was named by Columbus after Queen Elizabeth. This dive site is a part of a huge system of coral islands and reefs (about 241km/150mi long) and the third largest in the world. In the center of the reef there is an area (144*32km/90*20mi) that in 1996 became Jardines de la Reina National Marine Park. Fishing, underwater hunting and inhabiting the islands are prohibited. These restrictions save the beauty of the underwater world virgin and untouched. There are more than 80 secured dive sites on the territory of the marine park. They are suitable for both beginner and experienced divers. One can dive at numerous Jardines de la Reina’s dive sites, although the most interesting are the following: Pipin Coral Reef (15-24m/49-78ft deep) forms a canyon till the break. Here one can meet famous silky sharks. At the end of the dive it is possible to move closer to them as they are not aggressive. Coral Negro 1 and 2 offer the most impressive dives. At 22-24m/72-78ft depth at the upper part of the reef divers can meet lots of Caribbean sharks that are swimming in groups up to 30 representatives.

Farallon is the best dive site of Jardines de la Reina. It is a gigantic coral reef with a tower that at 17m/55ft depth is crossed by tunnels that are 30m/98ft long, 3m/9ft wide and 10m/32ft high. When looking up in the tunnel, diver can see the sun light. Caribbean reef sharks can be spotted here. Diving at Vicente dive site is performed along a vertical wall. Coral wall reaches 20-40m/65-131ft height and is covered with fascinating black corals. Besides other fish, hammerheads visit this place. Cabezo de la Cubera is worth attention as well. The wall starts at 7m/22ft and ends at the sandy bottom at 18m/59ft depth. Caribbean sharks escort divers during the whole dive.

Location: The Caribbean Sea, south-eastern region of the Cuban Archipelago

What to see: Divers can admire eagle rays, groupers, tarpons, snappers, sea turtles and schools of jack fish, southern stingrays, parrot fish etc. It is also possible to meet up to 6 various kinds of sharks at the same time (silky, Caribbean reef, nurse, leopard, bull and hammerhead sharks). From July to November one can meet whale sharks.

Depth: 10-20m/32-65ft

Currents: 1knot

Visibility: about 30m/98ft

Season for diving: All year round. The average water temperature in December is 22C/71F and in July – 29C/84F.

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