Scuba diving Havana Cuba: exit from Bucaranao beach outside Havana on a bright sunny day from the white sandy beach.

Amazing Scuba Diving Havana Cuba From A Padi Advanced Diver (2024)

There are plenty of opportunities for scuba diving Havana Cuba; you don’t have to go to any of the beach resort areas far away to experience great diving in Cuba.

Just twenty minutes out of Havana, at Playa Bacuranao, there is a wreck site that is also connected to a beautiful cave system you can explore on the same dive. 

I had the pleasure of doing this dive with Blue Dive Cuba while staying in Havana. I loved the dive, although it came with two small surprises.

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Scuba Diving Havana Del Este From Playa Bacuranao

Three scuba divers walking over the white sands of a stunning beach outside Havana, Cuba, to go diging
Scuba diving outside Havana

The Havana Blue Dive Dive-Mobil picked me up at my casa particular in the historic city, packed to the brim with gear, taking us out to the start point for today’s dive at Bacuranao Beach, 25 minutes outside the city.

To scuba dive in Havana, you need to get a bit out of the city, and today’s scuba dive is at the city district called Habana del Este, East Havana.

Arriving at Playa Bacuranao, the starting point for today’s adventure, feels really great. This dive site is said to be really good. 

Immediately appearing as we turn off the highway is a magnificent view of the sea and blue sky, only disturbed by palm trees before the fine sandy beach starts.

I am ready to go scuba diving in Havana straight from the beach. Scuba diving Havana Cuba
Ready to go!

I went to the dive shop and tried and tested all the equipment a few days before the dive day, so all was ready and set to go this beautiful morning.

The car is loaded with a couple of other divers as well. In total, we are a group of nine people heading for today’s target, a small wreck a few hundred yards outside Playa Bacuranao.

I feel the tranquil chill that sandy beaches with turquoise seas and infinite horizons tend to provide.

Scuba Diving In Havana & Safety

Group photo of all divers ready to go outside Havana, Cuba. Lying in the water, all kitted up, ready to swim to the dive site.
Everyone ready very humid air

Although I am a Padi Advanced diver, in recent years, it has been a while between dives.

Therefore, it was very useful that Gabriel went through all the gear and safety regulations before we entered the water. 

You never know if some detail is lost in the mist for people like me who go on dive adventures only now and then. A great reminder of personal fallibility.

Pre-Dive Briefing In The Waves (And A Long Surface Swim)

After all the gear was assembled and checked, correctly attached to my body, and approved by Gabriel, we headed for the beach. 

In the small waves, everyone gathers, and Gabriel goes through today’s dive, including dissemination of diving partners for safety.

I feel informed and ready, although there was a small detail that my level of Spanish did not pick up. The length of the surface swim!

In Cuba, there are intricate rules for who can enter what type of boat where (long story), so launching from boats is not an easy option.

Most Cubans are not at liberty to enter any boat without special permission. I don’t know if that was why, but the surface swim was quite a distance.

Also read: 43 Best Things To Do In Havana Solo By A Local (2024)

Beautiful Descent Onto The Small Wreck

Swomming next to a small wreck, crystal clear waters, and wearing a yellow and pink wet suit with a yellow tank.
Exploring around the small wreck

With a few current-related issues and increasing wave size, the surface swim provided me with more than sufficient salty sips, and my face had a bright, sun-kissed tomato look the next day.

But! Finally, we were there, and I could see the frame of the wreck below.

Descending on the stern, we slowly landed over a bright sandy bottom with lots of light at about 15 meters.

Scuba diver signing all well while diving in Havana Cuba, in crystal clear waters
All is well

From my Norwegian (not very visibility-spoiled) point of view, the visibility was very good!

The sun is finding its way and hitting all the right light and dark places, providing playful golden waves on the sandy bottom!

The wreck outside Playa Bacuranao is not very big and quite open, so you can also enjoy swimming without the danger of getting lost or stuck.

EpicNomadLife Tip: Do you keep thinking you should have had a GoPro?

Going diving in Cuba is a perfect opportunity to get one! Unlike other great diving destinations, the dive guides here often do not have cameras to help you out, so maybe this is the reason you need to finally get it.

An extra treat I did not know beforehand was that the rock formations around the wreck site consist of a labyrinth of natural tunnels and open caves.

Close up photo of me scuba diving in Havana, trying to smile behind the mask. Wearing a pink wet suit, holding on to the remnants of an old wreck, crystal clear water all around me.
Great day diving

The swim through these formations was absolutely beautiful! The natural path of the labyrinths was a bit up and down and around and under, and at one point through!

This is the kind of natural experience that makes scuba diving so incredibly amazing.

On a day like this, when the sun peers through the waves and lands on all the little stones and cracks and boulders around, the world consists of just air and light, and scuba diving is the best zen activity ever! 

The Return Swim To Shore Was Luckily Easier

Our way back to shore was a lot easier, swimming at around 5 meters deep after the natural labyrinth. When surfacing after the security stopped, the surface swim distance, luckily, was almost done. 

Although it took about two hours in the water in total, and the swim was a little longer than I had hoped, this day was worth it. The wreck was quite tiny but absolutely interesting.

Yet, for me, it was the natural caves and labyrinth that made this dive extraordinary.

The sun rays hitting the boulders and bridges of stone are so beautiful, making a brilliant, shiny sub-marine day.


Best Scuba Diving In Cuba

Smiling after the scuba diving experience outside Havana. Still lying in the water, without the mask, all kitted up.
Happy camper after diving outside Havana

There are plenty of astonishing opportunities for scuba diving in Cuba; in almost all destinations on the Cuban shores, there are dive shops and centers helping you out. 

For anyone looking for Cuba dive trips, the best-known Cuba scuba diving spots are Varadero, Cayo Coco, and Cayo Santa Maria.

The Cayos, or the Keys, are resort islands outside of the main island of Cuba.

There are super options for diving in Cuba around Trinidad, Cienfuegos, and north of Viñales Valley, as well as on the western part of the Cuban main island around Santiago de Cuba. 

In addition, there are several options for Cuba scuba diving liveaboards if you are a passionate diver with the submarine world as your main objective for exploration.

The international diving adventure company Bluewater Travel is hosting Cuba scuba diving liveaboards in different dive locations in Cuba. 

Or you can check out this guide from Katy Jane Dives, comparing different liveaboard options in Cuban waters. 

And, of course, wherever you can go scuba diving, you can also go snorkeling in Cuba. The Caribbean waters are beautiful, and without a tank of air, they are also beautiful! 

FAQs Cuba Travel

Does Cuba Have Good Scuba Diving?

Yes, there are a variety of amazing dive sites in Cuban destinations. The most popular ones are in Varadero, outside Trinidad, and off the Cuban Keys.

Can US Citizens Scuba Dive In Cuba?

Yes, US citizens can scuba dive in Cuba as long as they comply with the US regulations for Cuban travel.

Cuba travel for Americans is regulated in the Cuba restricted list and the 12 pre-approved reasons for travel to Cuba.

Can You Scuba Dive With No Experience Cuba?

Yes, you can scuba dive in Cuba without experience. You can join an introductory dive in a pool or in the ocean. You can also take a scuba diving certification course in Cuba.

Why are US citizens not allowed to travel to Cuba?

This is NOT correct. US citizens ARE ALLOWED to travel to Cuba.

Americans can choose a reason for Cuba travel among 12 pre-approved reasons for traveling to Cuba, determined by the US government.

Can US citizens travel to Cuba as a tourist?

Technically, US citizens are NOT allowed to travel to Cuba as a tourist. Americans choose between 12 pre-approved reasons for Cuba travel, among which the most common one is “to help the Cuban people”.

American citizens still need to buy a tourist card, also called a tourist visa, to enter Cuba.

What are the 12 requirements to travel to Cuba?

You can read about the 12 pre-approved reasons to travel to Cuba for US citizens here.

The easiest and most common reason for Cuba travel is “to help the Cuban people”. There is no paperwork or application process connected to this, you just choose your reason and state that reason if anyone asks.

What happens if a US citizen travels to Cuba?

Nothing happens if a US citizen travels to Cuba apart from, hopefully, the US citizen will have a fabulous holiday and encounter Cuban culture.

US citizens need to choose one of the pre-approved reasons to travel to Cuba and need to buy the PINK Cuban tourist card, also called a tourist visa.

Selected airlines sell this visa/tourist card, or you can buy one online.

What documents do I need to travel to Cuba?

You need the following documents to travel to Cuba:

Do Americans need to be vaccinated to enter Cuba?

No, there is no requirement for specific vaccines prior to entering Cuba.

Your country’s health department probably has recommendations for what vaccines you should consider before entering Cuba.

How Do I get a tourist card for Cuba?

You can buy a tourist card online from Easy Tourist Card, or from the Cuban embassy in your country.

You might also be able to buy a Cuban tourist card from your airline or at the airport prior to departure.

It is possible to buy a Cuban tourist card at Miami International Airport at the check-in counter with American Airlines and Delta Airlines.

How Do I Get A Tourist Visa For Cuba?

A tourist visa is the same as a tourist card for Cuba. You can buy it from the following places:

  • Buy one online from Easy Tourist Card
  • Buy one from your airline if they offer this
  • Buy one at the airport of departure if they offer this
  • Buy one from the Cuban Embassy in your country

Is Travel To Cuba Allowed Right Now?

Yes, Cuba travel is allowed right now.

American citizens need to, in addition, choose one of the 12 pre-approved reasons for traveling to Cuba (Americans can not travel as “tourists”) and follow some simple guidelines for traveling in Cuba.

Wrap-Up Scuba Diving In Havana

I really enjoyed this shallow dive outside Havana, with great visibility, a nice wreck, and the amazing swim-throughs right outside the Capital.

If you would like to go diving here, make sure you prepare for a rather long surface swim, or check whether you can get to the dive site with a boat if you don’t feel up for it.

Apart from the Blue Dive scuba diving shop, there are several centers for scuba diving in the capital of Cuba, listed below.

I have no personal experience with these centers, so I am not able to give you my personal opinion, but visit their pages and see for yourself.

Related blog posts:

Playa Giron Diving: Scuba Diving Bay of Pigs By A Local

Magnificent Scuba Diving In Varadero In Beautiful Cuba

Amazing Scuba Diving In Cayo Santa Maria By An Expert

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