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Scuba & Beaches

To the west of the province of Havana, lies Pinar del Rio and in it lies MARIA LA GORDA. Diving experts consider the seabed of María la Gorda, located in the Guanacahabibes Biosphere Reserve among the top ten dive locations in Latin America, due to its abundant marine life and extraordinarily beautiful corals. No wonder that most people visit María la Gorda in order to explore the underwater world. The International Dive Center of María la Gorda and its adjoining hotel caters to scuba divers of all levels while non-divers can enjoy snorkeling, fishing or boat rides.

To preserve our sites, Cuba  has  a "Look, but don't touch, and don't take policy".

The reefs and walls of the Cuban underwater world offer incredible diving , to the beginner as well as to the advanced diver, as much if not more than any diving area in the world. Currently offering  over 30 diving centers at many zones zones with 100's of dive sites, and new areas are being developed everyday. Cuban diving waters are pristine, with very little pollution or coral destruction, perfectly preserved, and providing an underwater paradise of more than 50 species of corals and 200 species of sponges. With average normal visibility of 30 to 40 meters, divers will find an abundance of hard corals such as brain, pillar, staghorn and elkhorn, and among the soft corals, spectacular gorgonians, sea fans and plume worms.Barrel and tube sponges, sea urchins, spiny lobsters, coral shrimp and crabs are also widely present.

Dozens of species of fish swim among the reefs in undulating schools or wait in solitary patience for their next morsel. Moray eels peer from their caves, an occasional squid or octopus drifts by, and not-to-be-feared sharks, barracudas and rays often appear. Many sites include diving to wrecks and in caves of the marine platform. Normally the centers provide two dives per day, and night diving is available at most. The centers have fast, modern dive boats for swift access to the sites, and all have on-board oxygen and VHF communications.

Instructors are certified by SSI, ACUC or CMAS, and centers can usually provide multi-lingual instructors. All areas have 24-hour medical care. Beginners at all centers can qualify to dive with a few hours of study and training in a pool. Cuba has five hyperbaric chambers dispersed regionally, and the centers can provide an unlikely emergency evacuation by helicopter if ever needed.

 

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The beaches east of Havana are known as "Playa del Este". They are just 20 minutes from Downtown Havana, and include from West to East: Bacuranao Beach, Tarara Beach, El Megano Beach, Santa Maria del Mar Beach, Boca Ciega Beach, Guanabo Beach, Veneciana Beach and Rincon Beach. Choose from 7 km of white sand beach...

Bacuranao Beach is the closest to Havana, and strictly speaking is in the Celimar, Habana del Este district. Through the beach runs the fresh water Bacuranao creek. The beach is not easy for the tourist to find, but is popular with the locals and the Habaneros.

Playa Santa Maria del Mar is a pleasant non-touristy beach, but packed with Habaneros at weekends. It has white sand with remains of coral and shells. Its waters are crystal clear with different shades of green and blue. Underwater, Santa María shows a beautiful landscape of coral reefs, shellfish and lively colored fish. It is an experience to dive in these waters, due to the abundance of the fauna and its irregular landscape.

Guanabo is a charming seaside town with a magnificent beach and a nightlife provided by many discos.

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Varadero began to be developed as a summer vacation resort in the 1940s, but it wasn't until the last ten years that its network of hotels and other facilities was given an unprecedented boost. Its tourist offer was diversified and upgraded at the same time.

Its main attraction has always been its marvellous beach, but this isn't all it has to offer. You can explore its caves and escarpments, a necklace of virgin cays that are easy to get to and the carefully preserved natural landscape at the northeastern end of the peninsula. In addition, Cárdenas, the nearby city of Matanzas, the Zapata Peninsula and the San Miguel de los Baños Spa offer cultural, historic and natural attractions.

Varadero's Plaza América Conference Center has all the facilities needed for conference and incentive tourism.

Varadero is a free port and has exceptionally good conditions for scuba diving, deep-sea fishing, yachting and other water sports.

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Jardines del Rey (Gardens of the King) Archipelago lies just off the northern coast of Ciego de Ávila Province and is part of the Sabana-Camagüey Archipelago, the longest of the four archipelagos near the island of Cuba and the one with more of 2500 cays and islets. Governor Diego Velázquez named this archipelago Jardines del Rey (Gardens of the King) in honor of Ferdinand the Catholic, of Spain, in 1514. Now, more than 500 years later, this island group still has new things for you to discover!

Coco and Guillermo Cays, two of the jewels in this necklace of islands, have great natural beauty. Here, comforts of the modern world have been added carefully, to complement and protect the environment. Paredón Grande (Big Wall)-the smallest of these cays, but in no way inferior to the others-is about to be developed for tourism.

The attraction that the Jardines del Rey (Gardens of the King) Archipelago has for tourists is reinforced by exceptionally beautiful natural components: its wealth of birds (over 200 species live in the area) and the high degree of conservation of its sea and land ecosystems.

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See a Power Point Presentation of Jardines del Rey
Despues que aparesca..After it displays
SLIDE CONTROLS ARE ON THE  LOWER LEFT CORNER OF SLIDE
Para verlas, los controles estan abajo y a la izquierda de la pantalla