Gardens of the Queen Cuba - Avalon II Liveaboard

Saturday, Aug 18, 2018 - Saturday, Aug 25, 2018 (1 week)
Led by Christy Pattengill-Semmens, Ph.D, REEF Director of Science, and Brice Semmens, Ph.D., REEF Science Advisor
18 divers maximum
Sold out. Waitlist available - contact

Jardines de la Reina (Gardens of the Queen), a marine park located on the southeastern portion of Cuba, is known as one of the best-preserved marine areas in the Caribbean, offering a high amount of diversity and fish biomass. A variety of marine habitats including patch reefs, seagrass, and mangroves surround the islands, providing important nursery areas for many juvenile fish species. Large fish such as snapper, grouper and sharks are a frequent sighting for divers in this area, and the barrier reefs have a fantastic abundance of hard and soft coral and sponges. Surveyors will have the chance to contribute their sightings data to REEF's online database while discovering why this protected area is considered to have some of the best diving in the Caribbean!


Plenty of sharks and brightly colored sponges call this area home.

Trip Type: Fish Survey - click here to learn more!

Pricing: $5,400 per diver based on double occupancy.

Accommodations: The Avalon II sleeps 20 passengers in 10 deluxe staterooms. Each stateroom is air-conditioned and has a private bathroom. The staterooms have two beds (1 full and 1 twin) and each stateroom has a window.

Diving: The Avalon II offers up to 4 dives per day for 5 days (Sunday-Thursday), and 2 dives on the final day of the trip (Friday.) All diving is done from two skiffs, which hold 10 divers each. Average water tempertaure is 80 degrees Fahrenheit. A 3mm wetsuit is recommended.

Price Includes: Five days of diving plus 1 half day of diving, all meals and snacks onboard, non-alcoholic beverages plus local beer and wine, round-trip airport transfers from Santa Clara or Camaguey, tanks and weights.

REEF Program Fee: A REEF Program Fee of $300 per diver will be added to each package to cover the cost of the group leader, seminar and REEF survey materials.

Other Fees Paid to REEF: $200/person inscription fee and $100/person conservation fee will be collected by REEF and paid to Avalon Cuban Diving Centers.

Additional Fees: The following costs are not included in the price paid to REEF - All flights, optional gear rental, optional Nitrox available for $100 for the week. Gratuities for the crew are not included in the cost of the charter and are at each individual's discretion. Insurance is not included, however REEF strongly recommends that each participant purchase adquate dive travel insurance to protect you from unforeseen circumstances. More information about dive travel insurance can be viewed here.

About the Trip Leader: Dr. Christy Pattengill-Semmens is REEF's Director of Science. Christy is an expert at Fish ID and has led dozens of REEF Field Surveys over the years to all of REEF's survey project regions. Brice Semmens, Ph.D., is a professor at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego. He is the lead scientist on REEF's Grouper Moon Project and is an expert level REEF surveyor in all of REEF's program areas.

How to Sign Up: To reserve your space or find out more, e-mail us at, or call us at 305-588-5869. A $500 deposit will be collected at the time of booking. Visit our Trip Policies page for more information on deposit and payment schedules. 

How to Get There: Participants should make arrangements to fly into Abel Santamaría Airport in Santa Clara (airport code SNU) or Ignacio Agramonte International Airport in Camaguey (airport code CMW). Participants should plan to arrive on Saturday, Aug. 18, by mid-afternoon, and depart any time after noon the following Saturday, Aug. 25. Participants are responsible for booking their own airfare. REEF is not able to book air travel.

Transfers: Transfers are included in the trip package. After arriving at either airport, participants will board a bus to the port where Avalon II is located. The port is in Jucaro, an approximately 2.5 hour bus ride from either airport.

Large fish like Yellowfin Grouper can be found in the Gardens of the Queen. Photo credit: Noel Lopez



The Avalon II is a 125 ft. yacht.



The boat has 10 deluxe staterooms.


A Diamond Blenny perches on a reef in Cuba. Photo credit: Fausto de Nevi

Avalon II Liveaboard Website
Design by Joanne Kidd, development by Ben Weintraub