Known as one of the best-preserved marine areas in the Caribbean, Jardines de la Reina (Gardens of the Queen) is a marine park located on the southeastern portion of Cuba known for its high fish diversity and 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 so special.
Project Focus: This purpose of this trip is to conduct fish surveys to support REEF's Volunteer Fish Survey Project. Click here to learn more about participating in fish surveys on a REEF Field Survey Trip!
Best Suited For: Divers.
Accommodations: There are 12 staterooms onboard the Jardines Avalon II; two suites with a balcony and 10 cabins. All cabins except two have twin beds that are able to be converted into one queen bed. Each stateroom has a private bathroom with shower and individual climate controls.
Diving: There will be 5 days of diving with 3-4 dives per day (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.
Pricing, Inclusions, and Other Fees
$3,600 per diver based on double occupancy.
Your Package Includes: The trip package includes 7 nights of accommodation, 5 days of diving plus 1 half day of diving, all meals and snacks onboard, non-alcoholic beverages plus local beer and wine, tanks and weights.
REEF Program Fee: A REEF Program Fee of $300 will be added to each package to cover the cost of the group leader, seminar, and REEF survey materials. The REEF Program Fee applies to all divers and any attendee age 18 or older.
Other Fees Paid to REEF: All additional fees must be pre-paid including $200 per person inscription fee, $100 per person conservation fee, and $200 per person fee for transfers between Havana and Jucaro. These fees will be collected by REEF and paid to Avalon Cuban Diving Centers. Optional Nitrox is available for $100 for the week. Anyone requesting Nitrox will pre-pay this fee directly to REEF as well. Gear rental is available by request only and must be reserved and pre-paid in advance. It is highly recommended to bring your own dive gear rather than relying on rental gear in Cuba.
Additional Fees: The following costs are not included in the price paid to REEF. All flights and associated travel to/from Cuba. Gratuities for the crew are not included in the cost of the charter and are at each individual's discretion. Please note that grautities must be paid in cash as U.S. credit and debit cards are not accepted in Cuba.
To reserve your space, email trips@REEF.org or call 305-588-5869. A $500 per person deposit will be due to confirm your reservation. Visit our Trip Policies page for more information on deposit and payment schedules.
Cuba Travel Info
Insurance: Travel insurance is not included. REEF strongly recommends that each participant purchase adequate dive travel insurance to protect you from unforeseen circumstances. REEF partners with both DiveAssure and DAN to offer travel insurance packages specifically for divers. REEF will receive a portion of the proceeds from travel insurance purchases when you click on the following affiliate links for DiveAssure or DAN.
How to Get There: Participants should make arrangements to fly into Havana International Airport (HAV.) The suggested route is to fly into Havana from Miami (MIA) on the morning of Saturday, March 12, and then transfer directly to the port in Jucaro. There are two flights on American Airlines that arrive prior to 11am on Saturday. At the end of the trip, you may fly out of Havana any time after 5pm on Saturday, March 19.
Transfers: Avalon will transfer all guests immediately from the airport in Havana to Jucaro, where they will board the boat. At the end of the trip, guests will be transferred back to Havana for departure. Transfers are $100 per person one-way ($200 total) and will be paid to REEF.
Passports, Documentation, and Visas: Travelers to Cuba will need a valid passport with at least two blank pages. Nearly all people who travel to Cuba needs to purchase a Cuban Tourist Card. Participants traveling from the US will need the pink tourist card. Most airlines will help arrange for passengers to get this card. More information about this can be found here. If you are a US citizen traveling to Cuba, you may be asked for your category or reason for travel when booking flights, hotels, etc. You will be traveling under the GENERAL OFAC LICENSE for 515.575 Humanitarian Projects or Humanitarian and Environmental Projects.
IMPORTANT: U.S. credit and debit cards do not work in Cuba. Bring cash for emergencies and any incidentals that are not pre-paid (see additional fees above). The Cuban government requires that travelers declare cash amounts over $5,000 US. The currency in Cuba is the Cuban convertible peso (CUC). Travelers should note that the Government of Cuba charges a 10 percent fee for all U.S. dollar cash conversions to CUC; this does not apply to electronic transactions or cash conversions in other currencies.