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 in 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 frequent sightings for divers in this area, and the barrier reefs have a fantastic abundance of hard and soft coral and sponges. Surveyors will also have the chance to see the beautiful Golden Fairy Basslet.
Project Focus: The 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. Divers must be at least 16 years old to dive in Cuba.
Accommodations: There are 15 staterooms onboard the Jardines Avalon III; four suites with a balcony and 11 cabins. All cabins have twin-bed and double-bed configurations. Each stateroom has a private bathroom with a 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 skiffs, which hold 10 divers each with 1 divemaster for every 5 divers. The average water temperature is 80 degrees Fahrenheit. A 3mm wetsuit is recommended.
Pricing, Inclusions, and Other Fees
|Double Occupancy||*Single Occupancy|
*Based on Availablity
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 a $120 per person conservation fee, $240 per person port fee, and $150 per person fee for one-way transfer between Havana and Jucaro (subject to change once travel logistics and arrival airport details are finalized), Optional Nitrox is available for $120 for the week - we assume everyone on the trip will dive Nitrox, please notify us if you will not. These fees will all be collected by REEF and paid to Avalon Cuban Diving Centers. 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 the 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.
- Hotel stays in Havana on the front end of the trip. Details will be provided with suggestions on where to stay. At least one night hotel stay is required in Havana because the ground transportation from Havana to the boat on the morning of June 22 departs very early, prior to any flights landing. At the end of the trip, the transfer to Camaguey airport (CMW) will be early enough that an additional night is not required. Up to two nights on the front end will be included in the Humanitarian Program Itinerary provided to participants.
- Gratuities for the crew are not included in the cost of the charter and are at each individual's discretion. Please note that crew gratuities must be paid in cash as U.S. credit and debit cards are not accepted in Cuba.
- Any additional add-on land-based excursions before or after the REEF Trip. Details on options will be provided to participants. Participants planning any additional activities or nights spent in Cuba beyond the 1-2 hotel nights on the front end of the REEF Trip and the time on the liveaboard must secure a separate Humanitarian Program Itinerary as no extensions can be added to the one provided for the official REEF Trip portion.
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
Travel and Dive Accident Insurance: Travel insurance and dive accident insurance is not included. REEF strongly recommends that each participant purchase adequate dive accident and travel insurance to protect you from unforeseen circumstances. Be sure to check travel insurance policies to confirm they cover travel to Cuba, many do not. There are specific companies that offer travel insurance specifically for Cuba and we suggest you do your research to confirm that your policy covers Cuba. In general, dive accident coverage does include Cuba.
How to Get There: Participants should make arrangements to fly into Havana International Airport (HAV), arriving anytime on Thursday or Friday, June 20/21. You will then overnight at a hotel (booked by the participant, not included in the package) in Havana. The group will be transferred by charter bus early Saturday morning, June 22, directly to the boat in port in Jucaro (pre-arranged transfer). At the end of the trip, the group will be transferred to Camaguey airport (CMW) Saturday, June 29. Please note the two different airports.
Transfers: Avalon will transfer all guests from a central location in Havana to Jucaro, where they will board the boat. Participants need to arrange their own transfer from their hotel to the central pick up place in Havana. At the end of the trip, guests will be transferred to Camaguey airport (CMW), which is closer to the port than Havana and included in the price.
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 need 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 and it is often included in the cost of your airline ticket. 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 are not accepted 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.
COVID-19 Considerations: It is the participant's responsibility to ensure that they understand and comply with all local requirements (for entry and visit as a tourist) of the host destination, and for exit and entry requirements for their home country. Be prepared for your plans to change. Be sure your travel insurance covers COVID-related issues. No travel is risk-free during the COVID-19 pandemic. Countries may further restrict travel or bring in new rules at short notice, for example, due to a new COVID-19 variant. Please be aware that REEF is not a travel agent. We are doing our best to interpret the information provided by our trip vendor and the host country’s government COVID-19 webpages. We encourage everyone to do their own research, interpretation, and due diligence. Please see REEF’s COVID-19 Considerations and Vaccine Policies section in our REEF Field Survey Trips Policies page for more information.