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A remote chain of 250 virgin coral and mangrove islands off Cuba’s southern coast, the Jardines de la Reina, or ‘Gardens of the Queen’ deserve to be on the wish list of any adventurous diver.

Considered one of the of the world’s best managed marine reserves, these waters burst with life and are home to vibrant coral reefs, supported by a wide range of pristine habitats such as seagrass beds and mangroves.

The region boasts exceptional visibility, plunging walls adorned with colourful sponges, hard and soft coral, and reefs that harbour possibly the healthiest and most diverse marine life of the Caribbean.

The beauty and diversity here are not the only draw for divers. At least six different species of shark are seen in these waters, including silky, lemon and great hammerhead sharks, while whale sharks can be seen seasonally each year. A unique highlight of the area is the American saltwater crocodiles that live in shallow water amongst the seagrass beds and mangroves. These ancient creatures are surprisingly placid here and snorkelling is possible, but at your own risk!

Permits to dive Jardines de la Reina are limited to just a few hundred divers a year and booking in advance is highly recommended.

Read Dive expert Charlie Munns' blog about his trip to Cuba's Jardines de la Reina.

View suggested itinerary

Key info

  • Ideal for viewing: Caribbean reef shark, silky shark, whale shark, lemon shark, American crocodile

Dive trips

This dive location is featured in the following itinerary:

Cuba Liveaboard

Promising unparalleled adventure, this trip combines all that is best about Cuba - above and below the water. Spend time in Havana and take in the country’s most exciting diving in the remote Jardines de la Reina.

  • When to go: Jan-Dec
  • Duration inc. flights: 11 days
  • Price inc. flights: From £4,175 pp
  • Trip type: Liveaboard Group trip
Suggested liveaboards are shown below. Please contact us for further recommendations.

Avalon I

Sleek, elegant and sophisticated, the Avalon I liveaboard accommodates up to 18 divers on six night itineraries around Cuba’s remote Jardines de la Reina marine park throughout the year.

Avalon II

The newest addition to Avalon’s fleet of liveaboards, the 38 metre Avalon II accommodates up to 20 divers on adventures around Cuba’s Jardines de la Reina, one of the world’s best managed marine parks.

Tortuga

This unique 34 metre long houseboat allows divers to enjoy Cuba’s Jardines de la Reina in space and comfort, ably supported by speedboats to take divers to the area’s finest sites.