From circling sharks to pristine reefs, there’s a bit of something for every type of diver in Jardines de la Reina. As you may have already guessed, many of the divers in the Jardines de la Reina are attracted by the nearly guaranteed shark sightings.
There are some dive sites in the area where you will enjoy more than 30 sharks circling above and below you at one time. Common shark species include large Caribbean reef sharks and silky sharks. Simply sit back and enjoy this spectacular show. Popular shark dive sites include Pipín, Black Coral I and II, and Five Seas.
While the sharks might be what everyone is talking about, the area’s pristine reefs fall into a close second. Much like the name suggests, the Gardens of the Queen host a healthy garden of soft corals, sponges and sea fans.
Because of the tropical location of the Jardines de la Reina, diving is possible throughout the year. Although the diving varies only slightly between seasons, the best time to dive is technically December to April. November to April is the dry season, while May to October is the rainy time of year.
You can expect almost no current, warm water averaging from 79 °F (26 °C) to 84 °F (29 °C), and amazing visibility of 100 feet (30 meters) or more.
The Jardines de la Reina is accessible by boat only from the small port town of Jucaro in the Ciego de Ávila province of Cuba. Depending on the weather conditions, the boat ride can take between two and a half and five hours.
Currently, there is only one company operating dive trips in the Gardens of the Queen. To dive in the area, you’ll need to book yourself on one of their five liveaboards (the Avalon I, Avalon II, Halcón, La Reina and Georgiana) or their floating hotel called Tortuga. Each of these options service the same area, meaning the diving is the same no matter which you choose. Most dive sites will be within a 20 minute boat ride of your accommodation in the Jardines de la Reina.