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Trips

Cuba’s Gardens of the Queen – December 7-14, 2024

Description

We just returned from Cuba and diving at the Gardens of the Queen.  It was so good, that we’re going back, this time during high season with calm, pristine seas, and amazing visibility.

Gardens of the Queen – Jardines de la Reina

Scuba diving in the Gardens of the Queen in Cuba is one of the global diving hotspots this year.  This area has been a marine park for over 20 years and the protection has paid off.  Dr David E. Guggenheim, an American marine biologist and senior fellow at the Ocean Foundation in Washington stated that Jardines de la Reina is “the most incredibly well protected and flourishing reef I’ve ever seen”.

Coral reefs are often called “the rainforests of the ocean.  “They’re not just biologically diverse and stunningly beautiful, they’re a source of food and income for nearly a billion people.  They’re also in danger.  Scientists estimate that 25 percent of the world’s reefs have died off and much of what’s left is at risk.  There is, however, one spot in the Caribbean that marine biologists describe as a kind of “under-water Eden,” a coral reef largely untouched by man.  It’s called the Gardens of the Queen, and getting permission to go there isn’t easy.  It’s located off the coast of Cuba, and as you might have already guessed, there are no direct flights.

Diving in Jardines de la Reina is unique due to a collaboration between the government and privately owned Italian company Avalon which holds the licence for Scuba diving in the park, allowing a maximum of 1200 divers per year and granted permits to live in the marine sanctuary on a liveaboard.  They work together to uphold park protection.

Jardines Avalon F II (JAF2)

Jardines Avalon F II (JAF2) is a 130 foot vessel, with 10 state rooms, that started operating since April 2014.  It is air conditioned with private bathrooms.  All live aboards are intimate, comfortable and stylishly designed yachts, where each space is created to provide its guests with maximum comfort and safety.  The atmosphere was conceived and designed to provide our guests with an experience of a lifetime.

Its overall capacity is 20 passengers and 9 crew members.  The design and interior decor give the yacht a touch of intimacy, refinement, a sense of warmth and simplicity. The boat has the perfect balance of substantial exploration capabilities and a unique and noble style. It guarantees all our guests a pleasant, exciting and exclusive voyage through Jardines de la Reina.

Jardines Avalon F II (JAF2) has 10 deluxe cabins, with 10 private bathrooms.  Each room includes air conditioning and heat controls, electricity plugs, as well as storage in drawers.  Each room has panoramic windows to enjoy the breathtaking view of the Caribbean beaches.

There is a spacious and comfortable combination lounge, dining room and bar area on the boat deck.  In cabins and common areas, there are electric sockets available for you to plug in your personal items (220 volts and 110 volts). With services like eicr testing nottingham, the electrical systems in those areas are certified efficient and safe.

Full charter aboard the Jardines Avalon FII (JAF2) – 20 pax max load

Included with the boat package:
  • 7 nights accommodations with ensuite bathrooms
  • 3 dives per day (17 day dives + 1 night dive)
  • All meals and snacks while onboard
  • 6 beverages per day – alcoholic, and soft drinks (up to 6 per day)
  • Eco-adventures (beach and mangrove exploration, crocodile encounters)
  • Tanks and weights
Not Included with this package:
  • International Flights; Denver (DEN) to Havana (HAV), return via Camaguey (CMW)
  • Rental dive gear
  • Scuba training
  • Crew gratuities
  • Nitrox – $120
Complete Package Pricing – $4460, now $4065, which includes items shown below:
  • $3950 per person (based on double occupancy)
  • Boat price discounted 10% to $3555
  • Conservation fee – $120
  • Port fee – $240
  • Transfers:  Havana to Jucaro Marina (6 hours) – $150, return via Camaguey (2 hours) – free, with half or full charter.
Optional Supplements:
  • Full equipment rental: $290 pp/week

Full set includes:  Mask, Snorkel, Fins, Boots, BC, Reg, and Computer

Individual item rates available upon request:

  • Nitrox: $120 pp
  • Upgrade to 22 dives: $250 pp
Havana Land Tour (optional)

This itinerary was originally built for dive shops that want to include everything, and make it easier to control their group – this was easily arranged, for $1100.  This is an enormous price tag, but we did it ourselves, for much, much less.

– Thursday, December 5:  Flight arrival, own transfer, check into hotel, evening/dinner on own.

– Friday, December 6:  Havana City Tour (booked on own), return to hotel, evening/dinner on own.

– Saturday, December 7:  Transfer to boat (approx. 6 hours), overnight on boat to Gardens of the Queen.

Full week aboard the Jardines Avalon F II – diving 3 tanks/day (17 day dives + 1 night dive)

– Saturday, December 14:  Transfer to Camaguey (approx. 2 hours), and fly home.

Payments in country or on the boat are Euros, or USD cash only, no credit cards accepted anywhere, no ATM’s anywhere in Cuba.  Please do not mark any payment instrument with “Cuba” or “Havana” this will cause your bank to withhold your payment.

PAYMENT SCHEDULE:

Deposit:  $1000 to reserve your space (non-refundable)

Subsequent Payment:  $1500 due June 1, 2024

Final Payment:  Balance is due on September 1, 2024

Passport requirement – must have 6 months remaining until expiration date upon return to USA.

For all dive trips, consider purchasing travel insurance, and dive accident insurance.  Both are highly recommended, and are made available to purchase!

To purchase DAN dive accident insurance, please scroll to the bottom of this page, and click on the DAN banner link, Join DAN Today!, then follow the prompts on DAN’s website.

To purchase travel insurance, please scroll to the bottom of this page, and click on the DAN banner link, Purchase Travel Insurance?, then follow the prompts on DAN’s website.

REEF SAFE SUNSCREEN

Some sunscreen ingredients are not safe for corals; these include oxybenzone. Research indicates that these chemicals can cause DNA damage to corals, promote viruses in corals, and contribute to the bleaching of corals. So that we can help protect our reefs, we encourage our guests to choose and use a sunscreen that is “coral safe”.

To purchase eco-friendly sunscreen products, please scroll to the bottom of this page, and click on the Stream2Sea banner link, use code, “cleanreef” for a 10% discount.

** AIRFARE SOLD SEPARATELY **

Price is per person and based on double occupancy and items specified. Space is subject to availability, price subject to change without notice and not guaranteed until deposit is received. Cost for airfare cannot be guaranteed until paid and ticketed. Some restrictions may apply.

* Credit card payments can expect an additional 3.5% (5% international payers) to be added to the final invoice for all payments made with credit cards. This fee covers the cost of PayPal charges. Venmo, Zelle, Send Money to Friends and Family, and checks are always welcome.

If interested, please contact Andy Skuntz, at Colorado Dive + Travel Adventures, email to askuntz@yahoo.com, or call at 719-322-6941. This exciting trip will fill up fast.

Trip flyer, terms and conditions, and a trip application will be provided. Once the application is complete, please return to Andy via fax or email, then an invoice for the designated deposit will be provided.

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