Jardines de la Reina – Gardens of the Queen
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 II
Jardines Avalon II is a 136′ long and 25′ wide steel yacht, it was built and maintained to SOLAS shipping standards. It is diesel-powered, cruise at 10 knots and have 110-volt power onboard.
It features a roomy, air conditioned salon and dining area, sun deck complete with a hot tub (Jacuzzi), lounge and deck chairs, stereo, shaded wet bar and grill, and a complete photo center with a digital video and still photo editing computer.
Jardines Avalon II’s beverages selection includes fruit juices, soft drinks, iced water, iced tea, coffee, and a full bar of beer, wine and spirits.
This diving vessel has everything a live aboard is expected to have, and more! Indeed, the vessel is quite spacious and offers large communal areas. The big salon is located on the main deck and is a cozy space where everyone can gather and enjoy the complete TV/media system. Also, if you walk upstairs to get to the upper deck, that’s where you’ll find the galley along with a restaurant-like dining room.
Furthermore, step outside on that same upper deck and you’ll find just as much space where you can hang out. Plus, that’s where the jacuzzi tub is located. Indeed, those who like to stay in the shade will be happy as the sundecks are partly shaded. Also, the sunbathers are served with a huge area fitted with sun loungers so they can relax, work on their tan and enjoy the view of beautiful Cuba.
The boat features a sizable lower prep deck with plenty of space to store your equipment and get ready for the day of diving. The maneuverability on this boat is incredible and you will find there is no lack of space on board.
Full charter aboard the Jardines Avalon II (JA2) – 24 pax max load
Included with the boat package:
- 7 nights accommodations with ensuite bathrooms (most cabins)
- 19 dive package = 3 dives per day + 1 night dive
- All meals and snacks while onboard
- Alcoholic beverages (up to 6 per day)
- Eco-adventures (paddle boarding, kayaking, beach and mangrove exploration, crocodile encounters)
- Tanks and weights
Not Included with this package:
- International Flights Denver (DEN) to Havana (HAV)
- Rental dive gear
- Scuba training
- Crew gratuities
- Nitrox – $120
Complete Package Pricing – $3675, which includes items shown below:
- $2,975 per person (based on double occupancy)
- Roundtrip transfer – plan for 6 hour bus transport each way – $240 Round-trip
- Conservation fee – $120
- Port fee and supplemental health insurance – $340
- 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
- Full Suite (w/ balcony): $490 per cabin (for couples)
- Upgrade to 4/dives per day: $200 pp
Havana Land Tour (optional)
– Thursday, June 1: Flight arrival, transfer with lunch included, check into hotel (Iberostar Parque Central), evening/dinner on own.
– Friday, June 2: Breakfast (included), Havana City Tour with lunch, return to hotel, evening/dinner on own.
– Saturday, June 3: Breakfast, then transfer to boat (approx. 6 hours), overnight on boat to Gardens of the Queen.
Full week aboard the Jardines Avalon II – diving 6 days x 3 tanks, etc, etc.
– Saturday, June 10: Return to Havana, check into hotel, evening/dinner on own.
– Sunday, June 11: Breakfast, then transfer to airport for flight home.
Land Tour Cost – $1100
Havana City Tour includes 3 Nights Iberostar Parque Hotel (double occupancy) with daily breakfast, airport transfers with lunch on day of arrival, and guided Havana City Tour with lunch.
**Any payments in country and on the boat are Canadian Dollar (CAD) or Euros only, no USD accepted anywhere, and do not expect to find an ATM anywhere in Cuba. Also, credit cards are not accepted on the boat. Please do not mark checks or payments with “Cuba”, it is a red flag for any payments.
Deposit: $1000 to reserve your space ($500 is non-refundable)
Subsequent Payment: $1000 due June 5, 2022
Final Payment: Balance is due on March 5, 2023
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% (4% 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 email@example.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.