Colonial adventures and world class diving
8 day itinerary
Over 700 miles long, Cuba is a fascinating country combining unique culture with stunning landscapes and lively underwater scenes. This itinerary explores the country's stunning south coast, which offers thousands of cays, archipelagos and marine parks, kicking off from Cienfuegos, the yachting hub of Cuba.
Pearl of the South
Fly into Cienfuegos by private or commercial aircraft. You will be met at the airport by the crew and transported to your yacht. Settle in before taking a stroll around the tranquil City of Cienfuegos, a true colonial gem. Enjoy dinner onboard prepared by the yacht chef, or visit a local ‘paladar’, a private restaurant usually located in the owner’s own home. This quintessentially Cuban experience typifies the country’s evolving private enterprise. Cruise east to the colonial village of Trinidad for overnight anchorage.
Frozen in time
The Colonial City of Trinidad is a time capsule of cobblestone streets dotted with colourful paladars. A perfectly preserved Spanish colonial settlement, it was named a national monument in 1965. One of Cuba’s earliest settlements, as a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site it is an unmissable highlight of the island. Visit the Museum of Colonial Architecture, housed in a beautifully restored 18th century colonial mansion or the Casa de Aldeman Ortiz, home of the former mayor and featuring frescoes and local artworks on the walls. By night, enjoy live music by the ocean.
Jardines De La Reina
A diver’s dream, the Jardines De La Reina Marine Park is the third largest reef in the world, with sightings of sharks and crocodiles almost guaranteed. Very little current, warm clear waters and 30 metres+ of visibility make this ideal for either shark dives or reef dives. At certain sites, you can swim with over 30 sharks including Caribbean reef sharks and silky sharks circling above and below you in the water. The pristine reefs boast soft corals, sponges and sea fans.
Cayo Cinco Balas
Explore Cuba’s cayos (cays), lined with spotless white sandy beaches and low-lying coral reef islands. We will arrange for a dedicated ‘Marinero’, an expert marine biologist with a wealth of knowledge about Cuba’s ecosystems and diverse marine life, to join you onboard. Cayo Blanco, Cayo Machos de Fuera and Cayo Cinco Balas offer stunning scenery and make a breathtaking backdrop for an evening of al fresco dining.
Test out the yacht’s water toys or dive gear at the almost-deserted beaches around Playa Ingles, located away from the tourist track and known only by locals. Jump on the tender to explore nearby inlets by paddleboard, or find a great snorkelling spot with the help of the crew.
Discover the Canarreos Archipielago, the other main island group along the central southern shore of Cuba, stretching 90km, with small to medium islands boasting hundreds of anchorages to choose from. Try the famous Playa Sirena or Cayo Largo. Call in at Cayo del Rosario, Cayo Cantiles and Cayo Campos to explore coral seabeds teeming with tropical fish. Cayo Guano del Este is a deserted mile-long, mile-wide key that’s great to visit by tender.
Depart early for Isla de la Juventud, 80km off the coast in the heart of the vibrant Punta Frances Marine Park. This is one of the Caribbean’s best destinations for snorkelling and scuba diving, with 56 sites rich in colourful marine life, as snappers, barracudas, rays, reef sharks, turtles and more glide among gardens of sponges and Gorgonian corals. For serious divers, we will arrange a guided trip to the 40m deep Cueva Azul (Blue Cave), one of the best dives in the country. Visibility throughout is usually 30 metres or more!
Cruise back to Cienfuegos to discover more of this city’s Caribbean energy and French elegance. If you wish, travel west to experience the colourful culture, lively spirit and fascinating history of Havana.