You may not want to read this post, Mom. Really, it will only make you worry.

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Okay, don’t say I didn’t warn you.

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The ten days I spent in Cuba were amazing and went better than I could have hoped in so many ways. I really wanted to see Cuba today, before changes come that could drastically alter the landscape (or alternatively, Americans once again being shut off from this amazing country by our government). And I did see that Cuba, though it was WAY more touristy than I ever imagined. That trip was a resounding success. But there’s so much more to see and do!

One thing that I didn’t do, partly because of time constraints, and partly because it’s technically not legal for Americans yet, is scuba diving. Jardines de la Reina is located on the southeastern part of the island. It’s a protected reserve and reputed to have some amazing, pristine coral reefs. It’s often referred to as the Galapagos of the Caribbean. But far more daring, Jardines de la Reina is also famous for it’s opportunities to dive with sharks and crocodiles. Yikes!!

I’ll be honest, not much scares me when it comes to adventurous activities (much to my mother’s chagrin). I begged my dad to take me skydiving for my 18th birthday (he did and it was amazing). My mom had to pull me back from chasing Caribbean Reef sharks while diving the Blue Hole in Belize. But the thought of diving with crocodiles, sans cage, definitely gets my heart racing. Far more than sharks. I’m not sure why, perhaps because I’ve been underwater with sharks before.

jardines de la reina

Due to it’s remote location roughly 60 miles off the coast of Cuba, the best way to visit this area is by week-long live aboard. The port is a five hour drive from Havana, and fortunately transfers seem to be included as part of the package. From what I can tell, there are several websites claiming to offer this tour, but they all utilize the same 5 boats. I’m not sure if this is all one company or if several companies share the boats. Either way, the cost is the same for all of them, anywhere from $2800-$4000/week, depending on the boat you choose. This includes absolutely everything except your airfare and tips – all food, drinks (including alcohol), approximately 17 dives and any equipment needed. No credit cards accepted though, as I learned on my trip. Expensive, but not terribly unreasonable.

(Image via)

One thing is very clear, I’m definitely going to need to up my underwater photography game before I go. I love the color and clarity of the photos above and I’m just not sure I’ll be able to achieve that look with my little Canon D30. It will be some time before I can afford this trip, giving me plenty of time to save up for an underwater housing for my DSLR, too. And maybe some lighting as well. The sky sea’s the limit.

Would you ever dive with crocodiles without a cage?

Cuba Breakdown and Travel Tips
Diving the Edmonds Underwater Park

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