One of the world’s most underrated snorkelling spots and an increasingly popular sailing destination, Cuba is a beach-fringed paradise dotted with fantastic dive sites. The best bit? Although beaches in resort areas can quickly get crowded, the same can’t be said for the dive sites – the risk of a flipper to the face is surprisingly low here, and with this much spectacular marine life to check out, we’re hoping it stays that way.
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Looking for an expert's perspective?Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
2. BelizeA quick trip not too far away for those seeking a relaxing mini break. You will have plenty of free time to relax but also some awesome activities to experience the rainforest and the caribbean sea.
3. MexicoAn exciting mini trip exploring the lesser known colonial towns of central Mexico. This is hte perfect trip for someone with limited time off and still wants to turn on explorer mode and do something different.
1. EcuadorA remarkable 8 days adventure through the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. The best choice for adventure seekers wishing to visit the 2 most iconic areas of South America, in only 1 week and no flights.
2. PeruAn alternative itinerary to classic Peru, from Cusco to Arequipa. This itinerary is great combination of highlights Cusco and Machu Picchu with the lesser known Arequipa and Colca Canyon.
1. ItalyThe ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.
2. ScotlandEmbark on this great adventure starting from London all the way to Scotland with a true Scottish experience made of breathtaking sceneries, whisky tasting and ..lots of fun! Ideal for train lovers and explorers.
3. PortugalA wonderful train journey around Portugal, from the romantic city of Porto to the Douro Valley, to the beautiful Aveiro all the way to Lisbon and Sintra. The perfect trip to train, culinary and culture lovers.
1. South KoreaDiscover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.
2. ThailandFrom Bankgok to Angkor Wat to Ho Chi Minh City and everything in between - adventure through the heart of South-East Asia. Taste the delights, see history brought to life and unwind on a Mekong River cruise.
3. Sri LankaA fantastic adventure that showcases Sri Lanka's fantastic landscapes, wildlife and flavours. With 3 epic rail journeys, 3 UNESCO heritage sites and time to relax, this trip has loads to offer at a great price
1. MoroccoAn epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!
2. EgyptFrom Cairo to Aswan, this trip brings the land of the pharaohs to life. You'll visit the Pyramids, Valley of the Kings and Luxor Temple and cruise down the Nile in style. This is the perfect way to explore Egypt.
A short ferry ride from Palma Rubia, Cayo Levisa is famous for its black coral, rays and clear water. The best time to visit is between November and April when the water’s warm and calm. The area has over 500 species of fish and 200 species of sponges, and an abundance of beautiful sea coral to spot. Facilities on the island are basic, but that’s part of the appeal. Can’t bear to leave? Book one of the rustic beachfront cabins.
Playa Santa Lucia
An hour’s drive north of Camagüey, this beach deserves a mention for the presence of a large, healthy barrier reef just offshore. The reef helps keep the water calm for those of us snorkelling closer to the beach, although for a closer look at the coral, we’d suggest a guided excursion for the chance to see long-spine porcupinefish and pretty shoals of angelfish.
Jardines del Rey archipelago
Most visitors to this beautiful archipelago, off the northern coast of Cuba, base themselves at Cayo Coco or Cayo Guillermo. Both have fantastic facilities, including some of the best dive schools in Cuba. The 32km (20mi) reef sits just below the water, which means snorkellers and scuba divers can check out the coral and the fish, including groupers and snappers. Sharks and moray eels are regularly spotted too, and there are numerous underwater caves for scuba divers to explore.
The Bay of Pigs
First things first – there are no pigs at the Bay of Pigs or Bahia de Cochinos, which you’ll find on the Gulf of Cazones on Cuba’s southern coast. What there is, however, is a calm and clear ocean protected from the wind by steep cliffs. It’s a paradise for snorkellers as well as scuba divers, who come to explore the flooded caves between Playa Larga and Playa Girón, used as landing sites for squadrons of armed Cuban exiles during 1961’s famous Bay of Pigs invasion.
For a laidback snorkelling session, you can’t beat this fishing village turned holiday resort a two-hour drive from Havana. Although it’s a popular tourist spot, there are still plenty of crowd-free snorkelling and scuba sites, and they’re easily accessible, too. Snorkellers can swim out to the reefs just off the beach, and confident swimmers can explore beyond the reef’s drop off, where the depth extends to around 12m (39ft). Just keep an eye on the beach flags – red ones mean choppy conditions.
Guanahacabibes National Marine Park
You’ll find this park on Cuba’s westernmost point. Its protected status has allowed marine life to thrive and is the reason the park is best explored on guided snorkelling excursions offered by the region’s only hotel. Highlights include the brightly coloured corals and the turtles – the nearby beaches are popular nesting sites, which is why it’s one of the best places to spot the creatures. Bear in mind that it’s an isolated area – the nearest city, Pinar del Río, is a two-hour drive away.
Cayo Santa María
Snorkel in the bright blue waters of this small island off Cuba’s north coast, and you’ll see vast coral gardens and a show-stopping range of marine life, including dolphins and turtles. The island has plenty of accommodation options, including several five-star spots and a few dive schools, many of which offer guided snorkelling tours. Head to the shallow waters on the eastern side for the best visibility and the best range of marine life.
Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip
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