Under the best diving-places of Cuba, you find also the Dive Resort “Maria la Gorda “, with some excellent diving-places! This place was early venue and silence-place for corsairs and pirates and you still find rests of Galleons, anchors and cannons in the waters.around Maria la Gorda. The distance of Havanna amounts to approximately 300 km and is to be reached in about 4 hours with our transference.
“María la Gorda’s” International Diving Center, located on the far West of Cuba, Guanahacabibes Peninsula, in Pinar del Río province is perhaps the world’s best diving spot, with an immense black coral reserve, the most colorful and exquisite fauna and like a hundred sunken pirate ship stories. The name itself comes out of the story of a beautiful lady abandoned by pirates on the area, she survived and decided to take advantage of the favorable location of the site (obliged stop of pirate vessels roaming the Caribbean Sea for refuge and water or food provision and also some entertainment) then María set up “business” in the place that later took her name.
The Diving Shop counts with highly qualified dive instructors, and beginners can be certified with SSI and CMAS. Our well trained, professional personnel, what is solicitous about the security and the comfort of the guests very much, they try to guarantee an optimal service. Non divers can snorkel, fish or take boat rides, apart from enjoying of the unrivalled nature on the tropical forest surrounding the resort and taking the sun at the beach.
The ” Hotel Villa Maria la Gorda “ is located on a white, 8km long sandy beach. The world’s most daring divers will be at home there in the small but comfortable Resort of 38 Bungalow from brick and wood. The rooms are with private bath, air conditioning, fridge, safe box and TV.
In the surrounding of the Resort is a restaurant, a bar, a store, international phone service, medical attention 24 hours, rent a car agency and International Marina Service (Immigration, Customs, Coast Guards and Health authorities, and diesel, water, and laundry services as well as a food market).The restaurant of the hotel is specialized in the making of fresh fish.
Excursions: From here also country-trips recommend themselves with its known tobacco-factory or into the beautiful and picturesque Viñales-Tal into the heart of Pinar del Rio where tobacco-plantations and mountains represent an unique scenario.
The diving-places of Cuba reveal an even little touched underwater-world, that offering some of the most beautiful and most interesting diving-areas of the whole Caribbean. The underwater-landscapes unique in the Caribbean with interesting caves and labyrinths, mysterious shipwrecks and a big beautiful variety of corals – and a great marine world is the home in one of the biggest coral reefs of the oceans and invites to splendid diving-adventure. Do the acquaintance with all the many crusts -, molluscs and tropical fish, just as with adventurous meetings with Barracudas and sharks, stingrays and gigantic Murrains. All this you will find around Maria la Gorda..
María la Gorda diving zone in the Ensenada de Corrientes is one of the most protected areas in Cuba, within the limits of one of the best-preserved Reserve of the Biosphere in the world. It has an amazing coral reef development located at a very short distance from the coast. From 5 meters (16 feet) you can see big an isolated patches of coral with an abundant sessile fauna, specially gorgonians and sea fans, more than 20 species of coral and lots of small and medium size fish. Lobsters, morays and crabs can be frequently seen in the boles of the bottom. From ten meters (33 feet) deep these patches are joined together and increasingly higher, thus forming a chain of tall coral hillocks cut by channels and passages, with walls falling sharply and deeply. This wall shows attractive structures such as holes, tunnels and vertical caves, where you can find beautiful black coral colonies, big tubular branch or cup shaped sponges and two meters high (6,5 feet) gorgonians. Among the fish that move along the wall we can mention barracudas, jacks, dog snappers, eels and schoolmasters, you can also see eagle rays and stingrays. And with a littler bit of luck you can observe some enormous mantas and whale sharks.
This diving center has 50 sites of high level diving, some other 50 are almost unused, all of them are less than an hour cruise, most are even 5 minutes away from the resort. Diving-season is all-year with view up to over 40m and water-temperatures of the 24°-30°C according to season. In the emergency, the next lying clinic is approached per helicopters with decompression-chamber. The Kind of floor with Coral reefs, caves,walls, whale sharks in winter, black coral. Plenty off species like groupers, barracudas, sponges and sea turtles.
Most popular dive sites in María la Gorda. (Depth. Meters / Feets)
Paraíso perdido (Lost Paradise): typical depth range of 60-100feet (20/66)
The coral and fish in this area are delightful. Huge lettuce, plate and flower corals and a lot of sea fans, whips and rods, surrounded by large purple baskets and yellow tubular sponges are a common sight. The density of sponges and fans increases as you move closer to the wall, which begins at the depth of 30 meters and reveals a great deal of marine life. The wall has many interesting holes and crevices offering shelter to a variety of fish and invertebrates. Ascending along the wall to submarine terrace, you will find entry to shallower regions through sandy channels. It is common to see schools of blue tromp as well as angelfish, groupers, snappers and surgeons.
(21 46. 154 N 84 31. 372W)
Ancla del pirata (Pirate’s Anchor): Typical depth range 50 feet (10/33)
This dive site (ideal for beginners) owns its name to a giant two ton, eighteen-century anchor found in the place. The anchor rests against coral promontories and is covered with crustaceans and corals. Sponges and gorgonians are common in this region and you are likely to see snappers, bass, wrasse, jacks, angel and squirrelfish.)
Las Tetas de María (María´s Breasts): Typical depth range 65 feet (20/66)
Its name comes from the rock formations that jut out to sea from the land. The dive site is located just in line with those rocks. Sandy channels weave their way around large size coral covered rock formations and are the most prominent features of this dive site. Most variety of coral can be found here: flower, leaf, brain and lettuce. Soft corals are also plentiful. Snappers, angelfish, jacks and groupers abound in this area.(
Salón de María (María´s Hall): Typical depth range: 65 feet (30/98)
This site is cave characterized by its sponges and coral formations. It is located 10 min away by boat from the resort. You may enter it by any of three entrances and be amazed by its bright purple, pink, blue and green decoration. The cave is home to large number of tropical fish as well as coral and sponges. (21 48. 659N 84 30. 820W)
El Almirante (The Admiral): typical depth range: 90 feet (30/98)
At 90 feet you reach a wall covered with huge sponges and sea fans. Visibility at this site is usually excellent and tarpon, angelfish, grunts and groupers are popular in this area. At 100 feet you will find blooms of black coral. This wall has a beautiful bright blue backdrop and whale sharks can be frequently seen in the area. (21 48.747N 84 30. 596W)
Description of the bottom: The waters around the Cuban archipelago are characterized by their gentleness – mild tides and no strong currents -, their warmth over 24°C all year round, their virgin conditions – no pollution and well – preserved bottoms -, the diversity of its underwater flora and fauna, and the total absence of aggressive animals. The diving sities in María La Gorda are from 5 minutes up to 1-hour navigation. From 5 meters ( 16 feets) you can see big and isolated patches of coral with an abundant sessile fauna, specially gorgonians and sea fans, more than 20 species of coral and lots of small and medium size fish. Lobsters, morays and crabs can be frequently seen in the boles of the bottom. From 10 meters ( 33 feets) deep these patches are joined together and increasingly bigher, thus forming a chain of tall coral billocks cut by channels and passages, with walls falling sharply and deeply. The wall shows attractive structures such as boles, tunnels and vertical caves where you can see beautiful black coral colonies, big tubular branch or cupshape sponges and 2 meters (6.5 feet) big gorgonians. Among the fish that move along the wall we can mention barracudas, jacks, dogsnappers, snappers, and schoolmasters.