Cuba best snorkeling places – Sandy beaches, first class reefs

Cuba, this breathtaking Caribbean destination with sandy beaches and crystal clear water is one of the world’s most visited island and a heaven for snorkelers: plenty of fish, sharks, dolphins, turtles and colorful reefs are waiting for you under the sea, let me show you Cuba best snorkeling places!

Location and climate-choose the right time to explore Cuba best snorkeling spots

Cuba, officially the Republic of Cuba situated in the Caribbean Sea where the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean meet, consists of Isla de la Juventud, the main island and several minor archipelagos. It is the largest Caribbean island with an area of ~109.900 square km and has over 11 million inhabitants. The coastline is more than 3700 km long.

The climate is tropical, moderated by trade winds that blow year-round. The dry season is from Nov to April, the rain season is from May to Oct, the average temperature is 21 °C (70 °F) in Jan and 27 °C (80 °F) in July.

The best time to visit Cuba is from Dec to April. The weather is sunny, the chance of rain and hurricanes is lower. Taking excursions and explore the country is the best from Dec to Feb, the weather is warming up beautifully from March, the months after March are the busiest times in Cuba.

Hurricanes are common from Aug to Oct; these months are not suggested to visit the island.

The average sea temperature is 24.5-25.5 °C (76-78 °F) from Jan to March, 27-28 °C (81-82,5 °F) in Apr and May, can reach 30 °C (86 °F) during the summer months and from Sept decreases gradually.

Cuba best snorkeling spots

If you are a fanatic snorkeler and would like to visit Cuba best snorkeling places, your list could be endless – there are many nice beaches with amazing underwater landscape, but highlight now just a few ones:

Maria la Gorda

Probably Maria la Gorda is one of the most hardly accessible spot, but definitely offers Cuba best snorkeling experience. It is a biosphere reserve located in the western end of Cuba, great variety of fauna, beautiful underwater view, caves and historical shipwrecks will you find here as well as different type of reef fish, sharks, murrains and also interesting black corals.Maria la Gorda - Cuba

Cayo Santa Maria – Cayo las Brujas

Home of turtles and dolphins! Cayo Santa Maria (located in the central part of Cuba) is definitely on the list when it’s about Cuba best snorkeling spots – unspoiled beaches, shallow reefs and turquoise lagoons, varied underwater landscape with walls and huge coral formations.

Playa Esmeralda

This great beach resort located on the northern coast of Holguin, ideal place for families. Easy access to the water, but the beach is rocky so wearing water shoes are suggested. Fantastic coral reefs, schools of squid, colourful fish will entertain and amaze the kids and adults as well.Playa Esmeralda - Cuba

Zapata Peninsula – Bay of Pigs

The Bay of Pigs is an isolated inlet on Cuba's southern coast, in the Gulf of Cazones. The most popular snorkeling spots in the bay are Playa Larga and Playa Giron, where you can swim amongst hundreds of colorful fish and different coral species. Caleta Buena is famous about its underwater caves and the large gorgonians and sponges.

Jibacoa Bay

This bay offers great snorkeling for beginners and for people who love snorkeling in shallow water. There is a small reef very close to the beach, where you can observe several fish species, eels and crabs. This gorgeous bay is the favourite of nature lovers, truly a piece of paradise with amazing things to see under and above the surface as well. If you are looking for Cuba best snorkeling spots, be sure the Jibacoa Bay is on your list!

Cayo Coco

Cayo Coco is a paradise of beautiful beaches and nature, named after the coco trees. It is bright white beach with fine sand and crystal clear turquoise sea. You might see here many birds like gray heron, cormorant, pelican, mockingbird and pink flamingos as well. Snorkeling at Cayo Coco makes you feel like swimming in a tropical aquarium: great visibility and incredible diversity!Cayo Coco - Cuba

Cayo Levisa

Nice corals, unspoiled environment – a natural paradise will you find on this tiny island which is an ideal site for snorkeling and other water sports. Black corals, marlin and other game-fish can be spotted here.

Anett Szaszi

Anett is a certified scuba diver, freediver and an expert in snorkeling with more than 10 years experience. She fell in love with the ocean when she put her head underwater in the Red Sea in 2008. Since then , she is traveling all over the world to discover our waters. Wherever she goes, she takes her mask, fins and underwater camera with her. Visiting mega-cities is not her style but getting lost in tiny coastal villages, capturing the beauty of the sea while snorkeling. She is interested in sustainable traveling and marine conservation. She is hoping to inspire people to protect our oceans by sharing her underwater stories. Find her photos on @anett.szaszi Instagram too!

6 thoughts on “Cuba best snorkeling places – Sandy beaches, first class reefs

  • 2019-01-01 at 09:54

    I understand that tourism is manged in Cuba. How may one have the freedom to snorkel various locations?

    • 2019-01-31 at 15:56

      Hi Harvey,
      The best is to hire a driver or join organized trips so you will have a chance to visit various locations!
      Hope this helps,
      BR, Anett

  • 2019-08-31 at 13:07

    Could you provide where to find additional information on the organized trips. I am looking to organize a week to 10 day snorkeling trip at various spots in Cuba. Thanks

    • 2019-09-08 at 21:35

      Hi Scott,
      I would love to help you but unfortunately I don’t know any reliable tour operator in Cuba at the moment. I would suggest reaching out some dive centers, maybe they offer such trips or going around by renting a car.
      BR, Anett

  • 2020-01-24 at 23:01

    Hello Anett – my husband and I are definitely the older generation but we still love to snorkel, particularly if we can find a variety of fish right off the beach. Unfortunately one of the locations we used to enjoy in Cuba was destroyed for the second time by hurricanes and this time will not be rebuilt. Like you, we prefer coastal villages to large resorts and small coves to long beaches and wonder whether you can advise us on locations we might consider. Many thanks.

    • 2020-01-27 at 22:04

      Hello Felicity,
      Thank you for your kind message! I think I see what type of places you are looking for 🙂 Well, unfortunately I don’t know exactly how the hurricanes effected the area, but I would recommend Playa Larga / Playa Giron. That region has a lot of nature, great places to explore and snorkel, it is considered the slow-side of Cuba.
      Hope this helps, enjoy your holiday!
      BR, Anett


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