Scuba Diving at Perdiz Point
By Roberto Campos, Photos: Aslam Ibrahim Castellón Maure and Julio César Ruiz Agüero
Cuba has many popular sea spots that are especially attractive to nature and sea lovers. Punta Perdiz (Perdiz Point), in the country’s west, stands out among them.
There is a section along the country’s western region where it is possible to dive from the coast and enjoy fascinating underwater landscapes.
Located on the southern coast of Matanzas province, Perdiz Point is a wonderful scuba diving center at the well-known Ciénaga de Zapata (Zapata Swamp), the most important in Cuba.
The wetland site was declared a World Biosphere Reserve by the UN Education, Science and Culture Organization (UNESCO), and was also designated National Park and Ramsar Site.
It is a well preserved place with lots of endemic plant and animal species, which encompasses Girón Beach (Bay of Pigs), and is characterized by amazing ecological stability and spectacular limestone settings.
In addition to its ecological or environmental features, it is possible to practice open ocean scuba diving or underwater diving in caves filled with salt water, which are part of the Zapata Swamp’s cave system.
Located some 172 kilometers east of Havana and 115 kilometers away from Varadero beach resort, the area has hotels that are ideal bases for marine activities, such as Playa Girón or Playa Larga, as well as various international scuba diving centers.
Punta Perdiz offers an excellent service to visitors, who can complete various scuba diving courses with specialized instructors, including open water courses.
The most popular places include Cueva de los Peces, an 80-meter deep natural pool of crystal clear water, and Caleta Buena, with natural pools and coral reef bottoms that are highly attractive for scuba diving in the Playa Girón area.
Nature tourism such as scuba diving, fishing, bird watching, hiking, among others, stand out among the options at Ciénaga de Zapata, the largest wetland in the insular Caribbean, and perhaps poorly promoted by tour operators.
Cuba is an ideal destination to experience scuba diving. The waters around the main island and the over 4,000 keys and small islets that make up the Cuban archipelago are warm (24 to 29 degrees Celsius) and amazingly crystal clear, with average visibility from 30 to 40 meters.
The waters of Punta Perdiz are not too deep, so scuba diving or snorkeling are attractive, with cenotes inhabited by many fish species, or underwater caves waiting to be explored.