This adventure will tease your senses and get the adrenaline pumping faster than a Ferrari. The first part of our expedition is a sojourn to Cuba - to the Gardens of the Queen (Jardines de la Reina) a marine reserve lost in time. Imagine....no commercial fishing of any kind, no inhabitants, no industry of any form and only one dive operator. The reefs have never been touched and swarm with sharks, schooling fishes, groupers of all descriptions and sizes. The gigantic jewfish (aka the goliath grouper), that have largely vanished from other Caribbean nations long ago are abundantly found here, as are Saltwater Crocodiles. The Gardens of the Queen is our planet's last hidden paradise. Join us for this magical experience.
Choice of Departures:
February 11 - 17, 2017 EURO 3254
or February 18 - 24, 2017 ( Special Photo Workshop Tour )
EURO 3254 plus workshop option EURO 550
Make your reservation now – only 12 spots per trip.
First named by Christopher Columbus in honour of Queen Isabella, the Gardens of the Queen was established as a national park with an area of 2,170 square kilometres, and is Cuba's oldest and largest protected area. Thanks to Fidel Castro (a diver himself), who rigidly enforced preservation of the area, there is no commercial fishing of any kind, no inhabitants and no industry of any form. There is only one dive operator, which is a government-controlled joint venture.
Without a doubt due to its exclusivity and the immense diversity of marine life, Gardens of the Queen is the best kept secret of the Caribbean. Sanctioned by the world’s biggest economy, and restricted from mass tourism, the reserve is a time capsule, possibly the norm for most coral reefs in the Caribbean over a half century ago. The largest populations of big fishes are the sharks, snappers, groupers and up to 200 kilo Goliath goupers that are daily sightings. Shark dives are one of the main attractions - expect to dive with 6 different species; Caribbean, Silky, Lemon, Blacktip, Nurse and if we are fortunate, the Great Hammerhead. The one and only dive operator provides hosts no more than 700 divers per year. Dive sites are well protected from the winds and currents. Visibility average 40m in the Winter months and 20m in Summer.
Watch images from our recent shoot - https://vimeo.com/167361590
Black, Tiger, and the enormous Goliath groupers
Sharks swimming over lush reefs
Congregations of Silky sharks in blue water
Tarpons also known as the Silver Kings! (Megalops atlanticus)
Get up-close with saltwater crocodiles – both above and underwater
Spectacular mangrove forests
Lush pristine reefs swarming with fishes
Friendly Hutia (Capromys pilorides) – endemic to Cuba
Possible encounter with the Great Hammerhead
Itinerary - Cuba
9 Feb - arrive Havana - anytime
10 Feb - Havana: optional tour. * it is possible to arrive Havana on this day as well
11 Feb - 4am - depart for Jardines de la Reina
17 Feb - depart Jardines to Havana - overnight Havana
18 Feb - depart Cuba
NOTE: Participation in this Photo Workshop program qualifies for US citizens legal travel to Cuba.
16 Feb - arrive Havana - anytime
17 Feb - Havana: optional tour. * it is possible to arrive Havana on this day as well
18 Feb - 4am - depart for Jardines de la Reina
24 Feb - depart Jardines to Havana - overnight Havana
25 Feb - depart Cuba
How to get there – fly via London, Madrid, Frankfurt, Moscow, Panama City, Cancun, Mexico City, Lima
Expedition Leader - Michel AW – author and professional underwater photographer
Transfers to/from Gardens of the Queens, 6 nights twin share, full board and 15 dives at Tortuga at Gardens of the Queen.
OG photographic expedition package comprises of expert photo advice, providing you with the best photographic opportunities, expedition dry fit t-shirt, Ocean Geographic E membership included
3 nights twin share hotel accommodation in Havana if required ( We have rooms reserved for the group. Rate and hotel to be advised, however you are welcome to book elsewhere prior to October 2016 - best book early), Inscription fee ( fuel surcharge and park fees) EURO 200 - subject to change plus Marine Park Consertavation fee EURO 100 ( mandatory for all vistors to Gardens of the Queen as of 1st Jan 2017)
Part 1: Cuba- 11 to 17 February – EURO 3254 plus inscription fee/parkfee/fuel/conservationfee surcharge EURO 300
Part 2: Cuba- 18 to 24 February – EURO 3254 plus inscription fee/parkfee/fuel/conservationfee EURO 300 ( plus workshop option EURO 550)
Deposit: EURO 1500 Balance Due: 90 days before departure
Please note this trip will be invoiced in EURO however booking form below will have an estimated amount in USD for booking purposes only and subject to change. Price is set in EURO.
If you are ready to book please go to booking link
Booking is not confirmed until deposit is paid. Payment details for payment of deposit will be provided once booking is completed. Booking username and password is not the same as your OG username and password. If you are new trip client you can leave the existing client login blank and complete the booking . If you are an existing trip client please check with us first and we will let you know your trip client user ID and password which will enable you a much quicker booking process.