The Zapata Peninsula, is an amazing peninsula on the southern shores has so much to offer, being a biosphere reserve and Ramsar site, its unique swamp offers the perfect spot for birdwatching. Whilst off it’s coast there are high quality and clear waters with great visibility offering the perfect spot for diving and snorkeling. There is an infinite variety of corals and reef fish in the area. The main attraction is the impressive diving wall just 100 meters off the coast that can be enjoyed from shore dives.
There are several dive sites around the Zapata Peninsula. accessible from the shore it mostly without boat, and there are several sites that are natural pools on the reef as a result of unroofed caves flooded by the sea.
Where should you go?
Diving at Caleta Buena and Punta Perdiz
Caleta Buena features large colonies of varied coral, a variety of sponges in yellow or bright orange in various shapes, diverse marine flora, large sea fans and abundant tropical fish. Caleta Buena’s wrecks and cave diving in sinkholes/40-meter vertical flooded caves make it unique.
Punta Perdiz is about half way between Playa Larga & Playa Giron. Diving here consists of tunnels and walls that descend in steps. It has an extensive sandy bottom filled with small coral formations that can be seen at a depth of 2 meters and extend to the edge of the slope. There are different species of coral, as well as sea fans, sponges, large fish and schools of colorful tropical fish abound. Along the north side of the coral ridge at a depth of 6 meters there’s a small wreck which is often explored via its small engine room.
Diving at the Bay of Pigs
Playa Larga & Playa Giron is based at the Bay of Pigs, and are famous for the failed American CIA attack on Cuba in 1961 and you can still see the memorials on the drive down. The area is richly diverse with swampland mangroves, coral reefs, underwater caves and nice beaches.
You will find open water diving in sinkholes and brackish water-flooded cave system linked to the Zapata Swamp. The multilevel diving make diving in this area unique. Dives are made directly from the coast. You can expect to see various coral formations, sea fans, starfish, columns, bridal bouquets and tube sponges and multiple schools of multi-colored fish and crabs.
There is also a shipwreck – The Jaruco, which was sunk on purpose in 1994, near Playa Giron less than 50 meters off the coast now covered in large coral formations awaiting discovery.
The Fish Cave
In its deep blue waters are a thousand underwater nooks and crannies to explore. The fish cenote is a flooded tectonic fault located inland, midway between Playa Girón and Playa Larga. It’s a natural clear crystal pool that is more than 70 meter deep and is connected to the ocean through an underground tunnel. You can snorkel inside the cave and enjoy the beauty of seaweed, corals and various fish.