About This Trip
- Explore one of the largest marine parks in the Caribbean, home to the most pristine coral reefs in the entire Caribbean Sea.
- Since being protected in 1996, fish populations have increased by 30% and shark populations are 10% larger than outside of the park.
- Enjoy guidance by internationally-recognized Cuban marine biologists on this educational program.
- This trip is open to U.S. citizens under special visa conditions.
Sixty miles off the southeastern coast of Cuba, Jardines de la Reina (Gardens of the Queen) National Park encompasses a chain of 250 virgin coral and mangrove islands. It is Cuba’s first marine park and the largest no-take marine reserve in the Caribbean.
Due to its intact connectivity between seagrass beds, mangroves, and coral reefs, as well as the remoteness of the area and its long history of protection, Gardens of the Queen represents a “baseline” for a nearly pristine Caribbean marine ecosystem; an ecosystem that is home to healthy populations of Caribbean reef sharks and Goliath groupers, important grazers like rainbow parrotfish and long-spine sea urchins, and recovering endangered species such as elkhorn coral and hawksbill sea turtles.
Our scheduled expeditions will take take place aboard the 160-foot Jardines Avalon III, a luxurious liveaboard dedicated to exploring Cuban waters. Private group charters are also available aboard the M/V Oceans for Youth, a liveaboard designed for sustainable exploration and research.
Notes on Trip Costs
Trip prices do not include airfare, but do include the mandatory port fee ($240) and conservation fee ($150). Limited single cabins are available for an additional $1,500. 4 master suite cabins are available for an additional $475-$525/person (double occupancy only, not available as singles). Request a detailed itinerary for complete pricing details. Click here for our full expedition terms and conditions.
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Founded in 1969, Oceanic Society is America’s oldest 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to ocean conservation. As pioneers of “eco travel,” our expeditions have been designed to directly support our mission. They not only positively impact our travelers, but also the people, places, and wildlife we go to see. Your expedition costs include fees that support conservation and promote sustainable livelihoods in the communities we visit, and Oceanic Society's earnings are invested back into our global research and conservation programs. In 2019, we also established our Expedition Impact Fund (EIF) as a way to grow our impact. The fund is seeded annually with money earned from our expeditions, and supplemented by donations from Oceanic Society travelers. Through the EIF, we award grants to our partners for their on-the-ground efforts to protect ocean habitats and the wildlife and human communities that depend on them.
Day 1: Camaguey - Jucaro, embark
Welcome and pick-up at Camaguey Airport (flights are expected to resume by the end of 2022). Transfer to Jucaro (about 2 hours) for boarding . Once on board we will have a welcome orientation and dinner.
Days 2-7: Gardens of the Queen / Jardines de la Reina
Arrive in Gardens of the Queen and begin marine eco-explorations with Cuban biologists and resource management experts to include daily snorkeling and island excursions. Habitats to explore include:
- Pristine marine lagoons and expansive seagrass meadows
- Mangrove forests and channels
- Patch and reef crests with rare, endangered corals
- Deserted cays and sea turtle nesting beaches (in season)
Enjoy nightly natural history talks or marine ecology seminars by your Oceanic Society naturalist and Cuban marine scientists throughout our adventure.
Day 8: Disembark - Camaguey - fly home
Disembark at 8:00 AM and transfer to Camaguey airport (about 2 hours). Fly home.
Jardines Avalon III
The 160 foot Jardines Avalon III is a luxury motor yacht with 15 staterooms, including 4 suites with balcony. All cabins have private bathrooms and 2 beds (double or twin), air-conditioned with individual thermostats. The ship has a maximum capacity of…
MV Oceans for Youth
The M/V Oceans for Youth is a 100-ft. liveaboard ship designed as a sustainable exploration & research platform. The ship has a large dive/snorkel deck with two freshwater showers, fully-equipped galley, main salon, sun deck lounging area, and four…