The Halcón is the perfect affordable option for small groups of divers wishing to dive the remote, liveaboard only, pristine dive sites of the Jardines de la Reina (Gardens of the Queen) National Marine Park. With a maximum of 12 divers, guests will enjoy personal service by the professional crew of 8 during their Cuba liveaboard diving tour.
Recently refurbished, the steel-hulled Halcón retains her classic 70's styling and is one of the smaller boats in the Avalon Fleet. However, she provides scuba divers with comfort, good food and great service, including 6 complimentary drinks per day. In the evenings the Halcon anchors in one of the many sheltered lagoons or mangrove channels in the archipelago.
The pleasant, air conditioned lounge area is ideal to share diving videos and pictures with fellow tour guests, via the entertainment facilities. These include TV, DVD and sound system. At the end of the day, Halcón's divemasters will happily assist with fish identification while you contemplate the next day's diving over sunset cocktails on the liveaboard's wide bow.
The day's diving begins on the second day of the charter after a breakfast fit for kings. Guests step into the dive tender with their wetsuits where their scuba gear is conveniently prepared and waiting. After the first dive, you can explore the mangroves, islands and beaches. If snorkeling with American salt water crocodiles is on your bucket list, this may be your opportunity! The dive tenders whisk you back to the liveaboard after the 2nd dive for a well-earned delicious lunch. 1 or 2 dives are usually enjoyed in the afternoon before returning to the liveaboard for pre-dinner drinks.
The efficient staff return the diving equipment and cylinders to the Avalon Diving Center in the marine park for rinsing and to refill the tanks in preparation for the next day's diving. The Dive Center is close to Halcon's sister liveaboard, Tortuga. You can make the short transfer to the Tortuga with the dive tender and access the Internet on your personal device. The diving tour includes 15 dives (weather permitting). Additional dives are available on request, however night dives are not permitted in the marine park.
Cruise price per person includes: Cabin accommodation, breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, 6 drinks per day (includes beer, wine, cocktails, soft drinks and mineral water), dives (as detailed in the trips above, night dives are not available), experienced Spanish and English-speaking divemaster(s) (max number of 6 divers per DM), tanks, weights and weightbelts.
Cruise price per person excludes (mandatory, unless customer provides own): Scuba equipment rental (US$ 175 full set, per trip, torch US$ 8 per night dive), it is compulsory to use a dive computer: please bring your own, port taxes (US$ 200) to be paid in advance, conservation fee (US$ 100) to be paid in advance, transfers from selected hotels in Havana to and from the boat (US$ 200) to be paid in advance, gratuities (min US$ 200 is compulsory, crew prefer this in Euro). Unless otherwise stated, all the listed items need to be paid on arrival in CUC cash.
Optional extras: Additional dives on request, private divemaster US$ 1,200 (subject to availability), dive insurance, alcoholic and soft drinks (other than those included). Unless otherwise stated, all the listed items need to be paid on arrival.
How to get there: Jardines de la Reina (or the Queen's Gardens) is an archipelago that is made up of over 600 cays and islands (the area was named by Christopher Columbus in honor of the Spanish Queen, Isabella of Castile). It lies in the Caribbean Sea and parallels the Cuban coast for about 93 miles (150 km). The domestic part of your journey to the archipelago begins in Cuba's capital city, Havana.
There is more on international flights and visa details (including the requirements for U.S. citizens and residents) in our how to get to Cuba information.
Arrival/Boarding/Departure: You need to be in Havana by Friday night. From Jose Marti International Airport, you can take a taxi to your pre-booked accommodation in Havana. The ride will take approximately 20-30 minutes and should cost 20-25 CUC one way. Agree on the price first, most taxis have meters however, they are rarely used. Ensure that you have accommodation reservations for at least one night before and 1 night after your liveaboard cruise (Havana hotels are booked up well in advance. Airbnb is highly recommended). A representative from Cuban Diving Centers will collect you at a very early 04:00 hrs from the Parque Central Hotel (or another agreed upon location at the time of your booking) for your 5-6 hour bus transfer to Jucaro Port, in Cuba's Ciego de Avila province. You will board the Halcon liveaboard at approximately 09:00 hrs for the 3 hour voyage to Jardines de la Reina National Park.On the last day of the trip, you will cruise back to Jucaro Port and then travel via bus to Havana, arriving at approximately 20:30 hrs. The last dive of the trip will be around 14:00 hrs on the second last day of the trip. Please wait at least 18 hours before flying after diving.
Non-diver rate: US$ 250 off the published price.
Single supplement (if you do not want to share accommodation): This is optional - single travelers may choose to share a cabin or pay a supplement of 65% of the published price.
Dive clubs and group discounts: There are group discounts available for groups of 10 divers and above. Please contact us for more details.
Whole boat charter rate (per night): Whole boat charter rates are available. Please contact us for more details.
Accommodation aboard the Halcon is comfortable and functional. The 6 cabins are on the lower deck, have portholes for natural lighting and share 3 bathrooms. 4 cabins have bunk beds and 2 have double beds. Guests are advised to bring their own adapters.
All the liveaboard cabins have:
Shared bathroom: toilet, hot water shower and hand basin
Towels and soap
Bedside reading lights
Cabinet and shelves
Space for luggage
Round and flat 2-pin mains outlet 110 & 220 Volts - 24 hours per day
The crew of 8/9 usually comprises (depending on the occupancy):
1 Cruise leader
2-3 Instructors / Divemasters
2 Motorized dive dinghies - Dive platform, camera table and rinse tanks - Air-conditioned saloon with bar, TV, DVD & music system - Fish ID books, diving magazines - Open air social and dining area - Sun deck on the bow of the liveaboard - Internet is available on Halcon's sister liveaboard, Tortuga.
Guests are assured of the same delicious food on each of the Avalon Fleet liveaboards, irrespective of the size of the vessel. Dining aboard the Halcón includes Cuban favorites featuring beans and bananas that are served alongside the best of Continental Italian cuisine. A wide selection of fresh fruits, salads and the house specialty, lobster, is served daily with chicken, pork and beef. Desserts are a highlight.
Notable mention should be made of Avalon's famous Cuban caramel custard and Caribbean rum-flavored cakes. Dining is usually enjoyed on the flydeck where guests enjoy island scenery and cooling breeze. During inclement weather, meals are waitress-served in the air-conditioned dining area. Limited complimentary beer, wine, cocktails, soft drinks and mineral water are included. If you fancy a pre-dinner aperitif or wine with your meal, they are available for purchase from the Halcon's well stocked bar.
Continental Italian and traditional Cuban favorites; 4-5 different dishes per sitting.
Waitress service in one of the 2 dining areas.
Breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks (including pizza) in between.
6 complimentary beverages per person, per day are provided. These include coffee, tea, soft drinks, beer, wine, cocktails and 2 liters mineral water. Additional mineral water and drinks are available for purchase. Snacks are provided free of charge.
Vegetarian, kosher, halal and allergic diets are catered for - please advise us of special requirements in advance.
The dining service begins with lunch, snacks and dinner on the first day of the tour. On the last day of the cruise guests are served breakfast, if the return cruise time is extended, lunch will be provided.
Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB)
Advanced medic first aid box
Staff are MFA/EFR trained
Emergency oxygen, 10 liters onboard, additional on the sister ships
15 life jackets throughout
Fire alarms and 4 extinguishers throughout
Medical insurance is MANDATORY in Cuba
Customer dive insurance is NOT provided. It is suggested that divers have dive insurance due to the remoteness of the location and the high cost of emergency evacuation services. - see our insurance program for a competitive quotation