The Tortuga is a floating steel house boat that is permanently anchored in a protected channel in the Gardens of the Queen National Marine Park. She is the original Avalon fleet liveaboard, and comfortably accommodates a maximum of 25 guests in 8 ensuite cabins across 2 decks. She is stable and provides divers with similar experiences to the other Avalon fleet Cuban liveaboards.
Avalon transfer boats will take you from the port of Jucaro to the Tortuga. On arrival you check into your cabin and savor your first meal that Avalon is so well known for. While your day away on the large open air deck, sipping cocktails from the bar and get to know fellow divers who you will share your 6 night Cuban liveaboard diving trip with.
In the evening dinner is served in one of the 2 dining areas. Quench your thirst at the bar that offers a wide selection of wine and spirits available for purchase. Divemasters will be on hand to share their extensive knowledge about the dive sites and provide guidance on diving with the large number of sharks that call Jardines de la Reina Marine Park home.
Breakfast is an early morning affair in preparation to depart for the first dive via the speedy dive tenders. Excursions to the many small islands between dives give guests the opportunity to marvel at the myriad of beautiful flora and fauna, or work on their tan on one of the uninhabited golden beaches. You will return to the Tortuga to enjoy a scrumptious lunch and to discuss the afternoon plans.
After an additional afternoon dive or 2, you again return to the houseboat to share diving videos and pictures in the air-conditioned saloon. Alternatively, chill in the liveaboard's large outdoor shaded seating area while sipping frozen mojitos. Be sure to bring along your personal smart devices and keep connected with loved ones back home or post jealous worthy diving pictures on your social media accounts via the free Wi-Fi onboard the Tortuga.
The Tortuga is a great option for budget conscious divers or for those who don't want to wait to dive one of the best Caribbean diving areas. The low numbers of liveaboards operating in the area and the popularity of this Cuban destination ensures that spaces on liveaboards are booked up well in advance.
Cruise price per person includes: Cabin accommodation, breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, 6 drinks per day (includes beer, wine, cocktails, soft drinks and 2L mineral water), Wi-Fi access, dives (as detailed in the trips above, night dives are not available), experienced Spanish and English-speaking divemaster(s) (maximum of 6 divers per DM), tanks, weights and weightbelts.
Cruise price per person excludes (mandatory, unless customer provides own): Scuba equipment rental (US$ 200 full set per trip), torch (US$ 8 per night dive) to be paid in advance, dive computer (US$ 60 per trip) to be paid in advance, 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: Private divemaster US$ 1,200 (subject to availability), additional dives on request, dive insurance, alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks (other than those included above). 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 transfer boat 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 approx. 65% of the published price.
Dive clubs and group discounts: Pay for 8 guests and 1 additional person can join the cruise in the Standard cabin free of charge (total 9 or more guests). Pay for 14 guests and 2 additional guests can join the cruise in a Standard cabin free of charge (total 16 or more guests.) See whole boat charter rate below.
Whole boat charter rate (per night): 2018: US$ 6,170
There are 8 Standard cabins that accommodate a maximum of 25 guests on the Tortuga. Cabins are neat and functional, with individually controlled air conditioning, windows for natural lighting and private en-suite bathrooms with hot water showers. Guests are advised to bring their own adapters. There are 7 cabins on the upper deck; 5 are triple cabins with a bunk bed and a single bed, and 2 are quad cabins with two pairs of bunk beds in each cabin. A double bed cabin is located on the middle deck.
All the liveaboard cabins have:
Windows or portholes
Toilet, hot water shower and hand basin
Towels & 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 10-12 usually comprises (depending on the occupancy):
1 Cruise leader
4-6 Instructors / Divemasters
2 Maids / Bartenders
3 Motorized dive tenders, each with a capacity for 8-10 passengers - Dive platform, camera table and rinse tanks - Air-conditioned saloon and dining room with bar, TV, DVD and music system - Fish ID books, diving magazines - Computer - Satellite internet via WiFi - Open air, shaded social and dining deck with bar - Sun deck with chairs - Fresh water brought from shore
Breakfast, lunch and dinner are served in the air conditioned dining area or the large open air deck. An appetizing mix of Cuban inspired dishes and the best of Continental Italian cuisine are prepared to a high standard for guests enjoyment. Lots of lobster is featured on the menu, together with chicken, pork, beef, salads and fruit. Make sure to leave some space to indulge when desserts are served. 6 beverages are provided free of charge per day (including 2 liter mineral water, beer and soft drinks). The bar is stocked with beer, wine, spirits, fruit juices and soft drinks that are available to purchase.
Continental Italian and traditional Cuban favorites; 3-5 different dishes per sitting.
Waitress service in one of the 2 dining areas.
Breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks between, including afternoon pizza.
6 beverages per person, per day (including coffee, tea, soft drinks, beer, wine, cocktails and 2L mineral water) and snacks are provided free of charge.
Additional beverages are available for purchase onboard the liveaboard.
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 cruise. On the last day of the trip guests are served breakfast, if the return cruise time is extended, lunch will be provided.
3 x motorized dinghies each with 2 x 150 HP Yamaha engines
Emergency evacuation plan
Advanced medic first aid box, staff are MFA/EFR trained
3 x 50 liter Emergency oxygen
30 life jackets throughout
Fire alarms and 5 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