Exotic and steeped in a rich cultural history, Cuba is sought out by discerning travellers for its exclusivity and timelessness. From kicking back at a sidewalk café with the locals, to sipping mojitos along the beach - no experience on Cuban soil is easily forgotten. Be it the island's music, food or its signature Cohiba cigars, you can't deny the fact that Cubans have boldly made cool a lifestyle. (For some, such as Americans restricted from flying to Cuba directly, just getting there can be a bold act.)
And while there are many things to see and do on the island, one of the most alluring attractions calls for taking a page from 007's dossier by plunging under the surface. Below the stunning, crystal clear Caribbean water off of Cuba's North shore, you will discover a unique dive site, boasting a sunken Cold War era Russian patrol boat. The vessel rests proudly upright and fully intact, complete with anti-aircraft guns, on the ocean's floor.
Those up to the challenge should equip themselves with oversized air tanks and advanced open water dive certification. The deck lies 98' (30 m) below the surface of the 80 (27 C) degree waters. You'll have enough time for a clandestine mission into the ship's hull and bridge before retreating to the surface. On your way to and from the ship, you can even take advantage of the incredible 120' (36 m) visibility to observe the diverse marine life.
The dive site is best accessed from the town of Varadero. A former playground for American elite in the 1940's, Varadero has recently become overrun with typical, all-inclusive resorts and may befit neither discerning trailblazers nor adventurers f for a long stay. However, the beach in Varadero remains spectacular and as the best starting point for exploring the wreck, it's well worth the short trip.
Baraaza suggests you let Barracuda Dive Center handle the particulars for your dive. They have a friendly, English-speaking staff and numerous locations around Varadero. Barracuda has branches located in the Certro De Buceo Corel near the Club Kawama, and the Marina Chapelin near the Arenas Doradas Hotel as well as one at the Breezes Varadero.
[Barracuda Dive Center doesn't have a website, but you can reach them the old-fashioned way via: Barracuda Diving Center, 59 st. & 1st Av., Varadero , Cuba . Telephone: +53 7-613481. For more information on Cuba visit: www.cuba.com]