Varadero is a paradise for scuba diving with more than 25 sites. Especially popular is Cayo Piedras del Norte Maritime Park, the only of its kind in Cuba.
This coral reef has been made into a ‘marine park’ through the deliberate sinking of an assortment of old yachts, frigates and even an aircraft in 15m to 30m of water during the late 90s. Beauty, adventure, and security characterize this natural reservoir that covers two square nautical miles. The assortment of sunken vessels in Cayo Piedras del Norte Underwater Park are disposed of to create a perfect attraction for scuba divers of all levels.
The most popular site for diving in Varadero is the yacht know as Coral Negro. It’s a good preserve structure that allows professionals to get inside in a kind of treasure hunting. However, I had the chance to dive in the Soviet frigate “383” at 27-meter depth.
The sunken frigate “383” is 8 miles northeast from the famous Varadero’s beach. The war ship, with a length of 102 m and a weight of 500 tons, was built in the Soviet Union. Years later the Russians sold it to Cuba. At 16th of July 1998, Fidel Castro gave the order to sink the frigate to attract divers for Cuban tourism. This is the time when Cuba opens to tourism in order to fight against the economic crisis that began in 1989 primarily due to the dissolution of the Soviet Union.
Diving in the sunken frigate was one of the coolest dive experiences I’ve ever had due to the sensation of feeling like Jacques Cousteau in one of his underwater expeditions. The variety of marine flora and fauna is abundant, but not as exuberant as diving in Gili Islands.
During our adventure, we saw tropical fishes, groupers, and a marbled electric ray. We also heard some dolphins that were jumping in the surface of the Atlantic Ocean. Whilst diving in Varadero, it’s relatively easy to see barracudas, angel fish, blind fish, lobsters and gray morays.