Cuba's Gardens of the Queen

ANNOUNCEMENT: Travel with Ocean Doctor to Cuba’s Gardens of the Queen!


Legal Travel to CubaIt is with great pleasure and excitement that I announce that Ocean Doctor has launched the first-ever educational  trips to Cuba’s Gardens of the Queen. Under a license from the U.S. Treasury Department, our program allows us to take U.S. citizens and residents on these trips legally.


This unique educational journey examines the relationship of Cuban citizens with their natural environment, including burgeoning socioeconomic and cultural issues brought about by Cuba’s growing ecotourism industry. The exchange also represents an opportunity to explore with our Cuban colleagues important environmental issues that impact the marine waters that both nations share. Visitors will meet with Cuban scientists, resource managers, ecotourism professionals and community members.

Gardens of the QueenSix days of this 11-day/10-night trip will be spent aboard a floating hotel or liveaboard dive vessel in the heart of Cuba’s Gardens of the Queen National Park, where much of the story lies underwater. U.S. visitors will accompany Cuban specialists and be able to scuba dive in one of the healthiest marine ecosystems remaining in the Caribbean. Visitors will spend four nights at a 5-star hotel in Havana, visiting a variety of Cuba institutions and meeting with a range of Cuban professionals and community members.

About the Gardens of the Queen 

Elkhorn coral (Acropora palmata)Gardens of the Queen was named by Christopher Columbus to honor the Queen of Spain and the area remains as spectacularly beautiful and wild as when Columbus experienced it centuries ago. Today, it is among the healthiest marine ecosystems in the region.

The Gardens harbor abundant and healthy fish and shark population, stunning mangrove islands and shallow bays that teem with juvenile species, rare crocodiles, flamingos and other birds, iguanas and the jutia , a native rodent.

SPACE IS LIMITED: Cuban regulations strictly limit the number of visitors to this wilderness each year. Our trips run throughout the year based on demand and availability. Submit your preferred dates using our booking request form.

Your Participation Supports Our Work 

In addition to helping advance environmental education, one of Ocean Doctor’s principal areas of focus, your participation in this program helps support Ocean Doctor’s Cuba Conservancy Program.This program’s mission is to establish sustained collaboration between Cuba and the U.S. to:

  • ensure enduring, locally-supported marine research and conservation programs in Cuba.
  • contribute to major advances in the scientific understanding of Cuba’s natural resources.
  • achieve meaningful, long-lasting conservation for Cuba’s marine ecosystems and shared ecosystems of the Gulf of Mexico and Western Caribbean.
  • forge long-term collaborative relationships with our Cuban colleagues.
  • help train the next generation of Cuban marine scientists.

Sea TurtleWe want this program to set the best possible example for responsible tourism practices and sustainability. We’re happy to be partnering with Avalon Cuban Diving Services which runs the only diving operation at Gardens of the Queen, along with other diving centers throughout Cuba. Avalon runs a professional, low-impact operation with an emphasis on conservation and safety.

You can download our flyer here and find much more information on our web site at We look forward to your participation in this unique program!



David E. Guggenheim, Ph.D.
President, Ocean Doctor
Director, Cuba Conservancy

and the team at

Avalon Cuban Diving Centers

Questions? Our international team can best answer your questions via email. Please submit your question at submit your question and we’ll reply as soon as we can. You may also email us at: or leave a voice message on our dedicated Cuba Travel Program line at +1 (202) 507-9797. If you haven’t already visited our Gardens of the Queen Travel Page, many of your questions can be answered there: (Be sure to read the FAQ Section.)

Visit Us at These Upcoming Events!

  • September 21-22, 2013: Booth #38 at the Mile-High Blue Exposition at Making Waves in Colorado 2013, University Memorial Center, Glen Miller Ballroom, University of Colorado, Boulder
  • November 6-9, 2013: Booth #833 at the DEMA Show 2013 (Orange County Convention Center, Orlando, Florida)
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