Cienfuegos, An Ideal Place for Diving in Cuba
By Francisco Menéndez, Photos: Publicitur and Francisco Menéndez
The Faro Luna International Diving Center - located in Cuba’s southerncentral province of Cienfuegos - is an ideal place for diving and snorkelling, and also the site of frequent underwater photography contests. Faro Luna director, Ernesto Manzanares, highlighted that in addition to fostering underwater adventures, the centre also takes part in international scientific collaboration projects on marine biology-related issues.
Manzanares added that this place, which includes a diving centre and a 49 room hotel, was opened in 1992 in the area that comprises the Rancho Luna dock - a site where visitors can enjoy all kinds of diving activities. From there, people can go on diving trips to underwater vertical walls, tunnels and canals, including seven shipwrecks located in a diverse area with 47 species of coral reefs and a collection of molluscs. The centre relies on qualified guides that include two diving masters, one open-water instructor, one advanced instructor and one coach (Manzanares himself), who accompany guests on their trips to all 30 diving sites.
Reaching these areas is easy, as the most distant site is only 15 minutes off the coast. One of the shipwrecks is near a vertical wall of historical value, as it holds the remains of the former English communication wire that was cut during the 1898 Cuban-Spanish-American War.
In addition to fostering recreational diving - whose maximum descent goes down to 40 meters - Faro Luna is also a regional observatory for the Caribbean. Its mission is to study the acidification of the sea, a project conducted in coordination with the International Atomic Energy Agency. This study, conducted by specialists of the Cuban Ministry of Sciences, Technology and Environment, is aimed at analysing records related to the preservation of coral reefs - essential for fighting climate change. Faro Luna welcomes divers from different parts of the world, particularly from Canada (60 percent), the United Kingdom, Germany, Spain and Mexico. During Cuba’s high tourist season (November through April), the centre receives 7 to 15 people per day.