M/V Oceans for Youth - Overview
Explore. Learn. Protect.
The M/V Oceans for Youth is a 100-ft. motor vessel designed as a sustainable exploration and educational platform that supports ecosystem monitoring in the Gardens of the Queen National Park, Cuba. You are invited to join the adventure as part of the official Oceans for Youth Foundation's authorized "People-to-People" Cuba Travel Program.
The M/V Oceans for Youth is equipped and staffed for two programs: the EcoExploration Program, and the Classroom-at-Sea Programs. It is built for safety and stability and comfortably sleeps up to 24 travelers with a crew of eight.
All programs take place from aboard the vessel in Cuba's Garden's of the Queen National Park, the largest and healthiest marine reserve in the Carbbean with internationally recognized Cuban marine scientists as your guides or instructors. Typically, daily excursions are from the vessel's skiff.
EcoExploration Program: 8 days/7 nights -- Saturday to Saturday; 7 nights onboard the M/V Oceans for Youth. Guides focus on exploration and natural history. Daily discussions with marine scientists about field observations and optional evening natural history presentations (in English and/or Spanish). This program includes snorkel excursions to multiple sites, island visits, and 4 optional scuba dives. All field excursions are from tenders.
Who is this program for?
Anyone or any group interested in exploring multiple land and sea areas of the Gardens of the Queen National Park while snorkeling shallow reefs, lagoons, and seagrass meadows, navigating through extensive mangroves and discovering pristine beaches and native wildlife.*
Classroom-at-Sea Programs: 8 days/7 nights -- Saturday to Saturday; 7 nights onboard the M/V Oceans for Youth. Instructors focus on marine biolgoy and conservation. Daily instruction and evening seminars by staff marine scientists about marine ecology, conservation science, and species identification (in English and/or Spanish). The provided course curriculum, “Dynamics and Conservation of Cuban Coastal Ecosystems” (1-week, Introductory; 2-weeks, Advanced) is field-based and taught by Cuban scientists working and conducting field studies from on board the vessel. Semester-at-Sea itineraries and customized curriculum are also available. These educational programs include snorkel excursions to multiple marine habitats, island explorations, and 4 optional scuba dives. All field excursions are from tenders.
Who is this program for?
Any high school (age 15 or older), college, or university student or group; or scouting or other educational institution affiliated groups interested in studying marine biology or ecology in the field.** Marine science educators may lead their own groups and may develop, integrate or provide their own curriculum. Dive training is also available upon request.
Generalized Programs' Itinerary:
Day 1 - Saturday
Welcome and pick-up at Camaguey Airport 6 pm or Santa Clara Airport by 5 pm. Transfer to Jucaro for boarding the M/V Oceans for Youth vessel. Boarding begins at 5 pm followed by the welcome orientation and dinner.
Days 2 - 6
Arrive in Gardens of the Queen and begin marine eco-explorations with daily snorkeling and island excursions (and with 2 optional scuba diving sites including 4 dives total). Habitats to explore:
~ Pristine marine lagoons and expansive sea grass meadows
~ Mangrove forests and channels
~ Patch and crest reefs with rare, endangered corals
~ Deserted cays and sea turtle nesting beaches (in season)
~ Natural history or marine ecology presentations by Cuban marine scientists
Day 7 - Saturday
8 am transfer to Camaguey or Santa Clara Airports (2 separate transfers) with lunch provided for a 1 pm arrival at your airport for departure.
Pick a program and join us aboard the M/V Oceans for Youth as we "Explore. Learn. Protect."
- Throughout the week, Cuban marine biologists will be speaking on ocean conservation and the ecosystem of the Gardens of the Queen.
- Snorkeling in the Gardens of the Queen is from Sunday to Friday. Four optional scuba dives, at two sites, are included (equipment is available for rent in advance of the trip).
- All meals are included. Aboard the M/V Oceans for Youth, alcoholic beverages are permitted but not included. Guests are welcome to bring and consume their own, provided they are of legal U.S. age to consume alcohol.
Visit M/V Oceans for Youth Pricing
** Please Note: Fishing activities are not permitted as part of the Oceans for Youth Foundation's People-to-People authorized Cuban travel programs.
**The M/V Oceans for Youth international license via the Cuban Government is for educational expeditions and class-room-at-sea instructional activities only. Therefore, the vessel is not available for charter for scientific research nor commercial use of any kind including any data or samples collection or photography or filming by any non-Cuban parties without first applying for a work permit via the Cuban government. Should you wish to apply for such a permit, Foundation staff may put you in touch with our colleagues in Cuba who may provide guidance or assistance, at their discretion. Please note that these work permits are difficult and timely to acquire (with a 50% success rate on average); therefore, we cannot guarantee the granting of any such required permits as part of booking any space aboard nor any chartering of the M/V Oceans for Youth in Cuba.