| Dive Sites at Walls of Zapata, Bay of Pigs
Cañon de Sigua
Very close to Key Sigua is a seagrass bed that drops to a dramatic vertical wall that is covered with black coral. Here you will find goliath grouper, jacks, rays, barracudas, and other abundant coral formations. The wall is also home to an abundant variety of sponges of all shapes and sizes.
Cañon de Sigua
This is a sandy shoal full of large colorful coral heads and canyons where you will see black coral trees, sea fans, purple tunicates, lobster and beautiful giant anemones.
Blue Hole - Sigua
A vertical wall that drops off into the blue. One side of the wall is almost vertical and the other side has an overhang, this way, as we descend the cavity becomes larger and wider. At the very entrance of the blue hole, there are plenty of lobsters, nudibranchs, yellow-headed jawfish, flamingo tongues. This site is located on the southeast side of the lighthouse at Sigua. The reef itself is shaped like a large horseshoe and is a well-known spot for diving. With the vessel anchored inside the horseshoe, the Blue Hole is at the northwestern tip of the second ridge of the horseshoe.
Located behind the coral reef, this shallow site is awesome for night diving since it is only between 1 and 3 meters ((3 - 10ft) deep. Just behind on the east side of Cayo Blanco is a small ridge of colorful reefs. During night dives you will be able to see octopus, squid, moray eels, rays, balloon fish, shrimp, crabs, nudibranchs, etc. Visibility at this site is generally excellent.
Corona de Cayo Cobo
This site is shaped like a long coral ridge, 30 meters (90ft) wide and 800 meters (2400ft) long and the height varies between 5 - 9 meters (15-30ft), with drop-offs on both sides, forming almost vertical walls on both sides. Here you will find a variety of small and larger, colorful sponges, hard coral, colonies of black coral as well as beatiful soft corals. There are some cubera snappers, friendly angelfish, schools of grunts, porgies and some large schools of spadefish.
Access to this site is very easy, entering the Gulf of Cazones by the east side and passing by Key El Calvario. There are some rails at the border that are remains of an old pier and 500 meters (1500ft) ahead the water turns from light, clear blue into the mesmerizing darker, deeper blue. The wall to the west is more attractive than the one on the east and generally has better visibility. There is almost always a moderate current here so caution should be taken as not to have to swim against it but rather flow with it.
Near Cayo Sigua, this is a reef ridge that is shaped like a horseshoe. Here you will encounter many colonies of very healthy elkhorn coral, some schools of jacks, blue tangs, grunts and barracudas. This site is good for both snorkeling and diving. Under the vessel, in the horseshoe of Sigua, there is a second rectangular reef ridge facing northwest. This spot is very good for night dives, especially behind the ridge itself, Depth ranges between 2 and 5 meters (6 - 15ft).
This site bottoms out at 15 meters (45ft) and is near the edge of the cliff, making a ridge at a shallower depth of 12m (36ft) before dropping off further. The wall is not completely vertical but magical nevertheless. There are some cuberas, barracudas, stingrays and all kinds of other colorful and lively Caribbean reef fish.
This wall starts at 13m (40ft) and drops off more than 30m (90ft). Here you will encounter many types of gorgonians, sponges and hard coral and you will more than likely see some small rays in the sand and the American Spondrylus.
La Farola de Guerrero
This is located to the east of the obelisk erected for Ernest Tellman. This dramatic wall drops from 12m (36ft) to over 35m (100ft) and is covered with black coral as well as some cuberas. There are also schools of mangrove snappers and different species of grunts in the shallower areas.
La Parede Negra
This dramatic wall is located in front of Ernest Tellman Key, where the dropoff begins at about 10m (30ft). Descending, you will see two mountains of coral stuck to the wall between 20 - 30m (60 - 90ft), and the separation between them is more than 40m (120ft). Here you will find many colonies of black coral, some school masters and many interestingly shaped and colored sponges. There are schools of jacks and barracudas inhabiting this site as well.
A long ridge to the south of Cayo Ballenato, you will find multiple Caribbean reef fish such as the friendly parrotfish, shiny barracudas, hermit crabs, mojarras, rays. Spectacular for night diving.
This shallow reef is located at the center and entrance of the Gulf of Cazones and very close to a red buoy signal used for ship navigation. Depth ranges from 2 - 6m (6 - 18ft). Divers will find plenty of healthy colonies of elkhorn and staghorn coral. According to some Cuban and American specialists, it is one of the best-preserved reefs in Cuba and with a plethora of sea creatures, fish and other organisms. This is a great spot for snorkeling or for a shallow dive.
Parede al norte de Cayo Palomo
Very close to Cayo Palomo, about a mile north, there is an irregular wall that descends to between 7 and 25m (20 - 85ft) and it gives way to a large sandy area with mounds of coral, some cuberas, schools of jacks, multicolored sponges and a variety of hard corals.
Muelle de Cayo El Calvario
Located exactly between the pilons of an old pier of Cayo El Calvario, this place is very well sheltered and usually has very good visibility. Depths range between 2 and 5m (6 - 15ft). The old pilons are covered with all kinds of organisms and invertebrates and at night you can encounter lobsters, crabs, octopus, polychaetes, decorator crabs, squid, coffin fish. Excellent for night dives.
Jardín de Las Gorgonias
Located opposite Cayo Ernest Tellman, this vertical wall drops down from 18m (50ft) and is covered with colonies of deep gorgonians, black coral and a large variety of sponges as well as colorful giant anemones. The shallowest part of the reef forms a bar of coral at only 10m (30ft) and has a length of several hundred meters.
Jardín de las Esponjas
Again, opposite Cayo Ernest Tellman, another vertical wall east of the Gorgonian wall, with the same coral bar at only 10m (30ft) of depth. The wall however, starts at 15m (45ft). This wall hosts barrel sponges, black coral, giant anemones, school of medium shrubs moving along the cliff. There are also schools of dog snappers on the cliff, hawksbill turtles, coffin fish and lobsters.
Blue Hole - Golfo de Cazones
About half a mile north of Cayo Palomo, the tip aligns, north of Cayo Palayo, with the tip of Cayo El Calvario. Half a mile and on a platform of about 8m (25ft) depth is the Blue Hole. It is formed as a single vertical cavity of more than 30m (90ft) with several overhangs. Frequently observed are cuberas, permits, schools of barracudas, grunts and giant anemones. Close by is another reef at 8m (25ft) with plenty of colorful small fish as well as starfish, colonial anemones and lobsters.
The cavity is rather narrow so a large group of divers should not enter at the same time because they would more than likely stir up silt that would impact visibility. There are sand cascades and many flaps inside the hollow area which hosts permits and cuberas. It’s ideal to make two groups. It has been given the name after the Fishing boat 303, who gave us this information about the two blue holes.
Lemus Blue Hole
This blue hole is more than 40m (120ft) in diameter and drops from 11m (33ft) to a staggering 70m (210ft). There are eagle rays patrolling the hole and on the outside there are amber jacks, cuberas, plenty of white grunts, sea stars, lobsters and moray eels. Spondilus Americanus (bivalve) are prevalent at the top. It is named in honor of the Mexican Alejandro Lemus, the Mexican and Pan-American champion of apnea. To the north of Cayo Palomo, below the wall, next to the navigational buoy No77, the wall ends and the bottom lies at 10 - 22m (30 - 65ft) with many mounds of coral and with inhabitants such as goliath grouper, hawksbill turtle, grunts, lobsters and many large sponges.
Boya No. 77
Close to Cayo Palomo, Gulf of Cazones, is a cliff that heads in a northerly direction and from a shelf of 11m (33ft), the wall falls smoothly to 32m (100ft). Here you will find numerous colonies of black coral, snappers, some cuberas, barracudas, red hinds and a plethora of sponges.
Diving Exploration of the Gulf of Cazones, Sigua & Cayo Blanco
Canto de Nirvana
In front of the shallow reef of Nirvana, in the Gulf of Cazones, we have to swim past the cliff from this point to Cayo Palomo. The depth profile for this site is between 10 and 20m (30 - 60ft). At about 20m, it forms an almost vertical wall with plenty of lobsters, king crabs, barracudas, hogfish, yellowtail snapper, a variety of hard corals, tubular sponges, parrotfish and some cuberas.
Located opposite Cayo Ernest Tellman. It consists of a sandy bottom with large coral formations that can be seen from 7m (21ft) to 15m (45ft), giving way to an almost vertical wall where you can see cuberas,yellow snapper, garden eels, morays, barracudas, spirographs, chibiricas, etc.
Located opposite Cayo Ernest Tellman. A white sandy bottom descends gently from 7 (21ft) to 12m (35ft), with many sponges, wonderful coral formations and gorgonians as well as black coral, yellow snapper and barracudas. From a depth of 12m (35ft) the wall gradually slopes further down and there are some channels of sand and several coral formations between them.
In front of Cayo Ernest Tellman, near Punta Brava, there is a red buoy on the beach, and this site is almost opposite this point. It is similar to the previous site, with a sandy slope that falls from shallow to 12m (35ft) and then ends with an almost vertical wall. Many coral formations adorn this wall as well as deep gorgonians, violet tunicates, barracudas, creole wrasse, hogfish, blue chromis, anemones, etc.
Opposite Cayo Ernest Tellman. Located to the east of the monument. We swim from this point to the monument by the cliff. The bottom is shaped as a coral ridge at a depth of 12 and 15m (35 - 45ft). From that point the wall drops off. On the other side of the ridge, the bottom drops down to a sandy area at almost 20m (60ft). The wall at the edge is almost vertical. Here the divers will find many colonies of black coral, many red hinds, plenty of tubular sponges and large schools of blue chromis and creole wrasse. Some cuberas, yellow snapper, French angelfish and deep gorgonians can also be encountered.
Located opposite Cayo Calvario. You begin the dive along a rocky bottom with isolated but beautiful coral heads surrounded by sponges and corals. Depth: 21 to 25m (60 - 75ft). Small formations of black coral are scattered throughout. The coloration of some sponges and size of the barrel sponges are impressive. Here divers can see fish like hogfish, yellow snapper, rays, angelfish, trumpet fish, red hinds, barracudas and jacks. Coming to the end of the dive you will see numerous species of reef fish like grunts, queen angelfish and cuberas.
Located opposite of Cayo Calvario. The dive begins with a rocky bottom and reaches a vertical wall. Depth is around 15m (45ft), with enough variety of sponges, coral with rays, spotted moray eels, lobsters and Nudibranchs.
Located opposite Cayo Lavandera. At a depth of 10 to 12m (30 - 35ft) divers will appreciate a sandy bottom with numerous rocks, various corals and sponges and when you think that it does not get any deeper a drop appears at the 18m (55ft) mark, going down another 30 or 35m (90 - 100ft). Here we will be able to see small reef fish such as yellow snappers, grunts and chromis. As you continue the dive, you can see larger coral heads with lots of hard coral, barrel sponges, dog snapper, hogfish, rays, lobster, crabs, and on the surface, if you are in luck, you can see some bottle nose dolphins.
Located opposite Cayo Ernest Tellman. A sandy bottom with small rock formations covered in coral and sponges that fall softly to a wall at 12m (35ft). From that depth it drops to approximately 25m (75ft) and later to a second drop off to depths in excess of 40m (120ft). Here you can see small barrier fish like blue chromis, French grunts, some eels, angelfish and spiny lobsters. Further down the wallthere are various types of sponges and diverse corals and black corals.
Located opposite Cayo Ernest Tellman. Cascade background with numerous sponges and corals. At a depth of 9 to 10 (30ft) there are three rock formations interrupted by channels of sandstone that fall to approximately 30m (90ft). At the second rocky formation there is a second coral head coming out of the wall and reaches up to 22m (65ft) where numerous soft and hard sponges and corals are seen as well as, you guessed it, black coral. You will see cuberas, dog snapper, angelfish, moray eels and barracudas at the end of the coral reef.
Located opposite Cayo El Calvario. From 8 to 9m (25ft) on a sandy bottom covered with scattered rocks,coral formations and sponges is the edge of the wall at 12m (35ft), which slopes down to 28m (90ft). Here divers can appreciate large formations of sponges and coral as well as grottos and canals which drop to more than 35m (100ft). You can see cuberas in remarkable quantities and dog snappers of various sizes as well as large amounts of reef fish, painted moray eels, green, grey and French angelfish, porkfish, yellow snapper and black coral formations at shallower depth.
Located opposite Cayo Calvario. There’s a sandy bottom of 7 to 9m (25ft) that slopes down to another sandy bottom at 12m (35ft). The wall falls smoothly from 22-24m (75ft) to 30-35m (110ft), defining a second wall with scattered rocks with coral that drops even deeper. There are numerous coral reef fish and critters such as yellow tail snapper, hogfish, angelfish, barracuda among other friendly reef fish.
Located near Cayo Sigua. At 5m (15ft) on a sandy bottom with isolated rocks but with diverse sponges and corals that form a step with small caves as well as isolated coral heads with coral reef fish. The bottom gently drops to 18m (50ft) in depth, here you will be observing several channels with barrel sponges. Fish found are French and striped grunts, angelfish, trumpet fish, spotted moray, barracudas, hogfish, lobsters, cuberas, nudibranchs and stingray.
Located near Cayo Sigua. At a depth of 5-10m (15 -30ft) you will find a sand and rocky bottom with numerous varieties of sponges and corals. The bottom slopes gently with several canyons/channels until we reach a depth of 27-30m (90ft). The variety of fish is incredible. Chromis, yellow tail snapper, porkfish, queen angelfish, moray eels, hogfish, large cuberas, barracudas and rays inhabits this wonderful site.
Located near Cayo Sigua. A strip of sand goes from 7-8m (25ft) to a depth of 9-12m (33ft), where isolated coral-covered rocks and sponges provide protection for many of the native fish. There is a reef that gently falls to 18-20m (60ft). In some places more pronounced, with significant channels up to more than 30-35m (100ft) deep. The marine life in this area is amazing; you can see a variety of corals and sponges along the entire wall, deep gorgonians and barrel sponges. There is also a great variety of coral fish such as grunts, chromis, large cuberas, barracudas, dog snappers and lobsters.
Located opposite Cayo Sigua. At about 5m (15ft) you can see a strip of sand with rocks populated with gorgonians and sponges. At shallower depths is the seagrass area. At greater depth, it falls gently to about 27m (90ft) to increase abruptly at a wall and channels where sponges and gorgonians are observed. Here we can see lots of corals and colorful Caribbean fish: French and striped grunts, lane snappers, lobsters, angelfish, chromis, dog snappers, horse eye jacks, rays and moray eels.
Located in Cayo Blanco. At a depth of 5m (15ft) there is a strip of sand between large seagrass beds with a variety of sponges and corals as well as a small coral barrier reef that falls to a depth of 10m (30ft). Between these coral formations, a wall drops abruptly to more than 30m (90ft), where channels and caves are found. You can encounter black groupers, yellow groupers, hogfish, yellow tail snapper, cuberas and barracudas. In this beautiful place we will also be approached and surrounded by large schools of horse eyejacks and small permits.
Located in Cayo Blanco. A site with a sandy bottom with isolated stones that ends at 15m (45ft) with a vertical wall that is not uniform due to the sand cascades between the coral heads. You can see large numbers of fish and coral life such as anemones, sponges and gorgonians. Other critters that can be found here are very friendly eagle rays, black groupers, jacks, lobsters, angelfish, and other smaller species.
Estero de la Salina
Located at Lavandera. From a depth of 5m (15ft) it all abruptly falls into the gulf with cracks and channels and various coral formations, gorgonians and sponges. A plethora of coral reef fish are seen as well as chromis, striped and French grunts, cuberas and yellow snapper. At about 12m (40ft) there are cracks and channels with sponges, gorgonians and larger fish such as dogfish, snappers, barracudas, black groupers and hogfish. At approximately 18m (60ft) there is a vertical wall that drops to more than 30-35m (100ft). We saw nurse sharks.
This point is located about two miles east of Cayo Sigua. A seagrass bed at 7m (21ft) depth descends gently to 13m (45ft), giving way to a sandy bottom with isolated coralline formations until it reaches 20m (60ft) in depth where a vertical wall begins. Hogfish, schools of cuberas, some nudibranches in the seagrass bed forming colonies. Yellow-headed gobies, garden eels, spotted moray eel, sea cucumbers and jacks can be seen. There are some rocks in the seagrass area that serve as refuge for many other smaller organisms.
In the area between Cayo Largo and Megano Vizcaino there is a 7m (20ft) deep channel. The entrance is staggered and only about 8m (25ft) long, gradually narrowing until forming a tunnel that continues descending at a 45 degree angle to a depth of 26m (75ft) where it begins to form a large gallery. At the entrance there are many grunts, anemones, mangrove snapper, barracudas and cuberas. Sometimes nurse sharks are inside this room. There are tidal currents, which means that this cavity can be tricky and may not be diveable at all times..