Cuba is now opening up to the US in line with the rest of the world, and plenty has already been written about the excitement waiting for visitors in the usual places. However, there is an area which tends to be overlooked because there really is only one way to visit it and that is by yacht: Los Jardines de la Reina.
Named by Christopher Columbus in honour of his queen, and generally and prosaically called an archipelago, this protected National Park really feels like a set of shells scattered randomly by a giant.
Tempting though it will be to cruise straight down there, why not first spend some time discovering la Havana and its unique charm. Don’t miss out on its nightlife!
With enough time, you could even go along the north coast to Varadero and discover a well-beaten and worthwhile cruising track; if not, once you have sampled what Havana has to offer, you need to set a course for the south-east coast via the Isla de la Juventud and Cayo Largo. Depending on your onward itinerary, you could then come back here to this cruising area and spend a few days…But now, sit back and prepare for the next leg of the trip, starting in Trinidad.
Just the little town itself whisks you away in both its history and the fun to be had there. Discover its 15th-century origins and smaller scale colonial architecture, and enjoy the dancing organized most nights in the streets and «main» square
Rejoin your yacht amidst the mangroves near Playa Ancon and head out to the first cayo – you won’t be waiting long to sample your first refreshment in the Jardines!
Head further into the Gardens of the Queen for the real adventure, and prepare your water toys for exploration and observation, and if possible, fish for your lunch.
There are countless diving spots to explore, acknowledged as being among the best in the whole Caribbean and, with no commercial fishing allowed, the 3rd longest barrier reef in the world is worth your time. There are restrictions concerning access thankfully, so your crew can organize authorized RDV dives for you.
Weave in and out of the Cayos, view the vast array of sea life under the water and head out of the Jardines de la Reina on to the next adventure.
If Cuba charmed you, head north-west to Cayo Largo and the Isla de la Juventud to see a different face of this wonderfully varied destination.