Cuba’s Bay of Pigs is a historic location with amazingly clear water, an abundance of fish and it’s cheap. What better place to dive in Cuba then, than the Bay of Pigs? We think that for diving Cuba the Bay of Pigs offers an incredible combination of historic location and great diving. So here’s everything you need to know about Diving the Bay of Pigs in Cuba.
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Where is the Bay of Pigs Cuba?
The Bay of Pigs or Bahia de Cochinos in Spanish is about 2.5 – 3 hours south-east from Havana. The towns closest to the Bay of Pigs are Playa Larga in the North and Playa Giron in the south. This is the area that’s commonly known as the Bay of Pigs.
Playa Larga and Playa Giron are the two places to stay if you want to dive in the Bay of Pigs. You can take the Viazul Bus to Playa Larga and also to Playa Giron Cuba. Playa Giron is the main Viazul Bus stop though. The Viazul bus from Havana to Trinidad leaves and drops off at both locations. While Playa Larga looks bigger on the map, Playa Giron is the main location for diving the Bay of Pigs. Playa Larga Cuba looks bigger on the map. If you’re going onwards from the Bay of Pigs to Trinidad, then the Viazul bus leaves from both locations daily.
Cuba Bay of Pigs Location Map
Here’s the location of Cuba’s Bay of Pigs on a map.
What’s the Bay of Pigs History?
The bay is named for a species of Triggerfish that live in the bay and that looks like a pig. Most people will know the name “The Bay of Pigs” from Cuban-American history books and an event that occurred in 1967.
It was in April 1967 that 1400 CIA trained Cuban exiles began an invasion of Cuba at the Bay of Pigs. The operation had been infiltrated by Castro supporters and was ill-fated from the start. Castro was able to move Cuban planes before bombings took place. The Cuban Air Force then sank two supply ships and left the invaders stranded on exposed beaches. More than 100 men were killed, 1,200 were captured, although they were later exchanged for US$53 million worth of food and medicine.
There are some wrecks in the Bay of Pigs that can be dived on if the conditions are right for the location, check with your divemaster at the dive school.
One of the key reasons to locate yourself in Playa Giron to dive the Bay of Pigs is that there’s a Museum about the failed invasion located in Playa Giron. Museo Giron is located right next to the Viazul bus stop in Playa Giron and by visiting you can understand more about the history of the failed invasion and the Cuban revolution as a whole.
Alternatively, – these are great books that will help layout the Bay of Pigs invasion.
While it is often possible to take a day trip from Varadero or from Trinidad for the day to dive the Bay of Pigs it is much easier and more relaxing to stay overnight in Playa Giron or Playa Largo the night before diving. We recommend spending two nights in the Bay of Pigs.
Accommodation in the Bay of Pigs
There are two towns to stay at in the Bay of Pigs, Playa Giron and Playa Largo. Within those towns, there is one hotel on the beach in Playa Giron and a variety of Casa Particulars, which you’ll find in both Playa Giron and Playa Largo.
Where to Stay in the Bay of Pigs
There are two main places to stay to dive the Bay of Pigs – Playa Larga and Playa Giron. So should you stay in Playa Largo or Playa Giron? There is a dive shop in both locations. You’ll find wifi in the Bar Playa at Playa Girón
The first town the Viazul bus from Havana stops at is Playa Larga Bay of Pigs. It looks bigger, but, as Edyth at our Casa Particular in Playa Giron told us, there are problems. As Playa Larga is at the top of the estuary, there are lots of problems with mosquitos, but you know, that could just be the locals protecting their booking!
However, if you do want to stay in Playa Larga, there are a number Casa Particulars that accept pre-bookings: Check out availability and book your room now. You will be able to arrange Playa Larga Diving with your Casa Particular if you stay there. You don’t need to prebook your diving in Playa Largo.
(Trust me, it’s just the way things are done here)
Playa Giron Maps
Where to Stay in Playa Giron for Diving
Playa Giron Hotel
There is a hotel in Playa Giron. It’s run by Cubanacan. The Hotel Cubanacan Playa Giron Cuba is right on the seafront. Rooms cost from 70 euros a night. You can find up to the minute rates and availability, as well as book it here. The restaurant and bar are in the main building and accommodation is in concrete cottages spread over a large area. Some still look a little derelict, as a result of multiple hurricanes in past years.
The Playa Giron Dive Shop is located at the hotel in Playa Giron. This is the International Scuba Center Playa Giron which is at the side of the main hotel building.
Most of the accommodation in Playa Giron is in casa particulars in the town. These Casa Particulars are at least a 10-minute walk from the Viazul bus stop, but nothing is much further away than this. >> Find out how the Viazul Bus Network works in our Ultimate Guide. Be wary of maps on accommodation sites, the accuracy is a little lacking, although nothing is more than 10 minutes walk away in Playa Giron, it’s that small.
Playa Giron Casa Particulars
Here are our suggestions for the best casa particulars in Playa Giron to stay in
Hostal Edyth in Playa Giron
A friendly couple with their cute small dog host in this quiet Casa Particular. There are private bathrooms in the rooms and air conditioning too. Breakfast is great and it’s very easy to walk to the Viazul Bus station. Edyth can arrange your diving for you, just ask – and be sure to try the soup for dinner it’s amazing! We stayed with Edyth, her husband Bernardo and their cute dog and you cannot find a friendlier couple. We speak Spanish and were able to converse well with the family.
Leo’s Hostal, Playa Giron
One of the most popular Casa Particulars in Playa Giron, you’ll find a garden, bar and shared lounge. You also can have access to the kitchen too. At Leo’s, they speak English and you can also get a buffet breakfast here, plus rent bikes too!
Located just a 10-minute walk from the beach, Luis’s Hostal in Playa Giron has 2 and 3 bedroom bungalows. They all include air conditioning and a terrace or balcony and a seating area. You’ll get a continental breakfast here and you can also rent bikes from Luis.
How to Dive in Cuba’s Bay of Pigs
By the time you reach the Bay of Pigs, you’ll firmly understand that visiting Cuba is unlike anywhere else that you’ve ever been. And it’s the same with Diving. There’s no need to prebook your diving here in the Bay of Pigs, your casa particular owner will organize it for you (and you won’t pay any extra for it). If you’re pre-booking your accommodation – which we recommend – then we advise messaging your accommodation provider and advising them that you wish to dive while you are visiting.
How Book Scuba Diving in the Bay of Pigs
It’s not necessary to pre-book your diving in the Bay of Pigs. Your Casa Particular will organise it all for you. Simply tell them how many you are and when you want to dive. You can do this when you arrive, there’s no need to do it ahead of time. If you do want to pre-book diving, then contact the Cubanacan hotel in Playa Giron or the Octopus Club in Playa Larga.
Diving Playa Giron is run from the centre by the side of the Cubanacan Hotel, but organize with your Casa and a bus will pick you up to take you to the dive centre.
Diving in the Bay of Pigs is one of our Iconic things to do in Cuba – check out the others here.
Costs to Scuba Dive the Bay of Pigs
Scuba diving in Cuba prices are lower than you will be used to in other places around the world.
A single dive in the Bay of Pigs costs US$25, two dives cost US$50. If you’re a beginner and you want to have a trial, then you pay the cost of the dive plus an additional US$10. Simple pricing. You’ll pay cash in local currency or take Canadian dollars, Euros or British pounds. The pricing includes all your equipment and the transport on the bus. Our guide to Cuban currency is here.
Here in Playa Giron and Playa Larga, you mainly dive from the shore, so there are no boat costs and it really is as easy as walking into the water. Or jumping as we did. There is no discount diving the Bay of Pigs if you have your own gear.
Where are the dive sites in the Bay of Pigs
As you can see from the map, there are dive sites all the way throughout the Bay of Pigs.
The dive site selected each day will depend on conditions and the dive leader does try to select a different site each day. If you elected to make two dives on the same day, then you do them in the same location. It’s as simple as this. On your first dive, you will likely swim out to the wall and then turn right. On your second dive, you will swim out to the wall and turn left. Or vice versa.
Bay of Pigs Scuba Diving in Playa Giron Experience
Organise your diving in the Bay of Pigs through either the hotel or your Casa Particular owner. They’ll advise of any price changes, the times for the dive and will also arrange for the dive bus to collect you from your casa particular. The costs of diving the Bay of Pigs include collection from your casa particular and return to it at the end of the dive.
Getting to the Dive Shop in Playa Giron
The dive bus goes once a day in Playa Giron. Once you’ve organised with your Casa Particular when you want to dive, they will let you know the time the bus will collect you. The Dive Bus picks you up from outside your Casa Particular. Ours was on time at 0830.
Playa Giron Scuba Diving Office
The dive office in Playa Giron is at the side of the Cubanacan hotel. The dive shop is a government-run operation, hence the managed costs. We did go there by ourselves attempting to book it, but there was no one there. Seems they were all out diving! Just book with your casa particular and trust that this is the way that it works in Cuba.
Once you arrive on the bus, you’ll all disgorge and head into the office. Here you’ll find the price list displayed on the wall. Our insurance covered us for diving on our trip to Cuba – read about the requirements of travel and medical insurance in Cuba here. Or get a quote for diving insurance in Cuba here.
Dive Cuba Equipment and Gear at the Bay of Pigs.
Some of the dive equipment we used was older than some we’ve used. Some were brand new. Nigel’s wetsuit had a huge hole in it (but it wasn’t cold at all).
The tanks were steel tanks and boy they’re a lot heavier than aluminium ones!. Face masks and regulators were all pretty standard, although the connectors onto some tanks were ones we hadn’t seen before.
What can you see when Scuba Diving the Bay of Pigs?
There are good coral and a large variety of fish. If your dive site is Punta Perdiz, then you can also see the wreckage of a US landing craft. Inland, at Cueva de Los Peces there’s also a cenote that you can dive.
Snorkelling the Bay of Pigs Cuba
If don’t want to dive, but want to snorkel the Bay of Pigs, then the cost of Bay of Pigs snorkelling is the equivalent of US$3. If you want to go Bay of Pigs snorkelling then you ride the same dive bus as the divers and snorkel in the same place.
You can also snorkel the Bay of Pigs area under your own steam. There’s a great beach area called Coco Beach, Playa Giron where it’s cloudy close to the beach but head a little further out and it’s clearer and you’ll find some decent fish life.
We locked up our gear in our portable safe and locked it to a tree and all headed off to snorkel the Bay of Pigs for free.
How to Dive the Bay of Pigs from Playa Larga
The diving in Playa Larga is organised by Octopus Club. Arrange your dive with your casa particular. In exactly the same way as the diving is organised in Playa Giron, the bus will collect you and take you to the dive shop. You’ll pay, sign the paperwork, get kitted up and get on the bus.
The bus will then take you to the designated dive site for the day.
Scuba Diving in Cuba – What to Expect
We were not asked for our dive certification, however, our dive leader watched us put the equipment together and was generally very good at watching each person in our group.
Most of the diving in the Bay of Pigs is shore-based. That means you’ll walk into the water, or jump, as we did. We jumped into the ocean carefully, as we all hit the bottom. There were 8 feet of air. Then 8 feet of water. Then there were some rocks and some sand when we landed.
Our dive site in the Bay of Pigs
All the diving at the Bay of Pigs happens in the morning. The bus will start collecting from Casa Particulars at around 0900. You’ll be returned to the dive shop by around 1300.
The current was negligible. The water clarity was superb. Our dive leaders were great. Friendly, a little chatty. We dived with a French group, so our dive leader spoke Spanish, French and English. Mostly he spoke hand signals, telling me to calm down. Yeah, I always get a little nervous on my first dive after a while.
It’s pretty shallow close to the shore, then it shelves gently and then suddenly you’re at the edge of the wall and it goes all the way down.
There’s a lot of coral in pretty good condition, and a large variety of fish, although not huge numbers of them. We did, however, see lobsters and lionfish on our dive!
We had no safety stop on the way back, as we simply slowly swam back up, as the slope to the coast is gradual.
Second Dives in the Bay of Pigs
At most of the shore-based dive sites in the Bay of Pigs, if you’ve jumped in, then there is a metal ladder to climb back to shore. If you’re taking a second dive, then after a break you’ll be connected with a new tank.
Our first dive was 35 minutes. Our second dive was 52 minutes. We headed to the wall in the same direction, we explored a different part of the wall.
This second dive was excellent. Our dive leader had brought his specialist camera – and for us, it was a bucket list dive – he found us a lionfish and it was amazing.
What to take with you on the Bay of Pigs dive bus
Most of the dive sites here in the Bay of Pigs are accessed off the road between Playa Largo and Playa Giron. Parking is simply on the side of the road. There are no facilities at virtually all of these spots. You’ll need to take a few items with you
- Water > We recommend taking a filter water bottle to Cuba with you
- Sunscreen > Bring this with you from home
- A hat > the sun is powerfully strong here
- Wear your swim gear when you leave your casa particular
You will be leaving your personal belongings on the bus while you are diving in the Bay of Pigs. The driver will stay with the bus.
While we had no issues at all with theft while in Cuba we always travel with a portable travel safe and took this with us to secure our belongings to a tree. Here’s our guide to the best portable travel safes for Cuba. It’s great also for when we all wanted to snorkel at the same time on the nearby Coco Beach in Playa Giron. Check out Pacsafe Options here and be sure to carry one in your bags.
Where Else to Scuba Dive in Cuba
The Bay of Pigs is just one set of locations (there are multiple dive sites here) that you can scuba dive in Cuba. Here are some other suggestions as to where you can head to while you’re in the country. Cuba’s reefs are fairly well preserved compared to other islands in the Caribbean.
- Maria la Gorda Diving
- Punta Frances Diving
- Dive Jardines de la Reina Marine Park
- Cayo Largo Diving
- Diving Jardines del Rey and Cayo Coco
- You can read more about alternative dive sites in Cuba here.
FAQs about Diving the Bay of Pigs in Cuba
Got questions about diving the Bay of Pigs? Or want to know how to get more information on diving Cuba and we haven’t answered your questions? Check out our frequently asked questions about Bay of Pigs diving below, or ask us yours in the comments.
Should you stay in Playa Giron or Playa Largo?
We think that staying in Playa Giron provides a better experience for diving the Bay of Pigs – you’ll have access to shore-based snorkelling that you can walk to, there’s a hotel, several places to eat and of course the Museum of the Revolution and the Bay of Pigs.
Can you dive in the Bay of Pigs as a day trip?
It is possible to take a day trip from Varadero and dive the Bay of Pigs, but it will be a very long day.
Should you stay in Playa Larga or Playa Giron?
We decided to stay in Playa Giron as we also wanted to visit the Museum at Playa Giron. Our host at our Casa Particular advised us we’d made the right decision (of course she did!) as Playa Largo tends to have problems with mosquitoes, and, as she pointed out, Playa Giron does not.
Should you dive the Bay of Pigs if you’re a beginner?
Absolutely. Yes. We travelled and dived the Bay of Pigs with relatives who had never dived before. They signed up for the beginner’s package at US$25 + US$10 per person. They were given a basic overview in the bus, then kitted up, and taken for a 25-minute dive. Their instructor was very clear and explained everything very well. When one of them became nervous and did not want to go any further in the water, the instructor was superb at assisting.
Final Words on Diving the Bay of Pigs in Cuba
There are some great places to scuba dive Cuba, our Bay of Pigs Cuba diving experience was superb as we managed to combine some of the best diving in Cuba with a cultural and historic experience too. We loved our experiences diving the Bay of Pigs – it was cheap, being shore-based was a new experience for us and it was quintessentially Cuban. It’s laid back, the dive leaders clearly have a love for the ocean and a desire to show you their playground. Head on down to the Bay of Pigs and see what you can see!
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