in December and January
Cuba’s stunning variety of landscapes, mixing mountains, agricultural valleys and endless sandy beaches, make it a fascinating destination. When Christopher Columbus discovered the island in 1492, he said: “This is the most beautiful land one has ever seen. Many charterers choose to extend their vacation and take a few days to explore Havana either at the start or the end of their charter.
Winds are predominantly northeast in winter with variations southeast 15 to 25 N. The summer winds are highly variable depending on the tropical depressions in the Gulf of Mexico and the Bahamas, they vary from 5 to 15 N and 35 N can reach in a storm. This cruising area suits experienced sailors as the distances from Cienfuegos to the archipelagos are quite long. The whole coast and off-lying islands are fully accessible with the exception of one prohibited area in the vicinity of Playa Girón. That area is the scene of the ill-fated 1961 invasion to overthrow Fidel Castro, often known as the Bay of Pigs. Tides are minimal but waters can be shallow. About 20 marinas and nautical centers all around Cuba gladly welcome yachts under all flags and offer all conceivable services.
Direct flights are available from surrounding countries and Canada. Currently only three airports in the US have direct flights to Cuba: Miami, New York, and Los Angeles.
7 day Itinerary
DAY 1 : Embark at Cienfuegos marina. Depart yacht berth for night cruise through the Caribbean tropical waters to Cayo Largo (75nm)
DAY 2 : Arrive Cayo Largo Marina before lunch. On the way, stop for snorkelling at the two big coral reefs off Cayo Ingles or Cayo Hijo de los Ballenatos. Anchor off and explore in your dinghy the fine white beaches, snorkelling and diving spots on and near Cayo Largo. Night in the marina or anchor near Playa Sirena beach.
DAY 3 : Early morning visit to Cayo Iguana ( 2 nm from Cayo Largo). Cruise west to the excellent beach of Playa Rosario where you can snorkel around the coral reef. Anchor near Canal del Rosario (35nm), which offers protection against all prevailing winds.
DAY 4 : Visit Cayo Cantiles reserve with monkeys and other wildlife. Sail north via Canal del Rosario on shallow turquoise waters of Golfo de Batabanó, on the way visit of lobster and fishing centres of Cayo Travesia or Cayo Flamenco. Anchor near Diego Pérez Lighthouse (40nm).
DAY 5 : Sail to Cayos de Dios, Sal or Guano del Este. Snorkel at coral reef with wide variety of fish and shellfish. Anchor for the night near Guano del Este lighthouse (35nm). In the northwest of Cayo Guano there is a small beach and coral reef for snorkelling.
DAY 6 : Sail east to Guajimico (45nm), a narrow cove in a quiet location
DAY 7 : Return to Cienfuegos (15nm).
7 Day Itinerary
DAY 1 : Embark at Cienfuegos marina.
DAY 2 : Sail to Guajimico (15nm)
DAY 3 : Sail south east to Cayo Blanco (40nm).
DAY 4 : Sailing on the way to Cayo Zaza de Fera (20nm) visit Cayo Machos de Afuera.
DAY 5 : Cayo Bretón (20nm) is separated by several narrow channels and marked by a lighthouse. This is the start of the Jardines de la Reina, or Gardens of the Queen, a nature reserve area of exceptional beauty. Bring your camera to capture pictures of the local wildlife including flamingos, turtles and iguanas. Snorkel the amazing coral reef, or go onshore to look for pirate treasure said to be hidden on the cays.
DAY 6 : Sail back to civilization at the full-service Marina Trinidad (50nm).
DAY 7 : Spend the day exploring Trinidad. Leave in the late evening hours to sail back to Cienfuegos through the night. Arrive Cienfuegos early morning (60nm).