Head about 18 km east of Havana along Via Blanca, past the tiny inlet of Bacuranao Beach, and you'll come across the (gulp) gated...resort...community of Tarará. Okay wait, before you go furiously closing the page, just hear us out. First of all, the community is open to everyone with just a signature at the main gate and, due to its proximity, is a favorite destination for weekending Habaneros and knowledgeable travelers alike. Second of all, on top of its beautiful stretch of Playas del Este sand, the marina and SCUBA center here (operated by Marlin Náutica y Marinas) is arguably your best bet for experiencing some fine Cuban diving so close to the capital.
In all, the waters around Playa Tarará boast around 20 dive sites, varying in difficulty from beginner to advanced. Among these you'll find an easily accessible century-old wreck near Bacuranao and a lively, rocky ledge known affectionately as Canto del Itabo beginning around 20 m down. Best of all, visibility tends to stay over 30 m, meaning you'll have little distracting your view of the area's rich marine life, including moray eels, spider crabs, sea urchins, rock fish, and tons of different coral varieties. The marina averages about two outings daily with two drops each, so you can easily plan your dives, get in the water and be back to the city in the same day. If you're looking for a quick and easy introduction to the country's daunting array of diving opportunities, this is it. Check our links for more info.