While a guest at Los Jardines de la Reina, accommodations are provided primarily on large liveaboards or on our original 110-foot double deck houseboat, the Tortuga. The Tortuga is a floating hotel with eight guest cabins that accommodate 2/3 divers each (16 divers up to 21). Tortuga is a steel houseboat anchored in a protected channel, so it never moves. It is extremely stable, there’s no chance of getting seasick no matter the weather conditions.
There are 7 cabins on the upper deck and one on the main deck; all featuring their own bathrooms with sink, toilet and a good shower with hot water. Each cabin has its own easily adjustable air-conditioning system. On the lower level (main deck), there is a large air-conditioned dining room along with a foredeck and afterdeck, with chairs and tables, perfect for relaxing and taking the sun after a diving day. The foredeck is a very nice place to enjoy our pizza appetizer and drink cocktails or smoke Cuban cigars before dinner. Electricity on board is supplied by generators located nearby and it is available twenty-four hours a day. There are many outlets on board that provide both 110 and 220V. We have a satellite Internet service with Wi-Fi, making communications with the outside world easy and free for our guests. All you need is wireless capability with your laptop or other devices.
Dining on board combines the style of the best Continental Italian cuisine with delicious seafood and traditional Cuban favorites like rice and beans, black bean soup and fried bananas. Beverages available on board are: Bottled mineral water (2 lt/day included in the package), sparkling and tonic water, various soft drinks, juices, beers, rums, whisky and excellent wines.
The chef on Tortuga is excellent. The day starts with a hearty breakfast. Lunch and dinners are primarily fresh fish. Lobster is our specialty and is served in a variety of ways. For those who like something different, chicken, pork and beef are also available. Salads and different fruits are served in every meal. Desserts feature our famous Cuban caramel custard, rum-flavored cakes, cookies, puddings, pies and many others. Vegetarian and kosher meals are served on request with many different choices available.
Divers booked on Tortuga will make the two-and-a-half-hour transfer to Jardines on M/Y Sol or M/Y Mares, boarding at the port of Júcaro.
Diving schedule is usually at the discretion of the customers following the instructor’s suggestions with 2 or 3 daily dives. The day begins with a wakeup call at 7:00 am, coffee/tea ready, breakfast at 7:15 am. Our diving instructors are ready to go diving from 8:00 am. Fast diving boats are used to reach diving spots having the opportunity to explore different sites each day and enjoy the view of mangrove channels, virgin beaches, birds and other exuberant fauna during the trips. There is no chance for loneliness; dive guides and crew are available every single minute. Our group guarantees all the equipment required to ensure safety (First Aid kits with O2 on every boat, excellent communications with mother boats and mainland, life jackets, etc.). The first morning, check-in dive to get acquainted and make sure all equipment is in good shape. During the briefings, our experienced instructors will explain every detail of the dive, from what will be seen in a particular spot to the correct behavior while diving with sharks or highlights of the area and special characteristics of the marine life present. After the first dive, surface interval in one of the beautiful beaches. Second dive and, at midday, boats will return for lunch. Together with the instructor, arrange time for afternoon dives or for excursions through the lagoon and mangrove channels. Coming back to the live aboard, it is time to drink a frozen “mojito”, enjoy the afternoon pizza and talk about the dives. Around 8:00 pm dinner is served and, like a family, everyone gets together around the table. The staff will be in contact every minute to assist and receive special requests or suggestions. Evening time next to the bar, to watch photos and videos while breathing the sea atmosphere, it’s time to plan with the instructors what will happen next day. In Jardines de la Reina, our season is year round. A normal week includes 15 dives from Sunday to Thursday; return to the mainland is on Friday. It is possible to book extra dives on request.
Tipping is widespread in Cuba. Many Cuban workers rely on tips to supplement their basic income and they all work really hard. Tips help them get a better lifestyle. So if you receive good service, it is very good etiquette to tip accordingly.