Awe-inspiring spring break trips in Cuba

May 5, 2004
Outside Magazine
Week of February 5-11, 1998
Sea-kayaking trips in Baja for beginners
Awe-inspiring spring break trips in Cuba
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Awe-inspiring spring break trips in Cuba
Question: I am trying to prepare my spring break trip. It will be me and my best friend, and neither of us want to do the typical college spring break. We want to come back and have other students in awe of our crazy spring break adventure. The only problem is we don't want to spend more than $1,000, but we'd like the destination to be warm and we'd like to go diving.

Jon McKnight
Oxford, OH

Cuba reveals its mysteries to a new crowd of American tourists
Adventure Adviser: It sounds like exotic is top priority. If you really want to wow your frat mates, your science lab buddies, or the girls in the next dorm over, I'd recommend Cuba.

Having recently turned the corner as a hot tourist spot for Americans who don't necessarily listen to their government, Cuba is the place to be. Not only did the Pope just visit, but the diving is supposed to be out of this world.

Despite the rather benign threat of having to pay a $250,000 fine (no tourists I've ever heard of have been prosecuted) if the Treasury Department finds you've been spending money in Cuba, thousands of Americans visit there every year and get away Scot free. In fact, Cuba has set up its own tourism web page which can be found at

The best diving is probably off the remote beach Playa María la Gorda. Tucked into Cuba's westernmost bay, the former pirate's cove serves as a perfect place to explore the plundered ships with rusted cannonballs and large schools of parrot fish that sit atop a glowing-white coral reef.

There are 38 official dive sites in the area, but the most scenic is La Tetas de María, which, as the name suggests, would be appealing to two college seniors. The name comes from a voluptuous rock formation that protrudes from a nearby cliff. Here you'll find eels and orange sponges and a shelf that drops all the way to the ocean floor.

I could go on, but I think you get my drift. If you don't get it now, you certainly will when you visit Havana, the hottest night spot this side of Rio. To fly into Cuba, you have to first stop in a foreign country. Most travelers opt to go through Mexico City. I'd call a local travel agent for more details on flight prices.

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