Cuba – Liveaboard – Avalon IV, Gardens of the Queen

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Avalon IV

Liveaboard, Gardens of the Queen, Cuba

Avalon IV liveaboard, Gardens of the Queen

The archipelago known as Gardens of the Queen comprises a chain of 250 virgin coral and mangrove islands extending along 75 miles of turquoise waters. Jardines de la Reina was declared a Marine Park in 1996. The largest populations of adult fish in the Caribbean, such as sharks, snappers, groupers, and jewfish of up to 400 pounds, are an everyday experience. Sharks are one of the main attractions you can see everywhere. Modern skiffs are used to organize excursions to lagoons and boat rides through mangrove channels.

The Jardines Avalon IV replaced the former Tortuga that had developed a strong following for many anglers, divers, and eco adventurers who called this special place home for weeks on end, enjoying the classic comforts of this Cuban vessel. Now, with an increased demand for updates and higher levels of comfort and service, Avalon invested in a massive improvement in building the Jardines Avalon IV from the hull up.  This remarkable 180-foot vessel stays moored in Jardines de la Reina and features 20 staterooms, a spacious lounge area, and a fabulous sun deck complete with two hot tubs. Providing the perfect viewpoint to enjoy every aspect of the Gardens of the Queen. Each room includes a private bathroom, personalized air conditioning and heating controls, ample storage space, and convertible double beds. The cabins and common areas have electric sockets available for you to plug in your personal items (220 volts and 110 volts).

The sun deck includes four suites with direct access outside onto the sundeck balcony. The upper deck includes eight double rooms with private bathrooms as well as a lovely dining area and rear covered patio. The main deck includes another eight double rooms, a comfortable lounge area with large couches, and entertainment space. The main entrance to the yacht features a massive rear deck and platform to keep all of your gear organized with easy access. The crew resides on the lower deck along with the engine room.

The Jardines Avalon IV (JA4) is the perfect home base for your week of diving, flyfishing, and eco-adventures while you experience and participate in our ongoing conservation program. Helping to keep Jardines de la Reina protected and pristine as it was hundreds of years ago.

Meals are usually served on the afterdeck where there’s a nice breeze. 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 liters per day included in the package), sparkling and tonic water, various soft drinks, juices, beers, rums, whisky, and excellent wines.

Legal travel to Cuba

For U.S. Citizens and permanent residents, leisure travel and tourism activities still remain illegal. Visiting Cuba for those under U.S. jurisdiction is restricted to one of 12 categories enforced by the Department of Treasury. We work with a combination of foundations and marine researchers to provide full-time programs that comply with the State department’s general educational travel license for your Gardens itinerary and for any additional add-ons. Part of meeting these stipulations means that each traveler must have a full-time schedule of educational exchange activities that will result in meaningful interaction between the travelers and individuals in Cuba. We have travel specialists on staff that have personal experiences diving JDR, and visiting Havana and beyond under these requirements. Please contact us for information and to tailor your Cuba educational and/or sustainable visit. For citizens of all other countries not subject to U.S. jurisdiction, there are no specific restrictions as far as travel to Cuba, and leisure travel is permitted.

The Marine Park

Jardines de la Reina Marine Park is one of the biggest treasures of the Caribbean, on a bigger scale can also be considered one of the world’s best-preserved marine areas. The importance of its protection goes beyond the Cuban waters’ jurisdiction, as the connectivity between marine ecosystems has international importance. The Cuban Government together with AVALON and AZULMAR (Branch of Marlin Marinas de Cuba) has been working to accomplish the protection tasks of the Park. Government institutions such as ONIP, CITMA, CNAP, CNPFF, and the Center for Studies of Coastal Ecosystems of Ciego de Avila all have been key partners and have been directly involved in leading investigations and all the projects and surveys in the area.

Within Jardines de la Reina marine park there are some areas classified as ZUSRUP (Zones Under Special Regime of Use and Protection) this is a management classification of protected areas, with the aim of using them in a sustainable way, in places where tourism and conservation activities can be interacting under special rules and strict regulations and delimitations. The only allowances in the marine park are for Bonito fishing in the south of Jardines (blue water fishing, Open Ocean) and Lobster fishing with artisanal means.

All Caribbean marine regions are interconnected exchanging energy and matter, the migrations of fish, turtles, larvae, birds, etc. involve many areas from the east coast of the US to the Gulf of Mexico and from Bermuda to the Lesser Antilles, the North Coast of Sur America and more, all ecosystems are interdependent, the management success in preserving some areas or the mistakes and lack of protection in others affects the region as a whole, the protection of Jardines Marine park has global importance and AVALON has been committed to supporting this protection for almost 23 years of continuous work and efforts.


Photos courtesy of Avalon

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