Sailing and cruising in Cuba

Sailing boat docked in Havana skypilot2005/Flickr

Sailing boat docked in Havana ©skypilot2005/Flickr

If sailing or cruising is your thing, I suggest you to head through the fantastic Caribbean country, Cuba. Cuba is one of the best destinations for the lovers of these watersports. The country is characterized by gorgeous weather and great waters for sailing and cruising. Although, you have to pay attention along the shores because some parts are steep and rocky.

Sailors and cruisers arrive to Cuba from all around the world, some arriving on cruise ships, some on their own boats and others on chartered vessels. Whatever you choose, you will surely have part of an unforgettable experience. If you would like to find out more about sailing and cruising in Cuba, read the following article.


You surely know that Cuba is situated at the mouth of the Gulf of Mexico. It is important to mention that the country is in the path of the well-known stream named the Gulf Stream. It is good news for sailors that the current isn’t strong at all. The maximum strength is 3 knots. Another useful information is that there are about 200 bays along the Cuban coastline which can accommodate sailing boats or cruisers. As I already mentioned it, some parts of the coastline are may be steep and rocky. In addition, there are gorgeous coral reefs on both the Caribbean and Atlantic coasts. The through-water visibility and the surface water temperature are also important for sailors, being 30-40 meters, respective 24-29ºC. The number of days of sunshine a year in Cuba is 330. The wind speed usually varies between 8 and 12 knots. It is not recommended to sail or cruise along the coasts during the hurricane season (between June and November).

Cruise ship to Cuba roger4336/Flickr

Cruise ship to Cuba ©roger4336/Flickr

Ports of entry

There are dozens of ports of entry for sailing bats and cruise ships all around Cuba.  Cruise ships can be docked in the bays of Havana, Santiago de Cuba and Cienfuegos. The ports of entry are important not only for docking the ships and boats, but provide the sailors to clear their boats, fill it up with provisions, water, to repair them if necessary and to get fuel. There are ports of entry at the following destinations: Havana, Santiago de Cuba, Varadero, Cienfuegos, Holguin, Pinar del Rio, Ciego de Avila and Los Canarres.

Sailing boat docked in Havana skypilot2005/Flickr

Sailing boat docked in Havana ©skypilot2005/Flickr


Before reaching jurisdictional waters, the first thing to do is to contact port authorities. The jurisdictional water line is 19,3 km from the base line. They will ask you for some information, including the name of your boat, the port of registry, the estimated time of your arrival, the flag, the type and color of craft, the number of persons on your boat and other information. You have to follow their instructions and stay on board until all the formalities are made.

Sailors in Cuba Robbie1/Flickr

Sailors in Cuba ©Robbie1/Flickr

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