Cuba - Why not diving with crocodiles?

A long time I was wondering if it there will ever be the possibility to dive with a wild saltwater crocodile in open water, no cage, but in a relatively safe environment with clear water and good visibility. Finally, in Cuba I found this opportunity.

November 21 -  How is it to dive with a crocodile. Let's find out...

I went two times for diving with the crocodiles in Cuba. This was during a week of diving on a liveaboard trip on the Tortuga in the Jardines de la Reina. The first time it was between the two morning dives and the second time I went the next day, to have different visibility and no other divers around.

The post about the whole week of diving in Cuba is located here:
Diving in Cuba on the liveaboard "Tortuga"

The post about visiting Cuba mainland is here:
Traveling in Cuba is travel back in time


So today was the day we were brought to the mangroves, where the crocodile can be found. It was between the first and second dive.

The light was good and the water clear, however, when a few people jump into the shallow water the visibility soon got very poor, due to the sand that stirred up from the ground. One crocodile was about 50 meters away and it soon came closer and closer.

I noticed how the human instinct kicked in, which said in my brain “what are you doing.. this is a wild crocodile..and crocodiles are dangerous.. get out!”. But soon I also realized that this crocodile is somehow used to visitors and so far no one ever got harmed, at least this is what the operator said :). The see a wild saltwater crocodile from under the surface, eye to eye, in clear water, this is an amazing experience.

We stayed in the spot for about one hour before we packed our things and headed towards the second dive spot. Although even it was spectacular, I knew that I need a second time with the crocodile. Asked the divemaster to go there again tomorrow or in two days and they agreed.

Over under photo crocodile

Over under photo crocodile

Crocodile attacks chicken

Crocodile jaws

Crocodile jaws closeup

Crocodile throat closeup

Crocodile teeth closeup

Crocodile almost attacks

Crocodile observes target


November 22 - Why it was awesome to visit the crocodile the next day again.. alone

I asked the operator to bring me out again there another day, but that time only me and not the whole group, so that the visibility will be better and no disturbing divers in the background. For some small extra cash, of course, it was possible – even though I had to skip one dive.

When the others went for the afternoon dive, I departed with the boat driver towards the mangroves with the crocodile again. It's about a 20 minutes motorboat ride from the Tortuga.

The weather was rainy all day, but thankfully in the afternoon, it opened up a little so that the water can calm down and the visibility will be not that worse.

Arriving in the mangroves it was totally silent. No noise, no sound, no birds, nothing.. complete silence. There was no wind, the surface of the water was so calm it looked like it was made of plastic. And to my surprise the visibility was very fine, which was also important or else it would be difficult to spot where the crocodile is sneaking around in the high seagrass under the surface.

The boat driver told me that there are three crocodiles living in this area and I should watch, not to just focus always on one. 

That he said he will also check and look out from standing above the boat was a bit relieving, so that I didn't have to do this from underwater all on my own :D

To lure the crocodile closer, the boat driver threw a chicken on a cord into the water and made some noise. Not many minutes later the croc was visible 30 meters from my location and coming out from the bushes, slowly swimming towards my direction. Now it was exciting and I was ready with the camera :)

Jardines de la Reina. The water looks so calm.

Crocodile mangroves in Jardines de la Reina

Over under photo mangroves

Barracuda in crocodile water

Over under photo crocodile mangroves

Over under photo crocodile, in Jardines de la Reina

Crocodile observes target

Jardines de la Reina Crocodile

Crocodile open jaw observes target in Jardines de la Reina

Crocodile gets ready for attack

Crocodile sneaks on grass

Crocodile attacks chicken

Crocodile eats chicken

Watching crocodile underwater

No cage crocodile diving

Close up crocodile encounter in Jardines de la Reina

Adult crocodile in Jardines de la Reina

Crocodile balancing in water

Crocodile ready for attack

Crocodile swimming towards diver

Snorkeling with a crocodile

Diving beside a saltwater croc

Footage of underwater croc feeding

That was the moment when the crocodile got the first chicken. The weather became darker and more not much longer and the sun behind the clouds will slowly go down. So there was not much more time anymore to get the crocodile back on track. Thankfully there was another piece of chicken on the boat for a second attempt. After it got the first chicken, the croc went back into the bushes and it took about 15 minutes until the crocodile appeared again.

Half half photo crocodile seagrass

Crocodile waits in seagrass

Adult saltwater crocodile swims in crystal clear water in Cuba

crocodile closeup from side

Crocodile in seagrass

Crocodile walks under surface

sneaking crocodile underwater

Crocodile open jaw underwater

Crocodile swimms fast

crocodile eats chicken footage underwater

Crocodile looks like a dog

Stupid crocodile follows chicken

Crocodile attacks chicken

Crocodile attack

Crocodile misses target footage

Crocodile hunts chicken

Cocodrillo attacks chicken

Closeup crocodile footage

Crocodile accident in jardines de la Reina

Caribbean crocodile in seagras


Crocodile in crystal clear water

crocodile surprises diver

Crocodile attacks diver in Jardines de la Reina

Crocodile footage munching

Crocodile attacks and escapes with chicken

Crocodile in mangroves Jardines de la Reina


  1. I'll skip the judgments like "What are you, nuts?" You decided to do this and you did, taking some amazing pictures during your adventures. I can't believe how clear the pictures of the crocodile are. It looks like the big guy is ready to swim out of my screen. Couple questions: 1) How warm was the water; and 2) did you feel in any kind of danger at any time (especially when you went solo)?

  2. What an adventure!!!!
    Your life is awesome man. Keep on living!