Cuba Expedition 2 – 4th August – 17th August – 2 weeks (2 weeks marine)


This price represents a 20% deposit of the $1,900 expedition fee. Please see the dates and prices page on for a list of what is and isn’t included, and the terms and conditions page for payment and cancellation schedules.

Dive Option *


Product Description

All expeditions run in the remote southern part of the Isla de la Juventud in Cuba, and begin with a week spent completing a PADI Open Water dive training course (for those not already qualified – CU001) and a Caribbean coral reef ecology course (CU002/3). The reef ecology course focuses on species identification, survey techniques, and coral reef ecology to give you the training needed to join the research projects (CU004). Students on a 2 week expedition will spend their second week working on the stereo-video surveys of reef fish, macro-invertebrate belt transects and benthic line intercept video surveys for coral community assessments, as well as helping with the manatee surveys (CU004). Students on a 4 week expedition will have the opportunity to join each research team for several days and develop expertise in the various survey techniques being used, as well as visiting some of the more isolated reef sites.

Additional Information




2 Weeks

Marine Weeks

2 Marine Weeks

Expedition Type

Research Assistant

Terrestrial Weeks

No Terrestrial

Terms and Conditions


The following conditions form the basis of your contract:


A deposit of 10% per person must be paid when booking and accepting these terms and conditions. In order to help spread the payments we require a further 10% payment 150 days prior to your expedition start date, and 20% payment due by March 31st in the same year as your expedition. If you are booking within 8 weeks of your intended departure date then we require full payment. Should we be unable to process your booking for any reason then your deposit will be returned to you.We must have the full balance payment at least 8 weeks (56 days) prior to departure.

There is an early-payment discount available if you pay either 50% or more of the total sum owed, or 100% of the total sum owed, prior to the 150 day payment date. The discounts available are as follows:-

  • For 2 week expeditions, $25 discount for greater than 50% payment or $50 discount for 100% payment
  • For 4 week expeditions, $40 discount for greater than 50% payment or $80 discount for 100% payment
  • For 6 week expeditions, $60 discount for greater than 50% payment or $120 discount for 100% payment
  • For 8 week expeditions, $75 discount for greater than 50% payment or $150 discount for 100% payment

All correspondence will be sent to you at either of the addresses you enter at time of booking. In the event of the alteration or cancellation of a confirmed booking by you, conditions in section 3 will apply. Please note that the person completing the booking form undertakes full payment of all the expedition components booked, therefore should have the full consent of the person named on the form. Payment of your deposit confirms you comply with these booking conditions.


While we reserve the right to amend prices upwards or downwards at any time, it is our policy to offer expeditions at a clear and firm price. However, the factors which may force us to surcharge you are government action, changes to the cost of currency or fuel – unless full payment is made six months or more prior to your departure date.


Should you have to cancel your booking we ask that you advise the us promptly in writing or by email. The cancellation will take effect from the day the written confirmation is received. Cancellation will incur a $95 handling charge. Additional cancellation charges, which become effective more than 30 days after the date of booking*, are as follows:

Period Cancellation charge
More than 185 days before departure No further cancellation charges
185 days before expedition start date to 150 days before expedition start date Loss of 10% of total expedition costs
149 days before expedition start date to 70 days before expedition start date 20% of your total expedition costs
69 days before expedition start date to 42 days before expedition start date 40% of your total expedition costs
Less than 42 days before the expedition start date 100% of your total expedition costs

* this applies only to bookings taken before 1 March in the year of the expedition. Bookings taken after the 1 March in the year of expedition are subject to the cancellation charges as shown in the above table.

Note if you are doing a dissertation/thesis topic then you are able to cancel up to 15 April in the year of your expedition with no loss of deposit, if documentary evidence can be produced that your university will not permit you to undertake the dissertation or thesis topic chosen.


In the unlikely event of Operation Wallacea deeming travel to your particular destination unsafe for any reason, more than 3 months before departure, we will provide a suitable alternative. As a result we are unable to refund any monies, beyond the conditions outlined above. We undertake not to cancel any expedition closer than 3 months to the expedition start date unless in exceptional circumstances such as war, riots, civil strife, industrial action so severe that alternative transport and accommodation cannot be provided, terrorist activity, natural and nuclear disaster, fire, adverse weather conditions, technical problems with transport and similar unforeseeable circumstances where compensation payments cannot be made.


We undertake not to make any significant changes to your booking. However since this is a field research project, from time to time certain aspects will change between the planning stages and the project delivery. These can include (but are not limited to) details of the accommodation, survey methods and transportation between sites. We will inform you of any significant changes and will provide a suitable alternative to the original project. Such changes will not constitute being offered a refund when a suitable alternative is made available.


If you want to transfer your booking to the following year or to another named person who does not currently hold a booking with Operation Wallacea then you need to obtain prior approval from the Opwall office. In the event that you make your decision to transfer after 1 January in the year of the expedition, then you need to pay an additional 10% to secure the transfer. If the decision is made before the 1 January in the year of the expedition then no further payments beyond the 10% deposit are required. No transfers are allowed after 1 April in the year of the original booked expedition. Only one transfer to a future year or of the named person per application is allowed and once that transfer is made then all monies paid would be forfeited in the event that the completer of the form wanted to cancel.


If you decide to move on to another project or expedition, you can do this free of charge, capacity allowing, until 1 April of the year of your expedition. You will be asked to fill in a new booking form to confirm the change of project. If the project or expedition you want to move to is longer you will be invoiced for the difference in price. If it is shorter, your payment schedule will be adjusted to take the new total amount payable into account. If, following you confirming that you wish to change your booking, you should decide to cancel, cancellation charges will apply in line with your original booking rather than the new booking.


Please note that when you have read the booking conditions above and completed the booking form, and when a confirmation invoice has been issued by or on behalf of us or the relevant supplier, you enter into a binding contract which will be governed and interpreted in accordance with the law of England and Wales. As a member of the Association of the Bonded Travel Organisers Trust Limited (ABTOT), an Association approved by the BIS, Operation Wallacea Ltd has provided a Bond to meet the requirements of the Package Travel, Package Holidays and Package Tours Regulations 1992. In the event of the Company’s insolvency this Bond provides security for all non-flight inclusive packages provided by Operation Wallacea Ltd. In the above circumstances, the following will apply:

  • A refund of your package pre-payments if you have not yet travelled; or
  • Transport costs back to the start point of the expedition and a refund of the unused portion of the package price if you have already travelled


Operation Wallacea has insurance in place to provide medical and repatriation cover up to £1million for all participants on the expedition. This insurance does not cover other insurable costs such as cancellation and curtailment of your expedition due to your ill-health, flight and travel delays, loss of personal baggage or theft of possessions etc. It is a condition of your booking with Operation Wallacea that you take out travel insurance to cover these items.


  • Costs of flights and transport to and from the start and finish points of each expedition
  • Accommodation and food costs before or after the expedition start and end dates
  • Additional insurance cover beyond the £1 million expedition medical and evacuation insurance cover provided by Opwall
  • Costs of additional elective training (e.g. canopy access course, dive training beyond PADI Open Water)
  • Dive equipment rental
  • PIC cards and PADI training Manuals (or BSAC equivalents)
  • Local taxes
  • Park or Reserve entrance fees
  • Visa costs
  • Vaccination or prophylactic medicine costs

Constituent Parts

CU001 and CU002/3 PADI Open Water dive training and Caribbean coral reef ecology course

PADI Open Water dive training is free to Operation Wallacea volunteers except for the costs of the PADI registration card and the Open Water Crew Pack, which you need to buy and bring with you. Completion of this course will give you an internationally recognised diving qualification and enable you to join general diving projects accompanied by a Divemaster. During this week you will also be completing a Caribbean coral reef ecology course focusing on reef species and survey techniques designed to get you ready to join the research projects; the Caribbean coral reef ecology course can either by completed using SCUBA (CU002) or snorkelling (CU003). The lectures also give a detailed background to coral reef science and the threats they currently face, but a large proportion of the course concentrates on learning to identify the reef fish, macro-invertebrates and corals species commonly encountered on the surveys. Each part of the course (fish, corals and macro-invertebrates) finishes with a test with a pass mark required for progression into the research programme.


CU004 Reef fish, benthic communities and marine megafauna

Students joining this option will rotate between the following projectsled by experts from the University of Havana.

  • Reef fish: Using stereo-video, you will be involved in the identification and measurement of fish species from analysis of the video data collected, to calculate biomass and species community composition. In addition you will be helping with video line intercept surveys on the reefs and analysing these videos to identify the benthic organisms intercepting the line so the total coral and macroalgal cover at each site can be calculated.
  • Coastal fish: Coastal fish communities and recruitment is studied from seine net surveys of the beach areas and light traps are also used to assess larval populations in coastal waters. You will also be helping with baited remote camera drops to assess densities of sharks and other large carnivores.
  • Sharks: The shark project forms part of the Global FinPrint project. When conditions allow, baited long lines will also be set from the research ship to tag and release sharks.
  • Lionfish: This project involves the dissection of speared lionfish to examine size class structure, stomach contents, and other morphological and physiological characteristics.
  • Manatee surveys and capture:The manatee surveys are conducted in the mangrove channels and lagoons using side scan sonar surveys and observational transects. The position of all sighted manatees are logged and environmental data collected. In addition, the movement of manatees is being studied using marked animals. Occasionally we are able to assist with captures and students will be helping using nets. Any manatees captured will be measured, the sex determined, and DNA and blood samples taken.