Trip Overview 

For many, a fishing trip to Cuba is very high on the “angling bucket list” for life – especially now that things are opening up to US anglers. The fishing is amazing, and by and large the areas are untapped and still relatively new. No one knows exactly how much or how fast relations with Cuba will continue to change over the months ahead, but experts predict that transformations are indeed coming. For those who want to fish Cuba before that country is forever changed, now is the time to begin planning for opening of Cuba to more US visitors. For those interested in setting up a trip for the near future, we can help secure all of the necessary paperwork to make travel from the US possible and fully legal. Cuba is not an easy place to organize detailed travel and fishing, as the current infrastructure of the country is still what can best be described as a total mess. To do Cuba right, an agent needs to truly know Cuba from the ground up – on every level and in every location. Here at Yellow Dog, we made our very first trip to Cuba in the late 1990s, and since that time, our team members have collectively made dozens of trips to every major fishing area throughout the country. We’ve built a great on-line resource with current, up-to-date details and information for each and every offering inside of Cuba, and we encourage you to read through our on-line information, view our hundreds of original photos, and then talk one-on-one with someone from our team who really understands and intricacies of fishing and traveling in Cuba. The fishing areas that we offer in Cuba – Jardines de la Reina, Cayo Lago, Isla de la Juventud, Cayo Cruz / Cayo Romano, Cayo Santa Maria (Jardines del Rey), Zapata and Playa Larga – comprise the most comprehensive and diverse of fishing options available and represent some of the best fishing in the Caribbean. The fishing can be fantastic. That said, a trip to Cuba is also about visiting the country and seeing a destination that in many ways has not really changed much since the late 1950’s. The fishing can be exciting and productive, but a visit to Havana and the some of the more rural areas of the island to experience the sights, the sounds, the people, the great old cars, the music, and the warmth of Cuban culture is what makes these trips exceptional.

FLY FISHING IN CUBA – WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
On December 17, 2014, US President Barack Obama and Cuban President Raúl Castro announced the beginning of a process to reestablish diplomatic relations between the two countries. On August 14, 2015, the US re-opened an embassy in Havana and the American flag was raised in this island nation for the first time in 54 years. No one knows exactly to what extent or how fast relations with Cuba will continue to change over the months ahead, but experts predict that radical transformations are indeed coming. For now, President Barack Obama has eased some travel and business restrictions, but the fact remains that only Congress can fully lift the 53-year-old embargo, something that is unlikely to happen anytime soon.

For those who haven’t visited (and fished) Cuba, now is the time to book a trip. The key to a successful trip to Cuba is to book early! We are already booking over a year out for trips to fish the waters of Cuba.

We’ve been fishing Cuba since the late 1990s, and we currently book more anglers to Cuba than any other U.S. booking agency and fly fishing travel provider.

FISHING IN CUBA – WHO SHOULD GO?
Obviously, Cuba is a “hot destination” for anglers and travelers alike – especially for those from the US. There is huge demand for prime fishing weeks in Cuba, and a good portion of 2017 dates are already full and we are selling trips for 2018 as well! That said, Yellow Dog does have a number of great dates still available, and it is possible to fish Cuba sooner rather than later. In addition, what may be typically considered the ‘off-season’ for Caribbean fishing (October, November and December) offers some excellent opportunities at lower rates. If you don’t see a trip date that suits your ideal travel dates, please contact us. We can put together trips for you at any time of year.

While the fishing in Cuba can be great, it is worth mentioning that this is not Disney-esque fishing, where hungry, reckless fish jump on every single fly they see as if they have never before been fished (though we have seen the phenomena in some areas in Cuba). Yes the flats are pristine, and yes, the fishing can be great. That said, it is still saltwater fishing, where weather, water conditions, fish behavior and numerous other factors can all impact the fishing on a weekly and even daily basis. Of the dozens of trips that we’ve made to Cuba over the years, we’ve definitely experienced off-the-charts fishing for huge numbers and huge fish. We’ve also experienced difficult, non-productive fishing where the fish and the conditions refuse to cooperate. Anglers should not book a trip to Cuba with expectations for easy fishing and huge numbers. At the end of the day, it is still saltwater fishing for tough, spooky fish; where most situations require a certain degree of skill, accuracy and experience. You should book a trip to Cuba to see and experience Cuba first. The fishing – while a major part of the experience – is only a PART of the overall experience. The people, music, culture, sights and the chance to see Cuba as it is now versus the way it will be five years from now are a few of the reasons to book a trip to Cuba.

WHY BOOK YOUR CUBA TRIP WITH YELLOW DOG?
Everyone wants to sell Cuba. The fact is that few of these entities have any real experience traveling in Cuba, and while they may claim that they can make travel to Cuba easy, few can follow through on that promise. The reality of a trip to Cuba is that the logistics are complicated, reservations are difficult to confirm, transfers are not a simple phone call away and you want to be sure that you are working with agents who have experience in order to have a smooth trip to Cuba.

Our definition of success is when a Yellow Dog client returns from a trip to Cuba and states, “That was one of the smoothest trips that I have ever taken.” We travel to Cuba, we understand the complexities and challenges of coordinating travel in Cuba, and we have the means to make sure your trip details and logistics are taken care of in a country whose infrastructure and capacity for handling demand is a mess. To do Cuba right, an agent needs to truly know Cuba. We can promise you that one or two trips in the past year hardly qualify. Here at Yellow Dog, we made our very first trip to Cuba in the late 1990’s. Since that time, more than half of our team members have collectively made dozens of trips to every major fishing area throughout the country. With bi-lingual staff and on the ground experience and knowledge, you can feel confident that you are working with the right team to make your Cuba trip a success. 

We’ve built a great on-line resource with current, up-to-date details and information for each and every offering inside of Cuba. We encourage you to read through our information, view our hundreds of original photos, and then talk one-on-one with someone from our team who really knows the details and intricacies of fishing in Cuba. Do your homework, check the actual experience level of the booking entities that have all of a sudden become “Cuba experts” and be sure that you’re booking with the best. This is the key to success for researching, booking and arranging a trip to fish the "Pearl of the Antilles."

LEGAL TRAVEL TO CUBA – HOW IT WORKS
Shorty after the landmark announcements of December 2014, the U.S. Treasury and Commerce Departments unveiled new rules that further eased travel to and trade restrictions with Cuba, thereby greatly expanding the leeway applicable to U.S. travelers visiting the island. One of the most notable changes is that Americans will no longer be required to obtain pre-approval from the US Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) before embarking on a trip to Cuba. As long as Americans certify that they are traveling in one of 12 legal and approved categories — which include educational, religious, people-to-people, scientific, journalistic and humanitarian trips — they can simply head to the island without applying for permission in advance of their trip. Traveling to Cuba solely as a tourist (or an angler), however, remains prohibited unless you qualify for one of the 12 approved categories. When you book with Yellow Dog, we obtain a license for you, allowing you to book flights with charters or US air carriers and be in compliance with US laws associated with travel to Cuba. We are also able to obtain tourist cards / visas for your trip.

HOW TO GET THERE – AIR TRAVEL TO CUBA
We are already seeing US air carriers selling flights to Cuba directly from major U.S. cities (including Chicago's O'Hare International Airport, Baltimore, Dallas-Fort Worth, New Orleans, Pittsburgh, Tampa, Atlanta, New York, Los Angeles, Miami and San Juan, Puerto Rico). With direct flights between US cities and many cities across Cuba, the establishment of regular commercial air travel from the US to Havana is scheduled to begin before the end of 2016.

When you book with Yellow Dog, we obtain a license for you, allowing you to book flights with charters or US air carriers and be in compliance with US laws and the US Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC).

Depending on your departure city, Yellow Dog can make the best recommendation for how to travel and what routes may the best to investigate. Please contact Yellow Dog for more information on flights and travel, and please be aware that this is something that is changing quickly, with more changes expected in the near future. Yellow Dog’s expertise can provide you guidance with regards to the best way to get to Cuba.

It is also worth noting that travelers are now able to use select US credit and debit cards in Cuba, with more coming on-line in the near future. There is no longer a per diem rate for how much visitors can spend once they reach the island. Furthermore, U.S. travel and trip insurers are now authorized to provide coverage for travel insurance policies for individuals who travel to or within Cuba. Yellow Dog can provide you with insurance quotes through our full service in-house travel insurance expert.

PLEASE CONTACT YELLOW DOG FOR MORE INFORMATION, DETAILS AND AVAILABLE TRAVEL DATES.

CONTACT US FOR MORE INFO     888-777-5060     INTL 01-1-406-585-8667       info [at] yellowdogflyfishing [dot] com

CUBA F.A.Q.'s

CUBA:
Frequently Asked Questions

As new rules take effect and the restoration of diplomatic relations thaw, the situation and what it means for traveling anglers will continue to evolve and change. Below are some specific answers to common questions about the new rules:

Can anyone travel to Cuba now?
No. General tourism is still technically banned. Shortly after the landmark announcements of December 2014, however, the US Treasury and Commerce Departments unveiled new rules that further ease travel to and trade restrictions with Cuba, thereby greatly expanding the leeway applicable to US travelers visiting the island. One of the most notable changes is that Americans will no longer be required to obtain pre-approval from the US Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) before embarking on a trip to Cuba. As long as Americans certify that they are traveling in one of 12 legal and approved categories — which include educational, religious, people-to-people, scientific, journalistic and humanitarian trips — they can simply head to the island without applying for permission in advance of their trip. Traveling to Cuba solely as a tourist (or an angler), remains prohibited UNLESS you qualify for one of the 12 approved categories. We can assist in obtaining a legitimate People-to-People License allowing for legal travel to Cuba as an American.  Obtaining this license allows you to buy airline tickets and make travel arrangements through any travel service or airline that provides services to Cuba, including Yellow Dog Flyfishing Adventures.

How can I buy an airline ticket?
The new regulations allow agents and airlines to sell tickets to travelers to Cuba as long as they can demonstrate that they have a specific license from the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC). Yellow Dog can help you obtain a license once you have booked your trip to Cuba with Yellow Dog.

We are already seeing US air carriers selling flights to Cuba directly from major US cities (including Chicago's O'Hare International Airport, Baltimore, Dallas-Fort Worth, New Orleans, Pittsburgh, Tampa, Atlanta, New York, Los Angeles, Miami and San Juan, Puerto Rico). We expect more routes to open and new services to be announced in the months ahead as direct flights begin their services direct to Havana.

For now, most of the direct US-to-Havana flights are being operated by third-party charter companies. US air carriers like American, Delta, Jet Blue, Sun Country and several others already operate chartered flights to the island. Currently, direct flights are available between many US cities and destinations outside of Havana and across Cuba (Santa Clara, Cienfuegos, Holguin, Camaguey, Cayo Coco and Varadero) which will make getting to and from Cuba much easier. Direct flights between many US cities and Havana will start operating in the fall of 2016 which will make getting to Cuba much easier.

For now, anglers wishing to book their own travel to Cuba can book one of the direct US-to-Havana charter flights. If you would like Yellow Dog to book your flights, we can assist with the process and provide guidance for you based on your departure city. Please contact Yellow Dog for more information on flights and travel, and please be aware that this is something that is changing and being updated on a frequent basis! Things are changing fast.

How many cigars and bottles of rum can I bring back if I travel to Cuba? 
As of October of 2016, the US has removed limits on the value of Cuban rum and cigars that American travelers can bring back from Cuba.

How can I fly from the U.S. to Cuba?
Most of the direct US-to-Havana flights are being operated by third-party charter companies. US air carriers like American, Delta, Jet Blue, Sun Country and several others already operate chartered flights to the island. Currently, direct flights are available between many US cities and destinations outside of Havana and across Cuba (Santa Clara, Cienfuegos, Holguin, Camaguey, Cayo Coco and Varadero) which will make getting to and from Cuba much easier. Direct flights between many US cities and Havana will start operating in the fall of 2016 which will make getting to Cuba much easier.

Can I use my American Express, Visa or MasterCard when I go to Cuba?
Yes, eventually. It will take time for banks to establish the infrastructure needed to handle credit and debit cards in Cuba. Travelers should first check with their credit card companies to find out when such services might begin. It is worth noting that travelers are now able to use some US credit and debit cards in Cuba, with more coming on-line in the near future. There is no longer a per diem rate for how much visitors can spend once they reach the island. All this being said, there are few places that will actually ACCEPT your credit cards, so Yellow Dog still recommends that you carry cash for eventualities.

Can I purchase trip insurance and Global Rescue policies for my trip to Cuba?
Yes! US. travel and trip insurers are now authorized to provide coverage for travel insurance policies for individuals who travel to or within Cuba. In fact, Yellow Dog recommends that you make this investment into protection for your trip and is happy to get the process started for you.

Is it safe to walk around Havana?
Cuba is known as one of the safest destinations in the Caribbean, but as should be the case everywhere, common sense should be taken into account for your own safety. It is recommended that you leave flashy jewelry at home, refrain from showing large quantities of cash in public, and not accept rides or buy things from unknown people in the streets. In general, be prudent and be smart.

What is the currency situation in Cuba?
There are two types of currency in Cuba: 1.) The Cuban peso that can only be used by Cubans in places that require it, and, 2.) the Cuban convertible peso (CUC) that is used in all restaurants, stores, museums, hotels, etc. The CUC is basically the tourist currency and the official currency of Cuba. US dollars are widely accepted in Cuba, but CUC’s are preferred.

How do I purchase a Cuban entrance visa?
Visas / tourist cards are available for purchase in advance of your trip to Cuba and is largely dependent on how you plan to get to Cuba. The visa ranges in price from $25 to $100 and Yellow Dog can guide you through the process of the best means of obtaining your visa based on your travel plans.

What is the departure tax when leave Cuba?
The departure tax is now part of the airline ticket price. You do not need to pay any departure tax upon leaving Cuba.