UPDATE ON FISHING IN CUBA – WHAT’S HAPPENING AND WHAT IT MEANS FOR ANGLERS
Cuba Travel and Fishing
MORE GOOD NEWS ABOUT FISHING IN CUBA
It was announced this past weekend that the US and Cuba will re-establish diplomatic relations effective yesterday (Monday) and that their embassies will reopen for the first time in 54 years. More great news for US anglers who want to fish Cuba, as the path towards full and open access continues! While we obviously expect that travel will soon be open and legal for all US citizens, through a relationship that we have with the Bonefish Tarpon Trust, we can currently assist angler that want to book their Cubanfishing adventures now! As it currently stands, much of the 2016 fishing season in Cuba is already booked. If you still want to plan and schedule your trip, however, then Yellow Dog can help. We still have a handful of prime fishing weeks available for next season, which means that now is the time to secure your spots for the coming year. Contact Yellow Dog today to begin the planning and information process.
As many anglers know, U.S. President Barack Obama and Cuban President Raúl Castro announced in mid-December of 2014 the beginning of a process to reestablish diplomatic relations between the two countries. No one knows exactly how much or how fast relations with Cuba will continue to change over the months ahead and over the next few years, but experts predict that major change is indeed coming. In fact, we’ve already seen a great deal of change in the last six months alone! For those who haven’t visited – and fished – Cuba, now is the time to begin planning for these changes and a gradual opening of Cuba to U.S. visitors.
Shorty after this landmark announcement, in January 2015, 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 approval from the U.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control before embarking on a trip to Cuba. As long as Americans certify that they are traveling through one of 12 approved categories — which include educational, religious, scientific, journalistic and humanitarian trips — they can simply head to the island. Traveling to Cuba solely as a tourist (or an angler), however, remains prohibited. WE CAN NOW HELP THOSE WISHING TO TRAVEL TO CUBA SECURE THE NECESSARY PAPERWORK to make travel from the U.S. legal and fully open. We can assist in getting things set up with a legitimate “People-to-People” license through a relationship that we have with the Bonefish Tarpon Trust (BTT) in Florida. Travelers that secure their paperwork through BTT may buy tickets and make travel arrangements through any travel service or airline that provides service to Cuba, including Yellow Dog Flyfishing Adventures.
We are already seeing U.S. air carriers scheduling flights to Cuba directly from major U.S. cities (including New York and Miami). We expect more routes to open and new services to be announced in the months ahead as the Federal Aviation Administration and Department of Homeland Security update their rules to accommodate these new flights. The establishment of regular commercial air travel from the U.S. to Havana is already happening.
The categories currently authorized for travel to Cuba are:
- Family visits
- Official business of the U.S. government and certain intergovernmental organizations
- Journalistic activity
- Professional research and professional meetings
- Educational activities
- Religious activities
- Public performances
- Clinics, workshops, athletic and other competitions, and exhibitions
- Support for the Cuban people
- Humanitarian projects
- Activities of private foundations or research or educational institutes
- Exportation, importation, or transmission of information or information material
It is also worth noting that travelers will be able to use U.S. credit and debit cards in Cuba in the near future. (In fact, Mastercard is already being accepted, and Visa and American Express should be online very soon.) There will also no longer be 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.
Again, we now have the option where U.S. anglers can obtain legal and legitimate paperwork and licenses for travel to Cuba with a “People-to-People” license arranged through the Bonefish Tarpon Trust (BTT). This is in place and available now and makes travel legal and open for any U.S. citizen that is able to secure this paperwork.
If you are looking to travel to Cuba in 2016, many of the prime weeks and months have already sold out. The good news is that Yellow Dog still has a handful of prime openings. One thing to consider that will offer access to some of the best weeks of the season would be one of the hosted or group trips listed below. While Yellow Dog can send you down at any time and is always happy to arrange custom itineraries, hosted and group trips are a nice option if you are looking to join other anglers and travel with a host who really knows the program and the fishery!