Trip Overview 

A fishery that has become known as the permit capital of Cuba! Situated in the south-central region of the Cuban Archipelago, Cayo Largo ("Long Key") is one of the finest permit fishing destinations that we have found anywhere in the Caribbean. The island itself offers 17 miles of picture-perfect, white sandy beaches. Upon arrival, you will be surprised to find a natural flats environment that has remained totally unchanged and largely untouched for hundreds of years. The incredible Cayo Largo fishery came under the management of Avalon Fishing Center in 2008 and has since developed into a fantastic permit and bonefish destination (with some tarpon in the area as well). The fishing season runs from November through August. The beginning of the season from November to January is very good, with plenty of bonefish (especially big ones) on the flats and permit found in strong numbers. Fishing for tarpon and other species can also be good. Peak fishing season is from February to June, when all species are present in the area. The typical package to Cayo Largo is seven (7) nights / six (6) fishing days. Additional days in Havana or on other parts of the island can be arranged and itineraries can be customized.

Email info [at] yellowdogflyfishing [dot] com or call 888-777-5060 for more details.

Destination Quick Facts 

LOCATION:  Cayo Largo, Cuba

SEASON:  November through early July

CAPACITY:  10 anglers per week

CLOSEST MAJOR AIR HUB:  Havana, Cuba (HAV)

TARGET SPECIES:  Bonefish, permit, tarpon, with some possibilities for snook, jacks, snapper, barracuda and more

DOCUMENTS REQUIRED:  Valid passport and a Cuban visa are required for citizens of most countries. 

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

ACCOMMODATIONS

Lodging Details
Most packages on Cayo Largo include a stay at the Hotel Sol Cayo Largo, a large-scale, full-service, all-inclusive beach resort located on the southern shore of Cayo Largo del Sur. Located only five minutes from the island's Vino Acuña International Airport (CYO), the resort offers a total of 296 rooms, all built with a view of the ocean and situated on a bluff that overlooks the pristine beaches of the island. The resort offers an all-inclusive experience, with several different restaurants, bars, social areas, lounge areas and swimming pools. Rooms are air conditioned and spacious, and all offer direct access to the beaches and the pools of the resort. Daily housekeeping is included, and a concierge staff can assist with any special requests. All meals, drinks and even your bar tab are included in these packages. This is basically the Cuban/European version of an all-inclusive mega-resort, and the overall scene can at times be a bit humorous. That said, the fishing program itself is one of the finest, most well-run programs we have found anywhere. Each morning a shuttle van will pick up anglers from in front of the main lobby entrance and shuttle the group to the island’s marina area, located only ten minutes from the hotel. This is where the Avalon Fishing Center and club house is located. All fishing gear, rods, and other equipment can be left at the fishing center for the week, making the daily transfers quick and easy.

Food and Beverages 
All dining (breakfast and dinner) typically takes place at the Hotel Sol Cayo Caribe in one of the resort's all-inclusive restaurants. The main restaurant always features a full service, expansive buffet. All meals are totally included in your package, and the dinner buffet always includes a full line-up of fruits, vegetables, seafood, meats, breads, desserts and more. The breakfast buffet each morning is equally as expansive, with omelets and eggs cooked-to-order, fruit, breads, meat and much more. Lunch each day is typically packed for your day on the water and includes sandwiches, chips, etc. Back at the resort, the bar tab and all drinks are included in your package!

Typical Length of Stay
The typical package is seven (7) nights / six (6) fishing days. A normal week includes six full days of fishing. Additional days in Havana or on other parts of the island can easily be arranged and itineraries can be customized. Combo trips between Cayo Largo and other fishing areas can also be arranged. Please contact Yellow Dog for more details. 

Non-Angling Activities and Options
Cayo Largo is a resort island that has long been popular with European and Canadian vacationers and sun-seekers looking for exclusivity in the midst of a pristine island environment. Snorkeling, scuba diving, beachcombing, and just relaxing on the white sand beach or next to the resort swimming pool are all available to non-anglers. Cayo Largo is very secluded and there are no nearby towns or private residences, making it a great place to get away from it all. Other than a handful of large resorts, there is nothing else on the island.

Internet/Communications
Internet service is available at the resort's "business center," which means that you can check emails while on Cayo Largo. Be aware, however, that the internet service is very slow and at times frustrating. Check with your cell service provider to see if your U.S. cell phone will work in Cuba.  "World Phones" can be used and are a very affordable option. Also, satellite phones are strictly prohibited in Cuba and will be confiscated at the airport on arrival.

FISHING

General Fishing Information
Cayo Largo ("Long Island") sits in the south central region of the Cuban Archipelago and it’s one of the last virtually untouched saltwater ecosystems left on the planet. With 17 miles of fine white sand beaches, the surrounding ocean produces a spectacular kaleidoscope of colors, from incredible shades of ocean blue to the stunning pastels of turquoise and green. Cayo Largo owes its name to its elongated shape. Around 1494, Christopher Columbus touched upon the island during his second voyage to Cuba. The island was also a favorite stop for the groups of pirates that roamed the Caribbean Sea. The bounty of nature found at Cayo Largo is a well-kept secret. It has pristine coral reefs and is complemented by neighboring keys inhabited by numerous species of flora and fauna, among them iguanas, pelicans and turtles. When you arrive to Cayo Largo, you will be surprised to find a natural environment that has scarcely changed over the last 1,000 years. 

The incredible Cayo Largo flats fishery came under the management of Avalon Fishing Center in 2008. Avalon is one of the few companies in the world that can offer its guests the unique ability to fish in a completely exclusive marine park, free of commercial fishermen, nets or any skiffs or yachts from other tour companies. Think about the incredible possibilities of having all those nautical kilometers to yourself and being able to choose the species and the places you want to fish, without any fuel limitation during your fishing week!

The climate in Cuba is warmer than in the Bahamas, with an average temperature of 75° F in January. These fair weather conditions during the mid-winter months are very good for fly fishing the Cayo Largo flats. August, with an average temperature of 83° F, is the hottest month in Cuba. There is invariably a pleasant sea breeze but, occasionally, stronger winds can be experienced.

The fishing season runs from November until August, thus avoiding the hurricane period during September and October.  The beginning of the season from November to January is very good, with plenty of bonefish (especially big ones) on the flats and mangrove areas. Fishing for tarpon and other species can also be excellent. This is a great time to plan a trip to Cayo Largo, as the weather is much warmer in Cuba than in Europe or Northern America.

Peak fishing season is from February to June, when all species are present in the area. Tarpon, bones, permit and jack will all be encountered during these months. During the spring and summer months, the migratory tarpon (which can be as large as 80 to 100 pounds) move through the area and are regularly spotted. Resident tarpon (averaging 25 to 40 pounds) are found throughout the year. Likewise, shots at permit are frequent. Peak season is the best time to try for a Gland Slam. Numerous Grand Slams are achieved each season as well as a few Super Grand Slams (tarpon, bonefish, permit and snook). In the late season, the weather gets hot but the fishing is still very productive, especially for tarpon and permit. FIshing for bonefish is also very good in the morning and in the evening. Avalon's statistics indicate a very surprising summer phenomenon: that the same number of fish are caught during the hot months, but by half the number of rods. This illustrates in detail how fabulously productive the summer months in Cayo Largo are for anglers. 

Cayo Largo guides are local, professional and highly experienced. (In fact, Avalon employed the expertise and years of experience of the Cayo Largo team to train guides for their newer operation on Cayo Cruz.) 

Boats and Equipment 
The fishing boats used by Avalon are Dolphin Super Skiffs outfitted with Yamaha 60 or 70HP motors, comfortable seats and poling platforms for the guides. Radios and life jackets are carried aboard every skiff. It is recommended that anglers bring their own fishing equipment. Flies, leaders, tippet, all terminal tackle, and all accessories should be packed, as very few items are available anywhere in Cuba.

TRAVEL DETAILS

How To Get There
One of the great benefits to this destination is that Cayo Largo also offers a modern international airport (Vino Acuña International Airport/CYO) where Canadian, European, and South American aircraft can now fly to directly from several interantional cities. There are three weekly flights directly from Canada and Italy, and it is possible to skip Havana alltogether if desired.

If your Avalon package begins in Havana's Jose Marti International Airport (HAV), you can fly in and arrive from just about any place in the world. There are numerous daily flights in and out of Havana from Mexico, Canada, the Bahamas, Jamaica, Italy, and the U.S. Upon arrival into Havana, you will clear immigration and customs before heading to the main reception area of the airport, where you will be met by a representative from Avalon who will be waiting for you. From the airport, you will be transferred via taxi to a hotel in downtown Havana, where you will overnight before departing for Cayo Largo the next morning. 

Arrival and Departure Details / Times 
Anglers typically fly into Havana's Jose Marti International Airport (HAV) on a Friday, where they overnight in the city. The next morning, you will meet in the hotel lobby to board a shuttle for the domestic terminal in Havana, where you will catch a short 30-minute flight to Cayo Largo. You will arrive mid-morning on Cayo Largo, where you will be greeted by representatives from Avalon and transfered to the Hotel Sol Cayo Largo. On your departure day, your wake-up call call will be followed by breakfast and - depending on plane schedules - possibly lunch. You will then be transfered to the Cayo Largo airport for the flight back to Havana and an overnight once again in a 5-star hotel (included in package). Many visitors choose to add an extra day or two in the city to explore Havana and the surrounding areas.

Documents Required
A valid passport is required for all visitors to Cuba and must be valid for at least six (6) months beyond the duration of your stay. Citizens of the United States are also required to have visas with proof of authorization to travel under one of the 12 approved categories of travel. A Cuban entrance visa can be secured when checking in for your direct flight to Havana or in advance of your trip through Yellow Dog.

Travel Arrangements
Yellow Dog offers a full in-house travel and reservations system and can assist with airline tickets, hotels, transfers and all travel logistics for every destination that we offer. Contact us at 888-777-5060 or travel [at] yellowdogflyfishing [dot] com for more details on airfare ticketing, travel services and trip insurance.

RATES

Package Rates
Remember that Yellow Dog's services are completely free! When you book a trip with Yellow Dog, you never pay more than when you book directly with the lodge or outfitter. Trips of any length of stay can be arranged, so please call Yellow Dog for details and custom package pricing.   

Low Season
(September 1, 2017 – March 7, 2018 and June 28, 2018 - September 5, 2018)
Fishing Package = USD $4,900.00
Non-Angler Package = USD $2,500.00

High Season
(March 8, 2018 – June 27, 2018)
Fishing Package = USD $8,200.00
Non-Angler Package = USD $2,900.00

What's Included

  • Meet-and-greet reception upon arrival into Havana's Jose Marti International Airport (HAV)
  • Seven (7) nights accommodations at the Hotel Sol Cayo Largo (double occupancy) 
  • Six (6) full days of guided fishing (two people per skiff)
  • Transfers on arrival and departure on Cayo Largo
  • Three meals per day while in Cayo Largo (all-inclusive meal service)
  • Full bar tab and all-inclusive drinks at Hotel Sol Club Melia
  • Beverages on board skiffs to include four (4) drinks (beer, water, and soft drinks ) each fishing day 
  • Taxes and GSTs  

 What's Not Included 

  • International flights to Havana (HAV) - (Yellow Dog can arrange these flights)
  • Hotel nights in Havana (HAV) - (Yellow Dog can arrange for accomodations in Havana)
  • Domestic flights between Havana (HAV) and Cayo Largo ($200 per person round trip)
  • Cost of taxi transfers from Havana Airport to hotel in Havana on arrival and departure days
  • Meals, drinks, taxis, tours and any additional expenses while in Havana
  • Fishing tackle, equipment, flies and all terminal tackle 
  • Cuban entrance visa
  • Gratuities for guides and staff (must be paid in cash with CUCs) 
  • Other items of a personal nature    
  • Conservation Fee ($100 USD)

Trip Deposit and Trip Cancelation Information 
For all Cuba trips less than 90 days out, full payment is required to secure guides and reservations. For trips outside of 90 days, a 70% deposit is required within 10 days to hold and confirm reservations. Payment for all Cuba trip must be made in US dollars and can be made using check, money order or wire transfer only (no credit card payments for Cuba trips will be accepted and PLEASE do not write 'Cuba' in the memo of checks). Any cancellations on Cuba trips will incur a $250.00 Yellow Dog handling fee regardless of timing. Passport number, date of birth and full name (as printed in passport) is required to confirm any Cuba reservation. Outside of 180 days from start of trip, deposits are refundable minus an $800 Cuban operator handling fee, which will be held and retained by the operators unless trip is resold. Inside of 180 days of start date of trip, all deposits and payments are non-refundable unless Yellow Dog or Cuban operator are able to resell your spot(s). No refunds are available for unused portions of packages. Trip cancellation insurance is highly recommended. Please note that credit card payments cannot be accepted for any incidentals or expenses once in Cuba. All programs and execution of programs remain subject to weather and other unforeseen circumstances. Claims for refunds from Cuban operators will not be accepted.

OTHER INFO

Currency and Credit Cards in Cuba
You can easily exchange money at the airport or at any bank for CUCs (Cuban Convertible Pesos). The best currency to bring on your trip to Cuba is U.S. dollars, Euros or Canadian. You can expect an exchange rate of about .87 CUC to one USD. The hotel and the Avalon Fishing Center currently DOES NOT accept US credit cards and you will need cash for all purchases and gratuities. While some hotels advertise that U.S. credit cards are accepted in Cuba, it is not yet reliable and we recommend that you carry cash for all your in-country expenses. This will be applicable while in Havana and traveling throughout the country.

Laundry Services
Laundry services are available at the resort and laundry can be done on a daily basis. This means that you can travel and pack light. We suggest leaving a gratuity (in CUCs) for the housekeepers at the end of the week for laundry services.

Client Testimonials

“Avalon and Mauro were faultless. Mauro runs a tight ship on Cayo Largo, and everything worked smoothly from pick-ups in Havana to great guides, excellent boats and seamless organization. The fishing potential is great at Cayo Largo: the bonefish are plentiful and a good size, seeming to average in the 6-8 lb. range. The permit are definitely there, usually on the back of rays (which means that you can expect a number of shots). Tarpon seemed plentiful as did snook. Thanks to the Yellow Dog team for the faultless organization and attention to detail that Yellow Dog put into making a very smooth and easy trip to an exceptionally memorable location.” 
          - Macolm C. (Australia)

SAMPLE ITINERARY

Sample Itinerary for Cayo Largo Fishing Packages

Friday
Arrival flights to Havana (HAV) later that day. Greeted by an Avalon representative at the airport. Transfer to hotel via taxi (not included) with overnight at a five-star hotel in Old Havana (hotel is not included in package). Dinner and drinks on your own in Havana.

Saturday
Early this morning (time TBD), meet in hotel lobby for pick-up and transfer to the regioanl airport by bus for a morning flight from Havana (HAV) to Cayo Largo (CYO) (a flight of approximately 30 min). Upon arrival to Cayo Largo, you will be greeted by a representative and transfered to the Hotel Sol Cayo Largo for an open afteroon and evening at the hotel. There will also be a fishing overview and orientation given on this afternoon. Overnight at the Hotel Sol Club Melia.

Sunday - Friday
Six (6) nights of overnight accommodations at the Hotel Sol Cayo Largo and six (6) days of fully guided fishing. Breakfast and dinners will be at the resort each day, and lunch will be on the flats. Overnight at the Hotel Sol Cayo Largo.

Friday
Morning wake-up call followed by breakfast and (depending on plane schedule) lunch. Transfer to the Cayo Largo Airport (CYO) for the flight back to Havana (HAV). Upon arrival, you will overnight once again in a five-star hotel (included in package) in Old Havana. Dinner on your own in Havana. 

Saturday
Taxi to Havana International Airport (HAV) for departing flights.

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.

You may book your flights directly online with most U.S. air carriers. Direct flights are also 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. 

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 details.

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?
Direct US-to-Havana flights are operated by most U.S. air carriers. If you need any assistance with booking your flights to Cuba, please contact Yellow Dog. 

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.