Trip Overview 
Located on the north shore in the eastern province of Camaguey, the Cayo Cruz and Cayo Romano fisheries collectively form an enormous system of flats, lagoons and pristine estuaries. Commercial fishing within this designated area is strictly forbidden and rigorously enforced - one of the reasons why the flats fishing is so good. The sportfishing-only area is 280 square miles in size, meaning that on the average day, each skiff has over 30 square miles to itself. This huge area represents one of the cleanest and most biologically diverse ecosystems in the entire region. This destination is still pretty much untouched and has only seen anglers for the past four seasons. Beyond the exceptional flats fishing, guests need to keep in mind that this is a new fishery still very much in its infancy. Nonetheless, the fish are usually plentiful and aggressive. 
 
The flats on the northern side of the main island of Cuba present an inviting combination of hard-packed white sand and a semi-firm mottled bottom that still provides good wading. And what a place this is for those who like to wade! It’s very similar to Los Roques, Venezuela in terms of the vast area that’s wadable. There are places here where you can wade for hours without ever heading back to the skiff. Cayo Cruz and Cayo Romano waters demonstrate all the characteristics of a recently-discovered, virgin fishing territory – large numbers of fish, good size and an evident lack of exposure to flies and leaders. Add to this the natural beauty of the cays and water and you have a truly memorable place to fish.

The average bonefish weighs in at a healthy three to four pounds. During the course of a week, it is not unheard of for anglers to land a fish or two in the eight-pound-plus range. Tailing bonefish are common and guests can expect to see bonefish in singles and doubles, all the way up to schools of several hundred fish. What really sets this location apart from so many other fisheries is that guests can expect to encounter and get shots at good numbers of permit each day as well. There are very few places on earth where guests can fish for big bonefish each day and also get shots at tailing permit. This combination may occur in other locations, but not with the consistency seen at Cayo Cruz and Cayo Romano. It is a rare day when you don’t encounter and get shots at permit. The permit will range in size from approximately eight to 30 pounds. The flats at Cayo Cruz are a little deeper than those found in other regions of Cuba, which means bonefish and permit are found in excellent numbers throughout the year.
 
In the Fall of 2017, Cayo Romano and Cayo Cruz anglers will be accomodated in a newly completed hotel on Cayo Cruz and will transition from a live aboard destination to a land based destination.
 

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

Destination Quick Facts 

LOCATION:  Cayo Romano / Cayo Cruz, Camaguey Province, Cuba

SEASON:  November through early July

CAPACITY:  Maximum group of 14 anglers per week

CLOSEST MAJOR AIR HUB:  Cayo Coco, Cuba (CCC) or Camaguey, Cuba (CMW)

TARGET SPECIES:  Bonefish and permit, with some possibilities for tarpon, 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
For all Cayo Cruz trips, anglers will be accommodated in a 5-star Hotel on Cayo Cruz. Construction on this hotel will be completed in January of 2018.

Typical Length of Stay
The structured package is seven (7) nights / six (6) fishing days. A normal week includes five full days of fishing and one or two half days, depending on your schedule and ground/air transfers on arrival and departure days. Please contact Yellow Dog for more details.

Non-Angling Activities and Options
This is a remote key off the northern coast of Cuba located in the mangrove and saltwater wilderness of the Cayo Cruz area. Non-angling activities are limited. Overall this destination is best suited for anglers.

Internet/Communications
Wi-Fi is typically unpredictable at best in Cuba. 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 prohibited in Cuba and will be confiscated at the airport upon arrival.

 

FISHING

General Fishing Information
Located on the north shore of the eastern province of Camaguey, the Cayo Cruz fishery is an enormous system of flats, lagoons and pristine estuaries. Located in Jardines del Rey (Gardens of the King), commercial fishing within this designated area is strictly forbidden and rigorously enforced. The sportfish-only area is 366 square kilometers in size, meaning that on the average day, each skiff has over 50 square kilometers to itself. The fishing area is virtually untouched and represents one of the cleanest and most biologically diverse ecosystems in the Caribbean. This is one of the primary reasons we have chosen this destination. It is still more or less untouched and has only seen a handful of anglers for a few seasons. The fish are plentiful and aggressive. Cayo Cruz is also privileged in having an extensive string of cays on its northern border which protects it from all but the most violent of weather patterns. 

The flats present an inviting combination of hard-packed white sand and a semi-firm mottled bottom that still provides good wading. And what a place this is for those who like to wade! It’s very similar to Los Roques, Venezuela in terms of the vast area that’s wadable; there are places here where you can wade for hours without heading back to the boat. Cayo Cruz demonstrates all the characteristics of a recently-discovered, virgin fishing territory – large numbers of fish, good sizes and their evident lack of exposure to flies and leaders. Add to this the natural beauty of the cays and water and you have a truly memorable place to fish.

The average bonefish weighs in at a healthy three to four pounds. During the course of a week, it is not unheard of for anglers to land a fish or two in the eight-pound-plus range. Tailing bonefish are common and guests can expect to see bonefish in singles and doubles, all the way up to schools of several hundred fish. What really sets this location apart from so many other fisheries is that guests can expect to encounter and get shots at good numbers of permit each day as well. There are very few places on earth where guests can fish for big bonefish each day and also get shots at tailing permit. This combination may occur in other locations, but not with the consistency seen at Cayo Cruz. It is a rare day when you don’t encounter and get shots at permit. The permit will range in size from approximately eight to 30 pounds. The flats at Cayo Cruz are a little deeper than those found in other regions of Cuba, which means bonefish and permit are found in excellent numbers throughout the year. Aside from the exceptional flats fishing, guests need to keep in mind that this is a new fishery still very much in its infancy. Nonetheless, the fish are usually plentiful and aggressive. 

Two locations within the Cayo Cruz area offer very good tarpon fishing. Guides tend to save these areas for when an angler has already boated a permit and is looking for a Grand Slam. These fish will range from 30 to 90 pounds. Besides the fishing for permit, bonefish and tarpon, you will also cast for other challenging species as mutton snapper, snook, cubera snapper, jack crevalle, and barracuda.

Each morning, skiffs will depart from Cayo Cruz to different zones, areas within the greater Cayo Romano / Cayo Cruz fisheries. From Cayo Paredon Grande in the north to Cayo Guanaja in the south, there are countless islands, lagoons and bays that will keep anglers happy and on fish throughout the day. Much of the fishing takes place in the areas between the island and the mainland, in and around the massive island of Cayo Cruz. The average boat run to the fishing areas can range anywhere from 10 to 40 minutes in length and in some areas, you will be fishing within minutes of leaving the yacht. The run time depends on where your guide wants to take you that day and what your requests are. With more than 50 square kilometers of fishing area available per boat, the options are just about limitless. There are so many great aspects to this fishery that it can truly be a sensory overload at times.

Boats and Equipment 
The fishing boats used by Avalon are Dolphin Super Skiffs outfitted with Yamaha 60 or 70HP motors. Radios and life jackets are carried aboard every skiff. While Avalon adverstises a limited number of rental fly rods and reels available on some of their live-aboards, we very much recommend that anglers always bring their own equipment.  Flies, leaders, tippet, all terminal tackle and all accessories should be packed as well, as very few items are available anywhere in Cuba. Yellow Dog will provide a complete pre-trip packing and equipment list for fishing Cuba.

 

TRAVEL DETAILS

How To Get There  
There are direct flights to Cayo Coco or Camaguey from a number of U.S. cities and Canada, Mexico and Europe. Upon arrival to Cayo Coco or Camaguey, you will be met by a representative from Avalon. From the airport, you will be transferred to Cayo Cruz and your accomodations.

Arrival and Departure Details / Times 
Please contact Yellow Dog when you are booking flights for the most up to date details on flights and times for this trip.

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 OFAC categories of travel. A Cuban entrance visa can be secured when checking in for your direct flight to Cuba. Yellow Dog can provide you with the OFAC license which is required for all American travelers going to Cuba.

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. Prices listed below are per person and quoted in US Dollars (USD).

LOW SEASON RATES:

Sept 6 (2017) - March 6 (2018) and July 14 - Sept 4 (2018)

$4,550.00 (based on double occupancy)

Non-angling guest - $2,400.00

HIGH SEASON RATES:

March 7 - July 13

$6,950.00 (based on double occupancy)

Non-angling guest - $2,900.00

 What’s Included

  • Land and air transfers to/from Cayo Coco / Camaguey and Cayo Cruz
  • Seven (7) nights in 5 star Cayo Cruz Hotel in double occupancy room (Single room supplement fee of $900 for single occupancy room)
  • Six (6) full days of guided fishing (two people per skiff)
  • All meals
  • Beverages on board to include ten (10) beers and thirty (30) bottled water or soft drinks (of national production)
  • All taxes and GSTs

What’s Not Included

  • International flights to Cuba (Yellow Dog can help arrange)
  • Visa
  • Meals, drinks, taxis and any additional expenses while in Cuba
  • Fishing tackle, equipment, flies and all terminal tackle (Bring it all with you!)
  • Gratuities for guides and staff (must be paid in cash with CUCs) 
  • Other items of a personal nature
  • OFAC license for American travelers

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 Cuban Convertible Pesos (CUCs). The best currency to bring on your trip to Cuba is USD. The exchange rate is .83 USD to 1 CUC. Credit cards are not readily accepted in Cuba and rarely work, so you will need cash for all purchases, bar tabs and gratuities.

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

Beverages
It is recommended that you drink only bottled and purified water while in Cuba. Bottled water is available for purchase at the hotel.

 

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.