Fly Fishing the Permit Capital of Cuba
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 Centers 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 and starting early in 2020 will be based on Jardines Avalon I (a liveaboard boat) with a maximum of 12 anglers on any given week.
Cayo Largo fishery is now accessed by a liveaboard boat – Jardines Avalon I (JA 1). The yacht is a 110-foot long mothership with 10 staterooms aboard and en-suite bathrooms. JA 1 offers eight (8) single occupancy rooms and two (2) double occupancy rooms aboard.
Food and Beverages
The galley aboard Jardines Avalon I take great pride in serving amazing Cuban food, fresh seafood, and a variety of international dishes. Breakfasts are cooked-to-order each morning. Lunches can either be packed for a full day on the flats, or guests have the option to return to the ship mid-day to eat and relax. All dinners are served with international wines, local liquors, and desserts. All-inclusive bar tab for the week aboard includes rum, beer, soda, and bottled water (if you like something specific, and other than rum, after your day on the water we DO suggest bringing a bottle with you which boat staff is happy to keep behind the bar for you). Dietary restrictions and allergies can typically be accommodated.
Typical Length of Stay
The typical package is seven (7) nights / six (6) fishing days. A normal week includes six (6) full days of fishing. Additional days in Havana or on other parts of Cuba can be arranged and itineraries can be customized. Please contact Yellow Dog for more details on a customized itinerary.
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 are available to non-anglers who decide to join a week aboard, however the options are somewhat limited and activity equipment can be a bit dated. Cayo Largo is very secluded and there are no nearby towns or private residences so there are not many activity options for the non-angler.
Check with your cell service provider to see if your U.S. cell phone will work in Cuba. Also, satellite phones are strictly prohibited in Cuba and will be confiscated at the airport on arrival. Wi-Fi is available in Havana, but once aboard you should plan on being completely disconnected for the week.
How To Get There
The Cayo Largo live aboard program requires that you arrive at 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 in 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 (if required) OR you will meet your group to be transferred to port and to board JA 1 for the week.
Arrival and Departure Details / Times
Anglers typically fly into Havana’s Jose Marti International Airport (HAV) and depending on your flight times, you can meet your group and transfer the two and a half hours to port to board JA 1. JA 1 then motors into the fishery so that you are in the fishery and can awake to board skiffs and head out for your first day of fishing the following morning. After the week aboard, you will be transferred back to port before disembarking JA 1 and, as a group, transfer back to the Havana International Airport for your departing flights. It is possible to choose to add an extra day or two in the city to explore Havana and the surrounding areas which Yellow Dog can help to arrange.
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 a Cuban entrance visa that can be secured when checking in for your direct flight to Cuba. You will be asked to sign an affidavit for your trip to Cuba and determine which OFAC category your trip qualifies for and as an American travelers, you are obligated to maintain a record of your trip for five years – documentation is supplied to you by Yellow Dog.
For our Cuba trips, Yellow Dog can advise you on flights to book or you may choose to work directly with Kanna Travel. They can assist you with booking airline tickets, trip insurance, and medical evacuation membership. Contact them at 855-739-3139 or [email protected] for more details.
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 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 in 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.
Rates and Terms
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 a longer duration can be arranged, so please call Yellow Dog for details and custom package pricing.
Please contact Yellow Dog for rates for 2021 and 2022 trips
- Meet-and-greet reception upon arrival at Havana’s Jose Marti International Airport (HAV)
- Seven (7) nights’ accommodations aboard JA 1 (ten suites aboard – 8 single rooms and 2 double rooms)
- Six (6) full days of guided fishing (two people per skiff)
- Transfers on arrival and departure from Havana to Puerto Zapesca
- Three meals per day while on JA 1 (all-inclusive meal service)
- Full bar tab and all-inclusive drinks while aboard
- Taxes and GSTs
What’s Not Included:
- International flights to Havana (HAV) – (Yellow Dog can arrange these flights)
- Additional hotel nights in Havana (HAV) – (Yellow Dog can arrange for accommodations in Havana)
- Meals, drinks, taxis, tours, and any additional expenses while in Havana
- Fishing tackle, equipment, flies, and all terminal tackle (can be rented) – YD recommends bringing your own!
- Diving equipment for dives (can be rented)
- Cuban entrance visa
- Gratuities for guides and staff
- Other items of a personal nature
- Conservation Fee ($100 USD)
Avalon Cuban Fishing Centers and Live-Aboards (Cuba)
TERMS AND CONDITIONS – CANCELLATIONS
Receipt of deposit and/or final payment is acknowledgment that registrant has read and accepts the deposit, cancellation, refund and responsibility clauses for these packages. For trips outside of 90 days, a 70% deposit is required within 10 days to hold and confirm all reservations and trip dates. For all Cuba trips less than 90 days out, full payment is required to secure reservations. Passport number, date of birth and full name (as printed in passport) is required to confirm any Cuba reservation. 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). All trip cancellations must be received in writing, sent to Yellow Dog Flyfishing Adventures, LLC. and cancellations will incur a $250.00 USD per person Yellow Dog handling fee, regardless of timing or reason. For cancellations outside of 180 days from start of trip, trip payments are refundable minus an 800 EUROS per person cancellation fee charged by operator and a $250.00 USD per person fee charged by Yellow Dog. Inside of 180 days from start of trip, deposits and/or final payments are non-refundable and no credits will be issued unless Avalon and/or Yellow Dog are able to resell the trip(s) (in which case there will also be an 800 EUROS per person cancellation fee charged by operator and a $250.00 USD per person fee charged by Yellow Dog.) No refunds will be issued for unused portions of packages. Because of the operator’s strict cancellation policies, we highly recommend the purchase of trip cancellation insurance. In no event will Avalon be responsible for any cancellation of services or operations due to inclement weather, any event of force majeure, airline delays or flight cancellations, or any other reason beyond the control of the operator. Avalon Outdoors will not refund payments in the event of poor weather. If your flights are cancelled and connections are missed, Avalon is not responsible for alternative travel arrangements including flights, hotels, meals and any other expenses incurred. Please note that credit card payments cannot be accepted for any incidentals or expenses once in Cuba. Once again, Yellow Dog strongly recommends that anglers and guests purchase travel insurance these Cuban packages.
Payment Terms For All Yellow Dog Trip Bookings
In order to lock in your trip reservation, we ask that you please remit payment within 10 days of receipt of invoice. For your convenience, Yellow Dog accepts on-line payments via a direct and secure ACH platform – a quick and easy way to complete your trip reservation. Note that all Yellow Dog invoices include a live link that takes you directly to the Yellow Dog ACH platform for fast and easy payment. For open and existing invoices with a remaining balance, payment reminders also include this easy link to the ACH page.
Other customary forms of payment that are accepted are checks or wire transfers. If you would like to pay in a different way or have any questions about alternate payment methods, please contact Yellow Dog at (888) 777-5060 or (406) 585-8667. We are available Monday through Friday, 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM.
Beginning September 1st, 2020, Yellow Dog will apply a 3% convenience fee for all credit card transactions.
Yellow Dog Flyfishing Adventures Standard Forms For Payment
- ACH online payments (for US banking institutions only).
- Traditional checks (sent via mail)
- Electronic wire payments (client is responsible for any wiring fees)
*Please contact us if you prefer or require a different payment option. Convenience fees may apply for other payment methods.
**Please be aware that the ACH platform is only available for US financial institutions and bank accounts. International payments can be made via wire or with a credit card.