This land based option, located only a few hours’ drive from Havana and can be a great way to get in a day of fishing if you are already in Cuba traveling on your own itinerary or if you have booked a cultural tour and would like to get in a day or two on the water.With new Beavertail skiffs for saltwater fishing on the Las Salinas flats, and Bass Tracker boats to access tarpon and snook fishing in the nearby Rio Hatiguanico River, this option allows for a completely customizable trip that offers the best of both salt and freshwater fishing in Cuba.
With ultimate flexibility, you can elect for the right combination of salt water flats fishing days combined with freshwater fishing for tarpon and snook. The hotel and the dining package, which include trips to local paladars (restaurants in private homes), allow for the unique opportunity to experience the real local flavor of Cuba. You can choose to fish for a day and return to Havana for the night or stay in Playa Larga for a dynamic week of both salt and sweet water fishing.
Playa Larga is a small fishing community located on the famous Bahia de Cochinos (Bay of Pig’s). On April 17, 1961 this beach was logged into the history books by the famous Bay of Pig’s Invasion. In an attempt to overthrow Fidel Castro from power, CIA and US backed 1,400 Cuban exiles who landed at this beach. The invasion was a complete failure with the invaders being outnumbered by Castro’s troops and the exiles surrendered after less than 24 hours of fighting. Now the beach is a popular place for Cubans taking a break from Havana during their summer vacations and for tourists from around the world to enjoy a refreshing dip and escape the Caribbean heat. Diver’s and snorkelers flock to this area for the easy access to wall diving in the waters of the Bay of Pigs.
LOCATION: Playa Larga, Cuba
SEASON: October through late July
CAPACITY: 8-10 anglers per week
CLOSEST MAJOR AIR HUB: Havana, Cuba (HAV)
TARGET SPECIES: Bonefish, permit, tarpon, snook, with the possibility of 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
Anglers will stay at a private, anglers-only section of the Playa Larga Hotel in the town of Playa Larga with a private entrance. Guests stay in colorful bungalows with a front porch, interior sitting area, private bath with shower, two double beds, air conditioning, and hot water. There is a private beach area available to angling guests only a short walk from the bungalows.
Food and Beverages
There are a variety of dining options in Playa Larga. El Ranchon is a private bar and grill for the angling guests at Playa Larga Hotel only. Beers, spirits, sodas, water and juices will be available at any time to guests at this cantina. Guests can order from a diverse menu of meat, seafood, chicken or pork options, all expertly grilled and prepared at El Ranchon. In addition, an abbreviated menu will be available 24 hours a day to anglers. Upon request, transportation to a local paladar (private dining experience at a Cuban home and some of the best food in Cuba) such as Casa Alexis, Paladar Chuchy el Pescador or Paladar Las Terrazas for dinner. We highly recommend having at least one evening meal locally – the experience and the food are not to be missed.
Typical Length of Stay
Any length of stay can be accommodated. A package of any number of nights and guided fishing days can be arranged, and guests can arrive and depart on any day of the week. Additional days and nights in Havana or visits to other parts of Cuba can easily be arranged and itineraries can be fully customized. Combo trips between Zapata and other fishing areas can also be arranged if desired. Please contact Yellow Dog for more details.
Non-Angling Activities and Options
Non-angling activities include snorkeling, diving, bird watching and guided walking tours of the nearby Ciénaga de Zapata National Park.
Wi-Fi is available at the hotel, but can be unpredictable and may not maintain good connectivity. You can purchase internet cards from the hotel for about 2 CUC for one hour of connectivity. Keep in mind that U.S. cell phones currently DO NOT work anywhere in Cuba. Also, satellite phones are strictly prohibited in Cuba and will be confiscated at the airport upon arrival.
General Fishing Information
On of the things that make this fishing area so unique is the large amount of skinny or shallow water. Much of the area simply cannot be accessed and fished using traditional flats skiffs with two anglers and a guide. To that end, we utilize both “single angler” skiffs – smaller, skinny-water boats designed for a solo angler and one guide in addition to Beavertail double skiffs. The skinny water single angler boats are typically used for shallow water to access the bonefishing and permit fishing deep within the flats systems.
Each morning, guests will transfer by vehicle about an hour to Las Salinas fishing area which is part of the Ciénaga de Zapata National Park. You will arrive at a covered staging area where you can rig your gear and, if you are fishing for multiple days, you can rinse and store your gear for subsequent fishing days. Once rigged, you step onto the private docks and board your skiff(s) for the day. Anglers can expect to fish for bonefish and permit, with possibilities for other marine species (tarpon, snook, jacks, barracuda, etc.) as well.
If you are fishing the Rio Hatiguanico, you will transfer by vehicle an hour and a half to a different park entrance to the expansive Ciénaga de Zapata Biosphere Reserve and National Park. The source of this gem of a fishery is a huge sweet water natural spring that flows westward into the Ensenada de la Broa and the open ocean. There is a small boat house and staging area where you can rig your rods and step onto the comfortable boats for a short motor downriver to where river opens up into a wide channel. There are over 14 kilometers of river channels to fish between the headwaters and staging area and the river mouth where it meets the salt. Tarpon and snook are the targeted species along this With any luck, you may see manatees coming up for air in the main channel.
Boats and Equipment
When fishing the flats of Las Salinas you will be fishing from either a 16’ 8” foot 2016 Beavertail skiff (single occupancy) or a 17’6” foot 2016 Beavertail skiff (double occupancy). These Beavertail skiffs are specifically designed for very skinny water and are the ideal craft for accessing the far reaches of the expansive flats system. Wading boots are highly recommended for Las Salinas.
When fishing for tarpon and snook on the Rio Hatiguanico, you will fish from either a 16 or 17 foot 2016 Bass Tracker with 40-50 HP Mercury motors.
It is recommended that anglers bring all of their own fishing equipment. Flies, leaders, tippet, all terminal tackle and all accessories should be brought down, as very few items, if any, are available anywhere in Cuba.
How To Get There
One of the great benefits to this destination is its close proximity to the Havana, which means that anglers can easily transfer to the fishery with no need for long transfers in buses or in-country flights. Depending on your flight arrival times, it is possible to transfer to this destination upon arrival to Cuba, avoiding an overnight in Havana altogether. All packages begin with arrival at Havana's Jose Marti International Airport (HAV), where 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 and numerous other countries. There are also direct, third-party charter flights from more than ten major U.S. cities that currently fly directly to Havana. 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 for your transfer directly to Playa Larga. Alternatively, we can book you a hotel room in Havana upon arrival so that you have some time to experience this fantastic city (Yellow Dog certainly recommends at least a night to enjoy Havana if you have not yet visited this lively city). We are happy to make arrangements for you before or after your fishing days.
Arrival and Departure Details / Times
Anglers typically fly into Havana's Jose Marti International Airport (HAV) and can transfer directly to Playa Larga the same day if your arrival time into Havana is before 6 PM. The drive to Playa Larga takes about two and a half hours. Alternatively, you may stay in Havana and schedule an early morning transfer to Playa Larga and fish upon arrival. Yellow Dog can help with hotels, tours and full travel details associated with additional nights in Havana. For departures, if your departing flight times are noon or later, you can transfer directly from Playa Larga to Havana on your departure day.
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. The visa can be purchased in advance or (depending on which airlines you have booked your flights with) when checking in for the flight.
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
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. We are also able to book accomodations in Havana to suit your needs.
Single Occupancy, Multi-Day Packages (Per Person)
1 night / 2 Fishing Days = $1,635.00
2 nights /3 Fishing Days = $2,465.00
3 nights / 4 Fishing Days = $3,300.00
4 nights / 5 Fishing Days = $4,098.00
5 nights / 6 Fishing Days = $4,896.00
6 nights / 7 Fishing Days = $5,695.00
1 night / 2 Fishing Days = $1,415.00
2 nights / 3 Fishing Days = $2,142.00
3 nights / 4 Fishing Days = $2,867.00
4 nights / 5 Fishing Days = $3,557.00
5 nights / 6 Fishing Days = $4,250.00
6 nights / 7 Fishing Days = $4,938.00
- Private ground transfers to/from Havana to Playa Larga
- Daily ground transfers to and from the fishery for either Las Salinas or the Rio Hatiguanico
- Breakfast at hotel, packed lunch, 2 soft drinks, 2 bottles of water
- Taxes and GSTs
- Dinners at local paladars (private eateries) and the Hotel Playa Larga
What's Not Included
- International flights to/from Havana (HAV)
- Hotel nights, meals, drinks, taxis, tours and any additional expenses while in Havana
- Fishing tackle, equipment, flies and all terminal tackle
- Cuban entrance visa (approx. USD $25.00)
- Gratuities for guides and staff (must be paid in cash with CUCs)
- Gratuities for paladar dinners and hotel dining
- Beer or alcoholic beverages (available to purchase in route to Hotel if desired while fishing and available at meals, but not included in package price)
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.
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.