The Avalon Fleet II Live-Aboard
The Jardines de la Reina (“Gardens of the Queen”) is a vast marine park and archipelago in the southern part of Cuba. Collectively, it is an area and a fishery that is larger in size than the Florida Keys. This resource is ideal for fly fishermen in search of a remote setting, a pristine and untouched ecosystem, and long days on the water. It is a fishery that is home to very large numbers of tarpon in the 40 to 80-pound range, as well as large bonefish, permit, jacks, barracuda and numerous other species.
When booking through Yellow Dog, anglers (and divers) interested in visiting, fishing and exploring this amazing area have the choice of two different live-aboard and mothership options. These options include the floating “hotel” La Tortuga (see the specific web page for that option) and the private luxury yacht Avalon Fleet II. One of the nicest yachts in Avalon’s operations, Avalon II is ideal for intact groups of 8-14 anglers and guests. This fully mobile fishing platform offers comfortable accommodations, an excellent crew, experience fishing guides, air-conditioned staterooms, delicious seafood and access to some of the finest fishing in the entire Caribbean. With all Avalon Fleet II packages, anglers can expect long days on the water with more hours of fishing than any other destination and excellent food.
All fishing weeks on board the Avalon II yacht run from Saturday to the following Saturday, with five and a half full days of guided fishing. A normal week includes seven (7) nights aboard the yacht, and roundtrip transportation from Camaguey to Jucaro. Upon arrival in Jucaro, clients board the boat Avalon II to head out to Jardines de la Reina. The season in the Jardines de la Reina runs from mid-October through the end of August.
Avalon II is a brand new, state-of-the-art mothership with 10 staterooms and all the amenities and offerings you would expect from a high-end, private yacht. The ship’s overall capacity is 20 passengers and 9 crewmembers, although all trips are limited to groups of between 10 and 16 anglers. The boat offers the perfect balance of substantial exploration capabilities, functional style, and total comfort, and offers guests a unique platform for an exclusive voyage through the Jardines de la Reina. All staterooms offer plenty of space, private bathrooms, individual air conditioning, and heating controls, electricity plugs, and panoramic windows to enjoy the breathtaking view of the Caribbean. There is also a spacious and comfortable combination lounge, dining room and bar area on the main deck. This is the ideal option for large groups and families.
Food and Beverages
Dining on board Avalon II is always amazing. The menu typically combines fantastic Continental Italian cuisine, fresh seafood every day, and traditional Cuban favorites like rice and beans, black bean soup and fried plantains. If you are someone who enjoys fresh seafood, then you will be in heaven. Beverages available onboard include bottled water, various soft drinks, beer, rum, and imported wines. If you prefer liquor other than rum, you can bring this with you.
Typical Length of Stay
A typical stay in the Jardines de la Reina area is seven (7) nights / five and a half (5.5) fishing days, starting on Saturday and ending on Friday. A normal week includes five full days of fishing and one or two half days (depending on your schedule and mode of transportation to and from Jucaro). Additional days in Havana or on other parts of the island can easily be arranged and itineraries can be fully customized. Combo trips between the Jardines de la Reina and other fishing areas can also be arranged. Please contact Yellow Dog for more details.
Non-Angling Activities and Options
These are remote live-aboard operations located in the mangrove wilderness of the Jardines de la Reina. This means that non-angling (and non-diving) activities are limited. If you are interested in diving, Avalon’s dive program is incredible and the Jardines are considered by many to be one of the finest, most pristine dive and snorkel destinations in the entire world. Even anglers can participate in a shallow-water dive program on a few afternoons of their trip. This can be taught after your day of fishing and can culminate in a trip where you dive with the area’s famous Silky Sharks. Overall this specific destination is best suited for anglers and divers.
Wi-Fi is not available on Avalon II. Some cell phone service providers now offer international plans that will allow for your phone to work while on mainland Cuba. While in Jardines de la Reina, there is NO cell service. Also, satellite phones are strictly prohibited in Cuba and will be confiscated at the airport on arrival.
How To Get There
All fishing packages to Jardines de la Reina (Gardens of the Queen) originate in the city of Camaguey (CMW). Direct flights from Miami or Fort Lauderdale into Camaguey allow anglers to transfer to Jucaro Port (an easy two and a half hour transfer) and then to the Tortuga live aboard houseboat or Avalon II.
Arrival and Departure Details / Times
Anglers typical fly into Camaguey’s Ignacio Agramonte International Airport (CMW) on a Saturday. Avalon will then provide you with a two and a half hour transfer to Jucaro Port. Once you arrive in Jucaro, you will then board the Avalon II and begin your week of fishing and exploring the Jardines de la Reina. If time allows on your first day, once you arrive in the Jardines, you can rig your gear and head out for a long afternoon and evening of fishing. The guides will usually fish you until late evening on arrival day, giving you as much fishing time as possible. On the following Friday, you will have the option of fishing for several hours in the morning before departing for the return to Jucaro. You then return to Camaguey for an overnight or to catch departing flights.
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 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. Most of our trips qualify as an Educational or Person to Person trip to Cuba.
Yellow Dog works directly with and recommends Kanna Travel. They can assist with airline tickets, hotels, transfers and all travel logistics for every destination that we offer. Contact them at 855-739-3139 or [email protected] for more details on airfare ticketing, travel services, and trip insurance.
Fishing hours during a stay aboard Avalon II are longer than in most Caribbean fishing destinations and are totally at the discretion of the clients. The day normally begins with breakfast at 7:00 AM and guides are ready to head out any time after 7:45 AM. Some anglers elect to return to La Tortuga for a nice lunch and a break from the sun – especially during the summer season. Many of the flats are within fifteen minutes of the boat, and it is usually possible to take a lunch break in the shade and relax a bit before fishing a long afternoon. On other days, you will want to explore more distant waters that see little fishing pressure, which means that you will need to request a packed cooler lunch the evening before. You can run as far as you like with the guides and your skiff to the most distant flats in the island system, as Avalon does not put any limitation on the amount of gas used each day. Guides will know to bring extra gas when they need it! Another bonus is that Avalon allows clients to fish late into the afternoon if they like. In the Jardines, it is common to have the stronger wind in the mornings followed by calm, making for superb late-afternoon and evening fishing, especially for bonefish.
One thing to keep in mind is that this particular area – and Cuba in general – is by no mean “Disneyland” when it comes to flats fishing. While the angling pressure is extremely light compared to all other saltwater destinations, Cuba has in fact been fished by many anglers from Europe, Canada, and even the U.S. for more than 15 years. Some people have the perception that this area has been totally locked off and untouched for the past 60 years and that a trip to Cuba will allow them to be the very first to ever fish these areas. That is simply not the case, given that other countries have not had the same travel restrictions in place as those implemented by the U.S.
That said, when it comes to the Jardines, this fishing area has a “footprint” that is roughly similar to that of the Florida Keys in size. And in that area, no more than a few dozen anglers can fish the entire fishery on any given week! Imagine how good the Keys would be with no traffic, no boats, no people, no development of any kind, and only a few hundred anglers annually. That is Jardines. These fish receive very little pressure and as a result, are more likely to cooperate and eat a fly. This is what Cuba offers.
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. For gear and equipment, it is recommended that anglers always bring their own rods, reels, wading boots, etc. 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.
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 for all Cuba packages are per person and quoted in US Dollars (USD).
Avalon Fleet II
Prices listed below include the charter of the entire yacht for up to twelve (12) clients. This includes six (6) skiffs and guides and single occupancy staterooms for nearly the entire group if you have ten anglers. Please contact Yellow Dog for details.
September 1, 2019 – March 7, 2020 and July 4, 2020 – September 5, 2020 = USD $57,200.00
March 7 – July 4, 2020 = USD $82,000.00
- Meet-and-greet reception upon arrival to Camaguey International Airport (CMW)
- Land and water transfers to/from Camaguey to Jucaro and Avalon II
- Seven (7) nights accommodations on Avalon II
- Three meals per day (all-inclusive meal service)
- Six (6) full days of guided fishing (two anglers per skiff)
- 30 non-alcoholic beverages and 10 beers while aboard
- Taxes and GSTs
What’s Not Included:
- International flights to Camaguey International Airport (CMW) Yellow Dog can help arrange
- Entry Visa for Cuba
- Meals, drinks, taxis and any additional expenses (outside program listed above)
- Fishing tackle, equipment, flies and all terminal tackle
- Gratuities for guides and staff (must be paid in cash with CUCs)
- Beer (beyond the allotted 10 beers per guest) and rum (Guests must bring their liquor if they would like something other than beer or rum.)
- Non-alcoholic beverages beyond the allotted 30 per guest
- Other items of a personal nature
- Conservation Fee ($100)
Trip Deposit and Trip Cancellation 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 trips must be made in US dollars and can be made using check, money order or wire transfer only. 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 the start of the trip, deposits are refundable minus an $800 Cuban operator handling fee, which will be held and retained by the operators unless the trip is resold. Inside of 180 days of the start date of the trip, all deposits and payments are non-refundable unless Yellow Dog or Cuban operators 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.