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 a number of different live-aboard and mothership options. These options include the private luxury yacht Avalon Fleet II, Avalon Fleet III, and the Avalon IV (new in 2021-2022). Avalon II is one of the nicest yachts in Avalon’s operations and is ideal for intact groups of 8-12 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 onboard 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 your arrival city to Jucaro Port. 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, however low season rates during off-season months can also translate into excellent and diverse fishing.
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 onboard 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 on board 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
There are direct flights from many US cities and Havana (HAV) or you can book flights to Cayo Coco (CCC) that can be booked from Canada, Mexico, and Europe. If you arrive into Havana, it is recommended that you overnight in the city prior to and after your transfer days. The transfer from Havana to Jardines de la Reina departs at approximately 7 AM and takes between 6-8 hours to get to Jucaro Port. If you plan to arrive to Cayo Coco, the transfer time is between 2-3 hours to Jucaro Port. It is important that your entire group arranges for the same arrival logistics in order to avoid private transfer costs.
Arrival and Departure Details / Times
Upon arrival to Jucaro Port, you will board the Avalon II and begin your week in the Jardines de la Reina (Gardens of the Queen). On your final day, you will typically return to Avalon II around 2 pm so the boat can make the return trip to Jucaro Port where Avalon II will overnight. Early the next morning, you will disembark and return to Havana or Cayo Coco for your 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 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 traveler, you are obligated to maintain a record of your trip for five years – documentation is supplied to you by Yellow Dog.
Yellow Dog works directly with and recommends Kanna Travel along with other travel agents who are experts depending on the routing that makes the most sense for your travel needs. They can assist with airline tickets, hotels, transfers, and all travel logistics for every destination that we offer. Contact Kanna Travel 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.
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.
Please contact Yellow Dog for rates for 2021 and 2022 trips
- Meet-and-greet reception upon arrival at 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)
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.