Cuba’s hidden treasure, Isla de la Juventud or the ‘Isle of Youth’ is the second-largest Cuban island lying approximately 145 km south-west of the mainland where the Caribbean Sea, Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean meet. Quite simply, it is renowned for its Tarpon fishery which rivals the best in the world, with the ability to sight cast to fish between fifteen to over one hundred pounds on the flats and open water, with big numbers of shots had each day.
Accessible by plane, helicopter or boat, the remote Isle of Youth is also believed to be the location of the well known Robert Louis Stevenson novel, Treasure Island. Consisting of around one third National Park, there are also protected Marine Park areas in the Caribbean Sea nearby that help to foster a rich biodiversity and marine environment for both resident and migratory Tarpon.
Including schools of Bonefish, Permit, Snapper, Jacks and Snook, the varied habitat is also beyond the reach of any land-based operations or boats, making it a very unique and remote fly fishing destination.
Fly Odyssey has been hosting trips to the Isle of Youth every year since 2014 from the comfort of a variety of motherships including the 110ft Avalon One, experiencing the amazing saltwater fly fishing on offer. With extensive sand cays, flats, islands and mangrove channels, this amazing location is also complemented by time spent in vibrant and soulful Havana.
The Avalon 1 mothership is a 110ft Yacht, built in 1995 and recently refurbished in 2015 throughout. With eight air-conditioned cabins, comfortable beds, sun-deck, whirl-pool and exotic food menu it’s the perfect base to explore the tarpon flats on the Canarreos Archipelago.
The layout of the live-aboard is spacious and comfortable, with four staterooms on the lower deck, two on the middle deck and two adjacent to the main salon. All have private en-suites with hot water, televisions and are in either double, twin or triple configurations with good storage. Each room has panoramic windows to enjoy the views of the Caribbean.
The boat has rod-storage areas with fresh water available to hose all your gear down at the end of each day.
On the Upper Deck, the large Dining Area is surrounded by comfortable sofas to relax before dinner and enjoy a Cocktail while watching the sunset. There is a large serviced Bar on one corner with a music system, which is well equipped to prepare all kinds of beverages, cold beers at the end of a long day.
At the end of the large dining room, the stairs lead to the roof, to an open area with Jacuzzi, a majestic Grill, chairs and an excellent panoramic view.
Dining on board combines the style of the best Continental Italian cuisine with delicious Seafood including Lobster and traditional Cuban favorites. Beverages available on board included in your open bar fee include bottled mineral water, sparkling and tonic water, various soft drinks, juices, cocktails, beers, rums, whisky and excellent wines.
The Chef on the Avalon is excellent. The day starts with a hearty breakfast. Lunch and dinners are primarily fresh fish. Lobster is their specialty and is served in a variety of ways. For those who like something different, chicken, pork and beef are also available. Salads and different fruits are served at every meal. Desserts feature our famous Cuban caramel custard, rum-flavored cakes, cookies, puddings, pies and many others. Vegetarian and kosher meals are served on request with many different choices available.
With up-to eight anglers, the four skiffs aboard the Avalon One will accommodate two fly fishermen with one guide each, exploring the waters and Marine Park region of the Canarreos Archipelago. A remote chain of islands that runs eighty miles from Isla de la Juventud, all the way to Cayo Largo off the west coast of mainland Cuba, these areas of Cuba are beyond the reach of any land-based flats skiffs. The tarpon fishing here is immense and will see you having large numbers of shots at flats cruising fish each day.
The majority of tarpon fishing will occur on the deeper flats, channels and mangrove-lined lagoons with fish ranging in size between fifteen and one hundred and twenty pounds in weight. May through to August are the best months to have the opportunity to jump these larger migratory fish.
While there are mangrove lined channels that can be fished successfully blind for Tarpon, the sight fishing appeal on the expansive flats areas makes this region fairly unique.
A typical day starts after breakfast at 7:00am and you are out in the skiffs from about 8:00am. The leisurely daily program involves stopping for lunch around midday and a rest on the Avalon around 1pm for lunch and a break, before heading out around 3pm and fishing through until dusk at 8pm. In addition to the mobility of the mothership to fish new grounds each day in close proximity to the fishing grounds, the ability to fish late into the day also maximises your time on the water.
Combined this with some outstanding bonefish and permit fishing and you have a stand-alone saltwater fly fishing destination. While not easy to fool, you will get multiple shots at Permit throughout the week, with good numbers of Bonefish to 8lb’s and Snook also available.
There are no direct flights to Havana from Australia or New Zealand, however many destinations in the USA, Canada and South America have direct flights daily into the capital. You can plan to fly to Havana and back via the most direct route possible or chose to extend your travel plans in the Caribbean, South America, the USA or Canada.
Passport with minimum six months validity is required. ALL Foreign Nationals require a Tourist Visa or Tourist Card to enter Cuba.
The flight to Nueva Gerona airport from Havana takes approximately 1 hour before direct transfer to the Rio Jucaro Marina and the Avalon 1 –your home for the week on a Saturday to Saturday program.
Let us do the groundwork for you.
Our tailored fly fishing and accommodation itineraries are designed with you in mind to suit your preferences. They are also quoted in your local currency with very favourable exchange rates.
Fly Odyssey have access to the best guiding and lodging rates, suitable tides and updated availability to this destination which can vary throughout the season.
This includes flight bookings, transit accommodation, transfers and a host of non-angling activities and experiences.
We specialise in group stays to the region, and our long involvement with our partners on the ground in Cuba will ensure you are well looked after both on and off the water.
This includes extended stays in Havana, Cancun, Miami or The Bahamas.
Please enquire for the latest rates and availability, including information on any applicable special offers.
CONTACT OUR AUSTRALIAN OFFICE
CONTACT OUR UK OFFICE
Creating and sharing memorable travel experiences with our clients and friends provides us with genuine satisfaction. All of our trips are bespoke, tailored to your needs and we always love hearing all about the adventure on your return.
Our knowledge of travel logistics saves you time, and our highly experienced team is here to ensure its spent on the water and not at the desk or on a long flight connection that you didn’t require. Since 2006 we have developed a valued client-base that has travelled to all corners of the globe.
We are a fully-accredited travel agency, where all of our flights, accommodation and associated travel bookings are done in-house, which means that you pay less. We have access to a huge range of specials, deals, great volume pricing and excellent currency exchange rates which allows us to pass these benefits directly onto you.
On the fishing front, our extensive expertise and experience around prime seasons, species, moon-phases, tides and personalised customer service is centred around one principal – preparation. This includes detailed gear and equipment lists, the fly patterns, transfer details, up-to date fishing reports and some of the finer aspects that can often be overlooked.
We travel extensively and understand that your free-time is important. Just as we all understand from experience, that the key to a successful trip is pre-trip preparation.
Our highly experienced team has fly fished the world for the last 25 years, and we understand the considerations and gear needed to turn a good fly fishing trip into a great one.
Fly fishing and travel is our passion.
Please click on the link below if you have a question? And we’ll reply to you as soon as we can. Otherwise please contact us directly by email or phone.