Isla De La Juventud, or the Isle of Youth, as it’s also known, is located 100 kilometres off the coast of mainland Cuba, approximately on the same longitude as Havana. Comparable in size to the Florida Keys, it’s the largest of the 350 islets in the Archipelago de Los Canarreos and a myriad of mangrove islets, sandy flats and turtle grass expanses. Said to be the inspiration for Robert Louis Stevenson’s ‘Treasure Island’, Isla de la Juventud is steeped in history and tradition and is a world away from the crowded white sand beaches of Varadero and other more tourist-focused areas in Cuba.
Home to one of the best world-class saltwater fly fishing destinations for Tarpon. The Isla De La Juventud offers some of the best flats fishing found anywhere in the world. Combined with our luxury liveaboard accommodation Avalon F1 fishes the remote flats in the chain of keys that run from the Isle of Youth seventy-five kilometres east to the end Key called Cayo Largo.
This destination is ideal for saltwater fly fishing anglers with an obsession for monster Tarpon, as both resident and migratory specimens are abundant across the whole marine ecosystem. Between March and June, fish to over 100lb regularly get landed, and the destination consistently exceeds expectations.
This destination can be booked as either an exclusive party of between 8 to 12 anglers, it is also possible to book as individuals on certain dates to make up group bookings. Call our offices on 01603 407596 for availability
The majority of saltwater fly fishing anglers travelling to the Isla De Juventud do so to sample the world-class Tarpon fishing that the destination has to offer. Without a doubt, sport for these specimen silver bars is some of the finest you’ll find anywhere in the Caribbean and possibly even the world. While the spring and summer months are typically the most consistent, with a peak in April and May, the fish are abundant throughout the year.
When the waters and weather are calm with light winds, polling the flats is the most productive method. Generally, the fish in this area will be between 30lb to 80lb; however, larger specimens to over 100lb are not uncommon and caught on a fairly regular basis.
When the weather is harsh and visibility affected by clouds and rain, success can be enjoyed by fishing the channels and lagoons, many of which hold a surprising water depth, attracting some of the most significant specimens. The guides know the area’s where the biggest fish lay, and it’s one of the most effective ways of hooking them, and they’re almost always there.
As well as Tarpon, Isla De Juventud is home to all the traditional flats species, with large numbers of Bonefish and Permit, as well as a whole host of reef fish like Jack Crevalle and Barracuda.
Isla De La Juventud is ideal for fly-fishermen who wish to live and experience fishing from dawn till dusk. They offer more fishing hours than any other destination and are totally at the angler’s discretion.
A regular day usually begins with a hearty breakfast around 7.00 am before departing with your guides at around 8.00 am. The advantage of staying right on the fishing grounds on the liveaboard, is the skiffs get accessed from the deck of the boat, and you can generally be fishing within one or two minutes after setting off. The liveaboard Avalon F1 explores the remote waters and Marine Park of the Canarreos Archipelago and reaches areas beyond any land-based flats skiffs, fishing waters that rarely see other anglers.
After fishing all morning and with the accommodation so close, it’s common to head back for lunch, escaping the hottest of the midday sun and relaxing for an hour before heading back out for the afternoon. The afternoon session usually runs between 4.00pm and dusk, when you’ll return to base to get showered and settled for dinner.
To find out more about saltwater fly fishing in Cuba at Isla De La Juventud, visit our YouTube channel.
All the fishing is based on two anglers per guide, unless you have upgraded to a single skiff and as you’d expect, all are local to the area and know the fishing grounds intimately. In addition, they all receive comprehensive training, initially at Cayo Largo and then undergo further training at the Jardines de la Reina, meaning by the time they return to the Isle of Youth, they are suitably experienced. Finally, given some guidance on what you want to fish for and how you would like to fish, they will work the area available to locate the best possible fishing opportunities, whether on the flats for Tarpon or mangrove edges for Snook and Bonefish.
The majority of the fishing at Isla De La Juventud gets conducted from the bow of the famous Cuban Dolphin Skiffs, powered by 70HP outboards designed to negotiate the saltwater environment. However, there are opportunities for wade fishing as well.
On the Isla De La Juventud, it’s possible to fish all year round. However, the most stable weather patterns are experienced from November to the end of July. Off-season, the island is susceptible to hurricanes, and numerous islands are eerily scarred with swathes of dead mangroves that have been stripped of their foliage. Average temperatures range from 23 degrees in January to 28 degrees in August, the hottest month.
Jardines Avalon FI is an intimate, comfortable and stylishly designed yacht, where each space has been created to provide guests with maximum comfort and safety. The atmosphere was conceived and designed to provide guests with an experience of a lifetime.
At over 130 feet in length, the overall capacity is 18 passengers and eight crew members, although we recommend between 8 and 12 anglers for optimum comfort. The design and interior decor give the yacht a touch of intimacy, refinement, a sense of warmth and simplicity. The boat has the perfect balance of substantial exploration capabilities and a unique and noble style. It guarantees all our guests a pleasant, exciting and exclusive voyage through Jardines de la Reina or Isla de la Juventud.
The mothership’s cabins have been built with extreme care, emphasizing comfort and safety above all else. You’ll also find a blend of exquisite décor and great taste, so you definitely won’t miss anything from home. You’ll also experience our warm and attentive service during your trip.
There are eight deluxe king cabins, with eight private bathrooms, with air conditioning and heat controls, electricity plugs, and storage in drawers. Each room has panoramic windows to enjoy the breathtaking view of the Caribbean beaches.
There is a spacious and comfortable combination lounge, dining room and bar area on the boat deck, where you will do much of your socializing and dining. The setting is casual and filled with fun and entertainment. In this area, you can find DVDs and music to add even more enjoyment to your stay.
The food and drink on the vessel are as luxurious as the accommodation itself. Menus are wide-ranging with local and western cuisine; however, the chefs onboard are renowned for their delicious fresh fish, lobster and conch dishes, accompanied by a wide range of vegetables and salad.
A wide range of soft drinks and beer is available, and a selection of house wines gets served with every evening meal. Spirits don’t get included, but it’s effortless to pick up a bottle from the airport on your journey, and the staff will be more than happy to provide you with great rum cocktails.
These other vessels are available on request, and you can find out more information on each by clicking the boat name below…
Jardines Avalon I
Jardines Avalon II
Jardines Avalon III
Jardines Avalon IV
Jardines Avalon F II
Although the fishing days are fixed, the below itinerary is still flexible should you require additional free days to explore at the beginning or end of your holiday; we can tailor this itinerary to suit you personally. Feel free to talk to our travel consultants who can explain all options available.
Depart UK (alternative routes available)
On arrival take a taxi to your overnight hotel (Not included)
Spend the rest of the day relaxing and exploring Havana
Overnight accommodation: 4-star hotel Havana (Twin Room) B/B
Early in the morning, you will be picked up from your hotel lobby for your transfer to the domestic airport for your flight to the Isla De La Juventud.
On arrival, you will be transferred to Avalon F1, check-in and get settled before sailing to Isle of Youth fishing grounds.
Dinner is around 7 pm at which time there will be a briefing of your up and coming week.
Overnight accommodation: Avalon F1 (Single or Twin Room) F/B
A typical day of fishing will consist of a 7:00 AM: Wake-up call. 7:30 AM: Breakfast. 8:00 AM Fishing. Return late afternoon. Appetizer and dinner.
Each day fishing is based on two anglers per guide and skiff.
Fishing is normally done either from the skiff or wading the miles of great Bonefish flats.
Each morning you will discuss with your guide what fish you would like to target.
Overnight accommodation: Avalon F1 (Single or Twin Room) F/B
Sail back to Isla De La Juventud, where you will be transferred to the internal flight back to your Havana hotel. The rest of the evening is free to relax and enjoy.
Overnight accommodation: 4-star hotel Havana (Twin Room) B/B
Subject to your flight time, arrange an airport transfer with the hotel reception back to Havana airport. (Not included)
Average Customer Satisfaction Score 87%
"A fantastic experience for my wife and I, the hotel is basic but the attentive staff mean you do not want for anything. Polite, friendly and efficient, they were great. The staff are friendly, professional, and really know their fishing. They go out of their way to help you. A great holiday, a very different slice of Cuba on the Island, we will be back!"
"Just returned from another great trip, had some fantastic fishing everyday. On some days I hooked up 8 Tarpon but on average only landed 1 big Tarpon per day. Also had plenty of Bones, Snook and some big snappers up to 25lb all on the fly. Only had one issue with a slight delay on the return transfer back to Havana. As normal a great trip so a huge thanks."
"Fishing was great and just what we wanted. Unfortunately the Cubans disorganised bumped out of Park central to cheaper hotel way outside the city (very Poor) should get a refund for that. Return Flight from Isle of youth changed to a ferry - should get a refund for that as well. Over all good but let down by poor communication in Cuba"
The season runs from September to July.
Season: All year
Peak: April to June
Weight: 1lb to 12lb
Average Weight: 5lb
Season: All year
Peak: April to June
Weight: 1lb to 30lb
Average Weight: 10lb
Season: All year
Peak: April to May
Weight: 10lb to 130lb
Average Weight: 45lb
Remember that Sportquest Holidays' services are completely FREE! When you book a trip with Sportquest Holidays, you never pay more than when you book directly with the lodge and flights independently.
Prices are based on 10 adults sharing transfers, fishing and accommodation as an exclusive charter and are correct at the time of going to press. This destination is also possible to book as a part charter if you have a minimum of 4 anglers. We also have some dates available for either individuals or couples on certain dates where we are looking to make up the numbers for a full charter.
A full charter includes 8 cabins for 10 anglers and 5 skiffs and 5 full-time guides, plus cabin crew.
Subject to time of year or date and currency fluctuations, these prices may fluctuate slightly due to flight price increases or fuel surcharges.
A fantastic experience for my wife and I, the hotel is basic but the attentive staff mean you do not want for anything. Polite, friendly and efficient, they were great.
The staff are friendly, professional, and really know their fishing.
They go out of their way to help you.
A great holiday, a very different slice of Cuba on the Island, we will be back!
Frank so glad that both you and your partner enjoyed the trip and a big thank you for all your great comments I will make sure they are passed on.
I look forward in talking to you to hear first hand how the holiday went.
it was a pleasure looking after you both and I look forward in helping you both again soon
Just returned from another great trip, had some fantastic fishing everyday. On some days I hooked up 8 Tarpon but on average only landed 1 big Tarpon per day. Also had plenty of Bones, Snook and some big snappers up to 25lb all on the fly. Only had one issue with a slight delay on the return transfer back to Havana. As normal a great trip so a huge thanks.
Mr Hartley, was great talking to you on the phone after your trip, glad the weather was kind this year and by the sound of it the fish keen to bite. going 8 for 1 on the tarpon is frustrating but all the same great fun. I look forward in arranging your next trip, plus you also have Mexico to look forward to. Kind Regards Peter
Fishing was great and just what we wanted.
Unfortunately the Cubans disorganised bumped out of Park central to cheaper hotel way outside the city (very Poor) should get a refund for that.
Return Flight from Isle of youth changed to a ferry - should get a refund for that as well.
Over all good but let down by poor communication in Cuba
Thanks for your feedback as all this information is very useful to everyone involved. We are extremely sorry that on your first night in Havana your hotel was changed. This is one of the most frustrating points with Cuba along with the internal flights. Unfortunately as the country is still very poor organisation skills are lacking. With the flights if locals wish to fly they get given preference and tourists get bumped of the flights. Normally you would just be put on to later internal flights and this is the very first time any of our customers have been put on a ferry back to the mainland as an alternative.
I have spoken to Simon about this in detail and would just like to say sorry from us a Sportquest Holidays.
On the positive note it was great to hear that you all enjoyed the fishing as the tarpon were in perfect form. There is nothing like these Tarpon chasing down your flies and then leaving you to pray that you can keep them on the line.
I see that you have also suggested a couple of other destinations that you would like to try next. If we can be of any assistance please do not hesitate to contact me directly.
A great week on the Isle of Youth with Jack Simpson, thanks for organising everything Regards Matt
Matt, thanks for your comments and feedback, it was good to talk to you on the telephone and look forward in arranging your next trip.
The fishing was spoilt by the first tropical storm "andrew"; not your fault! Boat Georgiana and skiff excellent. It would have been helpful to have a guide who spoke more English; I gave and will continue to give Louis lessons and an appropriate vocabulary for the task! As a fisher guide he was excellent and tried hard and sometimes successfully to find fish despite the heavy rain and high winds 3 /4 foot waves between cays, reef inaccessible with 6 foot plus waves. In the end I did get 19 fish incl 3 Tarpon and several Bonefish some big Barracuda (45lbs) and one 15 lbs Red Snapper, but mainly because I was prepared to spin and troll as well as fly fish. So overall I enjoyed my holidays even tho the weather did its best to spoil it.
A tip for anyone going fly fishing always take a light spinning outfit with you, for if like me you get caught in a storm you can still spin on bad days which is much better than sitting indoors moaning about the weather.
Ian, thanks for you feedback and comments I will pas them on to the guides. Yes I am sorry about the weather its a pain when tropical storms hit as they effect the fishing so much. But I loved your attitude about just getting on with it and the proof was in your results even in one of the worst fishing weeks possible. Regards Peter
Jack Simpson and the rest of the fishing 'crew' made the trip worthwhile. I think that the Hotel facilities could be greatly improved as its getting very tired now.
George, thanks for your comments I will make sure they are passed on to the guides and Jack Simpson. I am glad that you enjoyed your trip and you caught what you wanted. Sorry about the hotel Rancho, as you know its a basic Cuban hotel well off the beaten tourist track. Its the only option we have for the land based operation, however we do have two live aboard options for the Isle of Youth which are now becoming very popular. Regards Mel
On arrival to havana met by agent no problem, but transport had not been arranged and we were asked what we wanted cabs or taxi.we opted for minio bus as all traveling together,then we had to wait for nearly an hour for it to arrive.
From rancho it should have been again early morning,we were advised by rancho manager it could ? be an early flight and if it did not fly it could be 19.00 an offer of the ferry was put in place which we took and some nine hours later arrive in havana.
Thank you for taking the time to complete the customer feedback.
In relation to the transfer on arrival, this part is not included in the package, as you said our agents were there to meet you and normally they would arrange to have cars awaiting for you. However as there was 8 in your group they wanted to wait to see if you all wanted to get a minibus or 2 taxis.
I have spoken to Simon about the return flights from the Isle of youth. We are sorry that due to the sheer amount of locals who wished to fly that day that you got bumped of both flights back to the mainland. This is the very first time any of our customers have been transferred back via ferry as normally if you get bumped of one flight they just put you on the next one. So again a huge apology for this but its was very out of the normal.
Glad to hear that you all loved the trip and the fishing was just as expected. Also good news that the Tarpon fishing was on form and we look forward in getting some great copies of all your pictures.
Thank you for all your custom and we look forward in assisting you again in the near future.
Had a great holiday with a great group of customers, had one small issue on arrival with no single room available as booked, apart from that it all went perfect. Thanks to everyone.
Glad you had a great trip, not to sure what went wrong in Havana with the single room, but glad it all got sorted in the end. Will look forward in seeing your pictures. Regards Peter
Thank you all for a fantastic holiday and fishing trip.
Isle of Youth is a top class operation and destination for Tarpon on the fly.
Hotel is basic but the staff with the private dinning room for fishing guests made it all acceptable.
We have posted you some pictures with some great action shots so hope you enjoy them.
Thank you for all your help.
Thank you again for the feedback and chat.
I have also received the pictures and will put them in a blog ... thanks.
I look forward in chatting with you all again soon
We stayed at Hotel Rancho for 2 weeks tarpon fishing, and can honestly say we all had the fishing experience of our life.
So glad that we opted for 2 weeks for somedays were far better than others (Not sure what it just seemed somedays we could find more tarpon than others so well worth spending the extra time)
The boat ride as others have mentioned before each morning and return back to the dock can be quite rough as its a large open channel. Make sure you take a good coat as the wind combined with wind spray chills you right down.
We booked everything through Sportquest Holidays as it was the complete package and the right deal for us. We are either far to busy or lazy to make all the arrangements, they even supplied us with the Cuban tourist visas. It was all to easy.
I believe we will have to return in a few years time, as we would like to look at the Seychelles for next year please.
Thanks for talking to me and for your feedback, so glad that you all enjoyed the trip and that the 2 weeks worked out perfectly.
I am not sure why you somedays see more fish than others, as we talked about sometimes its just the difference in where you look as its such a vast area, sometimes your paths cross with more fish than other days.
Also thanks for the point about the boat crossing, I know from personal experience that the crossing can be quite cold in the wind. So thanks for mentioning it so everyone can see from a customers perspective.
Talk again soon.
The accommodation was very basic but if you are going like us for fishing it is more than adequate.
The fishing, guides and boats are all top class and well worth all the travel and visit.
Our group of doctors enjoyed the trip immensely, so a huge thank you to everyone involved.
Havana was also an interesting place, but you can already see how its changing with the influence of other countries.
It was so nice catching up with you on the telephone and listening to all your very amusing stories.
Yes as we had discussed the accommodation is basic, but as you have kindly said it has everything an angler needs, after all it is only for sleeping in. At least the rooms are all air conditioned and have private bathrooms.
I trust I will talk to you all again soon and look forward in assisting you for the next adventure.
Isle of Youth was a real gem in a stunning country.
Not to much to say apart from we enjoyed the trip with some first class fishing. The tarpon are insane
Would we go back? yes we would love to.
Thank you for the review, I have tried to call you to discuss your trip in more detail. perhaps you can call me in the office when you have some free time.
Glad you liked the trip and hope that we can help you again in the future sometime soon.
Bluewater Fishing Panama offers travelling anglers the chance to enjoy a fantastic week of mixed fishing for an array of hard-fighting species. Fishing the rich waters of the Gulf of Chiriquí, an area responsible for over 50 IGFA World Records, you'll wet a line in some of the most famous fishing marks on the planet.
Abaco Lodge is located on the Marl's side of Great Abaco Island, in the Bahamas. This area, known as the “Marls of Abaco”, is a vast expanse of prime wilderness Bonefish habitat that has long been known by well-travelled bone fishermen as one of the most unique and productive fisheries in the Bahamas.
Cayo Paredón is the hottest, newest destination in the portfolio of our partners Fly Fishing the Run. Located in the province of Camaguey, the easternmost, most significant and flattest region in the centre of Cuba, it's a saltwater fly fishing paradise, home to all the 'Grand Slam' species.
The Zancudo Lodge, where over 70 IGFA records have been set, is world-renowned for its lure and fly fishing inshore and offshore and its finest service. You will receive access to all the required fishing tackle from ultra-light to heavy fly fishing tackle with all poppers, lures, jigs and small flies will also be included.
This unique combo trip offers travelling anglers the opportunity to fish both the serene island atolls of Fanning Island and Christmas Island in one trip. It's a trip tailor-made for the serious saltwater fly angler, who yearns to visit some of the most remote places on earth to wet a fly in pursuit of their quarry.