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Isle of Youth | Cuba | Tarpon Fly Fishing

Overview

Tour code: CUB004  

This is flat’s fishing far beyond your wildest dreams! The Isle of Youth lays 100km off the coast of mainland Cuba, nearly straight south of Havana. If Tarpon are on your hit list, this is definitely the destination for you. There are both resident and monster migratory Tarpon just waiting for you.

We have two accommodation options. First, there is fishing out of Gerona, where anglers board the skiffs at our private dock. Second, anglers lucky enough to be fishing aboard our French luxury yacht, the Perola, will be treated to fishing the remote flats in the chain of keys that run from the Isle of Youth seventy-five miles east to the end Key called Cayo Largo.

Whichever option you choose, the oceanside flats to the south offer wonderful wade fishing opportunities on hard sand bottom. The Bonefish seem to average 3-5 pounds, but occasionally larger fish are seen and taken, right up to 10 pounds.

Permit are also found on selected flats both on the “inside” and on the “outside” flats, most fish are in the 15-25 lb class. Mutton Snapper and Cubera Snapper are very common in all of the larger channels that run through the island system. Many Mutton Snapper over ten pounds gets caught on the fly, right up to 15 pounds –world record size! Nearly everyone catches a big Mutton or two when fishing for Tarpon in the channels.

Jack Crevalle is also common, both in the channels and out on the flats. The island system to the North has many larger channels where there is a resident population of good-sized Tarpon, with many fish in the 50-80 pound class. Later in the spring and summer Tarpon up to 150 lb have been caught.

If you have any questions on any of the saltwater fly fishing holidays we offer then contact us in the office, our experienced team will be happy to help you with any queries you have. Additionally, you can request a free brochure.

Accommodation
Hotel Rancho

The Hotel Rancho El Tesoro is located on the outskirts of Gerona, the Isle of Youth’s largest city of 75,000 people. The Isle of Youth is situated about 100km off the south coast of mainland Cuba. It is a home to some of Cuba’s most important agricultural farmland and is a key producer of citrus fruits for export. The standard of living is generally higher, largely due to the preponderance of well cultivated arable land, which makes the problem of food shortages less pronounced than on the mainland.

Meals are superb, a combination of classic Cuban dishes like smoked pork, chicken, black bean soup, rice and beans, but also fresh fish like mutton snapper and grouper. The French fries are out of this world. Salads with fresh tomatoes and other vegetables are served with olive oil and Balsamic Vinegar dressing. Our chef is happy to prepare sashimi from freshly caught fish of the day. Evening meals feature several different entrees and our chef has often been accused of preparing enough food for twice the number of people we’ll have at the table. We can promise you, that no one will go hungry on this trip! Anglers staying at Hotel Rancho have their own private dining room, as well as their own private chef and waiting staff. The dining room is air-conditioned and used not only for meals, but also as a place to relax before dinner with a perfect Mojito and perhaps a classic Cuban Cigar.

The front desk is open on a 24 hour basis. Telephone service is available to anywhere in the world as well as internet capability for hotel guests.

Board: Full board
Rooms: Single rooms
Telephone: In reception
Internet: In reception
Laundry: Nominal charge
Power: 110 volt
Air Conditioning: In rooms
Meals: Private dinning room
Alcohol: In private lounge
Cash Accepted: Euros
Species Information
Bonefish
Season: All year
Peak: April to June
Weight: 1lb to 12lb
Average Weight: 5lb
Permit
Season: All year
Peak: April to June
Weight: 1lb to 30lb
Average Weight: 10lb
Tarpon
Season: All year
Peak: April to May
Weight: 10lb to 130lb
Average Weight: 45lb

Itinerary

The below itinerary is only a suggested one, as there are indirect flights departing from the UK everyday. We also have direct flights departing the UK twice a week with Virgin, which requires additional nights in Havana both at the beginning and end of the standard itinerary. Therefore should you wish to extend your stay with more time in Cuba or to use the Virgin direct flights, the itinerary below can be tailored to suit. Please note: the fishing is sold in set weeks with set start and finish days, therefore we can not make shorter fishing trips.

Day 1: (Thursday)

Depart UK (alternative routes available)
Arrive in Havana.

On arrival outside our representative will be waiting to greet you.

They will then transfer you to your hotel. (Note: The transfer is not included and payable locally).

The rest of the evening is yours to either relax or explore.

Overnight accommodation: Parque Central Hotel in Havana (Twin Rooms) B/B

Day 2: (Friday)

Early wake up and meet in the hotel reception, where you will be transferred for your domestic flight to the lsle of Youth.

Depart Havana
Arrive in Isle of Youth.

On arrival transfer from the airport to the Hotel.

Overnight accommodation: Hotel Rancho F/B or Perola F/B (Twin Rooms)

Day 3: (Saturday) Fishing Day

You will depart at 8 AM with guides for your full days fishing.

Overnight accommodation: Hotel Rancho F/B or Perola F/B (Twin Rooms)

Day 4: (Sunday) Fishing Day

Each day fishing is based on 2 anglers per guide and skiff.

Overnight accommodation: Hotel Rancho F/B or Perola F/B (Twin Rooms)

Day 5: (Monday) Fishing Day

Fishing is normally done either from the skiff or wading the miles of great Bonefish flats.

Overnight accommodation: Hotel Rancho F/B or Perola F/B (Twin Rooms)

Day 6: (Tuesday) Fishing Day

Discuss each morning with your guide what fish you would like to target.

Overnight accommodation: Hotel Rancho F/B or Perola F/B (Twin Rooms)

Day 7 & 8: (Wednesday to Thursday) Fishing Days

As the week progresses, why not try to target the huge migratory Tarpon.

Overnight accommodation: Hotel Rancho F/B or Perola F/B (Twin Rooms)

Day 9: (Friday)

At lunchtime transfer back to domestic airport for your return flight back to Havana.

Depart Isle of Youth
Arrive in Havana.

On arrival, you will be transferred to your hotel.

Overnight accommodation: Parque Central Hotel in Havana (Twin Rooms) B/B

Day 10: (Saturday)

Subject to your flight time, you will arrange an airport transfer with the hotel reception back to Havana airport.

Depart Havana

Day 11: (Sunday

Arrive UK

Prices

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. Plus what’s more if you book with Sportquest Holidays your holiday is protect by our ATOL and the Travel Package Regulations Act. To see more details CLICK HERE.

Start Date End Date Days Nights Fishing Angler Non-Angler Availability Notes
02/09/2019 29/03/2020 11 10 6 £4,222 N/A Enquire Now N/A
30/03/2020 24/08/2020 11 10 6 £5,368 N/A Enquire Now N/A
02/09/2020 29/03/2021 11 10 6 £4,222 N/A Enquire Now N/A

Price Notes

Prices are based on two adults sharing transfers, fishing and accommodation staying at the Hotel Rancho (unless otherwise stated) and are correct at the time of going to press. Subject to time of year or date and currency fluctuations, these prices may fluctuate slightly due to flight price increases or fuel surcharge.

For groups wishing to stay on the Perola, contact us for group DISCOUNTS. Also for larger groups we also offer a FREE HOST.

ATOL
Holidays or flights booked with Sportquest Holidays Limited are protected by the Civil Aviation Authority by our ATOL bond (Number 6371). ATOL protects you from losing your money or being stranded abroad. It does this by carrying out financial checks on the firms it licenses and requiring a guarantee, called a bond.

What's Included

  • All international flights
  • Transfers to / from domestic airport.
  • Return flights to Isle of Youth
  • 2 nights accommodation Parque Central Hotel Havana B/B
  • 6 nights accommodation on Tortuga F/B
  • 6 full days guided fishing
  • Fishing License’s
  • Packed lunch while fishing
  • 10 beers, 30 water & soft drinks
  • Marine Park License
  • Cuban visa

What's Excluded

  • Personal holiday insurance
  • Tips for guides and staff
  • Fishing tackle

Options

  • Flight upgrades

  • Direct Virgin flights

  • Additional nights in Havana

Price Supplements

  • N/A

Price Match Promise

We are so confident that our packaged prices are the best available and offer great value for money.

If, however, you find an identical holiday available with any other fully bonded Tour Operator at a lower price, we will match that price.

Financial Security

Holidays or flights booked with Sportquest Holidays Limited are protected by the Civil Aviation Authority by our ATOL bond (Number 6371). ATOL protects you from losing your money or being stranded abroad. It does this by carrying out financial checks on the firms it licenses and requiring a guarantee, called a bond.

Tour Notes

Visa

A machine-readable passport with at least 6 months before expiry. Tourist visa card required before departure (Supplied)

Medical Requirements

No vaccinations currently required

Please Note

All details of visa and medical requirements are correct at time of press however please check these requirements for changes.

Departure tax

Departure tax included in flight ticket

Flight Route & Flight Time

UK – Havana (approx 9.5 hrs) Havana – Isle of Youth (approx 25 mins)

Baggage Allowance

Your actual allowance is based on both which airline you are flying with and also what class of seat you are travelling in. Normally in economy it is 1 checked bag, Premium Economy / Business 2 checked bags, First 3 checked bags. In addition to your checked bags you are also allowed 1 cabin bag and either 1-laptop bag or ladies handbag. The actual size and weight limit for bags is dependent on the airline. We therefore recommend that once your flights are booked you check on the airlines website for the up to date allowances.

If your itinerary includes private light aircraft or helicopter flights we will advise you on your baggage and weight allowance.

Transfer Time

Havana airport – Parque Central Hotel (approx 30 mins) Isle of Youth airport – Rancho Hotel (approx 20 mins)

Blogs

Reviews

Baxter

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.

Reply from Sportquest Holidays

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.

Tight lines

Wilfred

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.

Regards Wilfred

Reply from Sportquest Holidays

Dr Wilfred

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.

Percy

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.

Reply from Sportquest Holidays

Percy

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.

Charles

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.

Reply from Sportquest Holidays

Charles

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

Tight lines

Geoff

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

Reply from Sportquest Holidays

Geoff

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.

Regards Peter

James

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.

Reply from Sportquest Holidays

James

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.

Regards Peter

Frank

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!

Reply from Sportquest Holidays

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

Regards Peter

John

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.

Reply from Sportquest Holidays

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

George

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.

Reply from Sportquest Holidays

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

Ian

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.

Reply from Sportquest Holidays

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

Matt

A great week on the Isle of Youth with Jack Simpson, thanks for organising everything Regards Matt

Reply from Sportquest Holidays

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.

Michael

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.

Reply from Sportquest Holidays

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

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