02-12-2007, 11:18 AM
Hey gang, Got back Friday from two weeks family vacation in Cayo Guillermo Cuba. This wasn't a planned fishing trip but two rods did somehow make it into my suitcase he he! Stayed at the Iberostar Daiquiri and fished the nearby canals in front of the Daiquiri and Sol resorts. Fishing was limited to very early mornings and late evenings during low light/nightime conditions. Fishing the skittish/pressured tarpon in the canals during daylight hours was an exercise in frustration although I did jump a few. The Tarpons attitude changed dramatically when the sun dipped below the horison. Hits and blowups on small #4 and #2 Crease Flies were frequent and hair-raising. Jumped well over 30 fish to 20 or so pounds in total with the typical low landed-fish percentage of 6 fish to 10lbs.
Booked one aborted 1/2 day trip to fish the backwater mangroves behind the Cayo. My buddy and I were in the boat with the motor warming up when the guide (Ernesto/no english) didn't seem happy with the pre-arranged price booked through our travel rep at the hotel. He wanted us to cough up another $55.00!!!. Bottom line, I called the rep on the phone and demaned he send us a cab and refund our money (both done promptly). Initial cost of the trip (payed in advance) was $69.00 convertable pesos for the first angler and another $15.00 convertable pesos for the second. Ended up that there was a mis-understanding between the guide and our rep. Actual cost per/angler is $69.00 and non-anglers get the $15.00 rate. Oh well...not the initial bait and switch scam we though it was and we missed out on a 1/2 day fishing. We'll try it again next time we make it down.
Heading into Toronto in an hour or two to overnight there before catching our flight to Eleuthera Bahamas in the morning. Report on that trip to follow...
A little nightime Tarpon porn for ya...
thanks for the report, sounds like nighttime was the right time
$69 per person?
02-12-2007, 04:48 PM
WOW! The Bahamas backing up Cuba......nice work! Thanks for the Trip Report!
02-13-2007, 11:02 AM
Interesting report and great info.
Just to share another Cuba experience from last year, I went to Cayo Coco and had been in contact with a guide by email before this. What started out as a $70 CUC days fishing actually ended up as a $120 CUC plus a tip, which was a break from what the guy wanted.
Now I know that this is nothing compared to many other places but care must be taken when negotiating prices, I was quoted at 70 a day which in reality was 70 per person for half a day plus taxi plus water and food for the guide and a healthy tip.
Unfortunately due to poor weather, over cast and windy the day was not great but I saw enough to know that this is certainly worth another trip and there is enormous potential for this area. The rest of the week however was not great between guides not showing up and less than perfect weather. I did manage to enjoy some interesting fishing for Snook with the fly behind the hotel and took several to around 4 or 5lbs, lots of fun on a fly rod.
In short itís a great location but be prepared to fork out extra money than quoted and get referrals for guides from someone who has used them before.
One last note on my guide he did work very hard for me and was very intense, maybe a little too intense at times as I blew the few chances we had, Iím on vacation and the last thing I needed was to be scolded for this, I needed to be taught and have time to learn, anyway I had a great time just being there. Hey it was my first time ever bonefishing.
02-13-2007, 01:19 PM
Thanks for all the info on Cuba, great reports! Even if it is 70 dollars I wonder who gets the money? If the guide gets it he must be the wealthiest working person in Cuba. The average Cuban only makes a dollar or two a day from what I hear. I also hear that you can just hire someone with a boat to take you out really cheap. That may not work for bones too well on the flats but for Snook and tarpon it could be OK.
Hoping that in the next 4 years or so that American policy changes so we can enjoy Cuba as the rest of you do. But then again maybe Cuba is best left as it is, kind of exotic and one of the harder places for a U.S.A. fisherman to get to. Did I ever tell you about fishing adventures in N. Korea?:wink:
02-13-2007, 02:26 PM
I asked the same question and it is not the guide that gets the $70, he gets a monthly salary so to speak which I would guess is not very much, so the tips are important to them.
Problem here is if the tips are not big enough then there is little incentive for him to turn up every day. The only day I fished with my guide I almost had to beg him to go since the weather was not perfect. Their desire to give you a really great day is so intense that they would rather not go if conditions are not perfect.
I talked to a few other people there and some of the tips that some were giving to taxi drivers for example were, I though rather extreme. One example was a couple of guys were saying how good their taxi driver was (they had given him a 20 pound tip ($40) well no wonder he was good! This does tend to make things difficult for those that can’t keep up to this and really in the long run hurts the locals more than helps them. These are good hard working people that live a delicate financial balance in their lives and it is easy to throw off this balance.
But in saying this, Cuba is a cheaper and defiantly a worthwhile place to fish for bones if you find the right guide with the right attitude and you are yourself prepared for their ways.
02-13-2007, 10:02 PM
October C., If the policy changed you would have very little time to enjoy the uncrowded flats with inexpensive guides before capitalism moved in and ruined it. Cuba is a very unique fishing experience because of your governments stance. Imagine fishing in the Florida Keys if no US citizen were allowed south of Miami. That being said I would gladly give up my Cuban fishing trips if it would improve the quality of life of the Cuban people.
02-15-2007, 01:58 PM
I have fished at Cayo Largo in Cuba on a number of occasions in the past few years.
I thought at first it was good value for money for guided fishing and reasonable hotel accomodation albeit in an all inclusive tourist resort. OK the booze is free and maybe I overdid it on the odd night.
The fishing was very good, obviously the weather plays a big part.
My last trip there was last December.
I received a qoute for a trip in May and was totally shocked, the price had increased by 20% and was in Euros. On comparing this price I found that this trip was now more expensive than most of the very exclusive trips, including Alphonse Island in the Seychelles or even staying in a top luxury hotel in the Keys and hiring a top guide. I went back to the agents who went back to the organisers who would only budge slightly on price but having no competitive difference to other much more exclusive places.
When going somewhere like Cuba and being charged lots of money one can only ask who gets it?
It is certainly not the guides or the hotel staff.
There are a few people based in Europe who are basically involved in a sort of slave labour and making a fortune from it.
I feel that I have been certainly ripped off in the past but did not realise it because prices were very good on a competitive basis.
Now that the dollar is very weak against the Euro and pound the best deals on fishing trips can be had in the US or other US $ based places like the Bahamas.
My last trip was to one of the best lodges in the Bahamas. I know the guides there are reasonable paid. The accomodation and food was first class. The fishing was excellent. I saved significantly on a trip to Cayo Largo.
02-16-2007, 08:45 AM
I have looked at prices for trips in Cayo Largo and it is a lot more expensive than the Cayo Coco area, also a lot more developed as well.
On my trip to Cayo Coco I went with the mind set of fishing 5 to 6 days and managed only one half day, sure the weather was not perfect but when you go to fish you fish regardless.
Bottom line is no matter how cheap the place is, time and vacation are far too precious to waste and I would much rather pay more and get to fish everyday.
Hence this year itís Acklins for me, Pete Vicar I see you will be there March also
Would be nice to say hi