This land based option, located only a few hours’ drive from Havana and can be a great way to get in a day of fishing if you are already in Cuba traveling on your own itinerary or if you have booked a cultural tour and would like to get in a day or two on the water.With new Beavertail skiffs for saltwater fishing on the Las Salinas flats, and Bass Tracker boats to access tarpon and snook fishing in the nearby Rio Hatiguanico River, this option allows for a completely customizable trip that offers the best of both salt and freshwater fishing in Cuba.
With ultimate flexibility, you can elect for the right combination of salt water flats fishing days combined with freshwater fishing for tarpon and snook. The hotel and the dining package, which include trips to local paladars (restaurants in private homes), allow for the unique opportunity to experience the real local flavor of Cuba. You can choose to fish for a day and return to Havana for the night or stay in Playa Larga for a dynamic week of both salt and sweet water fishing.
Playa Larga is a small fishing community located on the famous Bahia de Cochinos (Bay of Pig’s). On April 17, 1961 this beach was logged into the history books by the famous Bay of Pig’s Invasion. In an attempt to overthrow Fidel Castro from power, CIA and US backed 1,400 Cuban exiles who landed at this beach. The invasion was a complete failure with the invaders being outnumbered by Castro’s troops and the exiles surrendered after less than 24 hours of fighting. Now the beach is a popular place for Cubans taking a break from Havana during their summer vacations and for tourists from around the world to enjoy a refreshing dip and escape the Caribbean heat. Diver’s and snorkelers flock to this area for the easy access to wall diving in the waters of the Bay of Pigs.
On of the things that make this fishing area so unique is the large amount of skinny or shallow water. Much of the area simply cannot be accessed and fished using traditional flats skiffs with two anglers and a guide. To that end, we utilize both “single angler” skiffs – smaller, skinny-water boats designed for a solo angler and one guide in addition to Beavertail double skiffs. The skinny water single angler boats are typically used for shallow water to access the bonefishing and permit fishing deep within the flats systems.
Each morning, guests will transfer by vehicle about an hour to Las Salinas fishing area which is part of the Ciénaga de Zapata National Park. You will arrive at a covered staging area where you can rig your gear and, if you are fishing for multiple days, you can rinse and store your gear for subsequent fishing days. Once rigged, you step onto the private docks and board your skiff(s) for the day. Anglers can expect to fish for bonefish and permit, with possibilities for other marine species (tarpon, snook, jacks, barracuda, etc.) as well.
If you are fishing the Rio Hatiguanico, you will transfer by vehicle an hour and a half to a different park entrance to the expansive Ciénaga de Zapata Biosphere Reserve and National Park. The source of this gem of a fishery is a huge sweet water natural spring that flows westward into the Ensenada de la Broa and the open ocean. There is a small boat house and staging area where you can rig your rods and step onto the comfortable boats for a short motor downriver to where river opens up into a wide channel. There are over 14 kilometers of river channels to fish between the headwaters and staging area and the river mouth where it meets the salt. Tarpon and snook are the targeted species along this With any luck, you may see manatees coming up for air in the main channel.
Boats and Equipment
When fishing the flats of Las Salinas you will be fishing from either a 16’ 8” foot 2016 Beavertail skiff (single occupancy) or a 17’6” foot 2016 Beavertail skiff (double occupancy). These Beavertail skiffs are specifically designed for very skinny water and are the ideal craft for accessing the far reaches of the expansive flats system. Wading boots are highly recommended for Las Salinas.
When fishing for tarpon and snook on the Rio Hatiguanico, you will fish from either a 16 or 17 foot 2016 Bass Tracker with 40-50 HP Mercury motors.
It is recommended that anglers bring all of their own fishing equipment. Flies, leaders, tippet, all terminal tackle and all accessories should be brought down, as very few items, if any, are available anywhere in Cuba.
Anglers will stay at a private, anglers-only section of the Playa Larga Hotel in the town of Playa Larga with a private entrance. Guests stay in colorful bungalows with a front porch, interior sitting area, private bath with shower, two double beds, air conditioning, and hot water. There is a private beach area available to angling guests only a short walk from the bungalows.
Food and Beverages
There are a variety of dining options in Playa Larga. El Ranchon is a private bar and grill for the angling guests at Playa Larga Hotel only. Beers, spirits, sodas, water and juices will be available at any time to guests at this cantina. Guests can order from a diverse menu of meat, seafood, chicken or pork options, all expertly grilled and prepared at El Ranchon. In addition, an abbreviated menu will be available 24 hours a day to anglers. Upon request, transportation to a local paladar (private dining experience at a Cuban home and some of the best food in Cuba) such as Casa Alexis, Paladar Chuchy el Pescador or Paladar Las Terrazas for dinner. We highly recommend having at least one evening meal locally – the experience and the food are not to be missed.
Typical Length of Stay
Any length of stay can be accommodated. A package of any number of nights and guided fishing days can be arranged, and guests can arrive and depart on any day of the week. Additional days and nights in Havana or visits to other parts of Cuba can easily be arranged and itineraries can be fully customized. Combo trips between Zapata and other fishing areas can also be arranged if desired. Please contact Yellow Dog for more details.
Non-Angling Activities and Options
Non-angling activities include snorkeling, diving, bird watching and guided walking tours of the nearby Ciénaga de Zapata National Park.
Wi-Fi is available at the hotel, but can be unpredictable and may not maintain good connectivity. You can purchase internet cards from the hotel for about 2 CUC for one hour of connectivity. Keep in mind that U.S. cell phones currently DO NOT work anywhere in Cuba. Also, satellite phones are strictly prohibited in Cuba and will be confiscated at the airport upon arrival.
For travel details and booking information please contact our Travel Partner, Yellow Dog Flyfishing Adventures.
Please tell them that Blackfly Outfitter sent you and don't forget about our custom fly kits.