Isle of Youth (Isla de la Juventud)

Isla de la Juventud (Isle of Youth)

Isla de la Juventud is part of the same archipelago as Cayo Largo, although it is much larger.  It is reported to be the island that featured as the original Treasure Island in the imagination of Robert Louis Stevenson.  The island is a huge natural marine park with white sandy beaches and a combination of coral and turtle grass flats.  The main town is Nueva Gerona, which is where Hotel El Rancho is located.

The area is huge, with plenty of variety in terms of flats.  The configuration of cays offers shelter from all but the most severe weather, so a short run to another spot, possibly through some choppy water, will always take you to new, fishable flats – away from the wind.

At Isla de la Juventud there is the option of accommodation at the Hotel El Rancho (rooms are all single basis), or on board the yacht, Perola.

The Fishing:

Until recently this area had never been fished, and 2006 was the first year that fishermen had access to this destination.  

The maximum capacity of the Isla de la Juventud operation is 20 fishermen, 6 accommodated at one end of this vast fishing area on board the yacht, Perola, 8 at the other end based at the Hotel Rancho, and a further 6 on board the new yacht, Georgiana.  As in Cayo Largo, fishing areas are rotated daily so as to ensure that there is never too much fishing pressure.

Isla de la Juventud is first and foremost a ‘big tarpon’ destination.  In the high season particularly there will hardly be a week where at least one tarpon of over 70lbs is not taken by every rod – and many over 100lbs are seen every day.  Bonefish are plentiful, and the average size of over 5lbs is superior to many other destinations in the area. Permit are fewer, but are to be found on certain flats from time to time.

The guides are all local, so know the water well, and are all professionally trained to match the standards demanded.

The Programme:

The Hotel Rancho programme runs from Saturday to Saturday, and the Perola and Georgiana programmes from Saturday to Friday. The flight from Havana is 35 minutes, and the transfer to the Hotel El Rancho is just 10 minutes, and another 10-15 minutes to the live-aboard yachts.

The Hotel Rancho programme is as follows:

Day 1 Friday: VIP Reception at Havana airport, transfer (not included) to 5 star Hotel Parque Central 
Day 2 Saturday: Transfer to domestic airport for short flight to Nueva Gerona.  Transfer to the Hotel El Rancho
Days 3 - 8 6 full days fishing (8 hours/day)
Day 9 Saturday: Return flight to Havana, overnight at 5 star Hotel Parque Central
Day 10 Sunday: End of programme

The Perola and Georgiana programmes follow the above regime with the exception that the return to Havana is on Friday (Day 8) following ½ day morning fishing, and with the last night of the programme in Havana being the Friday, not Saturday, night.

Accommodation:

Accommodation in Havana on the first, and last, nights will be provided at the 5 star Hotel Parque Central.  The Lodge on the island is the comfortable 3 star Hotel Rancho, in Nueva Gerona.  All rooms are for single occupation, with hot water, air-conditioning, and very friendly staff.  The alternative accommodation on Perola offers a superior, luxury environment on board a 75ft yacht.  There are five very comfortable double air-conditioned cabins below deck, most having their own private bath, with good showers and plenty of hot water, and lots of storage space for anglers. The Georgiana is a new, luxury yacht of similar size, catering for 6 guests.  Full board is provided at all three locations. 

Other Activities:

Despite the island’s size, the Nueva Gerona offers plenty of opportunity to enjoy ‘Cuban Life’.  This is a city with over 30,000 people, 2 restaurants and a disco.  Interesting tours are available, such as those to the Crocodile Farm, the Siguanea Nature Reserve, the prison in which Fidel Castro was held captive before the revolution and the verdant Botanical Gardens of La Jungla de Jones.  One of the island’s most impressive sights are the Pre-Columbian paintings in the caves of Punta del Este.  There are many beautiful beaches, perhaps the most picture-perfect being that at Playa El Francés, where you can enjoy the island’s celebrated dive sites, including underwater caves and a wall of black coral.

Seasons:

The fishing for bonefish, resident tarpon and permit is productive all year round.  However, the best season for the large migratory tarpon is March to July

Rates – 2015/16:

Rates per person:  For the guided fishing packages, as detailed in the Programme above, including domestic airport transfers, with shared guide and skiff, single room basis for the Hotel Rancho package, shared room basis on board Perola and Georgiana, and full board:

Hotel Rancho:

The rate is from Euros 2,240/person, depending upon season

Perola:

The rate is from Euros 27,500 (for a Group of 6, with 3 guides/skiffs), depending upon season, or USD31,700

Georgiana:

The rate is from Euros 27,500 (for a Group of 6, with 3 guides/skiffs), depending upon season, or USD31,700

 NB:  There are certain weeks for which we are able to make special offers

Supplements:  Supplements are available for:  Havana airport VIP reception, single room on board Perola and Georgiana subject to availability, and/or fishing on a single basis

Conditions:

A 20% trip deposit is required to hold your reservation. 6 months prior to travel a further 40% becomes payable. The final balance is due 60 days prior to travel.