Located on the north shore of Cuba, this secret prize called Cayo Cruz is an enormous system of flats, lagoons and pristine estuaries. Located in Jardines del Rey, commercial fishing within this designated area is strictly forbidden and rigorously enforced! The Wild On The Fly team of Steve Jensen and Dan Shepherd has fished this area and have rave reviews!
The sport-fish-only area is 366 square kilometers in size, meaning that on the average day, each skiff has over 50 square kilometers to itself. The fishing area is virtually untouched and represents one of the cleanest and most biologically diverse ecosystems you’ll ever fish. It is virtually untouched and has only seen anglers for three seasons! The fish are plentiful and aggressive.
Cayo Cruz demonstrates all the characteristics of a recently discovered, virgin fishing territory. The flats are an inviting combination of hard packed white sand and a semi-firm mottled bottom that still provides good wading. You can wade for 4 straight hours without heading back to the boat. Our staff has never seen such large white flats, filled with big rays that permit love to follow.
The flats at Cayo Cruz are a little deeper than those found in other areas of Cuba, which means that the bonefish and permit are still found in excellent numbers throughout the year.
The average sized bonefish is a healthy 4 pounds! During the course of the week it is not unheard of for guests to land a fish in the 10 pound range. Tailing bonefish are common and guests can expect to see bonefish in singles and doubles, all the way up to schools of several hundred fish.
What really sets this location apart from so many other fisheries is that you can expect to encounter and get shots at good numbers of permit each day and see big bones! This consistency that is virtually guaranteed at Cayo Cruz. It is a rare day when you don’t encounter and get shots at permit. The permit will range in size between about 8 and 30 pounds.
We passionately recommend this as a must do on your bucket list of saltwater destinations!
At a Glance
Location: Camaguey, Cuba
Target Fish: Bonefish and permit, with some tarpon, snook, jacks, snapper, barracuda and more
Time of Year: September through mid July
Lodge Capacity: 12 anglers
Nearest Airport: Camaguey airport (CMW) and Cayo Coco airport (CCC)
Documents Required: Passport (valid for at least six (6) months beyond the duration of your stay) Citizens of most countries are also required to have Visas
The first thing that guests need to know when considering this location, aside from the exceptional flats fishing that is found here, is this new fishery is still very much in its infancy. Cayo Cruz has only been in operation for three years and has not seen many clients, particularly when compared to other locations in the Caribbean that offer this quality of fishing.
Cayo Cruz guides did not work under Avalon management in past years. When Avalon established a fishing program in this fantastic location, one of the major goals was to improve guides’ language and guiding skills. Avalon has paired these guides with Cayo Largo guides to help bring them up to those same standards.
In addition, Avalon veteran guides with decades of experience are constantly helping new guides to improve. If one is prepared to be patient while the guides develop, you will find a virtually untouched flats oasis, absolutely teeming with fish and wildlife. What these guides lack in experience, they more than make up for in hard work and enthusiasm.
The skiffs depart from Cayo Cruz each morning and depending on the guide rotation that day, you may be heading to any number of areas to spend the day. From Cayo Paredon Grande in the north to Cayo Guanaja in the south, there are countless islands, lagoons and bays that will keep anglers happy and into fish.
Much of the fishing takes place back towards the mainland, in and around the massive island of Cayo Romano. The average boat run to the fishing areas is about 20 minutes, and in some areas you can be into fish within 5 minutes of leaving the boat docks.
It just depends on where your guide wants to take you that day and what you are interested in targeting. With 50 square kilometers per boat, the options are just about limitless. There are so many great aspects to this fishery that it can truly be a sensory overload at times.
There are two locations within the Cayo Cruz that offer very good tarpon fishing. Guides tend to save these areas for when an angler has already boated a permit and is looking for a Grand Slam.
These fish will range from 30 to 90 pounds. Besides the fishing for permit, bonefish and tarpon, you will also cast for other challenging species as mutton snapper, snook, cubera snapper, jack crevalle, barracuda, etc.
The skiffs operating at Cayo Cruz are Mitzi brand skiffs. Each skiff has a poling platform for the guide along with rod holders and very generous storage space, located at both the front and back of the boat. The casting platform is large and offers lots of space for those anglers who like to move around a bit while standing on the bow of the boat.
Constructed from a very light fiberglass mold, these skiffs are ideal for the miles and miles of shallow water flats that anglers will find here. Drawing less than 6 inches of water, the skiffs are powered by very reliable 40 HP Yamaha engines.
The period January to March brings with it the risk of cold fronts from the northeast. However, Cayo Cruz is well protected by the string of cays that shelter most of the fishing spots. The fishing at this time is good - particularly for good-sized bonefish, small and medium tarpon (20-30 lbs), and from mid-January the permit begin to appear.
The period from April to June is perhaps the best time both for weather and for the appearance of large quantities of huge tarpon – in addition to the bonefish and permit. In July and August the fishing is the same, but hotter sometimes. September to December is a good period for bonefish and for smaller quantities of large and medium tarpon.
Programs at Avalon Cayo Cruz are weekly. Starting on Saturdays and ending the following Saturday, fishing is from Sunday to Friday (6 fishing days). In Low Season months (November / March and July / August) you may be able to book shorter programs, between 3 and 5 fishing days.
Guests fishing Cayo Cruz will stay at the all inclusive hotel Iberostar Mojito, which is located in Cayo Coco, Jardines del Rey.
352 comfortable rooms with a fully-equipped ensuite bathroom with hair dryer. Other room facilities include a telephone, Satellite TV, air conditioning, minibar and safe.
Boasting a prime seafront location overlooking a beach of more than 600 m of fine white sand in the Jardines del Rey district,and facing one of the Caribbean Sea’s largest coral reefs, this superb hotel offers guests 352 stunning rooms.
Its unique characteristics make this the perfect choice for an idyllic family holiday.
The spectacular pool area including an aqua bar set among lush native flora, the wide range of culinary delights - including show cooking-, the lively sports and entertainment programme featuring live shows and music, and the exclusive Miniclub, all combine to guarantee an unforgettable holiday experience.
24 hour All Inclusive service with multiple options. Includes national and international alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages in the hotel's bars. Snacks, ice creams, and desserts in the hotel's bars and restaurants.The hotel offers a range of additional services.
Guests can fly into Cayo Coco or Camaguey. In both arrival points you will be met by an Avalon representative as soon as you clear customs.
If flying into Havana, you will board a flight early the next morning to fly to Cayo Coco ( 1 hour flight). From Cayo Coco, it is a charming 90 minute drive through the beautiful countryside to the lodge.
A valid passport is required for all visitors to Cuba and must be valid for at least six months beyond the duration of your stay. Citizens of the United States are also required to have Visas with proof of authorization to travel under one of the 12 approved categories of travel.
Prices are in US$ and are per angler, double occupancy room, sharing a skiff/guide.
Week ranges from Saturday to Saturday.
Sept 1 (2018) – March 2 (2019) = $2,999
July 6 – Sept.1 (2019) = $2,999
Non Fishing Guest = $2,200
March 2 – July 6 (2019) = $4,550
Non-Fishing Guest = $2,500
Reception at the Cayo Coco or Camaguey airport and transfer to Hotel
7 nights in CAYO CRUZ in 5-star hotel, double room base, full board at the Hotel
6 full days fishing, sharing a skiff Beverages while fishing on skiff, 4 drinks (beer, water, soft drinks), each fishing day.
Guide and staff tips, personal expense; and drinks other than stated above. Transfer on arrival and departure from different airports $ 100 conservation fee
$ 3,000 in High season
$ 1,500 in Low season
Single rooms Suppl.