Bespoke Cuban Holidays for the Discerning Traveller

Bespoke Fishing Holidays in Cuba

Novelist Ernest Hemingway lived the fisherman’s dream. On his boat, the Pilar, he would set sail through the calm, aquamarine seas and coral cayes off the north coast of Cuba in search of Marlin and swordfish.

Cuba is still celebrated for its fishing trips and tours. Anglers come in vast numbers to the island nation for its world-class fly fishing and internationally renowned fishing tournaments.

Best Place to Fish in Cuba?

If you’re looking where to fish in Cuba, then you’re in luck. The azure seas surrounding Cuba teem with fish providing anglers with plentiful opportunities to reel in sailfish, snapper, swordfish, barracuda, and a host of other tropical bounties.

Prized areas include the Jardines de la Reina (Gardens of the Queen), a 1,000 sq mile protected marine reserve scattered with thousands of coral islands. Bonefish, tarpon and permit abound here and live-aboard boats provide unrivalled access in this pristine aquatic environment. The flats off Cayo Largo are also a favourite of fisherman allowing fantastic fly-fishing with rich results. Grouper, barracuda and snapper are abundant.

Even more remote is the Robinson-Crusoe island of Isla de la Juventud (Isle of Youth), dangling off the southern coast of Cuba, where anglers aim for plentiful tarpons and jacks.

Whenever Hemingway went fishing in Cuba, Varadero was one of his go-to spots. Located north of the Hicacos Peninsula, Varadero sits by the Gulf of Mexico and the Straits of Florida. These waters regularly see large scale fish migrations, creating the perfect conditions for fishing. The Bahia de Cardenas (Bay of Cardenas) is a beautiful and tranquil location for anglers to take advantage of.

Further west from Varadero, along Cuba’s northern coast is another prime location for fishing. Cayo Coco is part of an archipelago called the Jardines del Rey (Gardens of the King) and was another locale favoured by Hemingway for its ample supply of fish. Sea Fishing on the connected Cayo Guillermo is particularly popular amongst both tourists and locals. Cayo Coco is also great for fly-fishing trips, as many freshwater lakes dot the island.

Fishing in Havana itself can be tricky. The capital’s shoreline isn’t the best place to cast off as it is mostly jagged rock and depleted of fish. One of the only ways to fish in Havana is to charter an offshore boat out of Marina Hemingway.

Keen anglers can compete at the annual autumn Jardines del Rey International Fishing Tournament, where competition catches include blue marlin, sailfish, wahoo and dolphin fish, and at the renowned annual June Ernest Hemingway International Billfishing Tournament.

Can’t get to the big catch competitions? Most fly-fishers are casting around for the Grand Slam where bonefish, tarpon and permit must be landed in a day, or the Super Grand Slam where these three fish are caught, plus snook, to claim this first-class fishing prize.



  • Day 1 Transfer from Havana to Jardines de la Reina via Jucaro
  • Day 2 Fishing and overnighting on a live-aboard
  • Day 3 Fishing and overnighting on a live-aboard
  • Day 4 Fishing and overnighting on a live-aboard
  • Day 5 Fishing and overnighting on a live-aboard
  • Day 6 Fishing and overnighting on a live-aboard
  • Day 7 Transfer back to Jucaro and on to Havana

Cuba Fishing Season

Cuba’s fishing calendar is generally good all year round. Common fish you’ll no doubt see on your trips will be snappers, jack cravels and barracuda. Winter cold fronts can sometimes creep across the country, negatively affecting fish populations between November and February.

Peak seasons are are usually between the months of March and August. During this time you’ll have plenty of opportunity to catch tarpon, tuna, marlin and king mackerel.

Between September and October is hurricane season. If you catch the back end of all the storms, you’ll find excellent conditions for fishing. The tough currents brought in from the Atlantic break up the reefs along the coasts, sending all sorts of fish to the shores in search of food.

No matter the season, you won’t be in short supply of fishing activities.

Contact us today to experience one of Esencia Experiences bespoke fishing holidays in Cuba. Also, if you are an adventurer or want to explore more of Cuba’s stunning waters, experience one of our incredible sailing and adventure holidays.

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