JOIN AWARD-WINNING TRAVEL WRITER & FISHING EXPERT ANIETRA HAMPER PLUS TRAVEL JOURNALIST & CUBA EXPERT CHRISTOPHER P. BAKER ON A FANTASTIC FLY-FISHING PROGRAM IN CUBA’S BAY OF PIGS

Cuba is still the ultimate virgin territory for anglers!

The rush to Cuba is on as U.S. travelers and the rest of the world tries to get there before it changes beyond recognition. But for fishing?
Well… fly-fishing expert Glen Law nailed it:

Scarcely 20 minutes from the dock, we had our first bonefish, on a flat that appeared to have never been fished, pocked with the tails of laconic fish that acted as if they’d never seen a fly. — GLEN LAW, author A Concise History of Fly-Fishing

FISH THE BAY OF PIGS

EXPLORE THE BAY OF PIGS

THRILL TO HAVANA

  • Wrestle tarpon in the Río Hatibónico estuary
  • Cast for wily bonefish in the flats of Las Salinas
  • Reel in largemouth bass in Laguna del Tesoro
  • Visit the Bay of Pigs Museum and battle-site
  • View crocodiles and flamingos in the wild
  • Stay at lovely B&Bs beside the Caribbean Sea
  • Ride in classic American 1950s convertibles
  • Visit a cigar factory & roam colonial plazas
  • Explore Ernest Hemingway’s former home

lthough the Trump administration partially closed the door to travel to Cuba, it’s still entirely legal—and easy—for every U.S. citizen to travel to Cuba as part of a “people-to-people” program such as ours. It’s also safe! …In fact, in January 2018, Cuba was named “Safest Country in the World” at the International Tourism Fair, in Spain, and the State Department travel advisory for Cuba ranks it on a par for safety with France, Italy, and Denmark.

We’re delighted to have partnered with Yellow Dog Fly-Fishing Adventures as our tour operator. Yellow Dog made its first trip to Cuba in the late 1990s, and since that time its team members have operated dozens of trips to every major fishing area throughout the country.

The Península de Zapata area where we’ll be fishing is hands-down among the finest, most pristine and most-protected flats ecosystem found anywhere in the Caribbean. The fishing for bonefish, snook, and tarpon is simply fantastic! And the largemouth bass to be caught are mega-sized prize-winners! And you can be one of the first anglers to thrill to this virgin terrain… which happens to be the site for the Bay of Pigs invasion of April 1961.

While our fishing will be out of this world, any trip to Cuba is also about experiencing a one-of-a-kind destination that in many ways has not really changed much since the late 1950’s. Not least, Cuba is so very different to so much that the average American has been taught. There’s an awful lot to love about this place and its wonderful, welcoming and warm-hearted people.

With all the media attention on politics, it’s easy to overlook the sheer beauty of this relentlessly photogenic and loveable place and its vivacious culture. The diamond-dust beaches and bathtub-warm waters the color of peacock feathers… the bottle-green wetlands and mountains… the cobbled colonial plazas and 1950s-redux architecture of Havana… and, above all, Cuba’s enchanting sultriness and spontaneity. No other nation in the Western hemisphere offers such sensual and surreal sensations, made more romantic by a time-warp setting that Hollywood would be challenged to rival.

Far more than simply a fly-fishing adventure in Cuba, this one-of-a-kind journey will prove immeasurably fun and insightful. Anietra will share her passion for fishing… and Christopher will share his passion for (and unparalleled knowledge of) Cuba.

There’ll be lots of fun activities, from riding in classic 1950s American convertibles and fabulous dining to an optional night at the sensational Tropicana cabaret nightclub. There is salsa to enjoy, and mojitos to savor, and the world’s finest cigars to smoke fresh from the factory.

Now is the time to go… PLEASE JOIN US!

ABOUT ANIETRA HAMPER

Anietra Hamper is an award-winning travel writer and photographer with a penchant for outdoor adventure and fishing. Her angling stories have appeared in publications from Fly-Life Fishing and Game & Fish to Home & Away and USA Today. Prior to turning to  travel journalism, Anietra spent 18 years as a top-rated, EMMY nominated television news anchor and investigative reporter. Whether she is wrestling with the giant wels catfish in Spain, breaking angling records in Thailand, or ice-fishing on Lake Erie, Anietra is passionate about fishing adventures. She’s also an ebullient delight to travel with… and is thrilled to share this ultimate fishing adventure with you. You can find out more about Anietra’s travels, photography, and extreme fishing adventures on her YouTube channel and at her website.

ABOUT CHRISTOPHER P. BAKER

Professional travel writer and photographer Christopher P. Baker has made Cuba his passion for three decades. The author of six travel books (including the Moon Cuba handbook and National Geographic Traveler Cuba guidebooks), plus countless magazine stories about Cuba, He has also photographed the island end-to-end for entities from National Geographic to Playboy. Chris is also a professional tour director and has led almost 100 “people-to-people” programs to Cuba, including more than 85 tours for National Geographic Expeditions. It’s fair to say, no-one knows Cuba like Chris! He will introduce us to a fascinating array of Cuban personalities… make sense of this enchanting Alice in Wonderland island… put the Revolution in perspective… and act as our official photographer.

As journalists we have connections and access to places around the world that most people do not get to see or experience. We have leveraged our relationships and expertise to partner with Yellow Dog Fly-Fishing to organize an exceptional fishing experience that combines the best of angling and a cultural opportunity to explore fascinating Cuba with a National Geographic Expert.

TOUR DATES: October 27-November 3, 2019 (tentative)

ITINERARY (subject to change): 

Day 1: Sunday, October 27
Morning flight from Miami to Havana
Lunch: Al Carbón OR El Aljibe
Brief sightseeing tour of Plaza de la Revolución and other key sights in Havana
Check-in to casas particulares (private room rentals)
Ride in classic convertible cars to dinner
Dinner: La Guarida
Meals included: BLD

Day 2: Monday, October 28
Walking tour of Habana Vieja, the remarkable colonial core, led by Christopher and your local Cuban guide. We’ll wander through cobbled plazas, meet and interact with artists at the Taller Experimental de Gráfica, and marvel at the magnificent restoration of this 500-year-old city.
Lunch: Azúcar, Plaza Vieja
This afternoon explore around Parque Central and the Paseo de Martí, and visit a taller (workshop) in a restored 1930s Art Deco cinema where neon restoration is taught… part of a project to restore the lights of Havana’s 1950s “Mafia-era” heyday.
Dinner: Café Laurent, followed by cocktails at Hotel Nacional
Meals included: BD

Day 3: Tuesday, October 29
Depart Havana this morning and drive via the Autopista (freeway) to the Río Hatibónico to fish for tarpon and snook. This river estuary has few equals in the world for sighted fishing for tarpon, and benefits from Cuba’s strict protectionist enforcement policy. Tarpon are abundant and will hungrily chase a fly. The rivermouth is also a habitat for manatees and American crocodiles and is a vital ecosystem within Parque Nacional Ciénaga de Zapata (Zapata Swamp National Park), protecting the Caribbean’s largest wetlands. The inland wetlands are the sole habitat for endemic Cuban crocodiles. Plus, keep your eyes peeled for such endemic bird species as the Cuban parrot, the Cuban trogon, and the Zapata wren.
Lunch: At Río Hatibónico
This afternoon, continue via Casa del Zunzuncito, where Christopher will introduce you to his friend Bernabé Hernández Ulloa, whose garden draws the world’s smallest bird—the endemic Cuban bee hummingbird. We continue to Playa Larga, a beach community at the head of the Bahía de Cochinos (“Bay of Pigs”). We’ll overnight beside the Caribbean Sea at the home of Christopher’s friend Enrique Rivas Fente—a lovely casa particular with nine rooms to rent. We’ll meet with another of Chris’ friends: Frank Medina, Director of Parque Nacional Ciénaga de Zapata, who will talk to us about the park and Cuba’s environmental protection policies.
Dinner: Filling seafood meal alfresco on the rooftop at Hostal Enrique.
Meals included: BD

Day 4: Wednesday, October 30
This morning we’ll fish Las Salinas, a vast saline lagoons fishery amid the mangrove-lined coastline of the Zapata Peninsula. Bonefish are the key target species, but we can expect to fish for permit, barracuda, snapper, and jack crevalle. We’ll use bonefish skiffs, but he majority of these flats can be waded and are a wade-fisher’s dream. Las Salinas is one of Zapata’s principal birding sites, with resident flocks of flamingos, plus roseate spoonbills, ibis, fish eagles, and scores of other water-loving avians.
Lunch: TBD
We might head further out to the Bocas, the pristine outer islands and channels that protect Las Salinas. Here, in deeper water, the fishing is superb: tarpon and snook give epic battles!
Dinner: Free evening to dine at your leisure in one of the paladares (private restaurants) in Playa Larga.
Meals included: BD

Day 5: Thursday, October 31
This morning a short drive brings us to Boca de Guamá and Lago del Tesoro (Treasure Lake, named for the gold that the indigenous Taíno peoples supposedly through into the sacred lake). Today this huge, pristine freshwater lake is newly opened to fishing for largemouth bass. The birding here is also fantastic… and you have a very good chance of spotting crocodiles!
Lunch: Boca de Guamá
This afternoon travel along the Caribbean shore to Playa Girón, the main battle site during the Bay of Pigs invasion of April, 1961. We’ll visit the excellent museum here to learn the Cuban (and accurate) depiction of this tragic occurrence. If you love WWII-era military hardware, this place will thrill you, with its British made Sea Fury attack-bomber, Soviet T-34 and SU-100 tanks and American M-41 Walker Bulldog tank, etc.
Dinner:  Filling seafood meal alfresco on the rooftop at Hostal Enrique.
Meals included: BD

Day 6: Friday, November 01 
A final morning spent fishing.
Lunch: Hostal Enrique.
Depart Playa Larga for Havana. Upon arrival in the city outskirts, we’ll visit Museo Ernest Hemingway—the author’s former home for 21 years, kept just the way it was when Hemingway left Cuba in 1960. Chris will introduce us to his friends, the museum director (Grisell Fraga) and sub-director, Isbel Ferreira, who will lead us on a private tour of Finca Vigía.
Dinner: At leisure in Havana
Meals included: BL

Day 7: Saturday, November 02
This morning visit Fábrica de Tabaco H. Uppman cigar factory to learn all about how Cuba’s renowned habanos are hand-rolled.  Then Chris will take us to meet his close pal and riding buddy Luis Enrique Gónzalez, a harlista who maintains a fleet of pre-revolutionary Harley-Davidsons and other motorcycles, plus his “sandwich”—a 1953 Buick that’s a Frankenstein’s monster of parts from other vehicles.
Lunch: La Bombilla Verde
The afternoon is free for self-directed exploration of Havana.
Dinner: We’ll enjoy a farewell dinner at Mama Ines, where Chris’s friend Tomás Erasmo Hernández (Fidel’s former private chef) will prepare divine fusion Cuban dishes.
Meals included: BD

Day 8: Sunday, November 03
Transfer to the airport for our morning flight to Miami

PRICE: $TBA single occupancy, $TBA single occupancy 

WHAT’S INCLUDED

  • Airport meet & greet
  • 7 nights accommodation in B&Bs
  • Guided transfers to/from Bay of Pigs
  • 4 days fishing in Bay of Pigs, including transfers to fisheries
  • ?? dinners & ?? lunches, per itinerary
  • Transfers from/to Havana airport
  • Guided sightseeing per itinerary
  • Expert services of Anietra Hamper and Christopher P Baker
  • Souvenir photograph

WHAT’S NOT INCLUDED

  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Tips to guides, drivers and chambermaids, etc.
  • Personal expenses, such as laundry, etc.
  • ???
  • ???
  • ???

This program is offered under a general license for “people-to-people” educational exchange per Cuba Assets Control Regulations, 31 CFR Part 515 administered by the Dept. of Treasury Office of Foreign Assets Controls, and is prepared in accordance with said regulations.

This trip is operated by Yellow Dog Fly-Fishing Adventures

Fishing photos courtesy Avalon Fishing Charters & Yellow Dog Fly-Fishing Adventures.
All other images copyright © Christopher P. Baker and may not be reprinted without permission. All rights reserved.

Each participant will receive a bonus professional photo of themselves
Each participant will receive a bonus professional photo of themselves fishing in the Bay of Pigs
…a fantastic take-home bragging piece for your home or office desk!