Jardines de la Reina is a remote archipelago of islands lying some 50 miles off the southern coast of the Cuban mainland. This is a protected marine area with a limited number of catch and release anglers, divers and eco-tourists allowed to visit annually. The habitat here is pristine and untouched, enabling bonefish, permit, tarpon, barracuda, jacks and snapper to flourish. With a total fishing area greater than the Florida Keys, anglers are given a large area per skiff to fish, ensuring that they rarely see other fishermen. In fact, Avalon only allows a maximum of 15 skiffs fishing JDR at any one time. Fishing is consistent throughout the entire year. While tarpon under 30 pounds are always available, the truly giant fish arrive in April and stay through the end of June, and sometimes into July. September is generally a month reserved for boat maintenance and guide vacations due to hurricane season.
Given its remote location, getting to Jardines de la Reina is somewhat more complicated than other Cuban destinations. Guests overnight in Havana, and with an early wake up call board a bus for a 5 hour cross-country ride. After a few break stops and lots of time to view life in Cuba from the window, the bus arrives at the port of Jucaro. There, guests either join the boat they will be staying on or a transport boat if staying on the Tortuga, and travel another 3 - 4 hours to the fishing grounds. Standard packages here include five full days of fishing and typically a few hours on both the arrival and departure days.
Avalon Fleet II:
The Avalon Fleet 2 is the newest, and most luxurious of all the boats in the Avalon fleet. In service since April of 2014, the AF2 has 10 state rooms.Each of these have their own bathrooms, A/C, electrical plug-ins, and drawers for storage. Although it can accommodate more, we find the best group sizes are from 10-14 anglers. With a staff of 9-12, your every need is taken care of. Rods and reels are rinsed for you upon your return from fishing, and drinks and appetizers served shortly after. The kitchen staff is very adept at making things from scratch (including pasta), and the daily meals are hearty and fresh. Lunches are either served on board the AF2, or on your skiff depending upon your preference. This luxury yacht has three different levels. Coming from the skiffs, the aft deck is roomy, allowing for flats boots to be taken off and stored, and rods and reels rinsed an organized. The state rooms are accessed from this deck. Up a short flight and guests find another aft deck perfect for evening appetizers and socializing. The dining area is adjacent to this deck, and has a/c and plenty of room for large groups. The upper deck is spacious, and a great spot to take in evening sunsets, or enjoy a Mojito in the hot tub.
Avalon Fleet I:
The Avalon Fleet 1 is a luxurious yacht, built and designed for ultimate comfort while at the same time feeling cozy and intimate. Overall capacity for the AF1 is 18 passengers with a crew of 8. For fishing groups, we find 8-12 anglers is perfect. Guests aboard the Avalon Fleet 1 are housed in 8 deluxe cabins, 7 of which have their own bathroom and shower. Also standard in each room is air conditioning, multiple electrical plugs, and drawers for storage. In the evenings, once the fishing is done, the aft deck is a perfect place to enjoy a drink and appetizer. This is also where the main dining area is located. The upper deck is equipped with a hot tub, and offers beautiful views of the surroundings and evening sunsets. Service aboard the AF1 is hard to beat, with a plentiful staff available to help guests with all their needs. Meals are exceptional, especially given your location so far from land. Fresh squeezed juice is always available, and dinners largely comprised of the days catch of seafood. The Avalon Fleet 1 is located in Jardines de la Reina most of the year, but does move to Cayo Cruz during the height of the annual tarpon migration.
The La Tortuga was the first boat in the Avalon fleet, and the original floating hotel of Jardines de la Reina. It is permanently moored in a protected channel, making it comfortable and secure during adverse weather. At 110' in total length, la Tortuga has 2 separate decks, and a total of 7 guest cabins. Each cabin sleeps 2 anglers, and has its own bathroom and shower as well as air conditioning, thanks to a recent and extensive remodel. All guest accommodations are on the upper level, while the lower level houses the kitchen and dining areas which are also equipped with air conditioning. Outside there is a deck to tell fishing stories, or to share a drink and a fine Cuban cigar. There is also ample outside storage for rods, reels, and wading boots. There are outlets throughout la Tortuga for both 110 v and 220 v. With a generator located on a nearby island, electricity is available 24 hours. There is also wireless internet always available, and free, which is very rare in Cuba!
The Halcon measures 75' in length and is optimum for fishing groups of 4-8 anglers. Recently refurbished, it has 6 guest rooms below decks, with 3 shared bathrooms. All cabins are equipped with air conditioning, and have ample storage space. The main deck of the Halcon is where all meals, and all social time take place. There is an indoor salon that is very comfortable, and is ideal for guests to socialize before and after dinner, sipping cocktails or enjoying a Cuban beer. The room is equipped with comfortable couches and chairs, a TV, DVD player, and sound system. Meals are enjoyed on the aft deck and most often accompanied by a comfortable breeze. When the wind kicks ups, or rain falls, this area can be quickly enclosed to make it more comfortable. One of the great advantages to the Halcon is that its size allows it to find moorage closer to the flats, as well as access more remote areas. Often, it will find moorage in an area 20 miles or so to the east of La Tortuga. This allows not only for great fishing, but longer days, short boat rides, and easy access to the Halcon when guests return for a relaxing lunch.
La Tortuga- $4,400-$6,350 per person for a 9 night/6 day package
Avalon Fleet I- $53,990-$76,800 for a 9 night/6 day package up to 8 anglers
Avalon Fleet II- $7,090- $10,080 for a 9 night/6 day package (based on a group of 10 anglers)
Halcon- $5,550-$8,050 per person for a 9 night/6 day package
Included: All accommodations and meals, guided fishing, 10 beer per angler/per week, wine with dinner, welcome cocktail after fishing, 30 drinks (water & soft drinks) per angler/per week, all ground transfers inside Cuba, national park license.
Not Included: Round trip airfare to Havana, fishing tackle, departure tax, personal expenses, taxis and meals in Havana, staff & guide gratuities, $250 required donation to Bonefish & Tarpon Trust.
Fish Species: Bonefish, tarpon, permit, jacks, snook, baracuda, snapper
Yacht Capacities: 6 - 20+ anglers