CUBA - Jardines de la Reina
Avalon's Five Liveaboard Yachts
Jardines de la Reina, is Spanish for Gardens of the Queen, and was named by Christopher Columbus. The JDR is a vast protected marine park. Fly Fishing only. The archipelago lies 60 miles off the southern coast of Cuba and is made up of more than 600 cays and islands. The pristine chain of islands is very similar to the Florida Keys. The undisturbed flats run on for miles and miles. Here, you'll find some of the best-protected saltwater fishing with variety that's available. Please note, there is no Wi-Fi available on the liveaboards. For the 2020 season, Avalon, the outfitter, now offers five liveaboard yachts, and, several Last-Minute Specials.
All five Jardines' yachts now offer individual and group rates. For the individual rate, you can book any open charter, but if a half-charter is not reached on that boat, then Avalon will move the anglers to another vessel or the Tortuga. Avalon always tries to upgrade anglers, but in some instances, anglers may end up on the Tortuga to make sure the trip can run.
Jardines de la Reina
Fly Fishing Gardens of the Queen
Permit: Permit are the ultimate flats challenge, and many fly fishermen have been taken to school by this wary fish. The best locations in Cuba to consistently find permit are in Jardines de la Reina and Cayo Largo.
Both locations are 60 to 80 miles offshore, along Cuba’s southern coast. The optimal times to fish for permit here are between March and July, as well as in the month of November when the tides are high.
Like Cayo Large, JDR is also an outstanding location for Grand Slams and Super Slams, in large part because the permit fishing is consistently good.
Tarpon: For their Avalon locations, JDR and Isla de la Juventud are the best for tarpon fishing. Peak tarpon fishing is February to late-July, with April through July being the best time for large tarpon.
Bonefish: are available year-round at all Avalon operations. In JDR, the morning winds often calm down in the afternoons, and fishing in the late afternoon can be superb, especially for bones.
Mutton snappers: are everywhere in the JDR, and plenty are found and landed on the flats, a real rarity. This is perhaps the best and only place in the world where you can expect to catch mutton snappers on the flats.
Numerous other species: Anglers that want to troll off the reef with plugs, bait, and even flies, encounter many other species of fish. Various snappers, including the huge cubera snapper are present as well as groupers, jacks, kingfish, albacore, wahoo, bonito, and big ‘cudas. One group of visiting anglers caught 25 different species of fish off the reef in one day.
Jardines Season: is year-round. Peak tarpon fishing is from March through July. Most flats are within 15-minutes of the liveaboard.
Boats: Avalon has a mix of Dolphin Super Skiffs with 60- to 70-HP motors and light fiberglass Mitzi skiffs teamed with 40-HP Yamaha two-stroke engines. Each skiff has a poling platform for the guide along with rod holders and generous storage space located at both the front and back of the boat. Two anglers per boat and guide. There are no fuel limitations with Avalon.
Guides: Local guides are excellent fishermen and are very skilled at finding all species. They were born and raised on these waters, and know the ocean and the flats very well. The guides speak Spanish, yet also enough Fishing-English to get by.
Rental Equipment: is available for fishing and diving and must be confirmed and paid 60-days before arrival. $280.00 per week for use of fly fishing rod, reel, line.
Fishing Equipment: is not included in the package. Equipment rental is available for $280.00 per week per person for 2020 and includes rod, reel, and lines. ($350.00 p.p. for 2021.)
Diving Equipment: is available for $250.00 for full set of diving gear per week.
Fishing License is included in the package, but a Marine Park Conservation Fee of $100.00 is not.
A Typical Fishing Day:
You’ll fish from dawn until dusk, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
A typical fishing day begins with breakfast at 7:30 a.m. Your guides are ready to depart for fishing by 8:00 a.m. Morning winds often calm down in the afternoon, and fishing in the late afternoon can be superb, especially for bonefish. You’ll take a packed lunch. You’ll be guided for seven to nine hours each day. You'll return to the liveboard at dusk, about 5:00 p.m. Enjoy appetizers at 5:30 p.m. and then dinner at 7:30 p.m.