At just under half a million hectares, the Zapata Peninsula is by far the largest swampland in the Caribbean. It’s located in the Matanzas District of Cuba, and takes up almost a third of the district. This enormous mangrove estuary encompasses the entire peninsula and is home to millions of birds, mammals and reptiles. It’s sparsely populated when compared with the rest of Cuba and has been declared a Biosphere Reserve by the Cuban Government.
Bonefish and tarpon. Permit, snook, cubera snapper, jack crevelle, and barracuda are also available.
SEASON OF OPERATION
Year round. July through mid-October are prime hurricane months so travel insurance is an absolute must during these months! Please note that the bonefishing in the summer, while excellent, is strongly influenced by the temperature. Because the flats are so shallow throughout Salinas, the water heats up quickly and the fish are generally off the flats earlier in the day than during the rest of the year, regardless of what the tides are doing. This means getting up very early during the week to fish during the summer months.
ARRIVAL AND DEPARTURE LOGISTICS
The normal week runs from Saturday to Saturday but we can be flexible in terms of arrivals and departures when given sufficient notice.
All guests when fishing Salinas will be staying at the hotel at Playa Larga. The hotel is located right on the edge of the National Park and is about a 4 minute drive to the park entrance. The cement bungalows are cool, roomy and pleasant. This is no means luxury accommodations. However, when you consider how remote the area is (they say there are more crocodiles than people in the Zapata) the cabanas are more than adequate and actually quite comfortable. The new owners of the Salinas fishery have secured 12 rooms at the hotel that are only for the use of fishermen. Each guest fishing Salinas will get his or her own room for the week as part of the trip package. The cabanas have recently been upgraded with new AC units, new TV’s and mini fridges, along with new beds.
There are two bars at the hotel, one of which is on the beach. It must be emphasized that this is a very remote location and that there is very little nightlife to speak of, other than that found at the hotel.
Angling capacity at in the Zapata is 14 rods.
This is one of the most unique and diverse fisheries we’ve ever experienced and there are three principal areas that can be fished: the flats, the river and the Bocas.
The flats are a wade fisherman’s dream as roughly 80% of the 100,000 acres of fishable water can be waded. The average water depth of the inner flats is between 6 and 18 inches. There is more shallow water bonefish habitat here than any place we know of and it would take a lifetime to fish it all. There are also deeper water flats on the outer edges of the park and this is where we often find permit and even the odd tarpon.
The river is about an hour drive from the hotel but still located inside the National Park. The river is an excellent juvenile tarpon fishery, with the average tarpon weighing between 5-25 pounds. Sixty to 80 pound tarpon are not uncommon and there is a healthy snook population living in the river as well. Guests will fish the mangroves as well as the wider bays and tributaries for rolling fish.
The Bocas are the outer islands and channels that protect the inner flats of Salinas. The Bocas are approximately a 45 minute boat ride from where the bonefish skiffs are launched each morning, but well worth the trip. These pristine outer islands hold excellent numbers of tarpon, cubera snapper and snook. The water is 4 to 10 feet deep and crystal clear. Time after time our guests marvel at how visually stunning the Bocas are and they almost always come back with stories of epic battles with tarpon and snook. Each guest has his or her own guide for the duration of the week in each of the three fishing areas.
BOATS AND EQUIPMENT
There is a whole fleet of brand new Beavertail Flats skiffs powered by 30 horse powered 4 stroke engines. These skiffs accommodate one angler and one guide. There are also 3 larger flats skiffs that accommodate 2 anglers and 1 guide. Most anglers love having their own guide and skiff for the week but if you’d prefer to fish 2 anglers per skiff, please let us know this at the time of the booking so we can make sure one of the larger skiffs is available for you.
Guests will fly into Havana where you will be met by a Slipstream Angling representative as soon as you clear customs. Guests will then depart directly to the Zapata in one of our modern air conditioned vans or buses, depending on group size. The trip takes 2.5 hours and we will usually stop once for refreshments. Las Salinas is the small launch site inside the National Park, where the bonefish skiffs leave from each morning. In order to get down to Salinas, guests have to pass through a Cuban Military check point located at the edge of the park boundary. There is only one road down to Las Salinas and all visitors heading into and out of the park are closely monitored to prevent the poaching of fish and wildlife. The ride from the hotel through the park and down to Salinas takes about 50 minutes, depending on road conditions and there is a full time professional driver who handles all the driving and is with you for the duration of you trip.
If you would like to add a night or two in Havana, on either the front or back end of the trip, this is no trouble and we will be happy to help with this.
Slipstream Angling is a full service travel company and can handle international airfare, Cuban Visa applications, as well as a host of other services relating to your trip. Please contact us directly at 1 866 644-7703 for assistance.
- Bar tabs and other items cannot be paid with credit cards. Cash only
- The Halcon can configured for as many as 8 anglers or as few as 4
- If guests enjoy wading, there are limitless hard packed flats throughout
INCLUDED IN PRICE
NOT INCLUDED IN PRICE
TRAVEL DOCUMENTS REQUIRED
1) A valid passport that does not expire for at least 6 months after your departure from Cuba
2) A Cuban Entry Visa.
RATES FOR 2018-19
Low Season : September 3, 2018 to March 3, 2019 and July 1, 2019 to Sept 1, 2019
$5,280 USD Double Occupancy
High Season : March 4, 2019 to June 30, 2019
$7,140 USD Double Occupancy
Peak Season : April 29, 2019 to June 2, 2019
$8,340 USD Double Occupancy