Considering how quickly things are changing in Cuba at the moment, I think it is safe to say that there is a lot of interest and excitement amongst American travelers who want to visit the island nation that has previously been off limit for decades. The thawing of relations between the U.S. and Cuba has allowed tour operators to begin offering new itineraries there, and major airlines are expected to begin offering service to Havana later this year.
Of course, the cruise industry is already getting in on the action, with the first departures to Cuba now taking place.
Naturally, there have been some very interesting travel options that have already started to pop up, giving visitors a chance to explore a country that has remained virtually unchanged for more than 50 years. In time, there is no doubt that Cuba will begin to become more commercialized, but for now walking the streets of Havana and other Cuban cities is akin to stepping back in time to the 1950's.
One of the best new travel options for Cuba that I've come across so far comes from an unlikely place. Orvis, a company best known for making hunting and fishing gear, as well as outdoor apparel, has announced that it is now offering a one of a kind fly fishing excursion to the island. The trip promises anglers access to remote and pristine saltwater flats, most of which have been protected for decades and are seldom fished.
The week-long trip begins and ends in Havana, with tours of that historic city as part of the itinerary. Five nights of the trip are spent in the fishing village of Playa Larga however, where travelers will gain access to Ciénaga de Zapata National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that is renowned for being some of the best shallow saltwater flats in the entire Caribbean.
While there, they'll spend four full days fishing with local guides and traveling with a park naturalist who will accompany them to ensure the area stays well protected.
Most of the fishing will take place from skiffs, although there will be opportunities to wade into the warm Caribbean waters to catch bonefish and permit as well. One day will even be dedicated to fishing for tarpon on the on Rio Hatiguanico too. Other fish that are in abundance in the area include snook and snapper as well.
This isn't just a fishing trip however, as participants will also get the chance to immerse themselves in Cuban culture too. They'll have the opportunity to speak with artists, musicians, entrepreneurs, and average citizens, learning about their history and way of life first hand. They'll also go on walking tours of Havana, visit an automobile restoration center, and attend a live musical performance. They'll even go to a traditional Cuban pig roast for one of their meals, indulging in one of the local delicacies.
The highlight of the trip – other than the fishing of course – could be a visit to the home of writer Ernest Hemingway, who lived in Cuba off and on from 1939-1960. Many of his personal belongings, including original manuscripts, can still be found in the house.
Hemingway's personal fishing boat, the Pilar, has also been restored can be found there too.
The cost of this Cuban fishing excursion is $6150. That price doesn't include fights, although Orvis can assist in booking charters from Miami to Havana. That price does include just about everything while in Cuba however, including accommodations, most meals, drinks, permits, guides, ground transportation while in country, and more. Departures are scheduled for October 14-21, 2016, November 13-20, 2016, and December 3-10, 2016. Dates for 2017 are still being worked out and should be announced soon. For more information, and to register for the trip, click here.
And while you're there, check out some of Orvis' other trips, which include fishing excursions all over the world, wingshooting itineraries, and more traditional adventure vacations such as safaris and treks.