TAKE ME AWAY TRAVEL SERVICES, INC
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The ZAPATA PENINSULA is located on the south-central coast of Cuba. Most of the peninsula is a national park, and makes up the largest protected wildlife area in the entire Caribbean. Noted as one of the best bird-watching destinations in the world, it is home to 175 bird species, 900 species of plants, and 31 reptile species including the Cuban Crocodile. The landscape of this area is very similar to Everglades National Park in Florida.
This is an important area also to modern Cuban history. Adjoining the Zapata Peninsula is the Bahia de Cochinos (the Bay of Pigs), where Cuban forces repelled a US backed invasion in April of 1961. The Cubans are very proud of this part of their history, as can be seen with all the communist propaganda billboards that line the road as you drive to the beach at Playa Larga. This was the poorest region in Cuba before the revolution, and the first area developed by Fidel's new communist government.
The expansive flats that extend from this huge mangrove swamp are an amazing fishery, particularly for Bonefish. With most of the flats being hard sand or coral, anglers can wade at will while stalking Bones that average between 4-5lbs, but are commonly seen in the 7 lb range. Motorized boats were first allowed in Zapata National Park in 2008. Enridan, the outfitter, will have new boats at all three sites including 4 boats with 15 hp engines, 4 boats with 25 hp engines, and 15 polling skiffs. Where previously guides could only pole many of these flats, the new motors and skiffs will allow anglers and guides the opportunity to explore further reaching areas and discover the best environments both for Permit and Tarpon which also thrive here.
Anglers visiting Zapata on a week-long program will fish 3 distinct areas. About 45 minutes by road is the Hatiguanico River, home to both baby and mid-sized Tarpon. The river also holds Snook and Cubera Snapper. The Las Salinas area is accessed via a dirt road, currently about a 40 minute drive, but this road is under improvement and drive times should reduce significantly in the near future. Las Salinas is an immense area of shallow flats, broken up by slightly deeper channels and bays. Also nearby is the area of San Lazaro, accessed via a channel cut through the mangrove swamp. Also known for hard-bottomed and easy wading flats, this area also holds Permit and Tarpon.
(The satellite image above shows the two saltwater fishing areas....San Lazaro bordered by orange and Las Salinas stretching east to the Bay of Pigs)
Guests fishing Zapata stay at Enridan Lodge, an angler-exclusive section of the Playa Largo Hotel. Each guest has their own private accommodations each with a/c, a separate sitting room, large bathroom and flat-screen TV. All meals are included, and breakfast and dinner are served in a new dining area centrally located at the hotel. Maximum group size is 10.
(most photos on this page provided by Felipe Rodriguez)
ENRIDAN LODGE-PLAYA LARGA
Enridan Lodge is an angler-excluside section of the Playa Larga Hotel. This part of the hotel has a private entrance. Guests can expect fine, casual dining serving local fruits and vegetables, chicken, pork, and locally caught fish. The rooms themselves are located close to the water and have been updated to include modern amenities such as, A/C, ceiling fans, flat screen televisions, and a separate sitting room and large bathroom. Fishing guests each have their own lodgings, and maximum number of anglers is 10.
Fishing Package is from Saturday to Saturday (although there is some flexibility with this)
Includes transportation to and from Jose Marti International Airport in Havana, 8 days, 7 nights, and 6 full days of fishing. Rooms are single occupancy, 1 angler per skiff. Rate includes meals and beverages.