MAKING DREAMS OF CUBA A REALITY
MAKING DREAMS OF CUBA A REALITY
Cuba Fishing Outfitters specializes in helping anglers from the US and around the world travel to Cuba to experience some of the best fishing on the planet. With this island nation being virtually off-limits to Americans for nearly 60 years, the infrastructure and information for US travel is near non-existent.
Many people do ask me......."Why Cuba?" Both as a traveler and angler, there is a multitude of good reasons.
First of all, Cuba has been off limits for US travelers, and a step back in time for visitors from around the world. That in itself makes it intriguing. But more intriguing is the reality of life in Cuba and how truly different it is than what most of us are used to.
Even more than with other destinations, it is important to travel to Cuba with an open mind, and not spend your time always thinking "that's not the way we would do that back home!" Because I can assure you, the Cubans will do it differently. Better yet, observe, soak it all in, sit quietly on a park bench in Havana and watch life. Most of it will surprise you. Some of what you see will be frustrating or even depressing, but much of it will amaze you in good ways.
Most surprising to me after a lot of time spent in Cuba, is how very proud the Cuban people are of their country. Some of that astonishment just comes from me being an American, and being sure that every Cuban would be unhappy with their country. I think I can say with an open mind that almost all Cubans are hoping for a better life economically. They don't want to work as hard for as little money as they receive, and they would like to have a greater availability of goods and services. Life in Cuba is hard.
But if you end up having lengthy conversations with Cubans, most believe in the revolution. Fidel Castro and Che are almost universally loved in the country, and Cubans seem to believe in the ideals they have installed. I know this is a blanket statement, and not every Cuban is going to feel this way, but it certainly does seem a pervasive attitude. And for outsiders, seeing a society where people do not rely constantly on their cell phones and laptops, and who make much more of their social interactions with their friends and neighbors is very refreshing.
Besides Cuba being just plain interesting, it is beautiful. Most outsiders have seen the photos of Havana and of the old colonial buildings now in such decay. With the backdrop of vintage American cars on the streets, and the colors of the Caribbean, it is hard to stop taking photos in Havana.
Outside Havana, the rest of Cuba also has much to offer. Cuba has some of the most beautiful beaches in all of the Caribbean. Some of the most famous are those in Varadero, Holguin, Cayo Coco and Cayo Largo. But the Cuban countryside is also beautiful, with lush green grass and trees contrasting with red soil. Of course, sugar cane fields are abundant throughout the country, as are tobacco fields in the west. But a drive through the country also exposes you to the rural lifestyle of the Cuban people which is dramatically different than what is seen in Havana. Horse drawn carriages are plentiful in the countryside, and it is not uncommon to see farmers plowing fields behind a team of oxen.
Now, let's talk about the fishing. In all honesty, there is great saltwater flats fishing in many places around the world. I have been to many of them, and enjoyed most if not all of them. Cuba, however, offers things you seldom see in other destinations. First of all, the marine habitat surrounding Cuba is pristine. In large part this is due to the historical distrust by the government of citizens having access to the coastline and boats. But it is also a result of Fidel's belief in environmental stewardship, and a commitment to making nearly 30 percent of the coastline protected. Expanses of the Cuban coast are devoid of inhabitation or any kind of infrastructure. As a consequence, there is little commercial fishing done here. Cubans joke that the fish in Cuba are for the tourists. This is reinforced when you look at the menus in local restaurants, and see pork and chicken on the menu but very little seafood.
The result of this is a habitat such as you find in Jardines de la Reina. This Archipeligo off the southern coast of the Cuban mainland is regarded by marine biologists as one of the most pristine marine environments on the entire planet. The area around the Zapata Peninsula is similar. And, all the marine areas are fiercely protected by both the government and the fishing operations against any illegal poaching. The coral reefs are extremely healthy, and nursery areas for juvenile fish plentiful. The result are healthy populations of Tarpon, Bonefish, Permit, Jacks, Snapper and Barracuda in almost all of the fishing areas offered.