The large double-decker floating hotel
While you are our guest in Los Jardines de la Reina, accommodations are provided primarily on 3 large live-aboard boats or on our original 110-foot double deck houseboat, the Tortuga. The Tortuga functions as a floating hotel with seven guest cabins that accommodate two anglers each. The Tortuga is a massive, steel houseboat that is permanently secured in a small, protected channel of a big island, so that it never moves, regardless of bad weather or wind. It is extremely stable and level at all times so there is never any chance of guests getting seasick.
We refurbished the Tortuga again in 2008. This was a major rebuild with a total cost of 1.5 million USD. The guest cabins on the upper level all have their own bathrooms with sink and toilet and a good shower with plenty of hot water. Each cabin has its own easily adjustable air-conditioning system. On the lower level you will find our large air-conditioned dining room along with both a foredeck, afterdeck, chairs and tables that are perfect for setting up your tackle, tying flies or relaxing after a day of fishing. We have plenty of rod racks as well as good facilities for washing and cleaning your tackle. The foredeck is everyone’s favorite place to enjoy appetizers like pizza and your favorite beverage before dinner. A great spot to kick back, and relax, enjoy that perfect mojito, or smoke a great Cuban cigar while swapping tales of the day’s fishing.
Dining on board combines the flair of the best Continental Italian cuisine, wonderful fresh seafood every day and traditional Cuban favorites like rice and beans, black bean soup and fried bananas. Beverages available on board include bottled water, Mineral and tonic water, various soft drinks, beer, rum and excellent wines. If you prefer liquor other than rum, you can bring this with you and our bartender will have whatever mixers you need.
Electricity on board is supplied by generators located on a small island nearby and is available twenty-four hours a day. We have many outlets on board that provide both 110 and 220V. We have a satellite Wireless connection making communication with the outside world easy and free for our guests. You can use your laptop in our dining room at any time or in the cabins using our Avalon Hot Spot network as long as your laptop or other device has wireless capability.
Anglers arriving on Saturday in Camaguey, Santa Clara, or Cayo Coco to fish Jardines de la Reina will stay aboard their luxury yacht the first night of arrival. Early the following morning, the anglers will meet their guides and depart to the pristine saltwater flats of Jardines de la Reina where they will fish for six full days. At the end of the final fishing day, anglers will transfer back to Jucaro port, where they will overnight on their mothership. On Saturday, everyone will disembark with plenty of time to make their respective flights from Camaguey, Santa Clara, or Cayo Coco airports.
Anglers who choose to fly into Havana will arrive on Friday, overnight in Havana, then transfer to Jucaro port on Saturday for their fishing week aboard the mothership. On the following Saturday, these guests will return to Havana where they will overnight and depart home on Sunday.
Unlike many lodges, fishing hours are totally at the discretion of the clients. Our fishing day normally begins with breakfast at 7:00am, and our guides are ready to go fishing from 7: 45am on. Many anglers elect to return to the Tortuga for a nice lunch especially during the summer season. Some of the flats are within fifteen minutes of the boat, and it is always nice to take a lunch break in the shade and relax a bit before fishing a long afternoon.
On other days you will want to explore more distant flats that see little fishing pressure, you need to request box lunches for yourself and your guide the evening before. You can run as far as you like with our guides to the most distant flats in the island system, as we do not put any limitation on gas used each day. Guides will know to bring extra gas when they need it. Another bonus is that we allow our clients to fish late into the evening if they like. In the Jardines, it is common to have stronger wind in the mornings but then later in the afternoon it will often be calm making for superb late afternoon and evening fishing, especially for bonefish.
In Jardines de la Reina, our season is year round, except for September to mid-October when our staff takes a well-earned break. A normal week includes five full days of fishing and one to two half days depending on your schedule and mode of transportation to Jucaro, our port for the Jardines de la Reina archipelago.
Shopping on board the Tortuga
We have for sale Fly-Fishing shirts (long and short sleeve), T-shirts, hats, shorts, and fishing pants, all at very reasonable prices. We want to remind you that we do not accept credit cards. You will need cash for any purchases and gratuities. You can easily exchange money at the airport or at any bank for CUC (Cuban Convertible Pesos). The best currency to bring on your trip to Cuba is either Euros or Canadian Dollars. At present there is a 10% penalty in addition to the exchange rate for US dollars.