GPS Coordinates: 19°30’01.12″N 87°25’43.48″W
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Playa Blanca Fishing Lodge rests on the east shore of Isla Punta Pajaros, a small coastal island on the southern end of the famed Ascension Bay. Surrounded by the 1.3 million acre Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve, Playa Blanca provides endless opportunities to pursue the coveted grand slam of salt water fly fishing. Permit, tarpon, bonefish and snook are at home on the mile after mile of turquoise flats and hidden mangrove lagoons. The guides are among the most experienced in the Yucatan, and skilled at helping both beginning and expert anglers alike. In addition to bonefish, tarpon, snook and permit, you can fly fish for numerous other species, including barracuda, snapper and jacks, making this an ultimate destination for anglers interested in a variety of species. Playa Blanca is considered one of the region’s premier Yucatan fly fishing destinations.
General Travel Information
Getting in and out of Cancun is simple. Many U.S. airlines fly direct to Cancun from San Francisco, Los Angeles, Houston, Atlanta, Dallas, Miami and other major U.S. cities.
Important Flight Scheduling:
All guests will arrive to Cancun, Mexico (CUN) on Friday. Our hotel of choice is the Courtyard Marriott Cancun, located less than 10 minutes from the airport this is where most guests choose to spend Friday night. Saturday morning, we will provide charter service to the lodge. We generally use a Caravan, Kodiak or Cessna 206 for our charters. Return flights should be scheduled for after 11:00 AM on your departure day. This allows for the charter to return to Cancun and have sufficient time to get through check in processes.
Any flights that do not fall within this time must be approved 30 days in advance by the lodge and may result in air charter surcharge. All airline or private flight itineraries must be supplied to the lodge 30 days in advance of your arrival in Cancun.
Courtyard Marriot Cancun Airport Hotel
011 52 998 287 2200
Blvd. Luis Donaldo Colosio KM 12.5 Lte 1 SM 305 Cancún, Q. Roo, México 77560
In Transit Emergencies or Flight Delays:
We require clients to arrive Friday to Cancun to facilitate our charter schedule. If you happen to have delays and arrive later than 10:00 AM on Saturday morning you may incur a fee for charter services. These charges are listed in the Casa and Playa Blanca pricing literature.
Arriving in Cancun:
Upon arriving in the Cancun airport, you will be processed by Immigration. You will then claim your baggage. Next you will clear Customs. After customs, proceed to the Arrival Area outside. The Arrival Lobby will be full of tour operators with arriving passengers and is usually somewhat chaotic. Most guests will be staying at the Courtyard Marriott and can find the shuttle at platform 26. If the shuttle is not there it will usually return with 15-30 minutes. It is advised to call the hotel and request to be picked up (1-800-020-3373 or +52 998 287 2200) Note that other taxis and operators will charge $40-80 for the short ride. It is advised to call the Courtyard shuttle service which is solely based on gratuities. Saturday the transfer from the Courtyard to the FBO will take approximately 10 minutes. You will then board a plane and fly directly to the Casa Blanca airstrip. The flight takes approximately 50 minutes.
To insure safe and efficient transfer flights between the Cancun airport and Casa Blanca Fishing Lodge, please follow the guidelines below.
- Pack lightly
- Favor the soft-sided luggage to hard sided or hard bottom luggage
- It is best to have two small pieces of luggage rather than 1 big one
- Limit your luggage weight to 45 pounds
- No non-collapsible rods/rods cases, especially long bazooka type cases
We strongly encourage guests to pack lightly (45 lbs. maximum) in soft-sided bags to facilitate loading in the charter aircraft. If there is too much luggage it will be transferred by truck and boat to Casa Blanca & Playa Blanca (delivery may take up to 12 hrs.) Our daily laundry service on the Island is an important factor to consider while packing.
Saturday Morning Flight to Playa Blanca:
The ground service manager for Casa and Playa Blanca, Andrea Solidoro, will notify you the night before what time you and your luggage should be down in the hotel lobby ready for the transfer to the FBO. Usually this is mid to late morning. The transfer will take less than 5 minutes. You will then board a plane and fly directly to the Casa Blanca airstrip. The flight takes approximately 50 minutes. If more than eight guests arrive in a 2 hour period, the later arriving guests may have a layover of up to two hours in the General Aviation Terminal. The terminal has a very comfortable lounge and small bar which serves drinks and sandwiches.
Be prepared to show your passport and commercial air boarding pass (paper or electronic) to the security officers at the General Aviation Terminal before boarding the aircraft.
You will need to provide us with your full name as it reads on your passport for check purposed for your charter flight to Casa/Playa Blanca.
Arrival at Playa Blanca:
When you arrive at Playa Blanca, you will land on the lodge’s airstrip, approximately 3 minutes by boat from the main lodge. There is a short walk from the plane to the boat dock, so change into your boat shoes before departing Cancun. Insects can be a problem on the airstrip because it is protected from the wind. Pack your insect repellent where it is handy. Or, when you arrive, walk immediately from the plane to the small pier at the end of the runway where the breeze will alleviate the problem. Your baggage will be transferred by the lodge staff and placed in your room. The boat ride can be wet, so dress accordingly or pack your rain gear on top and put it on before you leave the pier. You will then take a short vehicle ride to Playa Blanca, about 15 minutes. When you arrive at Playa Blanca, staff will greet you and show you to your room. Your baggage will arrive a few minutes later.
There is no guided fishing on the day you arrive, but feel free to wade the flats around the lodge or fish along the beach. On the day you arrive, after dinner, lodge staff will provide a general orientation explaining daily schedules and lodge policies.
The daily schedule is flexible, so discuss your plans with the lodge staff every day. Most anglers choose a schedule that takes advantage of the best time to spot bonefish and permit on the flats, generally between 8:00 am and 3:30 pm. Before 8:00 am and after 3:30 pm, the angle of the sun produces a glare, making fish more difficult to see.
There is no guided fishing on the day of departure. Each departure day is scheduled differently depending on guests’ airline departure times. Generally, you will depart the lodge in the morning. Your schedule will be posted the evening before you depart for your convenience. On the day you depart, please be sure to clear your lodge account and have your bags packed and ready for transfer to the airstrip one hour before your scheduled departure. If you are scheduled to depart on an early flight, you should clear your account the evening before.
Entry & Exit Requirements:
You must submit your passport as proof of citizenship and obtain a Mexican tourist card to enter the country. The tourist card application is issued at the ticket counter by airlines that fly into Mexico. Please fill it out while in flight and present it along with your passport to the immigration officials when you arrive in Cancun.
Your tourist card will be checked at your first point of entry. The immigration official will retain one copy and give you the other, which you must surrender at the airline ticket counter when you check in for your return flight. Please keep your tourist card in your possession during your stay in Mexico. No visas or inoculations are required for U.S. citizens. A Mexican departure tax is payable at the airport when leaving Mexico. Some airlines include this as a prepaid part of your ticket.
Important for Traveling with Children:
When traveling with children 17 years of age or younger, entering Mexico accompanied by only one parent, you must have a notarized letter of consent from the other parent stating the child/children have his/her permission to enter the country. Single parents need a notarized documentation of divorce decree or death certificate of spouse. Minors unaccompanied by either parent require a notarized letter of consent signed by both parents.
Casa Blanca & Playa Blanca representative, Monday – Friday, 9 am -5 pm, central time
Toll free number from US – (877) 261-8867 | Local – 01 (984) 802 5610
Andrea Solidoro – arrival hostess
From US – 011 (52) 998-860 0536
From Cancun – 044 998 860 0536
From your cell – 52 1 998 860 0536
Email – firstname.lastname@example.org
Feel free to text or email Andrea upon your arrival in Cancun.
The peso is the standard currency in Mexico. Credit cards and US dollars are commonly accepted in and around Cancun, though you may get your change in pesos.
Spanish is the official language of Mexico.
The lodge provides all the electricity at Playa Blanca with generators. The generators operate daily from approximately 3:30pm until 8am. This schedule may vary seasonally.
Playa Blanca uses VHF radios to communicate with their guides on the water in case of emergency. Playa Blanca has wireless internet capability for guest use in the main commons area. A satellite phone is available to rent for a nominal fee. Cell service is not available.
All drinking water and water for ice is purified using the reverse osmosis process with a UV filter. Drinking water is provided in your room. The water from the tap is from a natural well. We recommend that you do not drink it. Also, please help them by conserving water whenever possible.
Temperatures can range from the low 70’s in January, and up to the low 90’s in July. Isolated afternoon thundershowers are a possibility year round. The weather tends to be relatively calm, April – June.
As with most tropical destinations, Playa Blanca does have mosquitoes and no-see-ums. Both are most active at dawn and dusk, and nothing is a better repellent that lightweight tropical clothing. An insect repellent containing deet will keep the mosquitoes away. Wearing long pants and sox to protect your feet and ankles is the best solution for the no-see-ums.
Food & Beverages:
Breakfast is served with fresh squeezed orange juice, strong coffee, platters of tropical fruits and cereal. The chef will prepare your meal to order, including pancakes, omelets, French toast, and eggs. Be sure to try some of the local specialties, including huevos rancheros, migas, and huevos Mexicanos.
Your lunch is a custom creation built from an extensive buffet, with selections including assorted sandwich makings, fruit, cookies, shrimp and fish dishes, salads and chips.
The evening menu at Playa Blanca features seasonal produce, lobster, conch, chicken, steak, and fresh fish. Soup, salad, and fresh baked bread and specialty salsas are daily side dishes and you can count on a great dessert. Meals are served in the lodge’s waterfront dining room at beautifully set tables by a seasoned staff.
Tipping is at your discretion and should relate directly to the level of service you receive. We are often asked about customary tipping, so we offer the following suggestions. Please pay gratuities in cash.
- Fishing guides – Recommended tip for a fishing guide is $50 -$100 per day / per boat.
- Lodge staff – Recommended tip for lodge staff is $120 -$200 per week / per guest.
If you have anything you do not wish to leave in your room while you are at the lodge, you may place it in the lodge safe. Please ask the lodge manager about this service.
All bar charges and purchases at the lodge will be placed on your personal account which is payable on the day of departure. They accept cash, Visa and MasterCard, but not American Express. A 16% Mexico value-added tax is applied to all purchases.
The guides are very knowledgeable about angling, but not all are fluent in English. If you have any problems communicating during the day, please speak to the fishing coordinator so he can correct the situation.
Guide & Room Requests:
Guests of Playa Blanca may request a specific room or guide assignment for their stay. Please let us know if you have any specific requests.
Guide and room requests are not guaranteed. Their staff will do their best to honor all requests, although circumstances may arise which may make this impossible. For example, a guide may be sick and unable to work a particular week.
Playa Blanca uses sixteen-foot Dolphin flats skiffs that accommodate two fishermen and a guide. Each is constructed with a forward casting deck, tandem passenger seats, rod racks, and a poling platform. Lean bars are available by request.
Your fishing license is included in your fishing package.
Bonefish are plentiful in Espiritu Santo Bay. You can hunt them on foot, wading hard sand flats, or from the skiff in secluded mangrove lagoons. You’ll have the opportunity to target large schools of smaller bonefish or focus your efforts on larger fish that typically feed as singles or small groups. Thanks to conservation efforts, the bonefish are getting bigger. It is now common to see fish over five pounds. This is shallow water sight fishing at its finest, and the thrill of watching the grey ghost flare its fins and gills as it inhales your fly is unforgettable.
The permit fishing in Espiritu Santo Bay is some of the best in the world. By far the most difficult fish you’ll encounter on the flats, permit have superb eyesight and a well-developed sense of smell. Although it is common to see permit with their tail or dorsal fin out of the water, they usually won’t remain there for long. They’re constantly on the move, so quick, accurate casts are essential. Don’t become discouraged with a few refusals. Permit are challenging, but the rewards are incredible.
Known as the “Silver King”, tarpon are the largest and most acrobatic fish on the flats of Espiritu Santo Bay. Playa Blanca fishes the resident juvenile population year-round, with fish averaging ten to forty pounds. Born in the open ocean, gaining both mass and volume as the feed on the abundant baitfish and crustacean populations, they live throughout the bay until the reach maturity. As young adults they move offshore and join the ocean-going migratory population, which moves in and around the bay, spring through fall. These are the true “Silver Kings”, honest eleven and twelve weight fish, reaching a hundred pounds and more.
Snook are back country brawlers, often ambushing their prey from the shadows. Your guide will pole the skiff along mangrove clad shorelines, while you search between the roots for snook, lurking in the shadows. A well-presented baitfish pattern will often get the strike, and the next challenge is to stop and turn the fish before he streaks through the maze of barnacle encrusted roots, shredding your line and leader. Snook live in and around the bay all year, with fall being some of the best months to hunt the big ones, reaching and exceeding twenty pounds.
There are a wide variety of underrated species that call Espiritu Santo Bay home, and the barracuda rank among the best. They often wait at channel openings for fish to be swept off the flats and into open water, and attack at lighting speed. They make strong runs across the surface and often launch into the air like missiles. Jack crevalle are aggressive and hard fighting fish that can grow to near thirty pounds, and they absolutely smash a surface popper. To say that they are strong in an understatement, and one that you won’t really understand until you try to slow down a twenty-pound jack, heading for Cuba.
Tarpon Fishing Lagoon:
Anglers interested in securing fishing days on the Tarpon lagoon must pre-arrange for these services before arriving at the lodge. Please contact The Fly Shop® travel department to secure reservations.
Sunglasses should fit tightly to block sunlight from the sides and have lenses large enough to cover the entire eye area for protection. Copper or amber are the best colors for flats fishing, and we strongly suggest bringing an extra pair in case of an accident.
Flats Wading Boots:
The flats vary in composition on Espiritu Santo Bay. Hard sole wading boots are suggested, as they will provide foot protection from sharp shells, rock, and urchins.
Your boat bag will contain all your gear for the day in the boat and in transfer to and from the dock. Anglers often prefer some organizing dividers inside, and quick access pouches on the outside. It needs to be large enough to hold your rain jacket, fly boxes, sunscreen, extra leaders and tippet, camera, and back up glasses and fly lines. Fishpond, Patagonia, and Simms offer quality boat bags.
- 9 or 10 weight rods
- Saltwater reel holding a minimum of 200 yards of 20-pound backing
- Tropical weight forward floating line
- 9-12 foot leaders
- 12-20 pound test fluorocarbon tippet
- 11 or 12 weight rods
- Saltwater reel holding a minimum of 200 yards of 30-pound backing
- Intermediate or sink tip lines
- Leader – 4 – 6 ft. butt section, 20-pound class tippet and 60 – 100 pound shock tippet
- 7 or 8 weight rods
- Saltwater reel holding at least 200 yards of 20-pound backing
- Tropical weight forward floating line
- Leader – 9-14 feet – depending upon the fishing situation.
- Tippet – 8-12 pound test fluorocarbon
Tarpon & Snook:
- Megalopsicle – #1/0; tan/orange, purple/black
- Tarpon Toad – #2/0; red/black
- Tarpon Rabbit Toad – #1/0; tan, purple/black, chartreuse
- Puglisi Peanut Butter – #1/0; chartreuse/white, purple/black
- Squimp – #2; tan
- Raghead Crab – #2; tan
- Casa Blanca Raghead – #2; tan, white
- E.P. Spawning Shrimp – #4; tan, translucent