The Lazy, Crazy Guide to Sand Land

Best Fishing

Walk this way: stepping into Cuba's Cayo Largo     Photo: Corel

BONEFISH—LA TORTUGA IN JARDINES DE LA REINA, CUBA: Combine live-aboard and lodge fishing in these pristine flats 40 miles off the island's southwest coast. A lack of commercial fishing and a dearth of people mean you can cast a fly into waters few others have ever fished. Avalon Fishing and Diving Center is based at a floating lodge—three large boats with 17 cabins—and uses a fleet of skiffs for fishing. Expert Cuban guides pole you through shallow water around cays as you cast for the elusive fork-tailed torpedoes. Eight-day trips cost $2,400 (011-39-335-814-9111, www.avalons.net).

TARPON—RÃO COLORADO, COSTA RICA: With howler monkeys screeching at you from the trees onshore while a 100-pound tarpon hurls itself out of the Río Colorado at the end of your line, it's hard to imagine a more intense fishing spot than here in northeastern Costa Rica. But just keep concentrating and you'll be reeling in tarpon aplenty at this spawning ground where the river meets the Caribbean Sea. Base yourself at Archie Field's Río Colorado Lodge, which offers 18 plain but comfortable rooms on stilts, right on the riverbanks ($380 per person per day, including guides, meals, and boat; 800-243-9777, www.riocoloradolodge.com).

PERMIT—ASCENSIÓN BAY, MEXICO: In the heart of the Yucatán's Sian Ka'an Biosphere Reserve, a 1,304,688-acre UNESCO World Heritage site, this massive expanse of saltwater flats is one of the world's best places to catch a permit on a fly. Your odds of hooking a bonefish or a tarpon are pretty good, too—Ascensión Bay is often called the Grand Slam Capital of the fishing world. Most anglers situate themselves in or near the tiny fishing village of Punta Allen; the best place to stay is a four-bedroom guest house, SeaClusion Villa, five miles from town ($2,500 a week, per person, including transport from Cancún; 888-829-9420, www.seaclusionmexico.com).

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