Paradise Lodge is aptly named. What was at first hailed as the lodge most consistently productive for tarpon and snook now includes outstanding bonefishing in the most scenic and remote flats of the Mexican Yucatan. Add to this excellent possibilities of hooking up with the most elusive of flats fish; the permit.
The new, completely rebuilt Paradise Lodge has re-opened its doors after its complete destruction by Hurricane Dean in August of 2007. It offers wilderness saltwater fishing from complete comfort in luxury accommodations on the Caribbean Coast near the border with Belize. It looks out over the sea and its part of the second longest barrier reef in the world. It is small catering to only 6 anglers at one time, with 4 rooms to provide space for non anglers as well as anglers. The whole idea behind the rebuild was to make individual attention the first priority of the lodge and staff. The meals are served taking advantage of the chef's expertise in preparing Mexican and international cuisine. All of the drinks are on the house and the bar is always open.
It is located where it is on purpose. It was originally built by Dial Duncan about 20 years ago and he chose its foundation to be laid smack dab in the middle of the many tarpon and snook lakes just inland from the sea and connected to the ocean by cenotes (pronounced say- no'-tase) and the two bays, Chetumal (to the south of the lodge) and Espiritu Santo (to the north). He and subsequent owners, along with lodge guides have been exploring those waters ever since. It is probably the best destination in the Yucatan to seek the hard won goal of a Yucatan Slam. This is landing a bonefish, tarpon, permit and snook in one day. Easy to say but extremely difficult to achieve. If you add the ocean waters in the front of the lodge (accessible on calm days) to the two bays and the nearly dozen lakes, there are 4 distinctly different waters to fish in which to fish 4 distinctly different fish. In addition to the fishes mentioned above, there are jack crevalle, barracuda, snapper and others to talk into eating your fly offering.
The guides are all experienced and were with the lodge before the hurricane. They know the waters well and know how to position a fly fisher to get the best shots at whatever fish he/she has targeted. The boats are all in tip-top condition and are adapted to the local water and fishing conditions. The vehicles are all well maintained, air conditioned and provide the most comfortable ride possible to fishing each day.
Exciting fishing is waiting for every angler venturing into one of the many lakes. Here you will find baby and juvenile tarpon from 8 – 30 pounds and the occasional one over 50 pounds. This is mostly shallow water, sight-fishing to cruising fish close to the mangrove-covered shoreline. Sometimes they play hide and seek with the angler, popping out of the water covered mangrove roots, swim a little ways and ducking back in the trees, sometimes continuing in the same directing and other times reversing direction and appearing out from under the mangrove limbs now moving in the opposite direction. An angler has to be ready to fire of a shot at a moving fish maybe back under the tree limbs. And when the fish explodes on the fly, it literally may find itself hanging from the fly and leader that has followed the tarpon as it jumped over a tree limb 5 feet above the water. Then when the limb breaks and it all comes crashing down the tarpon will make a mad dash toward the submerged mangrove roots. It has to be stopped. There is no give here. It gets back in the trees and it's gone. This is exciting stuff. The snook is just as unpredictable and explosive.
The bays give an angler the classic flats fishing experience. Fishing from a boat or wading in knee deep in 80 degree saltwater: Eyes scanning right to left and back again looking sometimes straining to see a part of a bonefish or a shadow or a fish rooting the bottom in searching for a meal with its tail waving above the surface: Slow-stepping across the flats waiting to see a bonefish nose down – tail up. The cast is made, and the bone sights the fly falling and rushes over to inhale it. You see it all! Strip setting the hook, the bonefish feels the pressure and rockets across the skinny water toward deeper water, peeling line and working the drag hard.
On a very calm day, access to the ocean in front of the lodge is available. The waters between the shore and the reef are home to ocean bonefish, permit, migrating tarpon, jack crevalle and barracuda. All are usually larger than their inland and bay cousins. These waters are know as the rodeo grounds during windy days and can get quite rough if the wind picks up speed. The weather has to be watched very closely when fishing there, but the bigger fish and different conditions make fishing there very interesting.
The non-angler is not forgotten at Paradise Lodge. There are a lot of activities to keep them busy and entertained. Just a short walk up the beach, the Meso-American Reef rises to within a few feet of the surface and a short swim from the beach. Snorkeling there is world class. Kayaks are available to play in the ocean and of course, the beach can provide hours of pleasure swimming and hiking. There are Mayan ruins to explore and birds to observe in the jungle country along the road behind the lodge. The staff at the lodge will bend over backwards to assure the non-angler has just as good of a time as the fishers.
Paradise Lodge is one of The Fly Shop's signature destinations. This is because it epitomizes everything we want to see in a lodge in this area. It wants for nothing. We are proud to be associated with it.
To answer any questions you may have about a trip to Paradise Lodge, give our travel department a call or email. We will then help you determine the best time to fish there fitting your fishing needs and schedule.
We have instantaneous access to the Paradise guest calendar, so we can reserve your dates as soon as you are ready. Then we will prepare an invoice for you and send it to you along with important travel information and itinerary. You then will have about two weeks during which to deposit 50% of the invoiced amount. Receipt of your deposit will confirm your dates at Paradise Lodge. These two weeks will give you ample time to secure air transportation between your home and Cancun, Mexico. The balance of the invoiced amount will be due 60 days prior to your arrival at the lodge. If you make your reservations less than 60 days from your stay at the lodge, you will be invoiced for the full amount.
When we receive your deposit, you will receive a pre-trip and travel planner. It should answer all of your questions about travel, tackle and tipping.
Some non-angling activities (requiring a guide/driver) may incur an additional charge.
When you are invoiced, you will be given one brochure for Travel Insurance and Medivac. We recommend you seriously consider them for protection of your investment in any of our destinations.
Paradise Lodge is booked exclusively through The Fly Shop®
To find out available dates or to make a booking please contact our travel department toll-free at 800-669-3474.
Trips are booked Saturday - Saturday.
|Double Occupancy||Single Occupancy||Non-Angler Sharing|
|Sharing Boat||Private Room/Boat||Room w/ Single Angler|
|7 Nights/6 Days||$2,595||$3,595||$1,395|
• Non-anglers sharing a room with a single angler may accompany their partners in the boat for one or two days, but limited to non-fishing activities.
• Two couples (two anglers and two non-anglers sharing one boat and two rooms) - Double occupancy rate for the anglers and $1,195 for each non-angler.
Your angling package at Paradise Lodge includes transfers from Cancun to lodge and return (Saturdays only), lodging, all meals at the lodge, limited alcohol (see alcohol section), daily guided fishing, snorkeling, and kayaking.
Not included in your Paradise Lodge package are transfers on any day other than Saturday arrival or departure - $300 each way for one or two persons and $450 each way for three or more (divided among the total number of passengers) gratuities for staff, drivers, guides and selected non-angling activities (Mayan ruin tours, shopping tour, diving etc.)
• A 50% deposit is required within 21 days of reserving your dates to confirm the reservation.
• Final payment is due 60 days prior to scheduled arrival date. For reservations made 60 days or less prior to scheduled arrival date, full payment is due upon invoicing.
Paradise Lodge is small, insuring maximum flexibility and first-class service. The lodge can accommodate eight anglers maximum at one time.
There are many reasons to choose one time frame over another. Considerations include; vacation schedules, winter relief from cold northern climes, business commitments, best fishing times etc. No matter when you choose to go to Paradise Lodge, the weather, more than any other factor will influence your success in shallow water and flats fishing. Ideally, 90 – 100% of the fishing at Paradise is sight fishing. Weather or water conditions may necessitate blind casting, especially in the lakes. This method, while not necessarily the favorite, is very productive in the lakes covering the waters at the edge of the mangroves. They hide out back in the roots and a well placed fly could coax them out of hiding at times. Clouds and rain, more than the wind, make it near impossible to see fish on the flats. Guides have tremendous eyesight and can see fish in seemingly impossible conditions. When sight fishing is difficult, listen to your guide. You may not see the fish but he is. Follow his directions for casting and retrieving the fly.
The Lodge is closed during this season.
This is one of safest and most productive times at Paradise especially as it reaches towards April and May. The cold fronts have all but disappeared and if they do show up, they are short lived and may not affect the fishing that much. The warm south-east trade winds are the norm with sunny, clear-sky days. Perfect for sight fishing. All of the flats fishes are fat and sassy by now. The lakes should be clear with excellent fishing for snook and tarpon. There could even be some migratory tarpon moving into the bays and along the Oceanside between the shore and the reef. The permit are happy in the bays and are available in schools, singles and doubles.
There will be windy days. In fact, plan on all days being windy. If this is your first time to the flats, you would be doing a great service to yourself to take a casting lesion from an instructor who has saltwater experience. The wind affects casting differently on the flats that in does while fishing trout on a river. If you don't know the double haul, this would be a good excuse to learn it. You certainly don't have to know how to cast the length of a football field to catch fish on the flats, but having some control over your cast when the wind is blowing 20 – 30 mph or more will improve your hookup rate.
Since spring is probably the best all around time to visit Paradise, it is also the most popular time at the lodge. So, early reservations are always wise if this is the season you want to fish.
This season probably offers the best fishing of all year, but it is more difficult making the personal argument to go to Mexico during the summertime. The bonefish and permit are roaming the flats with far fewer anglers casting to them so tend to be less spooky during this time. The lakes are clear and the tarpon and snook are at their peak.
The trade winds are really settling down, now and while still windy, it isn't as volatile as during the spring. There can be some summer storms with violent winds, rain and clouds, but unless the storm has a name attached to it (hurricane), it usually lasts only a short time; even just a few hours. Remember- it is impossible to out guess the weather, but history can tell us when the odds are with us. Hurricane season begins June 1 and continues through November. The odds are that anglers fishing from Paradise are NOT going to be threatened by a hurricane, but it IS possible. You have to decide if this falls within your comfort zone - being in hurricane country during the season to enjoy some of the best fishing of the year.
July begins the discount period at Paradise (see rates) and continues through December 16, 2009. It is not lower priced because it is poor fishing, but to entice anglers to discover some very good fishing. It can be hot, but the lodge and rooms are fully air conditioned and there is generally a breeze blowing out on the water to help keep you cool.
This can be the most pleasant time of the year to fish. The weather is usually very comfortable, especially in the first 6 to 8 weeks of this season. Some time in the later part of it, mid to late October, the weather will start to change and cool off some. The lakes and the bays are a joy to fish. There have been relatively few anglers on the waters and the fish are not feeling threatened. The weather is the real key to this season. The fish are willing and if the weather is good, the fishing is good. That's the nuts and bolts of it. If you have the opportunity to fish Paradise during this time, the price is right and the fish are ready.
Most major airlines have flights into Cancun from just about every major city in the world. Los Angeles, Dallas, Houston, Atlanta and Miami, all, have non-stop flights to Cancun. Unless you plan to spend a few nights in Cancun before you go to Paradise Lodge, you need to arrive in Cancun before 2:00PM for a transfer on the same day. If you do arrive a day or two earlier and want to be picked up at your hotel, it is no problem. We'll just need to know where you will be staying. You'll need a passport. An expiration date of at least 6 months beyond your travel dates is always a good idea when traveling abroad. As with any international travel, check with your family doctor for health updates for the region you are visiting for any vaccines or special medicines you might want or need. When you arrive at the airport in Cancun a Paradise Lodge and after proceeding through customs, a lodge representative will meet and drive you and any other guests arriving at the same day in an air-conditioned van through the southern Mexican Yucatan directly to the lodge to arrive in time for dinner.
It is an interesting drive starting at first in the touristy region of Cancun, then traveling south through the heart of the Mayan country and further south to more rural and farm areas and finally, arriving at the coast. It is a paved highway and road for almost the entire way. The last few miles are on a gravel/dirt coastal road that takes you directly to the lodge. The lodge itself is waiting on a beautiful piece of property overlooking the ocean and the reef. After arrival, your luggage will be delivered to your room; introductions to the manager and staff will be made, you'll be served a cool drink and a delicious dinner. The manager will let you know the fishing and lodge schedules and answer questions about your upcoming week.
At the end of your stay, you will need an airline departure from Cancun after 1:00 p.m.You will leave the lodge very early to make sure you are in time for your flight.
You will receive, after your trip confirmation, a complete and thorough pre-trip and travel planner well before your departure date to help you with the details. And, of course, you are encouraged to call our travel department with any questions you may have about Paradise Lodge. All of our travel specialists have stayed and fished there and are familiar with international travel packing fishing gear.
The new lodge building is completely rebuilt with all new furnishings. Alex DeTomaso is very proud of what he and his crew has accomplished in bringing back Paradise Lodge better than it has ever been before.
The main structure is a two-storey stucco building facing east and placed a short distance from the shore. One can observe tropical sunrises from its picture windows looking out across the sandy beach, past the reef and over the Caribbean Sea. Mornings don't start much better than this. The main floor of the building is the great-room with dining area, bar and lounging area with comfortable couches and chairs. Behind a wall at the back of this room is the chef's domain, completely rebuilt with all new and modern culinary appliances and necessities.
There are three separate guest rooms directly upstairs of the great-room. Each room is furnished with double beds, air conditioned and has an overhead fan for those nights when the breeze through the windows from the ocean is just right without A/C. Every room has a coffee maker for those early risers who need that jolt of caffeine first thing in the AM and a refrigerator filled with drinks, water and snacks. Guest rooms are comfortable with plenty of room for storage and all have private bathrooms with a shower, hot and cold water. Rooms are cleaned daily (there is no laundry service available).
There is a detached cabana (called the "Casita") that is a little more private than the main rooms and is perfect for couples. It is furnished similar to the other rooms. It is available to all guests on a first request basis.
All of the water is purified and bottled purified water is used for drinking water. The electricity is supplied by generators and outlets are same as in the US. The generator operates through the night to ensure a comfortable sleeping environment and only turned off for a brief period during the day while guests are fishing.
Paradise has an open bar and all drinks are on the house. It is amply supplied with local Mexican beer, tequila, vodka, gin and rum for cocktails. Delicious wines are served with dinner, also included in the package price.
A computer is available for guest use to check/send emails, weather etc. There is a phone at the lodge for customer use. There is a small fee for this service.
Pesos and US Dollars are gladly accepted methods of payment for gratuities and incidentals at the lodge. Credit cards and checks cannot be accepted.
The staff and guides will do everything in their power to provide you with a fishing/lodge experience of a lifetime. Every night of your stay, you will discuss the following day's fishing along with the options available to you. The lodge capacity is very small (6 anglers) so it can deliver individual attention and provide you with the best time ever. Maybe you would like to try for permit tomorrow. You've never caught one and want to see what it is all about. Be sure to discuss this with the lodge manager and if it is at all possible, you and your fishing partner will find yourselves hunting this elusive fish the next day.
The day usually begins between 6:00 and 6:30 AM with coffee and breakfast. You'll enjoy fruit, cereal, and/or a hot breakfast cooked to order. On some mornings when a long drive (almost 2 hours to Espiritu Santo) is anticipated, you may wish to get coffee and breakfast sandwiches and get an early start on the road.
Each fishing day will include 7 – 8 hours on the water conditions permitting. Road time to get to the different fishing waters varies from 20 minutes to almost 2 hours. Lunch each day is packed for you and iced down on the boat along with your favorite drinks and plenty of water. It is taken out on the boat to maximize fishing time. You'll fish the afternoon, getting back to the truck around 4:00 PM.
The fishing will vary according to where you will be fishing.
This is the farthest away from the lodge and probably the most remote fishery in the Yucatan. There are only two lodges with legal permits (from the Sian Kaan preserve) to sportfish with guests and paradise is one of them (Playa Blanca is the other). Considering the number of anglers visiting the Mexican Yucatan each season, Espiritu Santo sees only a handful of them. Snook, tarpon, bonefish and permit all call this bay their dining room. Although it is a drive to get there, the fishing can be outstanding.
It shares its shoreline with Belize on the south and Mexico on the west and north. It is about a 1 1⁄2 hour drive south and west from the lodge to the wind-protected boat launch. Both Espiritu Santo and Chetumal are a little bit of a drive, but you are traveling the miles in a comfortable, air-conditioned vehicle instead of pounding waves in a boat. If these places and the lodge were easy to get to, they would not be the secluded, wilderness experience they are today. Chetumal Bay is famous for it large schools of bonefish and relatively few anglers. It is mostly boat fishing, but there are plenty of hard bottom flats to wade if you want to get out of the boat and fish. Chetumal Bay is huge with most of the fishing on the east side of the bay. During the spring, permit schools are seen roaming the flats.
• After returning each day from fishing, you'll have time to clean up and make it to the main lodge great room for a hor d'oeuvres (a lodge specialty) and cocktails.
• At meal time, the chef will prepare a delicious dinner of local, Mexican or international cuisine. The meals are always well prepared, varied, and served with pride. If you have special dietary concerns, you need only to let us know before your arrival so they can be prepared accordingly.
• If you wish to visit Paradise Lodge as a non-angler, there is plenty for you to do if you like beach hikes, snorkeling, kayaking, birding, hanging out on the beach with a book and cool drink, or arranging for a mayan ruin tour or shopping excursion to the small tourist town of Majahual about a 20 minute drive from the lodge. If a non-angler is staying with an angler in the couple's package, he or she can even go out in the boat with the angler a time or two to experience some of the Mayan wilderness first hand.
The most successful anglers have two or three rods set up in the boat with different flies ready to go. One for bonefish (#7 or 8), one for permit (#8 or 9) and another for tarpon (#8, 9 or 10) or barracuda (#8 or 9). In the lakes there are no bonefish, so a rod for tarpon and one for barracuda will work with possibly a #10 heavy outfit set up in case one of the big boy tarpon show up. All with tropical saltwater floating fly lines. The reels have to be saltwater proof with smooth, smooth drag and the capacity for 150 to 200 yds of backing.
Take along a pair of white cotton socks. Wear them while in the boat. They protect your feet from the sun and insects, prevent slipping on a wet deck, soak them to cool your feet off in the tropical sun and, importantly, when "up" for fishing and the fly line is peeled out onto the deck, it can be felt through the socks if standing on it.
Be sure to have line cleaner handy to give your line a thorough going over whenever it feels sticky, is not shooting the guides correctly or is not floating properly. It is amazing how much this helps distance and accuracy.
A good way to share the fishing position on the deck in the bow of a boat is to make the "ups" 20 minutes long, or a fish is caught or hooked (even if it is lost). This keeps the rotation flowing and the period between fishing stints at the bow don't get too far apart.
If more than two or three fish approach a fly but shy off just short of striking, change the fly. And/or clip the flash out of it. Too much flash can sometimes spook otherwise interested fish. Try a different color, size, weight or shape. The old adage is true about flies; "If it doesn't work, fix it."
Every time a fish strikes or is landed or the fly snags on anything, check the hook for point damage and the leader for nicks and unwanted knots. Fix any problems.
A complete detailed equipment and fly list is supplied to each of our guests in plenty of time before their trip. You can also download a PDF version right now by clicking on:
Please contact our excellent staff if you would like more information on Paradise Lodge. Many of our staff have been to this wonderful destination and will be happy to answer your questions.
Click on the image below to get directions to The Fly Shop.
The Fly Shop, Inc.
4140 Churn Creek Road
Redding, CA 96002
Monday - Friday: 7:30 am to 6:00 pm
Friday (trout season): 7:30 am to 9:00 pm
Saturday & Sunday: 7:30 am to 6:00 pm