Pesca Maya Fishing Lodge is located 90 miles south of Cancun in the amazing 1.3 million acre Sian Ka’an (Mayan for “where the sky is born”) Biosphere Reserve. Situated on a long, narrow strip of barrier beach, the lodge is virtually surrounded by water. To the east lies the blue Caribbean and a few hundred yards off shore, the Palencar Barrier Reef, the second longest barrier reef in the world, stretching from southern Belize to north of Cancun. To the western side lies the vast “El Rio” system of flats, channels and mangrove. 10 miles to the north is the famed inlet through the barrier beach known locally as the “Boca”. And 4 miles to the south lies the incomparable Ascension Bay, offering some of the world’s greatest flats fishing for bonefish, permit, snook, tarpon and more.
The Fishing: The waters of Ascension Bay and the adjacent lagoon system are most noted for flats fishing. Pesca Maya’s location is ideal to fish both areas. The dock is a short walk from the lodge and productive fishing can begin immediately.
When fishing Ascension Bay, the boats run 10 minutes south to the outlet of the lagoon into the bay. From there, running times to some of the most productive areas are: 5 minutes to Maravilla, 25 minutes to Cayo Culebra; 40 minutes to Tres Marias; 30 minutes to Esperanza or the tip of Vigia Grande. Blessed with the protection afforded by the barrier reef, the bay is a unique ecosystem providing literally miles of flats and ideal habitat for bonefish, tarpon, permit and snook. Ascension Bay is widely regarded as one of the world’s finest permit fisheries. The average size permit is around 12 – 14 pounds but the Bay has produced monsters topping the 50-pound mark! And for some unknown reason, Ascension Bay permit seem to eat flies better than permit in other areas. For flyrodders in quest of landing this most coveted and challenging of species, we know of no other fishery that produces more fly caught permit than Ascension Bay.
While migratory tarpon up to 100 + pounds may be encountered on the flats anytime from April through November, resident juvenile tarpon are found near the back of the bay year round. Areas like Los Rios (The Rivers) bring fresh water into the bay providing an ideal brackish water environment tarpon favor.
The back of the bay is also where you’ll find the snook. Ascension Bay produces some exceptionally large snook, some topping 30 pounds! They are typically found tight to the mangroves presenting dual challenges of getting the fly to them, and then landing them! But on occasion, you’ll find them crossing the flat. Seeing a 20 + pound snook cruising across shallow open water is a thing of beauty!
The bay opens to the east and periods of strong easterly winds can make fishing difficult. One solution is to fish the El Rio lagoon system, which runs north and south and offers miles of flats protected from the easterly wind by the barrier beach and vast mangrove system.
Fishing the lagoon can begin at El Rio Lagoon, and fish are sometimes caught within poling distance of the Pesca Maya dock (one client caught a 20 pound permit within 100 feet of the dock!). Heading north the lagoon system are San Miguel Lagoon (20 minutes); the “Boca” and Boca Paila Lagoon (45 minutes); and the Campachen Lagoon (60 minutes). Bonefish and permit are found the entire length of the lagoon and there a few known hot spots for baby tarpon and snook.
Bonefish are plentiful at Pesca Maya and will average 1 – 3 pounds in the lagoon system and 2 – 5 pounds in the bay. In recent years, the average size of the bones seems to have increased, and fish in the 6 – 8 pound class may be encountered in the bay. There are an abundance of good wading flats for bonefish on Ascension Bay, and permit are often taken by the wading fisherman.
This fishery has produced more “Grand Slams” (bonefish, permit, tarpon in a single day) than any other fishery in the world, and the rare Super Grand Slam (the snook as the 4th) has been achieved a number of times. Other species you might encounter include barracuda, jacks, mutton snapper, ladyfish, triple tail and cubera snapper.
Fishing from the beach at Pesca Maya can also be productive. Beach fishing can be done on your own before or after the guided fishing day. Available species from the beach include: bonefish, barracuda, jacks and mackerel. For jacks and mackerel try poppers or sinking lines.
Pesca Maya runs a fleet of 23 foot, shallow draft “pangas” powered by 50 – 60 hp 4-stroke Yamaha outboards. All 8 boats were completely redone with new gel coat and paint in 2013. The boats are equipped poling platforms and casting decks with optional leaning posts, rod holders, comfortable bucket seats for the anglers, radio and safety equipment including life preservers and first aid kits. These pangas are exceptionally seaworthy and feature higher gunnels, which provide added protection from splash on windy days.
Pesca Maya boats carry 2 anglers, one guide and one “apprentice guide”. All of the guides speak English, (some better than others) and have years of experience. In fact the core of the guide staff have guided for the lodge since it opened in 1996. The apprentice’s are part of Pesca Maya’s innovative guide training program. Each must participate in the lodge’s “Guide School” (and pass) before spending several years as an apprentice guide. Those who excel ultimately are promoted to Guide. The apprentices are adept at basic guide skills including knot tying and spotting fish and can be a tremendous aid to the anglers, especially when wading.
Pesca Maya’s rental tackle inventory has also been beefed up with the addition of 8 new top of the line Sage Xi3 rods with Hatch reels spooled with new Rio Bonefish taper flylines. 10 new Shimano spinning rods and reels are also available for spinfishers.
Accommodations: Pesca Maya is a quiet, secluded location where you can watch the sun rise over the Caribbean from your terrace and walk or swim from a beautiful, deserted, powder-white beach, less than a hundred feet from your door. In early 2013, Pesca Maya completed a major half million dollar renovation elevating it to one the nicest lodges in the Caribbean basin. Top shelf accommodations are provided for a maximum of 16 guests in two guest houses , Casa Robinsonand Casa Seaclusion. Each Casa features 4 upscale, ocean front double rooms, (2 upstairs and 2 down) All 8 rooms are spacious and comparably appointed with two queen size beds, private baths with walk in showers, new, quiet and efficient remote controlled AC units and private balcony/patio with comfortable seating overlooking the beach.
Central between the two guest houses is the new beach front “Palapa”, an enormous 5,000 square foot traditional Mayan structure. Towering over 30 feet high, the palapa’s high peaked, palm-thatched roof and open air design provides natural “air-conditioning” combined with ocean breezes. The palapa houses the kitchen with a gourmet, wood fired oven, the restaurant / dining area, the bar and lounge, the 4-station fly tying area equipped with new vises, lamps, tools, and materials, and the Boutique and Fly Shop. The entire structure is screened and features roll down see through curtains for inclement weather.
Also new in 2013, the Pesca Maya Spa is a smaller palapa with spa, hot tub, a sauna, and a massage table staffed by a licensed masseuse.
Breakfasts and dinners are expertly prepared and served in the main palapa. A lunch buffet is set out each morning consisting of a selection of meats, spreads, breads, condiments, fruits and other snacks for anglers to build their own designer lunch.
While first and foremost a fishing lodge, non-anglers will feel welcome at Pesca Maya. Besides miles of world-class beaches to comb, the lodge can arrange a number of ecotours or sightseeing excursions including a boat trip to the Mayan ruins at Tulum.
Fishing Calendar at Pesca Maya
JANUARY – MARCH: Bonefishing and permit fishing is excellent. Some tarpon and snook may be taken.
APRIL – JUNE: Bonefishing and permit fishing remain excellent. The larger migratory tarpon arrive in early April and stay well into November.
JULY – SEPTEMBER: These are rainy months but winds are usually light, which facilitates seeing and casting to bonefish and permit. There’s a “Little Dry” season in August. Tarpon fishing continues to be very good.
OCTOBER – DECEMBER: Excellent for all flat species. The rainy season diminishes through October, and November and December are dry months. An excellent time for “Grand Slams”. The migratory tarpon start to move out in late November.
Our Services are Free!
Pesca Maya 2019 Season Rates & Information
(Rates are subject to change)
|3 Nights / 2 Days Fishing|
$ 1,831.00 pp
|4 Nights / 3 Days Fishing|
$ 2,400.00 pp
|5 Nights / 4 Days Fishing|
$ 2,988.00 pp
|6 Nights / 5 Days Fishing|
$ 3,575.00 pp
|7 Nights / 6 Days Fishing|
$ 4,163.00 pp
Included: round-trip ground & boat transfer from Cancun Airport to Pesca Maya; lodging in beach front cabana with private bath and air conditioning; three meals a day; flats skiff with native guide daily; use of lodge’s tackle (offshore trips only); use of lodge’s fly tying facility and materials; beverages, table wine, beer, liquor; Sian Ka’an entrance fee.
Not included: air travel to Cancun; baggage overweight charges; airport departure tax; laundry bills and other items of a personal nature (NOTE: cellular phone service is available at camp for emergency use. Long distance and cellular charges will be added to your final bill); tackle; gratuities for guides (suggested $50 – $58 per boat per day) and kitchen/housekeeping staff (suggested $20 per person per day); fishing license; special transfer costs necessitated by late arriving, early departing or missed flights ($250 per vehicle trip); optional trips to fresh water lagoon and Mayan Ruins (arranged in advance with resident manager).
Promotional Rates: For reservations from November 1, 2019 – February 28, 2020 (except Christmas season Dec. 18 – Jan. 4), deduct 10% from the rates shown above. For reservations from June 15 – October 31, 2019 deduct 20% from the rates shown above.