Puerto San Jose, Guatemala

Casa Vieja Lodge

Puerto San Jose, Guatemala

Casa Vieja Lodge

Few billfishing destinations can compete with Guatemala when it comes to the sheer numbers of fish and the accessibility of the fishing grounds, and Casa Vieja is synonymous with that outstanding fishery. It’s the most famous big-game operation in the region, and for good reason. It has been providing all-inclusive, deluxe accommodations, and leading visiting anglers to insane offshore action for nearly 20 years. And to maintain and even improve its high standards, Casa Vieja upgrades its installations, amenities and equipment regularly. 

Located less than a mile from the marina where its boats are docked, this safe, gated lodge boasts spacious and elegantly-furnished, air-conditioned rooms, as well as superb food and service. Anglers are welcomed back from fishing with a chilled towel and a cocktail, shortly followed by appetizers, and they can also take a dip in the pool, or catch a game on satellite TV and enjoy their favorite libation at the large, palapa-style, outdoor bar.

Casa Vieja’s fleet of sportfishers is legendary, all the gear is absolutely top notch, and the seasoned crews are in tune with fly anglers’ requirements for success and well-versed in the bait-and-switch technique used to catch billfish on the fly.  

Season

Year Round

Species

Black Marlin, Blue Marlin, Dorado, Pacific Sailfish, Striped Marlin, Yellowfin Tuna

Accomodations

Casa Vieja offers 21 spacious and elegantly-furnished rooms

Occupancy

35 Guests

Lodge Features & Amenities

Amazing Food

Beginner Friendly

Couples Friendly

Family Friendly

High Value

Luxury

The Casa Vieja Lodge Experience

Casa Vieja is a deluxe, all-inclusive lodge offering spacious, well-appointed, air-conditioned rooms with large, private baths. Just outside the rooms, the loungers surrounding the swimming pool and the large, outdoor bar are ideal gathering spots to mingle with fellow guests and enjoy cocktails and appetizers. The food and service are superb, and all alcoholic beverages (except top-shelf) are complimentary.

Some 30 years after Tim Choate’s Fins ‘n Feathers operation made the world take notice of Guatemala’s billfish rich waters in the early 1990s, the fishery continues to thrive, keeping the small Central American nation among the top offshore fishing destinations, and retaining its well-deserved title of sailfish capital of the world. 

The region’s underwater topography and strong currents that flow west to east set the stage for a replenishing offshore bonanza with sailfish, marlin, tuna, and dorado as the protagonists. And here, the experienced crews aboard top boats tally more than 2,500 sailfish and marlin (blue, black and some striped) releases most years, also reporting 50-plus-fish days with some regularity. 

Such incredible billfish numbers, Pacific sailfish especially, present an unusual action-packed situation for fly fishers with plenty of shots at fish and abundant opportunities to hone their skills with hands-on training and tips from veteran captains and mates. It’s safe to say that, in Guatemala, anglers who wish to up their billfishing game can go from novice to experienced after just a couple of days on the water. 

Guatemala offers terrific year-round angling, and Casa Vieja’s boats raise an astounding average of 20 billfish per day. While October through June is considered peak season, the truth is that rainy season (usually mid-July through September) slows travel to the area, resulting in lesser release numbers, but the fish are still there for anglers willing to deal with sporadic showers, which captains can frequently maneuver around fairly easily. 

 

Fishing Schedule

A little before 7:00am, anglers head to Marina Pez Vela (less than a mile away) to board their boat in one of Casa Vieja’s air-conditioned vans, which will be waiting to take them back to the lodge when they return to port after a full day on the water, at about 5:00pm. 



 

Boats 

The lodge uses a diverse fleet of top offshore boats, all superbly equipped and well maintained: 

 

Pez Raton: This 35-foot Contender ST, with Capt. Benji Baires at the helm, is perfect for the single angler or small groups (two or three anglers), and it offers a great combination of reliability, fishability, comfort and speed (up to 35 knots powered by twin 300hp outboards). Plus, the walk-around layout lets anglers follow a hooked fish around the boat with ease.

 

Makaira: Now skippered by Capt. Jeffrey Garcia, this 37-foot Rybovich has a long, proven record that dates back to the days of Tim Choate’s Fins ‘n Feathers, and it remains one of Guatemala’s top performers. Fully restored and repowered with new Cummins QSB6.7 engines in 2015, this Day-Boat style sportfisher combines the classic lines of its traditional design and astounding fish-calling prowess. In fact, Makaira has held the record for most billfish caught in a single season for the past two years. It comfortably fishes four to five anglers and reaches a top speed of 24 knots.

 

Release: This 37-ft Merritt was called “the perfect fishing boat” by Buddy Merritt, the heralded boatbuilder who designed this classic Day-Boat specifically to raise and catch fish, and on March 11, 2006, it set the single-day record for sailfish caught on the fly with 57 releases. Fully renovated and repowered with brand new Cummins QSB6.7 engines in 2017, Release offers plenty of comfortable seating in the shade but still close to the action. Like Makaira, it fishes four anglers easily and reaches a maximum speed of 24 knots.

 

Spindrift: This Stolper 380 Tournament Express was custom built in 1998 and refurbished and repowered with Cummins 5.9L Engines in 2019. The 38-footer has been engineered to have a low-frequency hull signature said to attract fish, and it boasts an air-conditioned cabin down below, and a raised bridge deck that provides excellent, unobstructed view of the teasers and any fish that comes up for a look. Spindrift is skippered by Capt. Franz Hoffman, accommodates four anglers and has a top speed of 25 knots.

 

A-Fin-ity: Built for serious billfish tournament anglers, this 39-foot Billy Knowles has long been known in the industry as one of the premier gameboat models ever designed. It got a new teak deck and other enhancements in 2018, and it is currently in the capable hands of Capt. Nico Melendez. A-Fin-ity is equipped with a surround-sound system for those who love to crank up some tunes while fishing. It fishes four anglers comfortably and runs up to 25 knots.

 

Rum Line: This 40-foot Gamefisherman arrived in Guatemala in 2008 and, after a complete renovation, it debuted as a member of Casa Vieja’s fleet in 2018, sporting new electronics and new Cummins QSC 500HP engines, along with its air-conditioned cabin, and new mezzanine-deck seating. With Capt. Terry Brennan at the helm, Rum Line does 24 knots and can accommodate four or five anglers. 

 

Finest Kind:  One of Guatemala’s premier charter boats, this legendary 40-foot Whiticar —with  its dual Cummins Diamond Series 450hp engines and climate-controlled cabin— offers a fast and comfortable ride. It is run by Capt. Nicho Alvarenga, and has a top speed of 24 knots and enough elbow room in the cockpit for four or five anglers.

 

Poco Loco: This 44-foot Kincheloe Nickerson became the flagship of Casa Vieja’s sportfishing fleet in 2018. With two state rooms and just as many heads, and ample seating in the bridge, the mezzanine and the open salon, this luxurious boat offers lots of space, comfort and convenience for four to five anglers. Poco Loco does 24 knots and is skippered by Capt. David Salazar, Casa Vieja’s owner and an accomplished big-game captain with more than 20 years of experience in Guatemalan waters.

 

Loaner Gear

Although visiting anglers are welcome to bring their own gear, Casa Vieja’s boats carry a selection of flies and fly outfits from top brands, rigged specifically for offshore big-game.

Casa Vieja offers 21 spacious and elegantly-furnished rooms with either a king or two queen beds, private bathroom with step-in shower and all the conveniences expected from a deluxe facility. The rooms surround a swimming pool, with a large, outdoor bar just steps away, and beautiful, manicured gardens and tropical foliage add to the relaxed atmosphere.

Guatemala has beautiful national parks, biosphere reserves, wildlife viewing, Mayan temples, and more to offer. Casa Vieja can arrange a variety of side trips and guided sightseeing, ranging from helicopter tours of the volcanoes to visits to the majestic ruins of Tikal, the Lake Atitlan region, and the town of Antigua, known for its coffee and artisanal crafts. 

Several airlines offer direct flights to Guatemala City, the nation’s capital, from Miami (2 hours), Houston (2 ½ hours), Dallas and Atlanta (3 ½ hours) and Los Angeles (6 hours). After clearing Guatemalan customs, you will be met by a representative of Casa Vieja and directed to one of the lodge’s chauffeured vans (stocked with beer, sodas, and bottled water), which will transport you directly to lodge in Puerto San Jose, a 90-minute drive —on a modern highway— from the mountains to the coast, passing several volcanoes, coffee and sugar cane plantations.

Puerto San Jose, where Casa Vieja is located, is a farming and commercial-port town. Affluent Guatemalans discovered its natural beauty and have constructed several waterfront neighborhoods of opulent homes bordering the town, but there are no tourist shops in the area. Marina Pez Vela, where Casa Vieja’s fleet is docked, is less than a mile away from the lodge. To accommodate early flight departures at the end of the trip, guests sometimes choose to spend their final night at the first-class hotel in Guatemala City.

Gil’s Fly Fishing International’s services are completely free, so you never pay more than if you booked directly with the lodge or outfitter. All rates are per person and listed in U.S. dollars.

 

35-Foot Center-Console Boat (Pez Raton)
4 Nights / 3 Days Fishing/group of 4     $2,760 per pers. (Addit’l Night and Day Fishing $750)
4 Nights / 3 Days Fishing/group of 3     $3,285 per pers. (Addit’l Night and Day Fishing $910)
4 Nights / 3 Days Fishing/group of 2     $3,920 per pers. (Addit’l Night and Day Fishing $1,135)
4 Nights / 3 Days Fishing/single angler $6,515 per pers. (Addit’l Night and Day Fishing $1,985)

 

37- to 39-Foot Sportfishing Boat (Makaira, Release, Spindrift or A-Fin-ity)
4 Nights / 3 Days Fishing/group of 4     $3,235 per pers. (Addit’l Night and Day Fishing $895)
4 Nights / 3 Days Fishing/group of 3     $3,970 per pers. (Addit’l Night and Day Fishing $1,130)
4 Nights / 3 Days Fishing/group of 2     $4,845 per pers. (Addit’l Night and Day Fishing $1,435)
4 Nights / 3 Days Fishing/single angler $8,895 per pers. (Addit’l Night and Day Fishing $2,690)

 

40-Foot Sportfishing Boat (Rum Line or Finest Kind)
4 Nights / 3 Days Fishing/group of 4     $3,605 per pers. (Addit’l Night and Day Fishing $1,025)
4 Nights / 3 Days Fishing/group of 3     $4,470 per pers. (Addit’l Night and Day Fishing $1,295)
4 Nights / 3 Days Fishing/group of 2     $5,590 per pers. (Addit’l Night and Day Fishing $1,690)
4 Nights / 3 Days Fishing/single angler $10,165 per pers. (Addit’l Night and Day Fishing $3,165)

 

44-Foot Sportfishing Boat (Poco Loco)
4 Nights / 3 Days Fishing/group of 4     $3,935 per pers. (Addit’l Night and Day Fishing $1,135)
4 Nights / 3 Days Fishing/group of 3     $4,910 per pers. (Addit’l Night and Day Fishing $1,450)
4 Nights / 3 Days Fishing/group of 2     $6,250 per pers. (Addit’l Night and Day Fishing $1,915)
4 Nights / 3 Days Fishing/single angler $11,490 per pers. (Addit’l Night and Day Fishing $3,600)

 

Included:

  • The number of nights lodging specified in the package (double-occupancy)
  • All meals and complimentary beverages at the lodge
  • Alcoholic beverages at the bar (except top-shelf)
  • Airport ground transfers
  • Fishing aboard selected boat with captain and mate
  • Full complement of gear and flies (if needed)
  • Lunches and complimentary beverages aboard the boat
  • Marina ground transfers
  • Use of pool and workout room

 

Not Included:

  • Airfare to Guatemala City, Guatemala
  • Gratuities for fishing guides and lodge staff
  • Side tours and non-angling activities

Bookings are confirmed with a 50 percent deposit, made no later than seven days after booking a trip. Balance must be received no later than 90 days prior to the first day of the trip. Notification of cancellation must be received 90 days prior to the first day of the trip in order to receive partial or full credit for an alternate date. All payments are final and nonrefundable, with the exception of a medical or family emergency, deemed reasonable at GFFI’s discretion.

Booking a trip or making a deposit represents that the client accepts all terms and conditions. GFFI’s terms are in addition to any terms and conditions of each individual lodge that GFFI represents. Please read those terms carefully—lodge terms, which may differ from GFFI’s terms, supersede any agreements between GFFI and a client.

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