Holbox Island, Mexico

Viva Fly Fishing

Holbox Island, Mexico

Viva Fly Fishing

What we like

Viva Fly Fishing offers visiting anglers a unique opportunity to experience the outstanding sight fishing for adult and juvenile tarpon that Holbox Island is famous for. The location, off the northeast corner of the Yucatan Peninsula (where the Gulf of Mexico meets the Caribbean), puts Holbox right in the path of the annual migration that sends countless schools of silver kings traveling along its coast. In addition, the island’s extensive network of tidal lagoons and interior flats is teeming with baby tarpon and is also home to snook, barracuda, snapper and jacks. And if you are looking for chances to achieve the coveted flats slam, runs to remote Cayo Ratón can be arranged to also put permit and bonefish in your crosshairs. 

Unlike similar fishing operations in other parts of Mexico’s Yucatan, Viva is not in a terribly secluded area, so non-angling companions will find a number of activities (birdwatching and diving with whale sharks among them), as well as a variety of small shops, restaurants and bars, but in a very safe setting and a much smaller scale than popular resort towns, like Cancún. Cars are not allowed in Holbox Island, where golf carts, mopeds and bicycles are the usual means of transportation. And with access limited to small charter flights and a ferry or private-boat ride, the tourist crowds are kept at bay.


March - November


Barracuda, Bonefish, Permit, Snook, Tarpon


Roomy, well-appointed and air-conditioned suites with private baths and front porches or verandas located two blocks from the beach.


12 Guests

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Lodge Features & Amenities

Beginner Friendly

Couples Friendly

Diverse Dining

Family Friendly

Non-Angler Friendly


The Viva Fly Fishing Experience

Viva Fly Fishing operates out of Holbox Island, a 26-mile-long land mass (most of which is undeveloped and part of the Yum Balam Nature Preserve) just off the Yucatan Peninsula’s northeast corner. The backcountry, with its massive network of tidal lagoons and shallow flats, offers fantastic action with juvenile tarpon, snook, barracuda and other inshore game, while the open waters off the island’s northern shore host thousands of adult tarpon, including giants measuring upwards of seven feet and weighing well over 100 pounds. A run east to some small, more secluded cays also brings permit and bonefish into the mix.   

Like the fishing, the diversity of Holbox Island’s flora and fauna is exceptional. The bountiful marine life includes numerous inshore, reef and pelagic finfish, as well as hawksbill turtles, dolphins and huge whale sharks. Birds of 420 varieties—including many native exotics, frigates, flamingos and several other wading species—thrive in the area. On land, monkeys, tapirs, jaguars and more than 70 types of reptiles and amphibians, including crocodiles, also make their homes here.  

Viva Fly Fishing packages incorporate lodging at Casa Mar Lodge, an intimate, gated establishment offering deluxe, air-conditioned suites strategically located just a couple of blocks from the beach, within walking distance of a number of restaurants and bars. Guests will find a peaceful and laid-back atmosphere, plus all the requisites for a comfortable stay, including great Wi-Fi, bikes to cruise around the small town, front porches and verandas ideal for rigging gear and hanging out with fellow anglers, with hammocks and loungers for a nice siesta before or after dinner.

The Yucatan Peninsula’s northern coast is renowned for its remarkable baby tarpon fishery, but Holbox Island offers more than superb action with 5- to 15-pounders in its vast mangrove lagoons and interior flats. Schools of migratory silver kings of 40 to more than 100 pounds travel through the area during the annual May though September run, and some resident fish of similar size hang out almost year-round. It is here that the shallow Gulf of Mexico meets the clear waters of the Caribbean Sea, and with forage in abundance, sharks scarce and temperatures well within their preferred range, tarpon find Holbox Island’s coastal waters very much to their liking. 

Targeting the adult tarpon entails looking for rollers in some 12 to 25 feet of water, a swath that stretches from about 500 yards off the beach to two or three miles out. With trade winds calm or light during most mornings, guides begin the search shortly after daybreak and fish until 10:00 or 11:00 a.m., when the breeze tends to pick up. Once a school is pinpointed, the guides ease their boats into the path of the fish to let their anglers cast weighted flies on intermediate or sinking lines toward the approaching tarpon. Most takes occur well beneath the surface but, in the ultra-clear water, the fish can be seen tracking and rushing the fly as much as 10 feet down. With that much water for the launch, the jumps of tarpon hooked here are higher and more spectacular than those of their flats’ counterparts.

Baby tarpon may be targeted all day or after spending the morning chasing the large adults. Your guide will simply run to the inside lagoons where the juvies stage or travel in packs of just a few or schools of 10, 20 or more. They are found either rolling or cruising in troughs, along the mangroves and in channels, increasingly moving toward or away from the shorelines as the tide rises and falls. The guides use a push pole to propel the boats and quietly approach within casting range of the fish, and anglers need only place the fly a few feet ahead and strip it enticingly to warrant a strike. Snook, snapper and barracuda frequent many of the same spots baby tarpon inhabit, adding to the fun. 

For anglers hoping for more variety or chances to achieve a flats slam, trips to remote Cayo Ratón (a boat run of a little more than an hour) will provide shots at permit and bonefish in open flats and various protected coves.

Viva Fly Fishing has a roster of veteran guides that have been fishing Holbox and its surroundings for many years, in fact, many were even born and raised on the island. They are all very familiar with the tactics and fly patterns best suited for their local waters, and also share information with each other to ensure everyone gets in on the hot bites.

Fishing Schedule

Mornings usually mean gentle breezes and calm seas off Holbox Island, ideal for spotting rolling tarpon, so every fishing day begins around dawn (approximately 6:30 a.m., depending on the time of year). Anglers meet their guides and board their boats at the beach, just a couple of blocks from the lodge. Those who wish to target the large tarpon (both resident and migratory) that patrol the coastal waters will have about 4 hours to do so before the wind usually picks up. Then, it’s on to the backcountry to find the juvenile silver kings that abound in the area’s mangrove lagoons and adjacent flats. You’ll have lunch on the water and stay out until 3:00 or 3:30 p.m. Based on the day’s game plan, the initial run to the fishing grounds can be as short as 15 minutes or as long as 45. Special trips to Cayo Ratón also begin and end at the aforementioned times.


Viva Fly Fishing guides are equipped with 23-foot pangas, a traditional open-boat design that is seaworthy, very maneuverable, and also runs and floats in shallow water. The pangas feature recent-year outboards, a spacious casting deck at the bow and comfortable seats. Some also sport rod racks on the gunwales to keep several rigged fly outfits handy yet out of harms way. 

Loaner Gear

Viva Fly Fishing does NOT have any fly outfits to lend guests, so you must bring you own gear (including at least one spare rod and reel), as well as plenty of flies, leaders and other essentials, like a rain jacket and polarized sunglasses.

Casa Mar is a tranquil, gated lodge located a mere couple of blocks from the beach and within walking distance of numerous restaurants, bars and small shops. It offers spacious, deluxe suites with air conditioning, ceiling fans, a private, full bath, refrigerator and microwave oven, queen-size beds, and a separate living/seating area. The front porches and verandas are perfect for rigging fly gear or just kicking back and trading fish tales with fellow anglers, and loungers and hammocks—along with the surrounding tropical foliage—make it easy to relax and even catch a little shuteye before or after dinner.


Casa Mar provides breakfasts featuring local favorites such as shrimp-and-egg scramble and huevos rancheros, or if you prefer, eggs to taste and bacon, all served with toast or tortillas, fresh fruit and juice, and coffee or tea. Lunches on fishing days are packed in the respective boat’s cooler and include sandwiches, chips, fruit, cookies or a similar sweet treat, sodas and bottled water. Dinners are on your own, and there are many good restaurants nearby serving a wide range of Mexican and international dishes, as well as American favorites like burgers, pizza and others.

By the way, Viva Fly Fishing and Casa Mar Lodge will gladly meet most dietary restrictions for breakfast and lunch, simply make sure your needs are conveyed to them at least two weeks prior to your arrival. 


Cell service from some U.S. providers may work in Cancún and even part of Holbox Island, but it is bound to become spotty along the way and when you head to the backcountry to fish the mangrove lagoons. However, the lodge offers complimentary Wi-Fi so you can stay connected no matter what.

While Viva Fly Fishing is an angling-focused operation, it does have bikes for guests to explore the town, and the beautiful beach nearby is perfect for swimming or working on your tan. In addition, there are various tour operators in Holbox Island offering sightseeing, birdwatching, kayaking, and even snorkeling with whale sharks.

Anglers headed to Holbox Island should fly to Cancún (CUN). We recommend you book a flight that lands no later than 3:00 p.m. and a return flight that departs no earlier than 1 p.m. to ensure relaxed and timely transfers to the lodge and back to the airport at the end of your trip. 

Upon arrival, once you have collected your luggage and cleared Mexican immigration and customs at the airport, head for the exit. A representative from a designated airport shuttle company will be waiting to direct you to an air-conditioned van for the 2-hour drive north to Chiquilá, a small coastal town where you’ll catch one of the two ferries (around $25 round-trip per person, based on Mexican peso to U.S. Dollar exchange rate) that make the easy 5-mile crossing to Holbox Island every hour. When you disembark, someone from Viva Fly Fishing will be waiting at the dock to take you to the lodge, about 10 minutes away. You’ll take the ferry back to Chiquilá when it comes time to head home, then walk down to the street to meet the shuttle driver that will take you back to Cancún airport for your return flight.  

No visas or vaccinations are required for U.S. citizens to enter Mexico, but they must have a valid passport that will not expire within six (6) months of the trip dates, has at least two blank pages remaining, and is not torn or damaged in any way. All minors (under 18 years of age) traveling to Mexico accompanied by only one parent or legal guardian must have a notarized letter from the other parent granting permission to travel. Single parents need a notarized divorce decree or death certificate of the spouse. Unaccompanied minors require a notarized letter of consent signed by both parents.

Midcurrent Travel’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. Special trips to Cayo Ratón for permit and bonefish carry a surcharge of $100 per day.

Double Occupancy 2024 (single room and single angler per boat)
7 Nights / 6 Days Fishing $2,385 per person 
6 Nights / 5 Days Fishing $1,998 per person
5 Nights / 4 Days Fishing $1,615 per person 
4 Nights / 3 Days Fishing $1,235 per person
3 nights / 2 Days Fishing $850 per person

Single Occupancy 2024 (shared room and boat)
7 Nights / 6 Days Fishing $4,655 per person
6 Nights / 5 Days Fishing $3,900 per person
5 Nights / 4 Days Fishing $3,150 per person
4 Nights / 3 Days Fishing $2,400 per person
3 nights / 2 Days Fishing $1,650 per person


  • The number of nights lodging specified in the package 
  • Daily guided fishing
  • Round-trip transfers from ferry dock to the lodge
  • Breakfasts and bottled water at the lodge
  • Packed lunches and soft drinks aboard the boats on fishing days
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi
  • All applicable Mexican goods and service taxes
  • Fishing License 

Not Included:

  • Airfare to Cancún, Mexico 
  • Hotel and meals in Cancún (if necessary)
  • Round-trip ground transfers from Cancún airport to Chiquilá
  • Round-trip ferry transfers from Chiquilá to Holbox Island ($25 per person)
  • All dinners and any lunches on non-fishing days
  • Alcoholic beverages and soft drinks (other than sodas on the boats) 
  • Fishing tackle and flies
  • Laundry service (available for a nominal fee)

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 Midcurrent Travel’s discretion.

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

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