About the Lodge
Do I need a passport or visa to travel to Guatemala?
- Yes, a valid passport is required to enter Guatemala. A visa is not required for US Citizens. Please check your country requirements. The arrival airport is Guatemala City (GUA). Need help with your passport, get 10% off using Passport and Visas (new passports, renewals, second passports child passports etc.).
Do I need any vaccines or other medical attention before going?
- No vaccines or immunization are required to enter Guatemala.
Can I fly a private plane to Casa Vieja Lodge?
- Yes, but you will need to clear both arrival and departure customs in Guatemala City (MGGT). The regional airport in San Jose (MGSJ) is 15 minutes from Casa Vieja Lodge. It’s a Paratrooper base and very safe for overnight stays.
Do you accommodate food allergies? What if I’m a vegetarian?
- Yes, we accommodate all dietary needs, please let your Miami Booking agent know prior to your arrival in Guatemala.
Is tap water safe to drink?
- Starting Fall 2018, all anglers will receive a YETI 18oz Rambler Bottle upon arrival at Casa Vieja Lodge, their lifeline to water consumption. Two Elkay Water Fountain and Bottle Filling Stations were installed at the lodge, where clients can refill their YETI Ramblers during their stay. This water goes through a 4-stage filtration system, including a UV purification process and the solution to pure, clean drinking water at Casa Vieja Lodge. Tap water is safe to brush your teeth and bathe in, but we recommend to consume water at the Bottle Filling Station.
- Aboard the boats clients can refill their same Ramblers from the YETI Silo, a 6-gallon water cooler that keeps water cold for hours. Tried and true, anglers are able to keep their Rambler in direct Guatemalan sunlight while they are fighting billfish and return to the same ice-cold beverage they left.
- Casa Vieja Lodge is a plastic-free campus that eliminated all single-use plastic bottles both at the lodge, and aboard their 10-boat fleet. A savings of 80,000 plastic water bottles a year into the environment we rely so heavily on.
Can I do my laundry while there?
- We provide daily light laundry service, simply leave the items you wish to have washed in the laundry bag, fill out the form, and our Lodge staff will wash and return them to your room. No dry cleaning service is available.
Can I bring my drone?
- On November 15, 2016 a new policy was implemented by the Guatemalan Government on the importation of drones. If you are planning on bringing a drone be ready to spend some time at the airport filling out forms. The process can take around 1-2hrs depending on the time of day. Please note that Customs normally does not work on Sundays, Guatemalan Holidays, or after-hours. If you are planning on bringing one in on a holiday or a weekend, and you absolutely need it, an option would be to send us an email so we can request a permit completed in advance. A minimum of 3 weeks notice is required.
Is it kid friendly?
- YES! it’s also the perfect place to learn how to fish, how to hook your own billfish, and even catch your first billifsh on the fly. Our Crew are well versed in teaching children how to hook their own fish, and at times children are even better learners as they don’t have any bad habits yet! With the abundance of billfish in our waters it makes for a great training ground from the novice angler to the elite angler. If you make a mistake, no worries, there will be another billfish in the spread once again! Children 12 Years of age and under fish for free! Please inquire for more information with our Miami Reservations Office.
What is check-in/out times?
- Check-in at 1pm, check-out by 12noon – early check-in and late checkouts are available upon request and availability.
What do I need to bring for my room?
- This is your home away from home so not much! Each room has a private bathroom, air conditioning, luxury bed linens, bath amenities, hair dryer, a large hanging closet and a safe that can accommodate a wallet, phone, a small laptop computer and other valuables. Voltage in the rooms is the same as the US and have the same US outlets. Adapters are not needed.
Is there internet and TV available?
- WiFi is available throughout the lodge, however at slower speed than you may be accustomed to.
- There is a business center where you may use the computer and printer.
- To enhance your experience televisions are intentionally absent from your rooms, but our bar is equipped with 3 big screen TV’s with American channels. More than likely we will have your sports game on, just ask our staff to watch it.
Do I need an electrical converter or adapter?
- The voltage throughout Guatemala is 110 just like in the US; therefore, outlet adapters will not be necessary for your appliances in the hotel rooms.
What else does the Lodge have?
- A luxurious pool steps from your room
- Full-service bar
- La Tiendita (The Gift Shop) full of Simms apparel, Costa del Mar Sunglasses, AFTCO merchandise, La Casa del Jade jewelry, YETI Custom Products, local artisan crafts, and much more!
- A newly renovated state of the art gym: Landice Treadmill & Elliptical, Stairmaster, Schwinn stationary bicycle, Smith half-cage, free weights, Olympic Tricep bar, medicine balls, just about everything you need to keep healthy while away from home.
- In-Room Spa Services from massages to facials. See our menu on the “About the Lodge” page.
- All rooms feature AC and private bathroom.
I forgot my toothbrush…deodorant…something else?
- Forgot something? Not to worry our gift shop is fully stocked with all the essentials. While you’re there pick up a momento from your incredible trip to Casa Vieja Lodge.
Can I hang out in the local town around the Lodge?
- This is your typical port town with not much to see or do. Guatemala has yet to be commercialized by America, and in a way it’s still undiscovered. We recommend a trip to the World UNESCO Heritage city of Antigua where you can walk freely through the cobblestone streets of shops, churches, restaurants, and cafes. Many tours are available, just ask! You can hike up a volcano, or a zip line down a 120′ waterfall for a perfect adrenaline rush!
About the Fishing
What is the fishing style? Trolling, live baiting, bait and switch?
- Trolling with natural baits – bait and switch, fly and light tackle.
How is the fishing spread setup?
- CLICK HERE for a typical 4-man angler position with Bait.
- CLICK HERE for a fly fishing spread.
- Your Captain will explain to you how his boat is setup, and feel free to ask questions. Some Captains have certain preferences and may vary from the typical spread. They know their vessel the best and setup there spread to make sure you get bites!
What gear do I need to bring down?
- Our entire fleet is outfitted with all the tackle, rods and reels you need to catch the big one. All boats are well equipped with fly, conventional or spinning tackle, you simply choose. The leader is built to IGFA standards (#20 Mason hard nylon tippet). If you prefer a lighter class tippet, feel free to bring it with you and our mates will tie it for you. Some choose to bring their own equipment.
Can I play my own music on the boat while out fishing?
- Of course, and we recommend it! If you have an I-Pod, iPhone, Android, or MP3 player, please feel free to bring it for personalized listening pleasure onboard. Let your Captain know and he’ll get the tunes flowing!
What kind of fishing can I expect?
- We expect that you will have an incredible overall fishing experience at Casa Vieja Lodge! Our yearly-fleet average is 15 sailfish RAISES, per boat, per day. But remember-an average is just that-some days you may raise more and some days, unfortunately, you may raise less. Depending on the time of year you will also get blue marlin, striped marlin, black marlin, mahimahi (dorado), and yellowfin tuna into the spread. If you want to get a specific species just let your Captain know.
Do I need a fishing license?
- No, we provide it for you and the Captains will have it on board. It’s critical that you give the Miami Office your passport information ahead of time in order to apply for a license.
What is a typical itinerary, daily, trip?
- 5:45-6:00a Morning coffee service in your room (You’ll be woken up by staff)
- 6:00-6:45a Breakfast is served in Café Pez Vela Restaurant
- 6:45a Vans depart for the Marina
- 7:00a-5:00p Fishing Hours
- Beer, soda and water onboard and the mates will prepare a hot lunch (big boats), cold lunch (Contenders)
- 5:00p Enjoy a well-deserved cocktail as you arrive back at Casa Vieja Lodge
- 7:00p A fabulous four-course dinner served in the Rancho
What do I do with my catch? (Mahi Mahi and Tuna)
- Typically, mates will prepare hot sandwiches with your catch on board – you can also enjoy it for dinner that night prepared by our chefs, just ask. Unfortunately we are not a meat lodge, and won’t pack your fish to go home with you. Also keep in mind that an estimated 30lb Mahi Mahi, does not equate to 30lbs of meat, there is a just a few fillets that can be used for consumption that day and the rest of the fish (the head, and skeletal) is tossed back into the ocean. If you haven’t tried sashimi before, please don’t test your luck with us!
How physically demanding are the trips?
- Guatemala is world renowned for its calm seas, so it is not physically demanding. The mates are there to provide you with assistance of getting in and out of vessels and will welcome you on board every morning. We have had ages 3-91 years old aboard our fleet reeling in billfish!
A member in our group is in a wheelchair, will he have to stay back?
- Of course not! Fishing in Guatemala is for everyone to enjoy! A client of ours, the great Outdoorsman Tred Barta, is confined to a wheelchair and still fishes with us 21 days a year! We will take care of you no matter what, everyone is fighting the same billfish battle out on the water!
Can we take a trophy fish photo?
- We are strongly encouraging all anglers away from the trophy fish or the “dead fish” photo referred to in the industry. This technique was popular years ago which consisted of the mate removing the billfish from the water for an onboard photo opportunity. This method unfortunately deprives the billfish of oxygen, which is much needed after the tough battle of being reeled in, as well as remove some of it’s protective slim. At the same time, you capture a photo of a dark brown billfish, and not the illustrious blue/purple colors it showcases when it’s healthy. With advancements in technology it’s much easier to get a fantastic and better quality photo with a GoPro. We invite you to bring your own GoPro, as all of our boats have a camera stick to attach the camera too, or bring your memory stick, or use your captains! You will get your pictures back much faster if you use your own device, otherwise we’ll do our best to get them to you in a timely matter.
What is the best time of year to travel?
- October through mid-August are our prime booking months, although fishing and the weather are great year round. Check out our Season & Species page to see what’s biting more during the different times of the season.
Can I take a lay day between fishing days?
- Unfortunately during January- March a lay day will not be honored. These months are the busiest and we do not physically have the room to accommodate you during this time. We highly recommend a lay day or two at the end of your trip in Antigua. In addition, single rooms and non-anglers are subject to availbility.
What is the weather like?
- The weather is Guatemala is sub-tropical and tropical. The weather is great year round. Down at the lodge weather is typical to be 80-90 degrees during the day, cooling off just a little in the evenings. If you plan a night in Antigua or Guatemala city, we suggest a jacket as these cities are nestled in the mountains at 1,500m and the temperature can get chilly especially in the winter months. We normally see rain in September which is why we generally close down and do fleet maintenance during this month. However, the rain is a late afternoon/evening heavy shower, similar to South Florida.
What time zone is Guatemala? Is it considered Central or South America?
- Central Time Zone, and does not follow day light savings time. Guatemala is in in Central America just south of Mexico and shares the border with Belize, El Salvador, and Honduras.
What currency is accepted?
- The currency in Guatemala is called “Quetzal” and the current rate of exchange is Q 7.5 per $1 USD (as of 3/17/19). Local currency is not required as majority of business’ accept US Dollars.
- If you desire local currency, we suggest you exchange enough money for any souvenirs you may wish to purchase, however you will generally find most are happy to accept US dollars. We recommend you bring small denominations of clean U.S. dollars without tears, rips or other damage. US bills with any types of pen marks, or rips are not accepted by vendors.
Tips- Who, When, How much?
- We recommend: Lodge staff – $20 per angler, per day; drivers – $20 per angler; Boat crews – $300 per day covers the captain and two mates on the medium and large boats, $200 per day covers the captain and single mate on the Contender. If you feel they did a great job – tip more, it will be appreciated.
How long in advance should I book?
- As soon as possible in order to reserve your spot! We normally are booked out a year in advance, so don’t hesitate! Larger groups and corporate trips are in the books 2-3 years in advance.
Can I customize a package instead of the standard listed packages?
- Yes, give us a call at our Miami Office and we can arrange customized packages as well as tours to Antigua, Lake Atitlan, Tikal, or anywhere else your heart desires in Guatemala.
What is the transportation like?
- We have two Mercedes Sprinter vans with drivers available for your transportation.
- Upon exiting from the Airport Terminal at La Aurora (Guatemala City) Intl. Airport, look for your chauffeur directly ahead holding a Casa Vieja Lodge sign and in staff uniform. He will escort you to the van where refreshments await.
How big can a group be?
- Casa Vieja Lodge can comfortably accommodate up to 37 anglers. If you are looking to host a larger event, contact us and we can get it done.
Is the Lodge and Guatemala safe?
- In the past 12 years we have not had any security issues. The lodge itself is gated and has security guards 24/7.
- Patrons are not allowed in the Lodge unless they have reservations.
- You are always with a Casa Vieja Lodge Staff member from the moment you exit the airport until you depart.
- Just like anywhere in the world, even the USA, there are “dangerous” neighborhoods. We don’t venture into those in the USA, so we don’t plan on doing so in Guatemala or anywhere else on the map!
Why Casa Vieja Lodge?
- At Casa Vieja Lodge, we take exceptional pride in assuring you world class vessels, run by highly respected captains with day end returns to the highest quality accommodations. The attention to detail is unmistakable. We are the only outfitter that post daily fishing reports online at the days end. Casa Vieja lodge is a family-run business and staff and crews are an extension of the family. We take pride in allowing us to be apart of you most memorable fishing trip. As always, no request is too small and we value your feedback, it’s truly the only way we can become better!
What is the cancellation policy?
- Due to our limited size, cancellations affect us greatly. Therefore, we adhere to a strict cancellation policy. Payments made on your trip are refundable for cancellations received in writing at least 121 days prior to your arrival date at Casa Vieja Lodge, less a $500 per person cancellation fee. If you cancel your trip for whatever reason 120 days or less prior to your arrival date at Casa Vieja Lodge all payments made on your trip are non-refundable, and non-transferable.
What is the “bad weather” policy?
- If bad weather arises and your Captain determines that for safety sake the trip should not be taken – you will receive a credit for that day’s fishing on your NEXT booking at Casa Vieja Lodge.
Do you recommend Travel Protection?
- We strongly recommend protecting the cost of your trip and other non-refundable travel expenses with a travel insurance we prefer the leaders in the business Global Rescue and Travelex. Safety is our top priority, but unforeseen emergencies can occur. Global Rescue’s Signature Travel Insurance allows you to insure all of your expenses and covers all fishing/hunting activities. While a Signature Travel Insurance policy can be purchased at any time, purchasing a policy within 20 days of making your initial trip deposit gives you the widest range of policy options. To purchase a policy, click here or call 617-459-4200.A Global Rescue membership will provide you with 24 hour advisory services, field rescue (evacuation from your point of injury/illness to the nearest appropriate medical facility), and also evacuation to your home hospital of choice for continuing care all at no cost to you. Memberships start at just $119.
- We recommend that you purchase a travel protection plan to help protect you and your travel investment against the unexpected. Travel protection plans can include coverage for Trip Cancellation, Trip Interruption, Emergency Medical and Emergency Evacuation/Repatriation, Trip Delay, Baggage Delay and more. For more information on the available plans or to enroll, click here or contact Travelex Insurance Services at 800-228-9792 and reference location number 09-0856.