Costa Rica Fishing: The Experience of a Lifetime!
We ensure you have a great fishing trip from the moment you set foot in Costa Rica.
Costa Rica is home to some of the world’s best sport fishing. You have bill fishing on the Pacific Coast, bass fishing on Lake Arenal, and tarpon and snook fishing on the Caribbean Coast. The options you have in Costa Rica will ensure an unforgettable fishing vacation!
First, check out our Fishing Vacations site to organize your fishing trip to Costa Rica. Here, you will receive quality information from our fishing experts (including one of the winners of Los Sueños Triple Crown 2019) on all aspects of fishing in Costa Rica.
We can also tell you about what we do and some of our Costa Rica fishing packages. With our fishing experts, we can put together the best fishing vacation you’ll ever enjoy, a vacation that takes you into Costa Rican waters where the big fish are!
Our local experts put together everything you need for a beautiful fishing vacation. Let us know what you want to catch or the type of fishing you want to do, and you’ll have a travel package designed just for you in no time and at no cost.
Contact us, and we’ll tell you the where, when, and how!
Best Fishing in Costa Rica
You’ve worked hard for your vacation time, so we take our responsibility to you very seriously. We ensure your fishing vacation is as easy and memorable as possible. We have access to the best boats in the country to take you out for an incredible day of fishing and the best tips to get the most out of it.
We promise to give you an unbiased opinion of the best locations and boats to catch the type of fish you want. This way, we can provide the style of fishing adventure you are looking for in Costa Rica.
Your best fishing experience in the country comes from this combination of local and professional advice with the correct ship and crew.
Planning Your Fishing Trip With Local Experts
At Costa Rica Vacations, our travel consultants not only know about fishing in Costa Rica but live and work here. So you are truly getting a world-class crew and the best fishing adventure available.
We know the country and have fished on the boats we work with from the Pacific to the Caribbean, which means we have first-hand knowledge of every captain and boat you fish with and every hotel or condo you stay in. So you can be sure we’ve checked and double-checked everything.
Seamless Costa Rica Fishing Experience
Although fishing itself is a thrilling challenge, the process of booking a fishing vacation doesn’t need to be. Contact us, and one of our travel consultants will soon get in touch with you.
Get a personalized package that suits your needs in four easy steps.
1. Get a Free, Personalized Quote
What are you interested in? How about catching marlin with your buddies? Or what about surprising your spouse with an anniversary gift? Does the family want to chime in with some fly-fishing action?
When you get on a call with one of our fishing experts, we’ll provide you with an array of exciting options. Get the best fishing tips that only an insider can provide. Let us know what you want, and we will help you create the perfect plan with a customized quote.
2. Customize Your Itinerary
Go back and forth about your itinerary with the consultant until you are pleased with your trip. Then, it gets done if you want to add more tours or leave room for relaxation!
3. Book Your Fishing Trip
Once you’ve created your vacation and feel sure to book, we’ll take care of the reservations and everything else. So you sit back and relax until the day comes to fish in the tropics.
4. Fish in Costa Rica
Enjoy your well-deserved vacation! We’ll be taking good care of you the whole time. With our in-country concierge service, you can rest assured that any questions during or after your vacation are answered. So admire the vast blue seas while you battle nature to get your catch!
Sport Fishing in Costa Rica: An Overview
Costa Rica has etched itself into the history books as a world record fishing destination for sailfish in recent years. Countless sport fishing magazines, adventure shows, and ESPN have come to Costa Rica to catch record-breaking fish.
There’s also been a lot of buzz about marlin fishing in Costa Rica. Over the past few years, many private boats have been traveling to the offshore seamounts here and raising unheard of numbers of blue marlin. In addition, we now have some of our elite charter fleet offering these trips to travelers, which has given Costa Rica one more claim to fame in the fishing world.
Rooster and reef fishing are great alternatives for inshore anglers, which is possible year-round and more action-packed than offshore fishing. Pound for pound, roosterfish are some of the most challenging fighting fish in the sea. In addition, this fishing is great fun for kids because the whole family can catch fish of different sizes instead of the trophies found offshore.
You can also target freshwater species like guapote, machaca, alligator gar, and roncadora in Lake Arenal, the Río Savegre, and in Caño Negro. These are great destinations for anglers looking for something different and can be combined with any Pacific coast destinations for a well-rounded trip.
Sport Fishing Destinations
So what’s the scoop on fishing here, and when is the best time to visit?
Well, fishing in Costa Rica is excellent year-round. The key to a great fishing trip is ensuring you are in the right part of the country at the right time. There are some strategic hot spots to consider that are home to some of the best guides in the country. We lay these out below.
This area runs up the coast of Guanacaste Province from the Nicoya Peninsula to the Nicaragua border. The best fishing is from June to October, while you should avoid December to March. Solid offshore winds off Lake Nicaragua make for poor offshore conditions between December and March. But this is an excellent time for inshore fishing, and the Gulf of Papagayo is home to some of the biggest roosterfish in Costa Rica.
June to October is excellent, though. The winds have died down, and the seas are calm, which is the time of year when sailfish start showing up in numbers and the marlin, tuna, and dorado. During these months, you can catch all four in one trip on any given day, one of the best areas to target all the pelagic species at once.
Central and South Pacific
This area runs from Jaco and the Los Sueños marina down to Golfito, including the Osa Peninsula, where more world records have been caught than in any other part of Costa Rica.
The months of December–April are all about sailfish, the occasional marlin, and some dinner fare. These are the days when boats see double-digit sailfish releases and record-breaking tournaments. In these months, you can expect relatively flat, calm seas, great weather, and incredible offshore fishing.
From June to August, this area gets a grab bag of species. Here is the time of year when tuna show up, and the marlin is here in numbers. But, of course, sailfish are still around, and plenty of mahi mahi (dorado) for dinner. Captains will also target snapper, grouper, roosterfish, and other reef-dwelling species.
In September and October, things slow down as the weather is typically wet, and things are slower offshore. Many captains use this time to do their annual maintenance and prepare for the next season.
May and November are transitional months and offer great fishing in any part of Costa Rica.
This type of fishing is excellent all year round. The beauty of this fishing style is that anyone can do it, and it’s offered in almost any part of Costa Rica, so you can incorporate it into any vacation.
Lake Arenal is one of the most beautiful man-made bodies of water, and it sits right at the base of the Arenal Volcano. This lake offers pristine views, crystal clear water, and world-class light tackle fishing. It’s famous for guapote (rainbow bass). You also have many other species you can catch, including the hard-fighting machaca, blue tilapia, and mojarra.
Caño Negro is for the real adventurer. This is the closest thing to the Amazon that Costa Rica has to offer. Here you can catch prehistoric alligator gar, freshwater tarpon, rainbow bass, machaca, and, during the fall months, even snook. The alligator gar spawning is a closed season from April to June. (Note: Exact dates and length of time may vary yearly.)
The Río Savegre is a beautiful river in the Central Pacific, close to Manuel Antonio. This river offers a unique fishing opportunity in Costa Rica and is perfect for light tackle fly fishermen. The fish to target here are machaca, roncadora, and the occasional snook as you get closer to sea level. This activity is something special and is gaining popularity in Costa Rica.
The northern Caribbean coast is home to some of the best tarpon fishing in the world. The tarpon here doesn’t migrate much, so fishing is good year-round. But some months are better than others. For example, mid-February to mid-May is a great time to fish here as well as September and October. This is because these two windows offer anglers the best chance of great weather and easy access to the prime fishing grounds, with September and October being the best months of the year.
With all these fishing options, there is much to enjoy. However, the best part about the great fishing in Costa Rica is that it can be for anyone. So if you are looking to try something new or want to plan a world-class fishing vacation, Costa Rica has something for you.
Justin’s Top Tips for Your Fishing Trip:
1. Plan your trip with a local. All too often travelers get lured in by the pretty website of an online company or see fishing as an activity offered through a wholesaler website. However, this activity is best planned with locally based experts who will help you make the right decisions regarding your plans.
2. Interview your potential captain or travel agent. Finding the right boat is key for a good experience. Ask questions about seasons and what is biting at that time of year. Cross reference that with the fishing calendars and recommendations above. The sad truth is sometimes when dealing with an owner directly, you will get told the fishing is great only to find out that it is not so hot. Granted, there are no guarantees in fishing, but the professional guides and operators will be honest and give you real expectations on what you may catch.
3. Don’t make a decision solely on price. Fishing is one of a more expensive activities you can do anywhere in the world. It’s a costly investment when you factor in fuel, bait, tackle, and maintenance. If you see boats which look to be the same, but prices are substantially different, there is likely a reason why. Not all things are equal and the top boats will never be the cheapest. I always tell clients, if you make your decision just on price, you will likely get a very expensive boat ride instead of a once in a lifetime fishing experience. Any savings has to come from somewhere and it will likely come from shortcutting your trip so the crew can save money. A local expert can help you navigate these pitfalls.
4. Work with a travel agency who specializes in fishing. The beauty of an agency is they don’t own boats or hotels. They are able to offer truly unbiased opinions on where to fish, which boats and captains are best and what areas you should visit based on the time of year you look to travel. Simply put, they will put you where the fish are and give you every opportunity to have a successful fishing adventure.
Hope these tips helped. We’ll look for you out on the water!
FAQs About Best Fishing Packages in Costa Rica
Does Costa Rica have good fishing?
Costa Rica has excellent fishing on Pacific and Caribbean coasts, inshore, offshore, and rivers and lakes.
What is the best time of year to fish in Costa Rica?
There is excellent fishing in Costa Rica all year round. The key is knowing where to be at any given time of year, and that’s where we come in to help.
How much does it cost to fish in Costa Rica?
Fishing in Costa Rica can get expensive, especially full days or multiple days offshore, but the split between groups is far more reasonable. In addition, freshwater and inshore fishing are cheaper.
What part of Costa Rica has the best fishing?
Where there’s a coastline in Costa Rica means excellent fishing. It depends on what you’re looking for and when you’re coming.
About the Author
Travel Consultant and Fishing Expert at Costa Rican Vacations