With some of the best sportfishing in Central America, Costa Rica offers incredible fishing opportunities inland and off the coast. The sportfishing here is world-class and the sportfishing industry itself is firmly established. Since most of the Costa Rican sportfishing companies and tour groups follow a strict ‘catch and release’ policy, the variety of fish off the coast and inland is truly amazing. This is done because Costa Ricans are aware of the importance of sustainable tourism and the proper conservation of key fish species.
Two CoastlinesHome to a number of gorgeous inland lakes and miles of rivers, Costa Rica also has two coastlines that open on to the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. Without doubt an angler’s delight, this tiny country has some of the finest and most diverse fishing on the planet. And since Costa Rica covers a small land area, both coasts as are easily accessible from the capital city San Jose, with just 30 minutes of flying time to get to either the Pacific or Caribbean shores. Some of the best inland fishing can be found a three to four hour journey by car from the capital.
With most sportfishing areas easily accessible and within close proximity to one another, Costa Rica has many tour and travel companies that pre-arrange sportfishing vacations. There are also a number of boat charter services as well as for those who make impromptu plans. However, before you go out fishing it is key to take into account not only the season, but the prevailing weather conditions, wind speeds, currents and other natural phenomena. It is therefore advisable that if you are an avid angler, to do some in depth research before you make any plans.
Things to Keep in MindAlso, do keep in mind that both local Ticos and visitors require fishing licenses to fish inland or in the ocean. Most tour usually arrange for these licenses as part of their package, but if you are traveling on your own, you will have to get one yourself. Additionally, be aware of when fishing season begins and ends.
Social FishingFor the more serious fisher, there are two clubs in San Jose that arrange not only outings, but have tournaments and other group activities. The Club Amateur de Pesca and the Club Nacional de Pesca are a great way of not only meeting the local fishermen, but also getting tips and tricks from them. Both these clubs have bilingual members.
The Two CoastsIf you plan on sportfishing off the Pacific Coast, know that it varies vastly from fishing in the Caribbean. While the Pacific Coast is famous for Blue and Black Marlins, Sailfish and Dorados, the Caribbean is home to the Tarpon and Snook. The worst season to fish in the Pacific is from September to November, while the on the Caribbean’s side avoid fishing in June and July.
Where to GoWhen fishing along the Pacific Coast, do keep in mind that the fish here move seasonally, with May to September offering the best catches in the Golfo de Papagayo (Tamarindo, Playa Flamingo, Playas del Coco, & Playa Carrillo), while November to March are the best times to fish in the Golfo Dulce, Zancudo, Puerto Jimenez and Puerto Quepos. Fishing on the Caribbean Coast of Costa Rica is mostly restricted to Tortuguero and Barra del Colorado, around the rivers, estuaries, and larger lagoons here.
Inland SportfishingFor inland sportfishing the Laguna de Arenal near Volcan Arenal & La Fortuna is popular for its Guapote or Rainbow Bass. However, good trout fishing can be found at the Rio Savegre near San Gerardo de Dota.
Top Activity Picks in Costa Rica
Choose Sportfishing by Region:
Click on the map to select a region.
Click to enlarge map - Costa Rica Sportfishing Map