Sportfishing Boat outside Golfito
Sportfishing Boat outside Golfito

With miles of unspoiled beaches along the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, water sports enthusiasts are quick to call Costa Rica a tropical paradise. My happiest place is obviously with the other tree frogs in the rainforest, but I occasionally venture out to the beaches, and every time I do, I see that there are thousands of people visiting my home country to enjoy the azure waters of the Costa Rican coast. I am accustomed to seeing many fascinating creatures from my journeys through the rainforest, but even I find myself in awe over the marine life that inhabits the oceans. The fish, coral, and more here are so exotic that I can’t get enough!

If you’re a fisherman, Costa Rica needs to be on your bucket list. Keen anglers can put their skills to the test on a sport fishing charter! These are the ultimate tour for outdoor angling. There are plenty of fish in the sea here, since the waters off Costa Rica’s Pacific Coast are some of the most densely populated in the world. Here, the waters provide the perfect conditions for catching a live one. Of course, the first thing you have to do once you’ve decided to make the trip is to figure out if you want to stow your gear and set sail close to the shore or further out into the great blue waters. A sport fishing trip is perfect for families too; imagine the look on your kid’s face when they feel the pull of their line and reel in a big catch. How cool would it be for your family to be able to say that they fished along the same coast where over 40 of the world’s fishing records have been set? Even cooler if you catch a fish that is larger than your children. Be sure to bring your camera on your Costa Rica sport fishing trip, just in case. You can book short, half day trips, or longer trips – up to seven days.

Catch & Release with a Sail Fish outside of Golfito, South Puntarenas
Catch & Release with a Sail Fish outside of Golfito, South Puntarenas

Plenty of Fish and Plenty of Sea

You might be wondering which coast, the Pacific or the Caribbean, you should choose. Well, I have heard in my travels that the Pacific Coast betters the Caribbean when it comes to fishing. That being said, there is always something for everyone and it depends on what you’re looking to catch. If you want to catch Tarpon and Snook, you want to hit the Caribbean side between August and May. If you want to catch blue and black marlins, head to the Pacific coast between December and July.

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In Costa Rica, you can also choose between an inshore or offshore sporting expedition. These two types of expeditions offer fishers something different. The inshore trips offer the perfect conditions for fishers that prefer their sport in shallower waters. If you have hopes and dreams of catching a 50­ pound marlin, then an offshore trip is where it’s at. The offshore trips take you further out, and give you the chance to fish for some of Central America's largest species, including marlin, sailfish and wahoo. These fish are all renowned for their speed and agility, making them tough to catch. If you manage to land one of these big boys, you'll definitely earn bragging rights back on shore! In particular, sailfish are prized as game fish due to their lightning­-quick movements. Here's a tip ­ even if you've never gone sport fishing before, don't call sailfish by their true name, as sport fishermen call them "billfish."

Sailfish in Southern Costa Rica
Sailfish in Southern Costa Rica

A Deep World of Possibilities

Costa Rica offers a variety of ports from which you can start your fishing adventure, and there are so many different spots that you can head for. All sport fishing trips in Costa Rica are sure to be a good time, but there are some tips that I can give you. First, don’t think that sportfishing is going to be an easy trip. Your boat can get rocked by waves, sometimes while you have a fish on the line! You need to be strong and focused to get through all that! Next, keep these spots in mind for the best fishing in Costa Rica.

Catch & Release with a Sailfish off of Quepos
Catch & Release with a Sailfish off of Quepos
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Quepos

The city of Quepos, near Manuel Antonio, is a great place for new fisherman and old pros to cast their lines. This small harbor town, home to the Pez Vela marina, is on the Pacific coast side, on the Puntarenas province. This area, with its calm waters, is known to the world as one of the best places for sport fishing. Fishers can take their shot at catching marlins offshore, including three species, or they can go for species like snapper and crevalle inshore. There are many more species of fish that anglers can catch in Quepos, and many of them are considered to be premier catches. Other fishing options include fly fishing.

Dorado or Dolphin Fish swimming next to fishing boat
Dorado or Dolphin Fish swimming next to fishing boat

Marina Papagayo

Every angler that I have spoken with has told me that Marina Papagayo has great offshore and inshore fishing, and it will continue to be one of the leading destinations for sport fishermen. This area holds many fishing records, as the clear waters are home to marlin, yellowfin tuna, wahoo, sailfish and more. Those that do heavy tackle, long wand, and fly fishing will feel at home sport fishing in Costa Rica’s Marina Papagayo. The fishing in this area isn’t the only thing that can’t be beat – the Papagayo Gulf area is a beautiful place to get in touch with nature in Costa Rica. This untamed area is the perfect spot for some R&R after a day of fighting with your line.

Los Sueños Marina at Playa Herrradura
Los Sueños Marina at Playa Herrradura

Marina Los Sueños

How does fishing the Pacific coast for mahi­mahi and marlin sound? Los Sueños Marina, north of Jacó, was built for sport fishing, and has the fleet to prove it. The fish here are frisky, and the knowledgeable crews can get you and your line to the hot spots where it won’t take long for you to feel a pull. Sport fishing in Costa Rica is worth a try, even for those that are new at fishing. It’s an unforgettable experience, and when you’re out in the water, you never know what you might see! Costa Rica is home to so much marine life, including dolphins, sea turtles, and whales, so be on the lookout for anything!

Sport Fishing Reel off the coast of Southern Costa Rica
Sport Fishing Reel off the coast of Southern Costa Rica