We are located in Jaco Beach on the Central Pacific Coast of Costa Rica. We are about 1 hour from the airport in San Jose. The majority of our charter boats and vacation rentals are located in the Los Suenos Resort, Jaco Beach, Hermosa Beach, Quepos & Manuel Antonio area. We also write the fishing column for Costa Rica’s English newspaper called the Tico Times so we know all the good captains in Flamingo Beach, Tamarindo, Samara, Carillo, Drake Bay, Mata Palo, Puerto Jimenez and Golfito. If you want BIG Tarpon and BIG Snook we fish with the best tarpon captains and fishing lodges in Barra del Colorado, Rio Colorado, Tortugero, Rio Parisima., Rio Frio, Cano Negro, Lake Nicragua and the San Juan River.
We can help you reserve your transportation, lodging, fishing, canopy tour, ATV tour, crocodile tour and more. We have lived here more than 20 years and know almost all the good things to see and do. We’ll send you to the same places we send our friends and families.
We’ve lived & worked in Costa Rica since 1998 and we fish, surf, golf, and travel here, so we can tell you about our recent experiences and opinions. You can’t trust everything you see on the Internet. We have more than 20 years of Customer Service experience so we’ll listen to what you want and help you find what’s best for your budget and time frame. We represent only the best tourism related services in Costa Rica. We’ll send you to the same places we send our friends and families to. We’ll save you time, money and headaches when you travel. It’s like having a friend in Costa Rica.
Everyone and their brother tries to book charter boats in Costa Rica. I am always amazed when people book a trip with someone who knows nothing about fishing and sometimes nothing about Costa Rica.Here are some of the people you will find trying to sell fishing trips in Costa Rica..travel agents in the USA that have never been fishing, guys that don’t even live in Costa Rica, guys that don’t live at the beach, guys that don’t have a boat but still call themselves captain, guys that hang out in bars looking to find charter clients, real estate agents, hotel clerks, golf caddies, taxi drivers, condo owners, street vendors, waiters, bartenders, ATV tour operators and the list goes on. Don’t trust a non fisherman with your fishing trip
We are much more than an agent. We have lived in Costa Rica for 10 years and we do act as an agent for our friends that fish throughout Costa Rica. We use the best guys with the best reputation and our prices are the same they have advertised on their websites. We do get a finders fee from them but it is not always money, sometimes it’s free fishing, sometimes it’s free fish and sometimes they return the favor and send us charters for our boat in Los Suenos. We have a 26’ cuddy cabin that we charter out of Los Suenos marina…we are agent and charter boat owner. We write the fishing column for the Costa Rican English language newspaper called The Tico Times so unlike other agents we know all the good captains and know how they are doing currently. We have fresh fishing reports. We also have a fish taco stand on the beach in downtown Jaco called “bubba’s” so we know all of the good tour operators in town and all the good hotel and condo owners so we can help you with things besides fishing.
The best way to contact us is by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you send us your detailed questions by email we can send you links with photos, pricing and more specific details. You can also call us toll free at 1-800-712-5703. Please help us keep our cost down and send an email.
In general all boats will require a 20% deposit by PayPal…then you can pay the captain the balance in CASH or credit card the day of the trip. If you need to use a credit card to pay for the entire amount please contact us in advance. The captain DOES NOT have a way to process credit cards on the boat. There is a fee for credit card transaction. There are some boats that require a 50% deposit as well as the balance paid in full 2 weeks prior to your arrival date especially for multiple dates during high season.
Costa Rica does require that all anglers fishing purchase a fishing license. They are available on the docks and you can purchase them the day of your trip. They are $24 and good for a year.
Most boats are fine for teenagers, if you have younger kids you may need a boat with a little more room and someplace for a nap.
We use all types of techniques depending on the target species and the fishing conditions. For big game like sailfish, marlin, mahi mahi and tuna we usually troll dead baits like ballyhoo with circle hooks. The big fish pop into the spread thinking it’s a school of fleeing baitfish. If you have the right conditions you may use live bait or you may cast top water lures especially for Tuna. When we inshore fish we generally use live bait when possible for roosterfish, snapper, sea bass, grouper and more. If the conditions are right you can also use dead bait or cast topwater lures up on the rocks…especially early in the morning. When we bottom fish you will use live bait, deadbait and various jigs in 50 to 400 foot of water for wahoo, grouper, sea bass, snapper and more.
Inshore fishing is done from smaller boats usually near shore along the rocks, reefs and river mouths. Live bait and lures work best for roosterfish, snapper, snook, jack, mackerel, barracuda, grouper, sea bass and more. Offshore fishing is done from larger boats usually 3 to 30 miles offshore. Trolling dead baits and lures is the best way to catch sailfish, marlin, dorado, tuna, wahoo and more. Bottom fishing is done from all types of boats usually in 60 to 400 foot of water. Slow trolling live baits on planers and jigging of the bottom are the best way to catch grouper, wahoo, snapper, tuna and more.
There are never any guarantees that you will catch fish. The ocean is not a trout pond. The ocean is a big place in constant change and one day the fishing may be good and the next day the fishing may be slow. I have been fishing here for 10 years and I can honestly say we rarely get skunked. You will almost always catch something. I can guarantee you that all the captains and crews I use are very competitive and will do everything they can to catch you fish.
Costa Rica has some of the best Sport Fishing in the world. The Pacific side has incredible fishing for Sailfish, Marlin, Dorado, Tuna, Wahoo, Roosterfish, Snapper, and more. The Caribbean side and Northern regions of Costa Rica are famous for big Tarpon and big Snook. We also have the hard fighting Guapote (cousin to the Peacock Bass) in our fresh water lakes.
All Sailfish and Marlin will be released. You can keep any Tuna, Mahi Mahi, Snapper, Wahoo and Sea Bass you catch. It is customary to offer to share your fish with the crew. There are small restaurants in every town where you can take your fresh fish to be cooked up and served with all the trimmings. Please don’t kill more than you plan on eating because you really can’t take it with you.
You can’t ship fish out of Costa Rica. You can take fish home with you if it is frozen and put in your checked luggage but you can’t use ice or ice packs.We usually recommend eating as much fresh fish as you can while you are in Costa Rica and don’t bother with the headaches of trying to get frozen fish back home.
Catch and release means we don’t kill the fish. Catch and release on sailfish, marlin, tarpon and roosterfish is practiced throughout Costa Rica and is very important. Catch and release is important to insure good fishing for future generations. Please never kill more than you plan on eating fresh. You can’t really take it with you.
You can fish from shore in Costa Rica but there are some things to consider. Costa Rica is famous among surfers for having the most consistent waves year round. But what’s good for the surfer isn’t so good for the surf caster. The waves are large, and powerful and the wind is generally blowing so casting is not easy and the fishing is not relaxing. Another thing to consider is Crocodiles. The best places to catch fish are near the river mouths. The local saltwater Crocodiles also fish near the river mouths some of them over 15 feet long. Ask a local before you fish any estuary or river mouth from shore.
Costa Rica has some of the best Tarpon fishing in the world. There are two areas to fish. There is the Caribbean side and there is the northern region along the Costa Rica Nicaragua border.The Rio Colorado, Tortugero and Parisimina area on the Northern Caribbean coast has been world famous for Tarpon and Snook fishing since the 1960’s. Fish the rivers, lagoons and river mouths for Tarpon that average 100 pounds and Snook that average 20 pounds. In recent years many operators have started using larger boats. These larger boats not only make it easier to get out of the river mouths and catch Tarpon but it has made offshore fishing available for fisherman wanting to catch Atlantic Sailfish, Atlantic Blue Marlin, Wahoo and Dorado.A newer and more remote hotspot has developed over the past ten years on Costa Rica’s northern border. You can fish the Rio Frio River, Cano Negro Lagoon, Lake Nicaragua and the San Juan River for Tarpon, Snook, Guapote and more. These areas receive very little fishing pressure and there are giant Tarpon and Snook caught here every year.
If you are fishing between Christmas and Easter you should make boat reservations 3 to 12 months in advance, especially if you want a specific boat for multiple days. There are boats that need to be booked a year in advance if you want to fish with them. If you are fishing from Easter to |Christmas then you should book a boat at least 1 month in advance especially if you want a specific boat for multiple days. Since we live here we are very good at throwing a good trip together at the last minute. We have dozens of boats available and we have the most complete network of charter boats in Costa Rica. If you are in a last minute travel situation and can’t commit we understand, just call us at our local numbers and we will find something for you.
It is possible to do a half day fishing if you are coming into Puntarenas or Caldera but you will need to taxi it about 45 minutes south to Jaco to find a decent boat. If you are coming into Limon there may be some small boats around the dock but there are no real charter operations over there.
A few years is a long time in the charter business and things change very quickly on the charter docks. Boats change owners, change captains, change crews and any of these can make a good boat go downhill fast. We live here and work very hard to keep track of what is going on with the charter boats so we can set our clients up with the best captains in Costa Rica…the guys that are “hot” now.
We usually don’t provide contact info for our boats until you confirm a charter. I’ve been here 10 years and work very hard to keep track of the best captains so our clients can fish with the best boats available. This is the main advantage I have over the other people booking fishing trips in Costa Rica. Travel agents, real estate people, ATV companies and more have copied my info and used my years of hard work and experience and try and start up a website and get into the fishing business overnight.
To help you with the right choices we need to know some basic information. What part of Costa Rica you want to visit? If you are not sure then just tell us what airport is best for you to fly into and what you want to see and do. How many people in your group? Is it family, couples, group of guys? When you would like to visit Costa Rica and how much time you have? What type of fish do you really want to catch? What do you want to do besides fish?
You tell us what you want, your time frame and budget and we’ll provide you with a good, better and best options for transportation, lodging and fishing…you tell us what fits your need and we’ll put it together as a package deal.
It is almost impossible to find a shared charter in Costa Rica…we just don’t have enough anglers in CR to make it work. We can put you on our calendar and use our network to try and match you up with other anglers looking to go fishing on the same day but it never seems to work out. Our oceans are usually very calm so most people looking for a share trip end up on a smaller private boat to keep cost down.
There are 5 basic regions in Costa Rica each with its own beauty and adventure.
Northern Pacific - White sand beaches, sunshine and cowboy traditions are some of the characteristics of the Northern Pacific region of Costa Rica. The Northern Pacific is made up of the Guanacaste Province and the Nicoya Peninsula. This area is famous for its beautiful beaches, endless ocean views and world class sport fishing.
Central Pacific - Beautiful beaches, exotic jungles and the finest marina and resort in Central America are just a few hours from San Jose in the Central Pacific region of Costa Rica. The Central Pacific is famous for its palm tree lined beaches, incredible sunsets and world class sport fishing.
Southern Pacific - Vast tropical jungles, abundant wildlife and incredible marine diversity characterize the Southern Pacific region of Costa Rica. The Southern Pacific coast is famous for its natural diversity, world class sports fishing and remote beaches.
Caribbean Coast - Gorgeous beaches, coconut palms, Caribbean flavor and big tarpon and snook are some characteristics of Costa Rica's Atlantic side. Costa Rica literally means “Rich Coast”, Columbus named Costa Rica because of the beauty he saw on these shores when he arrived in 1502, while looking for a passage to the Pacific Ocean.
Northern Region - Majestic volcanoes, beautiful lakes, mysterious cloud forests and remote fishing are characteristics of the North Central region of Costa Rica. Fish beautiful Lake Arenal while you visit the volcano for the Guapote…a Central American bass. Or fish the Rio Frio River, Cano Negro Lagoon and the San Juan River for Tarpon, Snook, Guapote and more. These areas receive very little fishing pressure and there are
In almost any region of Costa Rica there will be plenty of lodging options available…from small locally owned hotels to the top of the line luxury homes and everything in between. On average you can expect to spend anywhere from $50 to $200 per person per night for your lodging depending on where you are, how many people in your group and how fancy you want to get. We work with quality hotels, condos and private homes throughout Costa Rica.
The first thing to decide is whether to rent a car or not. You can use private shuttle vans and taxis to get around or you can rent a car. It will basically cost you the same when renting a car. You will have the convenience of having your own vehicle but the hassles and headaches of driving in Costa Rica. Roads are not well lit or well marked so driving in the mountains is no fun…especially since many flights come in late afternoon and it gets dark at 6pm. For most people I usually recommend using the shuttle vans in the mountains and then just rent a car when you get to the beach. The driving at the beach is easy. If your adventurous, can read a map and speak a little Spanish then maybe a rental car is better for you.
In general the high fishing season for most of Costa Rica is from December through April. However the fishing changes more week to week than it does by season. The ocean is in constant change and the quality of fishing depends more on the quality of the water and food chain than it does the time of year. I have fished in the middle of “slow season” and caught 20 Yellowfin Tuna that averaged 100 pounds each. I have fished the middle of "slow season" and caught a dozen Sailfish before noon. I have also fished in the middle of “high season” and been skunked. So…when is the best time to come to Costa Rica and catch fish? My answer is usually… anytime you come to Costa Rica you will catch fish.
The cost of fishing in Costa Rica depends on where you are, what you are fishing for, how many people you have and how fancy you want to get. If you fish up at Lake Arenal a half day will be about $100 and a full day $200 up to 3 anglers. If you fish along the Pacific coast you can spend anywhere from $400 to $4000 a day on charter boat…$400 will get you a small locally run boat with no frills and $4000 a day will get you a 70 plus foot luxury sportfishing yacht with professional crew and every bell and whistle you can imagine. The majority of our customers charter boats in the $750 - $1700 price range.
If you are serious about fishing and really want to increase your chances of catching fish you should reserve and fish a full day, especially since there is little price difference between a half day trip and a full day trip. A full day on a 30 foot boat will be $1000 and a half day will be $800. We recommend paying for the full day and going home when you are ready.
Rainy season in Costa Rica is generally from mid May to mid November. A typically rainy season day on the Pacific side of Costa Rica will be sunny and nice until 3 or 4 in the afternoon and then it may cloud up and we may get rain showers. A fishing trip will rarely be canceled because of rain. When you are on the ocean you can usually fish away from the rain showers. A fishing trip may be canceled if there are heavy winds. If the trip is canceled we will first try and reschedule. If it is impossible to reschedule we will give you a refund.
Charters leave at 7:15am in the morning and return between 4:00-4:30pm. Please arrive 15 minutes early
All the boats we use have top of line equipment. Penn and Shimano rods and reels are the most common.
90% of the time you should leave your equipment at home. With changes at the airlines bringing rod tubes and bags of equipment down can be very expensive and a big hassle. If you are going to fishing out of a panga or if you are going to be in a remote area then you may want to bring a 12 to 15 pound test spinning reel, travel rod and a handful of small feather jigs and small crankbaits, or better yet just buy a cheap rod and reel in Costa Rica and give it away when you leave.
Half day charters include beers, sodas, waters and snacks and full day charters have all that plus a good lunch. You really just need cash for the charter and tip, sun block, sunglasses, a decent hat, a camera, boat friendly shoes and a towel.
The standard tip is 15% - 20% and is a major part of the captain and crews income.
The majority of the captains we use are American guys and of course they speak English. And the majority of non American captains we use speak English. We estimate 50 % of the first and second mates speak English.
The majority of the captains we use are friends and guys we fish with. In many cases they are owner operators so you get the best service. We have been in Costa Rica 10 years and have fished all over. We only use captains with good boats, good equipment and good reputations
If you are fishing on anything smaller than 28 feet you should only ideally have 3 anglers, 4 to 5 anglers is a good number for boats between 30 and 42 feet, if you have 6 anglers you will need something at least 38 feet and if you have a group larger than 6 you will need to go with something over 47 feet. Remember the more people on the boat the longer you will have to wait until it’s your turn to catch a fish.
Some of the boats over 32 feet will have air conditioning. And all of the boats over 40 feet will have air conditioning. Air condition is nice if you are fishing from December through April or if you have older fisherman on board or non fisherman. December through April is our hot and sunny season with very few clouds and temperatures around 90 degrees.
Almost every boat we use will have a porta potti or a marine toilet. The only boat that would not have some sort of bathroom would be the smaller panga type boats.
Sea sickness can be a problem for anyone; even the most seasoned angler can get seasick. I say better safe than sorry and you should always bring Dramamine or ginger pills. The key to sea sick pills is to take ½ pill before you go to sleep the night before you fish. Then take the other half when you wake up in the morning. This will minimize the side effects of Dramamine and almost guarantee you will not get sea sick.
The only place you can actually walk down and see the boats is at the dock at Los Suenos but you can’t negotiate with the captains or crews. You will be sent to the office of a private company that sells charters like we do. If you speak Spanish you can go to many beaches and negotiate with some of the local guys that run Panga boats. The problems with these is they are moored in the bay so you can’t go look at the boat or their equipment. Most pangas are very basic, there is little shade and you will probably want to bring your own food, drinks and equipment. There are also a lot of “hustlers” at the beach so be aware.