Costa Rica is a mecca for sportfishing, with more than 100 world-record catches recorded in total and over 40 fishing world records registered just along the central and southern portions of Costa Rica’s Pacific coast. From the country’s lakes and rivers to its Pacific and Caribbean coasts, anglers have a boat load of options.

With offshore waters that boast fish weighing up to 400 pounds – including sailfish, marlin, yellowfin tuna, wahoo, snapper and more – it’s considered one of the best fisheries in the world. Costa Rica sportfishing tours are a magnificent way for beginners and experts to land some big ocean game. Fully equipped fishing charters offer half day, full day and vacation packages up to a week or more for the hardcore fishermen.

To give you and idea of the scope and importance of this fishery, nearly 100,000 people depend on commercial and sport fishing to maintain their families. A 10 year study by the Federacion Costarricense de Pesca (FECOP) and Costa Rica’s Sport Fishing lobby found that 253,000 metric tons of tuna were caught in Costa Rica during that period. Since the release of this study, governmental officials, sportfishing lobbyists and environmentalist have pushed for better controls on this important fishery.

Best Destinations

Where to start is the hardest decision a fisherman in Costa Rica has to make – once made it will be “fish on”! On the Pacific coast, Quepos, Puntarenas, Playa del Coco, Tamarindo, Drake Bay are all top fishing destinations. On the Pacific northwest, Playa Flamingo is the fishing Holy Grail of the Guanacaste province, but Playas del Coco and Ocotal are also phenomenal.

Sport fishing is also really big on the Caribbean side in Limon, especially in the north of the province. Here you’ll find the incredible national parks Tortuguero and Barra del Colorado, offering spectacular angling opportunities.

For freshwater fishing, Arenal Lake in the north has a particularly plentiful population of rainbow bass. Cano Negro Lagoon, along the Nicaragua border, is another hotspot spot for rainbows and trout.

Fish Species

Depending where you go, you can catch anything from marlin to rainbow bass, or “guapote.” Marlin hammer lures all along the Pacific coast, especially along the central part of the coast. Further south along the Pacific coast, you can catch barracuda, tuna, grouper, amberjack and let’s not forget the famous dorado also called mahi-mahi. In the inland waters, Rainbows are plentiful, South American peacock bass are also common, as well as local species such as tepemechin and machaca.

If you’re looking for excitement, Costa Rica is a great place to hook your favorite big game fish; giant swordfish, tarpon, red snapper, snook, dorado… you can take your pick.