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10 Jun 2024
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Local Activity Guide

Lush rainforests and pristine beaches of Costa Rica aren’t the only things beckoning visitors to this tropical oasis. The rich marine life that lies off the coastline also lures in eager anglers in search of their next big catch. There are so many, in fact, that you’ll find sportfishing tournaments happening throughout the year.

From marlin to roosterfish and everything in between, you can find lots of big game in these waters off the Caribbean and Pacific coasts. You’ll also find easy access to knowledgeable charters eager to take you out and put you on the fish.

To help you plan your next fishing adventure to Los Sueños and beyond, we’ve rounded up everything you need to know about casting a line in the clear waters of Costa Rica. From the kind of catch to expect to world class tournaments, you’ll be ready to reel in a big one after checking out our ultimate sport fishing guide.

About Sport Fishing

Photo Credit: Corywheeler

Sport fishing, often referred to as recreational fishing, is an exhilarating activity that goes beyond merely catching fish for sustenance.

It's about the thrill of the chase, the strategy involved, and the sheer joy of being out on the water. It involves the pursuit of fish species not just for food but also for the challenge, adventure, and sport of it.

Costa Rica’s Angling Seasons

Photo Credit: Jason Richeux

Known for its rich marine diversity, Costa Rica offers opportunities to reel in many different varieties of fish throughout the year. This is what you can expect from each season.

December to April: Sailfish & Marlin Season

These impressive billfish drive a ton of anglers to visit during peak season. Popular fishing destinations, off the coast of Los Sueños and Quepos, offer optimal conditions to catch one of these spindly fish.

May to August: Tuna & Dorado Season

While anglers can potentially catch these fish year-round, this season sees an influx of mahi migrating through the coast of Central America. These fast fish are fun to catch, and like to hang out in Papagayo Gulf this time of year.

September to November: Roosterfish & Snapper Season

This season is commonly referred to as the “green” season due to the influx of rainfall during this time. However, it offers lots of great opportunities for inshore fishing, including an influx of roosterfish & snapper in the Pacific coastline waters.

Sport Fishing Rules

Before casting your line and reeling in a big one, it’s important to be familiar with the rules and regulations governing sport fishing in the area. As a country, Costa Rica works to protect its rich marine biodiversity through conservation and sustainable fishing practices.

Catch and Release

Costa Rica strongly promotes a catch and release policy for certain species. Dwindling populations in species like sailfish and marlin have led to a push to release these fish back into the wild. This helps protect the population of these billfish and help ensure the longevity of sport fishing as a whole.

Size and Bag Limits

Before you go fishing, be sure to familiarize yourself with the local size and bag limits. Different species have different terms and requirements on what sizes may be kept and what must be released. There are also restrictions on your daily bag limit (the number of fish you can keep in a day). For more information about fishing rules and regulations,, visit the INCOPESCA website.

Licensing Requirements

Before engaging in sport fishing off the coast of Costa Rica, anglers must acquire a fishing license. This can be done through the Costa Rican Fisheries Institute and is a quick and straightforward process. Licensure fees vary depending on residency status and the duration the license is needed.

What to Pack

Photo Credit: Sensay

Sport Fishing is a fun hobby, but it can occupy a lot of real estate in your wallet. You’ll need a variety of fishing gear & equipment before heading out to cast a line in the sea.

Don’t worry though, unless you already own your own gear and are particular about what you use, you can rent everything you need once you’re here.

Fishing Rods

Fishing rods come in various sizes, and the size you need can vary. Generally, longer rods are better for casting longer distances, and shorter rods work best in confined spaces.


There are several different types of reels to choose from. While much of it boils down to preference and technique, you’ll also find some reels work better for different species of fish. Options include spinning reels, baitcasting reels, and fly reels.

Fishing Line

Just like with reels, your choice of fishing line may be largely decided depending on what you’re hoping to catch. Lines can vary in strength, visibility, and buoyancy and can be made from various materials.


Hooks also come in a variety of sizes and styles. Each style is tailored to different types of baits, fishing methods, and target species. The right hook can make all the difference in the outcome of your trip, so be sure to do your research.

Bait & Lure

Bait can be both artificial and live. Worms, minnows, and other live bait typically appeal best to a fish’s natural instinct, but with the proper technique, artificial bait can be used to lure fish in for a bite.

Fishing Tackle

Additionally, you may need many other fishing accessories that fall under the realm of fishing tackle. This includes items like bobbers, swivels, sinkers, and fishing pliers. Having a tackle box to organize all your gear is also useful.

Los Sueños Fishing Charters

Photo Credit: Jorge A. Russell

When you book your stay at Los Sueños Resort, you’ll find it easy to schedule a sport fishing charter as well. We offer a number of fishing boats offering differing levels of space, style, and functionality. Our options include:

  • 36' Custom Express: Accommodates 6 anglers and runs inshore and offshore.
  • 40' Topaz Flybridge: Accommodates 6 anglers, has a full kitchen with AC, and runs inshore and offshore.
  • 43’ Maverick: Accommodates 6 anglers and runs inshore and offshore.
  • 36’ Hatteras: Accommodates 6 anglers and is available for offshore fishing.
  • 38’ DNA: Accommodates 6 anglers and is available for offshore trips.
  • 50’ Maverick: Accommodates 8 anglers and is available for offshore trips.
  • 43’ Flybridge: Accommodates 6 anglers, is equipped with AC and a stovetop, and is available for offshore and inshore trips.
  • 43’ Carolina Custom: Accommodates 5 anglers, fully rigged with top notch electronics and AC, is available for offshore trips.

We can accommodate half day or full day trips. Better yet? After a long day of fishing, we can even arrange for an onsite chef to prepare a delicious meal with your day's catch.

Types of Costa Rican Catch

Photo Credit: Jason Richeux

The crystal blue waters of Costa Rica are teeming with a variety of game fish. The area's diverse marine life is perhaps one of the biggest reasons this area is one of the most popular sport fishing destinations in the world. Casting your line in the Pacific here can result in catching many fish species including:

  • Sailfish
  • Blue marlin
  • Striped marlin
  • Tarpon
  • Roosterfish
  • Billfish
  • Mahi Mahi (dorado)
  • Snapper
  • Cubera snapper
  • Grouper
  • Wahoo
  • Yellowfin tuna
  • Mackerel
  • Snook

Local Fishing Tournaments

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Costa Rica is home to many fishing tournaments throughout the year. These reputable events attract anglers from all over the world. These are some of the most beloved tournament options.

Los Sueños Signature Triple Crown

Hosted by Los Suenos Resort and Marina, this tournament is perhaps one of the most notable in the region. The Los Sueños Signature Triple Crown series consists of three parts, each focusing on a different native species from January to March.

Pescadora Billfish Cup

The Quepos Pescadora Billfish Cup takes place south of Jaco and is part of the Offshore World Championship Series. This event targets billfish and places great emphasis on sustainable fishing practices each February.

Pelagic RockStar Offshore Tournament

This annual tournament is also held in Quepos at the Marina Pez Vela every January. In addition to hosting a number of competitions that cover a large variety of categories, this tournament is also one of the more celebrated social events in the area, incorporating live music and activities that coincide with the tournament.

Sailfish Slam 2024

The Sailfish Slam is a one day tournament where teams compete to reel in the most sailfish. Teams compete for a cash prize and several awards, one of which is even available to first time anglers reeling in their first ever sailfish.

Know Before You Go

As with all things in life, being prepared is the best way to have a great day. Here are some helpful tips to keep in mind before you head out on your Costa Rica fishing trip.

  • Always arrive early: So that you can get to know the crew and the boat you’ll be fishing on.
  • Be sure to pack all the essentials: This includes sunscreen, hats, motion sickness medicine, and lots of water to stay hydrated.
  • Check the forecast: Look at the weather before heading out and pack for all conditions.
  • Do your research: Research your target fish and know what gear and bait you’ll need
  • Know the rules: Be sure to be familiar with local regulations regarding size and bag limits before your trip

Where to Stay on a Costa Rica Sportfishing Trip

When you’re looking to compete for your next big catch, you’ll find a world class fishing experience in Costa Rica. Whether you’re hoping to score big in a tournament or hoping to embark on a day charter, you’ll find plenty of opportunities to reel one in.

For the ultimate sport fishing vacation options, be sure to check out Los Sueños Resort and our sport fishing packages. We bring you luxury accommodations and inshore and offshore adventures sure to make every angler’s getaway a balance of adrenaline and top tier relaxation.