Pacific Coast vs. Caribbean Coast – Which Offers the Best Fishing Experience in Costa Rica?

Costa Rica, a small Central American nation, is surrounded by two coastlines: the Caribbean and Pacific Coast. Although both sides have beautiful places to visit and explore, the Pacific coast is better than the Caribbean, thanks to the warm sunny days, inviting surfable beaches, and wilderness treks through rainforests. Whether you are on a solo adventure trip and looking for jungles to pitch tents in or vacationing with friends and family and searching for an all-inclusive luxury villa to stay in, the Pacific region of the country has it all.  

Not only for natural wonders and accommodation options, but the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica is also better than the Caribbean Coast for sport fishing. Deciding which coast is better for fishing is crucial in making your fishing vacation more interesting, fun, and memorable.  

In this blog post, we have mentioned why fishing on the Pacific Coast is better than on the Caribbean Coast. Also, we have provided you with the fishing calendars for each fishing zone on the Pacific Coast of the country to help you know which fishing zone has which fish species and their peak seasons.  

Pacific Coast vs. Caribbean Coast – Which Offers the Best Fishing Experience in Costa Rica?  

These are a few reasons why the Pacific Coast offers a better fishing experience than the Caribbean Coast:  

Diversity of Species: The Pacific Coast of Costa Rica is known for its deep-sea fishing, which can be a fantastic experience for anglers. They can catch various fish species in the deep waters of the Pacific Coast, including marlin, tuna, and mahi-mahi. These species are known for their size and fighting ability, which can make for an exciting and challenging catch. The Caribbean Coast, on the other hand, is known for its shallow water fishing, where you can catch species such as snook, tarpon, and jacks. The choice between the coasts depends on personal preference and what fish you want to target. If you are after billfish and other large pelagic species, the Pacific Coast may be a better option. But if you are more interested in tarpon and snook, the Caribbean Coast will be a better choice.  

Professional Guides: There are many professional fishing guides and charters available on the Pacific Coast, so you can be sure that you are safe while out on the water. These guides are experienced and have local knowledge, based on which they can help you find the best fishing spots. Additionally, charters will provide everything you need for a successful fishing day, including experienced captains, state-of-the-art equipment, and comfortable boats. So, if you want an adrenaline-filled fishing experience or participate in any fishing tournament in Costa Rica, consider fishing on the Pacific Coast.  

Favorable Weather: The Pacific Coast is known for having good fishing conditions year-round. The region experiences two seasons: the dry season, which runs from December to April, and the rainy season, which runs from May to November. During the dry season, the weather is sunny and dry, with temperatures ranging from around 70 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit. It is an excellent time to go on a fishing excursion, as the water is clear, and the fish are more active. During the rainy season, the weather is more humid, making sport fishing more challenging. However, the rainy season can also increase the number of certain fish species, such as marlin, snapper, and sailfish.  

In addition to these reasons, the Pacific Coast also offers a beautiful and diverse range of landscapes, including rocky cliffs, lush rainforests, and sandy summery beaches in Costa Rica, which can make for an enjoyable and memorable fishing trip. Overall, the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica offers a fantastic fishing experience for anglers of all levels, whether you are a beginner or an experienced angler.  

Best sportfishing in Costa Rica

Fishing on the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica  

By now, you must have understood why the pacific coast offers the best fishing spots in Costa Rica. Either you head offshore to enjoy bill fishing or stay inshore to enjoy roosterfish, snapper, jacks, and mackerel action; in both ways, you have signed up for the best and most memorable sportfishing experience of your lifetime. The Pacific Coast has phenomenal fishing opportunities. Whether you are at the Osa Peninsula or planning to visit Tamarindo or the Nicoya Peninsula region, no matter where you go, you are never too far to enjoy a fantastic catch.  

To help you choose the best fishing destination on the Pacific Coast, we have explained all the fishing zones on the Pacific Coast with their respective fishing calendars.  

How is Fishing on the Central Pacific Coast?  

The Central Pacific Coast of Costa Rica is famous for its tourist attractions like Manuel Antonio National Park, Carara National Park, Sámara beach, Jacó beach, and the Gulf of Papagayo. But moreover, this region has gained popularity as one of the best fishing zones in Costa Rica, where anglers can enjoy sportfishing all year round. The fishing territory of the Central Pacific region starts from Morales and extends to Dominical beach. Here, experienced and novice anglers can rent small boats to enjoy sport fishing to the fullest. 

If you are on the Central Pacific Coast, you must explore Tamarindo, Flamingo, and Ocotal. These gorgeous and well-developed towns have everything you need to spend quality time with family and friends. You will get several local restaurants serving authentic Costa Rican cuisine. You can sit there, have meals, and interact with locals to learn more about the culture and Pura Vida lifestyle that Ticos follow.  

The peak season to enjoy sportfishing on the Central Pacific Coast is November to March.  

Fishing Calendar  

Fish Species  Peak Season  
Marlin  September to November  
Sailfish  December to April    
Tuna June to September  
Dorado  October to December  
Wahoo May to August  
Roosterfish  June to September  
Snook July to November  
Best Fishing Experience in Costa Rica

How is Fishing on the Southern Pacific Coast  

If you choose to fish on the Southern Coast of Costa Rica, you can have the best fishing experience with abundant fish species to catch, experienced and knowledgeable captions, and boats of all sizes to rent, making your sport fishing super fun.  

Golfito, the epicenter of fishing in the Southern Pacific region of Costa Rica, is an excellent place to start your fishing excursion. Here, you can catch fish like sailfish, runners, jacks, roosterfish, mackerel, amberjack, and big snapper. Besides fishing, you can also visit Corcovado National Park to enjoy the incredible biodiversity of flora and fauna.  

The fishing is best along the Southern Pacific Coast from December to April.  

Fishing Calendar  

Fish Species  Peak Season  
Marlin  August to December  
Sailfish  December to March    
Tuna Year-round  
Dorado  May to October  
Wahoo May to July 
Roosterfish  Year-round  
Snook  May to July and January & to February 

How is Fishing on the Northern Pacific Coast 

The water at the Northern Pacific Coast of Costa Rica is known for its deep, crystal-clear visibility and strong ocean currents, allowing for a great sport fishing experience. The region offers a variety of game fish like Marlin, Sailfish, Tuna, Wahoo, and Dorado. Fishing charters can be found along the coast and provide the necessary equipment for a successful day of fishing. In addition, the Northern Pacific Coast is home to numerous national parks and protected areas, providing an ideal habitat for many fish species.  

The Northern region is also a popular tourist destination, thanks to gorgeous beaches, all-inclusive resorts, and two fully serviced marinas – Flamingo and the Gulf of Papagayo.  

May and September are the best months for a fishing excursion on the Northern Pacific Coast.  

Fishing Calendar  

Fish Species  Peak Season  
Marlin  November to March  
Sailfish  March to August  
Tuna August to October  
Dorado  May to October 
Wahoo May to August  
Roosterfish  November to March  
Fishing in Costa Rica


Whether your ideal family vacation in Costa Rica includes sunbathing on the stunning beaches, hiking through the lush rainforest, or taking Heli tours to explore active volcanoes, Pacific Coast has everything you need for an unforgettable experience. Above, we have mentioned why the Pacific region of the country offers a better fishing experience than the Caribbean. Also, we have explained the fishing zones on the pacific side with their respective fishing calendars and peak fishing seasons in Costa Rica. This information will come in handy while planning your next fishing trip to Costa Rica.

7 Frequently Asked Questions about Fishing in Costa Rica

Costa Rica is a popular fishing destination where anglers of all skill levels can enjoy an excellent fishing experience because of its diverse range of fish species and a multitude of aquatic habitats, including lakes, rivers, and marinas. Additionally, the country is encompassed by two coastlines – the Pacific Coast and the Caribbean Coast, where you can find several professional fishing charters and guides to help you plan a memorable fishing trip. 

But for a fishing trip to be successful, it is essential to have in-depth knowledge about the fishing laws, fishing species, peak fishing season, and the best fishing spots in Costa Rica.    

We list seven frequently asked questions about fishing in Costa Rica to help you have the best sportfishing experience in the country.     

Sportfishing Costa Rica

Q1. Do anglers require a fishing license for sport fishing in Costa Rica?    

Yes, it is essential to have a fishing license in Costa Rica to participate in recreational and commercial fishing. To fish in freshwater and saltwater ecosystems, you must have separate licenses for each fishing category. 

There are several types of fishing licenses available in Costa Rica, depending on the type of fishing you plan to do and the duration of your fishing excursion. Some licenses are valid for a single day, while others are valid for a week, a month, or a year.   

Obtaining the appropriate fishing license before embarking on a fishing trip in Costa Rica is essential, as neglecting to comply can result in fines and penalties. In addition, it is essential to follow all local fishing regulations in Costa Rica, such as size limits and catch limits, to help protect the natural resources of Costa Rica.  

Q2. What gear is necessary for fishing in Costa Rica?   

The fishing equipment you need will depend on the type of fishing you are interested in and the species you are willing to catch. Some must-have equipment for an enjoyable fishing experience includes:   

  • Rod and reel: Choose an appropriate rod and reel depending on the type of fishing excursion you wish to enjoy and the size of the fish you hope to catch.   
  • Line and leader: The “line and leader” selection also depends on the type of fishing you are interested in and the species you are targeting.   
  • Lures or flies: Choose lures or flies that appear and move like the fish you are willing to catch. Using proper bait helps catch fish easily.    
  • Tackle box: Using a tackle box makes organizing and carrying your fishing gear convenient.   
  • Other equipment: Depending on the type of fishing you wish to try during your fishing vacation, you may need additional equipment, such as waders for fly fishing or a cooler to store your catch.   

It is always a good idea to check with the fishing charter or tour operator you book to know what equipment will be available on the charter and what you need to bring on your fishing vacation.   

Q3. What categories of fishing are popular in Costa Rica?   

Costa Rica offers many fishing opportunities, including freshwater and saltwater fishing. Some of the most popular types of fishing you can enjoy here include:   

  1. Inshore fishing: This form of fishing involves fishing in shallow waters near the coastline using small boats or kayaks. The abundant and diverse marine life in coastal waters makes Costa Rica an ideal place to fish. Common inshore species include snapper, roosterfish, and snook.    
  1. Offshore fishing: It is a popular sport fishing form that targets large and exotic fish species in deep waters. It is a great way to experience the thrill of game fishing and often includes using larger boats to access the best fishing spots.   
  1. Fly fishing: Costa Rica is a popular destination for fly fishing because there are many rivers and streams throughout the country that are home to various species, such as rainbow bass, guapote, and machaca. In fly fishing, you use a long rod, a specialized reel, and an artificial fly as bait to catch the fish.     
  1. Freshwater fishing: Costa Rica has many lakes and rivers home to various freshwater fish species, including bass, crappie, and tilapia.   
  1. Deep-sea fishing: Deep-sea fishing in Costa Rica is an exciting adventure that takes you out into the open ocean, where you can target larger pelagic fish species, such as marlin, tuna, and wahoo. 
Fishing in Costa Rica

Q4. When is the prime fishing season in Costa Rica?   

The best time to go fishing in Costa Rica depends on the fishing category you want to do and the species you desire to catch.     

  • Offshore fishing: The best time is from December to April when the water is calm, and the winds are light, meaning the dry season is the peak season for many offshore species, including marlin, tuna, and wahoo.    
  • Inshore fishing: Inshore fishing can be good year-round in Costa Rica, but some species are more active at certain times of the year. For example, snook and roosterfish are more active during the rainy season, i.e., from May to November, while tarpon is more active during the dry season, i.e., from December to April.    
  • Freshwater fishing: The best time for freshwater fishing in Costa Rica will depend on the river or lake you are fishing in and the species you are willing to catch. The rainy season can be an excellent time for freshwater fishing. The increased runoff can bring more nutrients and oxygen to the water, stimulating the fish to feed and ultimately improving their population in that waterbody.     

It is always a good idea to check with local fishing charters or tour operators to get the most up-to-date information about the best time to go fishing in Costa Rica.    

Q5. What are the popular fishing tournaments in Costa Rica?   

Costa Rica is home to several famous fishing tournaments that attract anglers from around the world. Some popular ones are –    

  • International Billfish Tournament: The International Billfish Tournament is a competitive fishing event that typically involves catching and releasing billfish, such as marlin and sailfish, and attracts anglers from around the world.   
  • Signature Triple Crown: The Signature Triple Crown is a series of international billfish tournaments that involves catching and releasing billfish, such as marlin and sailfish. Each game in the series has different rules and regulations that participants need to follow.   
  • Flamingo Billfish Tournament: This annual tournament is organized at Flamingo Beach, Guanacaste. It attracts a mix of local and international anglers who compete to catch the biggest and the heaviest billfish.   
  • Marina Pez Vela Open: This two-day fishing tournament is organized annually in Quepos. It attracts anglers from many countries who compete for species like marlin, tuna, and wahoo.   

Fishing tournaments in Costa Rica often have strict rules and regulations to ensure fair competition and the sustainable management of fish populations. So, it is advisable to be aware of fishing regulations while participating in these tournaments.    

Q6. What to pack for a fishing trip in Costa Rica?    

When packing for a fishing trip in Costa Rica, it is crucial to bring the right gear and clothing to ensure a comfortable and successful fishing excursion. Some essentials you should include in your fishing kit are: 

  • Fishing gear: Depending on the type of fishing you will be doing, you may need to bring various fishing gear, such as a rod and reel, lures or flies, hooks, and a tackle box.    
  • Clothing: Pack lightweight, breathable clothing appropriate for the weather and the type of fishing you will be doing. Bring waterproof clothing and shoes if you are fishing in the rainy season, i.e., from May to November.   
  • Sun protection: Costa Rica is located near the equator and can get extremely hot, especially during the dry season. Be sure to bring sunscreen, a hat, and sunglasses to protect yourself from the sun.   
  • Snacks and drinks: Pack some snacks and drinks to keep you fueled during your fishing trip. Water is essential to stay hydrated in the warm, humid climate of Costa Rica.   

It is always a good idea to check with the fishing charter or tour operator you are booking with to see if they have any specific recommendations or requirements for what to bring on your trip.    

Q7. What is the “catch-and-release” fishing policy in Costa Rica?  

 Catch and release is a fishing policy that promotes the conservation of fish species. Instead of keeping the fish you catch, you release them into the water. It’s a great way to ensure that the fish population in the country stays healthy for future generations.  

The fishing location and the type of fish you’re willing to catch affect the catch-and-release policy guidelines. The governing bodies in Costa Rica encourage the preservation of fish populations and ensure the sustainable management of aquatic resources. You need to follow the catch and release guidelines to ensure the responsible and sustainable management of the fish population in the country.     

Fishing Charter with Villa Firenze

Experience the Best of Costa Rica with a 10-Day Travel Itinerary Planned by Local Experts

Are you planning a trip to Costa Rica? Costa Rica is a paradise for every nature lover, with its lush rainforests, stunning beaches, and diverse wildlife. But with so much to see and do, it can take time to plan your trip. That is where we come in! Villa Firenze has crafted a 10-day itinerary that will take you to some of the most breathtaking destinations in the country.   

With this 10-day travel itinerary, you can make the most of your time in Costa Rica and create memories that will last a lifetime. So, pack your bags and join us on this unforgettable Costa Rican adventure.

10 day travel itinerary Infographic

Day 1: Arrival – A Helicopter Ride to Villa Firenze  

Welcome to Costa Rica! Your adventure begins as you step off the plane at Juan Santamaría International Airport in San José. As you make your way through customs, your friendly chauffeur will be waiting to greet you. Picture yourself sitting comfortably in a luxury vehicle as you are taken to your first destination: a domestic airport. Experience the thrill of a lifetime with a breathtaking 20-minute helicopter ride from San José to Villa Firenze. Your luggage will be safely transported by land, ensuring a stress-free journey from start to finish. Get ready to soar above stunning landscapes and arrive at your destination in style.  

Experience the warmest of welcomes upon your arrival at Villa Firenze, a luxury villa rental in Costa Rica. Our team of friendly staff will be waiting to greet you with open arms, lining up in front of the shimmering pool. They will provide fresh, clean towels to refresh yourself after the helicopter ride. Then, raise a glass of champagne to celebrate the start of your unforgettable stay as our team attends to your every need with unparalleled hospitality and attention to detail. 

Your menu will already be taken care of, with breakfast at 9:00 am, lunch at 2:00 pm, and dinner at 7:00 pm. But do not worry; if you wish to change the timing, inform the concierge or chef, and they will happily accommodate your schedule. 

Day 2: Explore the Grounds of Villa Firenze   

Start your second day by settling in and soaking up the laid-back luxury that Villa Firenze offers. When you wake up to chirping birds and chatty macaws, imagining a better start to your day is hard. Then you’ll move on to a lavish breakfast on the terrace, with dishes prepared from locally grown, fresh, and organic fruits and vegetables.  

After this, take a dip in the infinite pool, surrounded by tropical gardens, and enjoy the exotic wildlife that calls the grounds home. Next up, take a ride on the golf cart with the villa concierge to explore local attractions. End your day with a short ride to the Los Sueños Marina and Herradura beach, known for its crystal-clear waters and stunning beaches. 

Day 3: An Adventurous Ride on the Polaris RZRs   

Get ready for an adrenaline-pumping adventure on the hills behind Los Sueños with a ride on state-of-the-art Polaris RZRs. Enjoy the thrill of driving through riverbeds, discovering hidden waterfalls, and arriving at breathtaking views surrounded by lush mountains. With two seats in each RZR, you can choose to drive or be a passenger.  

What to wear: You will likely get muddy, dusty, and a little wet, as well as be in the sun for most of the day. Comfortable sportswear and protective gear, such as sunglasses and sunscreen, are necessary. And remember to pack your swimwear, just in case you come across a beautiful waterfall that calls for a refreshing dip.  

What to bring: Carry your driving license and a photocopy of your passport and entry stamp to Costa Rica if you intend to drive. 

Day 4: A Golf Day at La Iguana Golf Course  

Get ready for a day of golfing at La Iguana Golf Course. Your Tee Time reservation will be secured and confirmed under your name, ensuring an uninterrupted experience on the greens. Relax and let us take care of the logistics with a convenient transfer via golf cart from Villa Firenze to the golf course. You do not have to bring anything as the La Iguana Golf store have you covered with all the necessary gear, including gloves and sticks. Immerse yourself in the game with a leisurely 4 hours of golfing on this 18-hole golf course and bring home a commemorative trophy as a souvenir from the La Iguana Golf store to celebrate your victory. 

Day 5: Experience the Thrill of Deep-Sea Fishing in Costa Rica   

Costa Rica is home to many popular fishing spots worldwide. Get ready for an exciting day on the water on a private fishing charter organized by Villa Firenze. Wake up early and set out at around 7 am with a golf cart transfer from Villa Firenze to Los Sueños Marina. Board the boat with the captain; you will get breakfast and lunch onboard. Expect to spend 6 hours out on the water, 15 miles offshore, fishing for some of the most sought-after species in the ocean. And when you return, your private chef will be waiting to cook the fresh fish you have caught and would like for dinner. You will have a truly authentic and delicious dining experience at Villa Firenze.   

What to carry: Rash guards, pants, sunglasses, water shoes, and a hat. 

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Day 6: Explore the Rainforests of Costa Rica  

Get ready for an unforgettable adventure as you embark on a crocodile tour organized by Villa Firenze. Imagine venturing into the lush rainforests, where you will spot some of the most majestic creatures.  

An experienced guide will lead the way, providing expert commentary for the wildlife species you come across and ensuring your safety. From the safety of a boat, you will have the opportunity to watch crocodiles in their natural habitat. Witness these ancient reptiles basking in the sun or slipping gracefully into the water. The tour will be timed according to the peak crocodile-spotting season in Costa Rica for you to have the best experience. 

Day 7: An Early Morning Hike and a Massage at Villa Firenze  

An Early Morning Hike to Explore Wildlife at Los Sueños 

Rise and shine! Start your seventh day off with a refreshing early morning hike led by a villa concierge who knows the best places to spot exotic Costa Rican wildlife. The Los Sueños area comes alive early in the morning. 

Witness monkeys swinging through the trees, toucans flitting from branch to branch, and even elusive sloths hiding behind the trees, all just a short walk from Villa Firenze. After the hike, spend the rest of the day relaxing and enjoying everything the villa offers, whether lounging by the pool, taking a stroll through the gardens, or simply enjoying the serene atmosphere. This perfect balance of adventure and rest will leave you rejuvenated and refreshed.  

Relax and Rejuvenate with a Massage at Villa Firenze 

Unwind and indulge in the ultimate relaxation experience with a massage organized at Villa Firenze. Enjoy a serene atmosphere surrounded by lush tropical gardens and the sound of nature. Our skilled masseuse will work their magic to ease your tense muscles and leave you feeling rejuvenated and refreshed. Our masseuse will tailor the massage to your needs and desires, ensuring you feel pampered and renewed. 

Day 8: Explore Manuel Antonio National Park on a Guided Tour  

Embark on an unforgettable journey to Manuel Antonio National Park with a guided tour organized by Villa Firenze. Wake up early to explore this beautiful national park. As you take a guided walking tour around the park, you will be awestruck by the natural beauty of the forest and the diverse wildlife.  

Your tour guide will share interesting facts and stories through the park trails. Take a break from the hike and enjoy a refreshing swim at one of the few white sand beaches in the area, like Manuel Antonio beach. It is one of the best summer beaches in Costa Rica, known for its crystal-clear waters and stunning scenery. Bring your swimsuit and cool off in the pristine water.   

After a day of adventure, stop for lunch at the famous El Avion restaurant and taste some of the best, most flavorful, and authentic local cuisines. As the sun sets, return to Villa Firenze for a refreshing cocktail and dinner with memories that will last a lifetime. 

Day 9: See Costa Rica from a New Perspective  

Soar above the treetops and take in the breathtaking beauty of Costa Rica with a helicopter tour organized by Villa Firenze. Set out from Villa Firenze in the morning, and as soon as you set off, you will be amazed by the stunning views that unfold before you. Flying over the famous Rio Tarcoles and looking closer at the crocodiles basking in the sun on the riverbanks will be a memorable experience. And when you fly over Carara National Park, you will see the hidden waterfalls. Doesn’t it sound exciting? 

Day 10: Departure  

Say farewell to Villa Firenze in style with a breathtaking 20-minute helicopter ride back to the domestic airport. While you soar above stunning landscapes, our dedicated driver will safely transport your luggage, ensuring a smooth and seamless journey. With this helicopter ride, you will get a chance to discover the best of Costa Rica.


Costa Rica is a country that offers a fortune of experiences for visitors of all kinds. From its lush rainforests and beautiful beaches to its active volcanoes and rustic towns, there is something for everyone in this land of Pura Vida.  

We hope this 10-day itinerary will inspire you to plan your next trip better and that the tips and recommendations we share will help make your luxurious vacation in Costa Rica memorable. Remember to take your time, be open to new experiences, and, most importantly, enjoy every moment. Costa Rica will leave you with memories for a lifetime. We hope to see and host you soon in Costa Rica. Pura Vida!