How to Go Fishing in Costa Rica on a Budget

fishing costa rica
about us

Hi! We’re Thomas (the German) and Sarah (the US-er).

We met in Virginia, moved to Germany, and now live in sunny Costa Rica.

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Fishing in Costa Rica is one of those must do adventure activities, but unfortunately, it can be really expensive to go out deep sea fishing. I’m taking several hundred dollars for a few hours.

Thomas is all about some fishing which means that no matter where we go he brings his fishing poles and is trying to find someone to take us out on the water.

This will guide will give you some info on fishing in Costa Rica and how to go about it while on a budget. Please note, we are not expert fishers. If you want an intense sport fishing experience it is best to go with one of the professional deep sea fishing companies which are more expensive.

This guide is for all of you that just want to get out on the water and get some fresh fish to take back to your accommodations to cook.

Now on to our guide to fishing in Costa Rica on a budget.

Fishing in Costa Rica – How to get a good deal

I’ll let you in on a little secret. It is best to not book any fishing trips before you arrive in Costa Rica. All the companies which advertise fishing in Costa Rica are strictly catered towards tourists. These are also the companies which have the money to make nice websites.

fishing in Costa Rica

Instead, we like to wait until we are at a destination to find someone to take us fishing. This allows us to talk with locals to find the best deal. One thing about people in Costa Rica is that they love to help each other out. It’s all about that “I’ll scratch your back if you scratch mine” mentality. What this means for you is that all you need to do in order to find someone to take you out on their fishing boat is to ask around.

For example, in Tortuguero, we approached a guy working at our hotel and asked if he knew anyone who could take us fishing. The next morning we were out in the ocean at 6 am on a boat with fishing poles in our hands for $20 per person for two hours of fishing.

Another tip is to find a few other people to go out with you. Most of the locals who are willing to take you out fishing will charge you a set rate per hour. They will tell you their boat can hold x number of people. If you gather that many people, voila, you save yourself some money.

If you want to fishing on your own, all you need to do is buy a line with a hook. Most people in Costa Rica don’t have the money for an expensive fishing pole. Instead, you can buy a spool of line at a local shop (just ask at your hotel where you can buy one) and stand out on some rocks in the water. Thomas always buys some cheap chicken or fish parts to put on his hooks.

Another option is to buy a line with a hook and rent a kayak for a few hours. Granted, you don’t want to rent a kayak if you are in an area with a lot of waves. We have rented a kayak for fishing on Playa Biesanz in Manuel Antonio for about $15 for 1.5 hours for a two person kayak. This allowed Thomas to fish while I paddled. The water is nice and calm there usually. We have also rented a kayak on Playa Hermosa near Playas del Coco. The water was calm there as well.


Fishing in Costa Rica – Where we suggest fishing

We’ve gone fishing in several spots throughout the country, but here are our favorites so far.

Mal Pais: If you are into tuna you’ve got to go fishing in Mal Pais. We caught a few bluefin and yellowfin tunas here. The guy who took us fishing told us that it also common to catch mahi-mahi. We paid $180 for three hours for up to four people.

The guys we went with were super nice and also brought waters and fresh pineapple on board for us. When we returned to shore the filleted the fish for us and packaged it for us to take. They also prepared some tasty sashimi for us to try.

We also saw whales coming up literally right next to us along with a few sea turtles.

If you’re interested in fishing while in Mal Pais just head to the fishing beach (drive all the way to the end of Mal Pais) and ask around. You should have no problem finding a local fisherman who will be happy to take you out the next day.

fishing in Costa Rica

Playas del Coco: In Playas del Coco we asked a friend if he knew anyone who could take us out. We paid $200 for 5 people for three hours. I think the rate was especially low because it was a friend of a friend, but ask at your hotel, local restaurants etc.

There are TONS of fishermen in this area so I’m sure you’ll have no problem finding someone to take you out for a fair price. You can catch a wide variety of fish in this area include mahi-mahi, red snapper, tuna, and marlins.


Tortuguero: As I mentioned above, we asked around in Tortuguero and found a local guy to take us out in his boat. It is common to catch tarpon and bass in this area. We were here in September and we also saw several huge sea turtles while out on the water.


Fishing in Costa Rica – Other suggestions

-If you want an on land experience which everyone can enjoy we suggest heading to a trucha. If you just search on Google maps “truchas Costa Rica” several results will come up. A trucha is a family friendly place with a small pond. The employees will give everyone in your group a line with a hook on the end and a small piece of bate.

Once you catch a fish (trout is the norm) they will take your fish and either package it up for you to take or cook it up for you. For about $10 you can get a tasty fish which you caught, rice, beans, and salad. It’s a fun day activity which most tourists in Costa Rica will never experience.

fishing in Costa Rica

-If you get seasick, almost every mini market in Costa Rica sells seasickness pills. Usually, they are kept behind the register so you will need to ask for them.

-If you catch some fish, don’t be shy about asking the restaurant at your hotel if they will cook it up for you. Most are more than happy to make you a nice plate of food with your fresh fish for a low price. We always try to stay in a place with a kitchen which guests can use so that we can cook our fish ourselves.


I hope this guide helped you out! If you have any questions or want to share your experience please leave them n the comments section below. We love to hear from you!



Fishing in Costa Rica is amazing, but it can be really expensive. This budget guide to help you save money & catch awesome fish. Fishing in Costa Rica is amazing, but it can be really expensive. This budget guide to help you save money & catch awesome fish.

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