Costa Rica is an angler's dream come true. The country's Pacific ports and beach resorts provide access to some the best deep sea fishing in the world, while the canals and rivers of the northern Atlantic coast feature world-class snook and tarpon fishing. Billfish are the country's biggest attractions, with abundant sailfish and marlin off the Pacific coast, but the fishermen also hook plenty of other feisty fighters, such as wahoo and roosterfish. Though deep sea fishing is the country's forte, there is also has great fresh water fishing in Lake Arenal and the larger rivers in the Northern Zone, where anglers can fight with the small but ornery guapote, a hump-backed fish also known as the rainbow bass.

The Pacific provides Costa Rica's most consistently exciting fishing, with sailfish, marlin, tuna, wahoo, roosterfish, mackerel, mahi mahi and snapper being caught regularly. It is the abundance of billfish that has made that area famous, with sailfish and marlin being taken in phenomenal numbers. There are plenty of ports out of which you can fish the Pacific. In the northwest province of Guanacaste, charter boats work out of Coco, Ocotal, Flamingo, Tamarindo and Carrillo. Further south, you can fish out of Puntarenas, Tambor, Punta Leona, Quepos and Manuel Antonio, Marina Los Sueños in Herradura Beach, Dominical, Drake Bay, Golfito and Zancudo.


The canals and rivers of the northern Caribbean coast boast some of the best snook and tarpon fishing in the world, and they are lined with lush rain forest, which adds to the natural experience. The tarpon average about 80 pounds in the Caribbean canals, and though the snook are much smaller, they are good little fighters that taste great. About half a dozen fishing lodges are located in Barra del Colorado, Tortuguero and Parismina, all on the canals, and the houseboat Rain Goddess offers roving adventure that let anglers fish the canals, several rivers and hidden lakes.