Beach Fishing Costa Rica: 5 of the Best Beaches in this Tropical Paradise for Surf Fishing

Last updated on January 31st, 2024 at 11:05 pm

With 71% of the earth’s surface covered with water, there are thousands of miles of beaches, which gives us a wide variety of beach and surf fishing options. The central American country of Costa Rica is one of the world’s premier tourist and fishing destinations. And, beach fishing Costa Rica is one of the many fishing options you can try on your next visit.


The 5 Best Beaches for Surf Fishing in Costa Rica:

  • Manuel Antonio Beach – Located in the central Pacific region, Manuel Antonio Beach is renowned for its stunning beauty and excellent fishing opportunities.
  • Santa Teresa Beach – On the Nicoya Peninsula lies Santa Teresa Beach, a surfer’s paradise that also offers fantastic fishing opportunities.
  • Playa Flamingo – Located in the Guanacaste province, Playa Flamingo is a vibrant coastal town boasting white sandy beaches and turquoise waters.
  • Tamarindo Beach – Tamarindo Beach is a renowned tourist destination situated in the northwest region of Costa Rica.
  • Jaco Beach – located on Costa Rica’s central Pacific coast, is a popular destination for both beachgoers and anglers.

Costa Rica, a small Central American country bordered by the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, is renowned for its breathtaking beaches, lush rainforests, and diverse wildlife and offshore fishing. It is a very modern country and travel to and from Costa Rica is easy and convenient. While many visitors flock to its pristine shores for sunbathing and water sports, there is an exciting activity that remains a hidden gem – beach fishing.

Beach fishing Costa Rica - Map of Costa Rica
Map of Costa Rica – Image Credit: Google Maps

Imagine the warm sun kissing your skin, the sound of crashing waves in the background, and the excitement of reeling in a big catch. This is the allure of beach fishing in Costa Rica. Nestled between the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean, Costa Rica offers an abundance of pristine beaches teeming with fish.

If you’re an angling enthusiast seeking a unique adventure, Costa Rica’s coastal paradise offers unparalleled opportunities to cast your line and reel in some extraordinary catches. Follow along and we will explore the wonders of beach fishing in Costa Rica, reveal the best spots to wet your line, and provide valuable tips, techniques, and equipment you’ll need for a successful fishing adventure and have an unforgettable experience.

The Thrill of Beach Fishing

Beach fishing, also known as surf fishing or shore angling, is a thrilling and accessible form of fishing that can be enjoyed by anglers of all skill levels. It involves casting your line from the shore into the ocean, targeting a variety of fish species that inhabit the coastal waters. Whether you’re a seasoned angler or a beginner looking for a new adventure, beach fishing in Costa Rica has something to offer everyone.

Beach fishing Costa Rica - Angler with a nice rooster fish caught from the beach in Costa Rica and surrounded by locals
Photo Credit:

Surf fishing involves targeting fish species that inhabit the crashing waves near the shore. This technique requires casting your line beyond the breaking waves and letting it drift back to the shore while keeping tension on the line. Surf fishing can be an exciting and rewarding way to catch species like snook and jack crevalle.

Beach fishing in Costa Rica presents anglers with an exhilarating experience that combines the thrill of fishing with the natural beauty of the country’s coastal landscapes. Whether you’re a seasoned angler or a beginner, there’s something magical about standing on the shoreline, feeling the warm sand beneath your feet, and casting your line into the sparkling waters.

Beach Fishing Costa Rica: An Overview

Nestled between the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, Costa Rica boasts a coastline stretching over 800 miles, offering abundant opportunities for beach fishing. Anglers can experience the thrill of casting their lines into the crystal-clear waters, surrounded by breathtaking landscapes and diverse marine life. Whether you’re an experienced angler or a novice seeking an adventure, beach fishing in Costa Rica is a remarkable way to connect with nature while pursuing your passion for angling.

To maximize your chances of a successful fishing trip, it’s important to consider the best time for beach fishing in Costa Rica. Generally, the dry season from December to April offers optimal conditions with calmer seas and clearer waters. During this time, you can expect to encounter species like roosterfish, snook, and jack crevalle. But, first you have to get there.

Travel to Costa Rica – How to Get There?

The most convenient way to visit Costa Rica, of course, is to fly into one of the two main airports in Costa Rica, servicing international flights. There are plenty of airlines that fly into Costa Rica, and it’s also very easy to catch a domestic flight for travel within the country once you arrive.

When traveling to Costa Rica will need a passport that is valid for the length of their stay in Costa Rica.

Many airlines also require travelers to have a round-trip ticket before boarding flights to Costa Rica to include the departure tax imposed by Costa Rican immigration.

You should expect to pay a $29 airport departure tax. Visitors can pay the fee upon arrival in Costa Rica or before departure at the immigration office. Check to see if the fee was included in the price of your airline ticket, as some airlines do add this to your round trip ticket.

Either way, it is highly recommended to pay in advance as lines can get long at the airport and you don’t want to risk missing your flight. If you’re going to be staying longer than 90 days, you will be required to apply for an extension from the Office of Temporary Permits.

When you fly into Costa Rica, you have two choices for arrival: the Juan Santamaria International Airport (SJO) just outside the city of San José or the Guanacaste Airport (LIR) (formerly known as Daniel Oduber International Airport in Liberia. The airport you choose should depend on where you plan to visit. The San Jose International Airport is recommended if your trip is going to take you to La Fortuna (Arenal Volcano), Manuel Antonio beach, Tortuguero or Puerto Viejo as well as any destination on the Osa Peninsula, as this airport offers easier access to these areas.

Costa Rica Airports with travel routes
Air Travel routes and connections in Costa Rica – Credit

If your trip is going to take you to any of Guanacaste’s beautiful areas like Tamarindo beach or the Nicoya Peninsula, the Guanacaste Airport (LIR) is recommended as this airport offers easier access to these areas. The Guanacaste Airport will also give you easier access to the northwest Pacific beaches, as well as some of the national parks of the Guanacaste region and other popular spots like Playas del Coco, Papagayo Gulf and Samara

photo of traffic congestion in Costa Rica
Traffic Jam San Jose Costa Rica

The best way to get around Costa Rica, once you’re there, is by bus which is reliable, inexpensive and frequently runs through San José, Costa Rica’s capital. Driving on your own is not recommended as some roads are tricky (pock marked with potholes and confusing traffic signs).

A better alternative to renting a car, is hiring a car-and-driver service recommended from your hotel or travel agency, so you can enjoy the country’s gorgeous scenery without having to navigate unfamiliar and challenging roads.

The Best Spots for Beach Fishing Costa Rica

Costa Rica boasts numerous beach fishing spots along its coastlines. Some of the popular destinations include Playa Flamingo, Tamarindo Beach, Jaco Beach, and Manuel Antonio Beach. These locations are known for their abundant fish and picturesque settings, making them ideal for beach fishing enthusiasts. All of these locations have first class accommodations, amenities and other activities to enjoy besides the awesome fishing.

Beach fishing Costa Rica - Map of Costa Rica
Image Credit: Google Maps

Manuel Antonio Beach

Located in the central Pacific region, Manuel Antonio Beach is renowned for its stunning beauty and excellent fishing opportunities.

Its calm waters are home to a variety of fish species, including snapper, roosterfish, and snook.

Anglers can enjoy the convenience of nearby amenities and indulge in beachside relaxation between fishing sessions.

Aerial photo of Manuel Antonio Beach Costa Rica
Manuel Antonio Beach Costa Rica
Santa Teresa Beach - Costa Rica
Santa Teresa Beach – Costa Rica

Santa Teresa Beach

On the Nicoya Peninsula lies Santa Teresa Beach, a surfer’s paradise that also offers fantastic fishing opportunities.

This picturesque beach is known for its abundant marine life, and anglers can try their luck in catching snapper, jacks, and even the elusive mahi-mahi.

Don’t miss the opportunity to witness a captivating sunset while casting your line from the shores of Santa Teresa.

Playa Flamingo

Located in the Guanacaste province, Playa Flamingo is a vibrant coastal town boasting white sandy beaches and turquoise waters. Anglers visiting Playa Flamingo can expect exceptional beach fishing opportunities, with the chance to catch a variety of species. The local fishing charters provide convenient access to the open sea for those seeking a deeper fishing adventure for marlin, sailfish, dorado, and tuna.

Tamarindo Beach Costa Rica
Tamarindo Beach – Costa Rica

Tamarindo Beach

Tamarindo Beach is a renowned tourist destination situated in the northwest region of Costa Rica. This bustling beach town offers not only a vibrant nightlife and beautiful scenery but also excellent fishing opportunities.

Anglers can try their hand at catching snapper, roosterfish, and even tarpon. Tamarindo Beach is an ideal spot for beach fishing enthusiasts looking to combine angling with an exciting beach getaway.

Jaco Beach

Jaco Beach, located on Costa Rica’s central Pacific coast, is a popular destination for both beachgoers and anglers.

Known for its lively atmosphere and consistent waves, Jaco Beach offers an ideal setting for surf casting.

Anglers can target various fish species such as snapper, snook, and jack crevalle while enjoying the stunning views and vibrant energy of this coastal gem.

Jaco Beach Costa Rica
Jaco Beach – Costa Rica

What can You Catch Beach Fishing Costa Rica?

Surf fishing in Costa Rica presents the opportunity for numerous sport fishing predators such as jacks, rooster fish, snapper, needle fish, grunts, mackerel, corvinas and snook. The following are some of the more popular species to target when beach fishing Costa Rica.

Roosterfish – Roosterfish, known for their vibrant colors and impressive dorsal fin, are a highly sought-after species for beach anglers in Costa Rica.

These powerful fighters can reach substantial sizes and provide an exhilarating challenge for anglers.

Jack Crevalle – Jack crevalle are powerful and aggressive predators commonly found in the coastal waters of Costa Rica. They offer an exciting fishing experience with their hard-hitting strikes and strong fighting abilities.

Snapper – Costa Rica is home to all kinds of Snapper species: Cubera, Red, Mullet, Colorado, Dog-Tooth, Silky, Yellow, Rock and many more.

Snook – Snook, also known as robalo, are prized game fish that inhabit both freshwater and saltwater environments. They are known for their aggressive strikes and acrobatic jumps, making them a thrilling target for beach anglers.

Mackerel – Spanish Mackerel can be found in Costa Rica on both the Atlantic (Caribbean) and Pacific coasts. Traditionally, Atlantic Mackerel is referred to as Spanish Mackerel, but is essentially the same species as the Pacific Sierra Mackerel.

Corvinas – Corvina or sea bass are found inshore around rocks, river mouths, or in tidal estuaries. They are very similar to the seatrout found in the Gulf of Mexico, and eastern seaboard of the United States, but grow to a larger size. They are excellent food quality with tender mild white fillets.

Angler with a nice Snook caught from the beach in Costa Rica
Snook from the beach – Photo Credit: Costa Rica Fishing Charters

Surf Casting Tips for Beach Fishing Costa Rica

Mastering the art of casting and retrieving is key to beach fishing success. Practicing your casting technique to achieve long and accurate casts will allow you to reach productive fishing spots and avoid snags or other obstructions. Retrieving the bait or lure in a manner that mimics natural movements will trigger the fish to strike.

A group of surf anglers fishing a beach in Costa Rica
Beach Fishing Costa Rica

Surf casting is a popular method used by beach anglers to reach deeper waters where fish are more abundant. Mastering the art of surf casting, and beach fishing, requires practice, skill, and a combination of proper technique and suitable equipment. Here are some key techniques to enhance your surf casting and beach fishing success:

  1. Long Casting: To reach out past the breakers, employ long casting techniques by using longer fishing rods specifically designed for increased casting distance.
  2. Weighted Rigs: Use sinkers or weights to add casting distance and keep your bait or lure in the strike zone longer like spider weights or breakaway weights.
  3. Bait Placement: Aim to cast beyond the breaking waves and into deeper waters of guts, troughs and rips, where fish tend to congregate and feed. This will increase your chances of enticing a bite.
  4. Research the local fishing conditions and target species beforehand when planning your trip.
  5. Pay attention to the tides as they can greatly impact the fishing activity. Fish move in closer to shore on a high tide and fish activity is higher during times of tidal movement.
  6. Watch for Birds and other marine wildlife, as they can indicate the presence of feeding fish.
  7. Talk with local guides or experienced anglers who can provide valuable insights and assistance.
  8. Practice catch-and-release to preserve the fish populations and the ecosystem. Keep what you can use, release the rest.

The Challenges of Beach Fishing Costa Rica

Beach fishing presents its fair share of challenges, from navigating varying waves and currents to contending with unpredictable weather conditions.

However, with the right approach and a bit of patience, these challenges can be overcome. Here are some tips to help you tackle the common hurdles faced during beach fishing adventures:

Fly fisherman with a jack crevalle caught from the beach in Costa Rica
Jack Crevalle Beach Fishing Costa Rica Image credit:
  1. Reading the Beach: Take the time to study the beach and identify key features such as sandbars, troughs or guts, rip currents, rock formations, or areas of submerged vegetation. These can act as feeding grounds for fish, increasing your chances of success.
  2. Adjusting to Conditions: Be adaptable and make adjustments to your fishing techniques based on the weather and water conditions. For example, if the waves are rough, consider using heavier sinkers or spider weights to keep your line anchored in place.
  3. Safety Precautions: Prioritize safety while beach fishing. Always be aware of incoming tides and sudden weather changes. It’s advisable to always fish with a buddy, wear a life jacket, and inform someone of your angling plans.

Essential Gear for Beach Fishing Costa Rica

Before heading out on your beach fishing expedition in Costa Rica, it’s essential to equip yourself with the right gear. Having the proper surf fishing equipment ensures that you can fully enjoy yourself in the angling experience while maximizing your chances of catching some fish.

Beach Fishing Rods and Reels

Investing in a high-quality fishing rod and reel combination suitable for beach fishing is crucial.

Opt for a medium to heavy-action spinning or casting surf rod, typically ranging from 9 to 15 feet, designed to handle the challenges of casting over long distances.

Match your rod with a sturdy spinning reel or baitcasting reel able to provide the necessary strength and flexibility to handle the challenges of surf fishing.

Best surf fishing combos - Daiwa BG series surf fishing combo
Daiwa BG Surf Spinning Combo

Essential Surf Fishing Gear:

  • Surf Fishing Rods, surf rods are typically longer and heavier duty than standard rods. read more.
  • Surf fishing Reels,larger and stronger with greater line capacity to handle big fish. read more.
  • Surf fishing Rod and Reel Combos, pre-matched rod and reel set ups for surf fishing – read more.
  • Sand Spike Rod holder, holds your rods securely while you wait for that big bite. – read more.
  • Surf Fishing Rigs, terminal tackle for fishing the surf. – read more.
  • Surf fishing Carts, for beaches that won’t allow vehicles you need a way to carry your gear – read more.
  • Rod Racks for Vehicles, carry your rods out of harms way and easy to access- read more.
  • Beach Camping Gear, in case you want to fish all night or for several days – read more.

Tackle and Bait for Beach Fishing Costa Rica

When it comes to tackle and bait, a variety of options can be effective for beach fishing Costa Rica. Artificial lures such as spoons, jigs, and soft plastics are popular choices.

As always, live bait such as shrimp, sand fleas, and small fish, when available, are a great choice for beach fishing.

Selecting the appropriate tackle and bait for beach fishing can significantly increase your chance for success and save you a lot of potential frustration and disappointment. Consider the following tips when choosing your tackle:

  1. Lines and Leaders: Utilize strong, abrasion-resistant monofilament or braided lines with a test strength suitable for your target species. Lighter lines for casting lures to snook, corvina and mackerel. Heavier lines for casting natural baits for roosterfish or snapper. Attach a fluorocarbon leader to prevent fish from spotting the line.
  2. Hooks: Use sturdy, corrosion-resistant hooks in sizes appropriate for the fish species you are targeting. Circle hooks are recommended for catch-and-release fishing, and minimizing harm to the fish.
  3. Lures and Baits: Depending on your target species, pack a variety of lures and baits such as topwater plugs, soft plastic lures, or live bait like shrimp or small fish. Research the preferred food source of your target fish to increase your chances of success. “Match the Hatch” use bait and or lures that best imitate what the fish are currently feeding on. Ask the locals, they are your best source of current information.

Beach Fishing Protective Gear

When beach fishing, it’s essential to protect yourself from the elements and potential hazards. Safety should always be your priority when fishing.

It’s important to wear appropriate footwear to protect your feet from sharp rocks or coral. Sunscreen, a hat, and polarized sunglasses are also essential to shield yourself from the sun’s rays. Here are some key protective gear items to consider:

  1. Sun Protection: Apply a high SPF sunscreen to protect your skin from the intense tropical sun. Don’t forget to wear a wide-brimmed hat, polarized sunglasses, and lightweight clothing that covers exposed areas.
  2. Footwear: Invest in comfortable, non-slip footwear suitable for beach terrain. Sturdy sandals or water shoes are ideal for wading through shallow waters and navigating sandy beaches.
  3. Bug Repellent: Costa Rica’s tropical climate is home to various insects. Apply insect repellent to keep bugs at bay during your fishing adventure.
  4. Personal Flotation Device (PFD): If you are going to be wading the surf, you should wear a life jacket of PFD, rip currents can drag you out to sea and there is no fish worth losing your life over.

Fishing Regulations and Permits in Costa Rica

Before embarking on your beach fishing adventure in Costa Rica, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the local regulations and obtain any necessary permits. Fishing licenses can be obtained from authorized vendors or online platforms, ensuring you fish within the legal boundaries. Check online with for the latest fishing rules and regulations.

Before casting your line in Costa Rica’s coastal waters, it’s crucial to familiarize yourself with the local fishing regulations and obtain the necessary permits.

Adhering to these rules not only ensures the preservation of the marine ecosystem but also prevents any legal complications during your angling journey.

Remember, you are visiting another country, their rules may be different but they are the rules you must obey if you don’t want to end up spending time in jail. 😉

beach fishing costa rica - map of the best fishing destinations in Costa Rica
Best Fishing Spots in Costa Rica – Image Credit:

Fishing Rules and Restrictions in Costa Rica

Costa Rica has specific rules and restrictions in place to protect its marine resources. Here are some key regulations to keep in mind while beach fishing:

  1. Fishing Seasons: Certain fish species have specific fishing seasons to safeguard their populations during critical spawning and migratory periods. Stay informed about the fishing seasons for your target species.
  2. Size and Bag Limits: Pay attention to the minimum size limits and bag limits for each fish species. These limits aim to maintain healthy fish populations and sustainable fishing practices for the future.
  3. Protected Areas: Some coastal areas, such as national parks and reserves, have fishing restrictions to preserve their unique ecosystems. Familiarize yourself with the designated protected areas to avoid any violations.

Obtaining Fishing Permits in Costa Rica

To legally fish in some waters of Costa Rica, you will need to obtain a fishing permit. Here’s how you can acquire the necessary permits:

  1. Beach Fishing: A fishing license is not required if you want to fish in flood or from the beach anywhere in Costa Rica. However, you will need it for fishing from a vessel in the ocean or lake. Surf fishing in Costa Rica is famous for locals and foreigners; there are no restrictions to practice this kind of fishing.
  2. Offshore Fishing: If you plan to venture into deeper waters for offshore fishing, additional permits or licenses are required. Consult with local fishing authorities or charter companies for specific requirements.

Local Knowledge: Hiring a Fishing Guide

While beach fishing in Costa Rica can be a rewarding solo adventure, enlisting the services of a local fishing guide can significantly enhance your angling experience and chances of success.

Local fishing guides possess invaluable knowledge about the coastal waters, fish behavior, and the best fishing spots.

Here are a few benefits of hiring a fishing guide:

Cupabera Snapper from the Beach in Costa Rica
Snapper from the Beach in Costa Rica
  1. Expertise and Experience: Fishing guides have extensive knowledge of the local fishing grounds, including the prime locations for different species. They can provide insights into the best techniques, baits, and tackle to maximize your chances of success.
  2. Safety and Navigation: Navigating unfamiliar waters can be challenging, especially for first-time visitors. Fishing guides are familiar with the local tides, currents, and potential hazards, ensuring a safe and enjoyable fishing trip.
  3. Gear and Equipment: Fishing guides often provide all the necessary gear and equipment, saving you the hassle of bringing your own or renting them separately.
  4. Local Insights: Fishing guides can offer a unique perspective on the local culture, wildlife, and attractions, making your fishing trip a holistic experience.

The following are excellent sources of local Costa Rica fishing and tourist information:

FAQs about Beach Fishing Costa Rica

Can I fish from any beach in Costa Rica?

Yes, beach fishing is allowed on most beaches in Costa Rica. However, it’s essential to respect any local fishing regulations and restrictions in place.

What types of fish can I catch while beach fishing?

While beach fishing in Costa Rica, you can target a wide range of fish species, including snapper, roosterfish, snook, jacks, mahi-mahi, marlin, sailfish, dorado, and tuna.

frequently asked questions sign

Is beach fishing suitable for beginners?

Absolutely! Beach fishing can be enjoyed by anglers of all skill levels, including beginners. The ease of access and the variety of fish species make it an excellent option for novice anglers.

Can I bring my own fishing equipment to Costa Rica?

Absolutely! You can bring your own fishing equipment to Costa Rica. However, it’s crucial to ensure that your gear meets the local regulations and restrictions, and you have the necessary permits.

What is the best time of day to fish from the beach?

Early morning and late afternoon are generally the best times for beach fishing in Costa Rica. During these periods, fish are more active, and the temperatures are more comfortable.

Can I rent fishing equipment in Costa Rica?

Yes, there are numerous fishing charters and rental services available in popular beach fishing destinations in Costa Rica. They can provide you with the necessary equipment and guidance for a successful fishing trip.

What is the best time of year for beach fishing in Costa Rica?

The dry season, from December to April, is generally considered the best time for beach fishing in Costa Rica. During this period, the weather is favorable, and fish populations are abundant.

Are there any fishing restrictions or regulations in Costa Rica?

Yes, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the local fishing regulations and obtain the required permits before fishing in Costa Rica. This ensures that you fish within the legal boundaries and contribute to sustainable fishing practices.

What are some other popular activities to enjoy in Costa Rica besides beach fishing?

Costa Rica offers a wide range of activities for nature enthusiasts, such as zip-lining through rainforests, exploring volcanoes, wildlife spotting, and enjoying water sports like surfing and snorkeling.

Two lady surfers walking down the beach carrying their surf boards in Costa Rica
Surfing is a popular sport in Costa Rica

Beach Fishing Costa Rica – You’ve Got to Try it.

Beach fishing in Costa Rica offers an exiting and memorable experience for anglers of all ages and skill levels. With its stunning coastline, diverse fish species, and accessible beaches, this tropical paradise is a haven for those seeking the thrill of beach and surf fishing.

Costa Rica’s coastal paradise offers a remarkable opportunity for anglers to immerse themselves in the thrilling world of beach fishing. From the serene shores of Manuel Antonio to the vibrant beaches of Tamarindo and Jaco, the country’s diverse coastline beckons with its stunning beauty and abundant marine life.

By arming yourself with the right gear, familiarizing yourself with local regulations, and perhaps enlisting the expertise of a fishing guide, you can embark on an unforgettable beach fishing adventure in Costa Rica. So, pack your suit case, tackle box, and get ready to cast your line into the turquoise waters of this tropical angler’s paradise – beach fishing Costa Rica awaits!

Angler standing in the surf holding a nice snook caught Beach fishing Costa Rica
Nice Surf Snook in Costa Rica

As always, stay safe, enjoy the journey and please try to leave it cleaner than you found it. If you have any comments, questions, ideas or suggestions please leave them in the comment section below and I’ll get back to you asap. You can follow us on Facebook: Rex The Beach Angler, Instagram: thebeachangler7, Twitter: @AnglerBeach, and YouTube: Man Art Creations.

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