Pursuing The Silver King on Costa Rican Rivers
The eastern Caribbean side of Costa Rica is renowned for its year-round tarpon fishery. Both resident and migratory tarpon cling to the coast due to the abundance of freshwater rivers that feed the Caribbean Sea. These free-flowing rivers are fed by the mountainous rainforests of central Costa Rica. For anglers seeking a unique blend of culture within the small community of Barra del Colorado this is a reasonably priced, fishing focused operation. Out of all the coastal Costa Rica tarpon lodges, Costa Rica Tarpon Camp has recently evolved into one of the most fly friendly operations, but the guides know conventional angling methods as well. You give back to and are involved with the community when booking this establishment, as it is locally owned and operated. You will find the basic accommodations comfortable and attentive.
Overlooking the airstrip and village, a locally owned guest house offers basic rooms with private bathrooms, AC, fans, and plenty of space for your gear. All six rooms are double occupancy with one full sized bed and one twin and private bathrooms with hot water. The open-air dining area provides a comfortable place to rig your gear and socialize after fishing. The adjacent rarely used airstrip doubles as “Main Street” for the village. Evening soccer games with community kids give you a front row seat to life in this tight-knit town a stone’s throw from the banks of the Rio Colorado.
Food and Beverages
Breakfast is American style cooked-to-order eggs, toast, bacon, and fresh fruit. Lunch is served at the lodge (since the guides fish early and late when tarpon fishing is best), and consists of homemade delicious soup, a fresh salad plate, and a protein that will ensure you are powered up for the afternoon fishing session. This small operation serves fresh Caribbean cuisine featuring fresh fish, free-range organic chicken, fresh vegetables and various starches for dinner. You will not go hungry. Should you prefer typical Costa Rican meals, the kitchen is more than happy to accommodate your request. The self-service bar features cold beer, bottled water, sodas, wine, and limited spirits. Custom meals may be provided with ample notice (request upon booking).
Typical Length of Stay
Six and one half full days of fishing / 7 nights (customized packages are available)
Non-Angling Activities and Options
This is a fishing-focused operation with limited non-angling activities. There is a secluded black sand beach a short walk from the lodge.
Internet / Communications
The lodge offers free Wi-Fi and cell service is excellent with an international plan.
How To Get There
Fly to San Jose; Overnight and then transfer via private charter to Barra del Colorado.
Arrival and Departure Details / Times
Typical arrival times to Barra del Colorado involve an early morning charter from San Jose Municipal Airport to Barra del Colorado. Departure flights can be scheduled for the early morning as well.
Passport with six-month validity
All charters can be arranged beforehand through Yellow Dog and the operator including the charter to Barra del Colorado.
The Rio Colorado is one of the only dependable, year-round tarpon fisheries in the Caribbean. While most fisheries revolve around the tarpon migration in the spring and summer, the Rio Colorado delta holds resident and migratory fish ranging from 60 to 150+ pounds. This is not a clear water, flats fishing destinations. Expect to fish big, turbulent water where the river dumps into the Caribbean Sea and during the fall months when seas are calmer and summer rains raise the water levels in the river, tarpon can be found rolling in the main channel. Anglers must be prepared to fish a variety of sinking lines, 12-14 weight rods, and large bulky flies. During low light conditions, anglers hope for rolling and feeding tarpon that break the surface. When these large tarpon show themselves sight fishing is possible. Floating and intermediate lines with high riding flies may be used to get into the feeding fish. Most of the time drifting and dredging flies with heavy sinking lines is the most productive method.
The river is typically off-colored and varies in depth depending on precipitation. Tarpon can also be found upriver in an Amazon-like river setting. During times of higher water (late summer and fall), tarpon moves into the river and can be found rolling in the main channel or in deep pools. The river is 100% freshwater and not a tidal, brackish estuary.
During the dry season (late winter and spring) much of the bait move offshore, so the guides search for birds and use their electronics to locate offshore tarpon. These fish can also be seen rolling for baitfish. While tarpon do feed around the river delta any time of year, expect to spend more time fishing in the ocean during the dry months.
It is vital to have the ability to change your tackle to suit current conditions. Consider having second spools with sinking line available, or be prepared to change lines in order to get your fly down to the big fish. These huge tarpon will absolutely punish your fly tackle. It is advisable to be open-minded to conventional tackle if conditions are challenging for fly tackle. Bringing along a lightweight rod such as a 7 or 8 weight to fish for snook and sunfish in some of the backwater lagoons, can be a nice respite.
Boats and Equipment Required
The guides run 22-foot pangas with 150 HP Yamaha engines. All the boats feature bimini tops that provide shade from the hot Costa Rican sun. There is ample room in the pangas for your gear and multiple rods. Two captain’s chairs in the aft of the boat allow for relaxed dredging during high seas or to just take a rest. The bow has a clean deck for sight fishing when fish are rolling. Coolers are provided with beers, water, and sodas. Anglers must bring all their own tackle. The guides have limited access to leader material, flies and rod outfits.
$3850 per person (based on double occupancy)
- Seven (7) nights accommodations
- Six and one half (6.5) full days of guided fishing
- English speaking crew
- All meals (breakfast, lunch, and dinner)
- Costa Rican Fishing license
- One night hotel accommodation at Holiday Inn San Jose (upon arrival)
- Wi-Fri access
- Daily cooler for the boat
What’s Not Included:
- International flights to San Jose
- Domestic charter flights from San Jose to Barra del Colorado ($450 per person)
- Beverages (bottled water, soda, beer, spirits)
- Gratuities for staff and guides
- Meals in transit
- Ground transportation in San Jose
- Any overnights or other costs in San Jose
- Travel insurance