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Caribsea & Quepos Fishing FAQs

What is the process to book a fishing charter with Caribsea?

Here at Caribsea Sportfishing, we try to make things as easy for you as possible. First, our flagship boat called Caribsea is our primary fishing boat. However, because of availability issues or if you have a need for a different type of boat, we also have a great network of approved charter partners we work with, to make this a well-rounded Quepos fishing FAQ page.

1. Ideal charter date(s) for your fishing adventure
The first step in booking a charter with Caribsea Sportfishing is identifying your ideal dates. Boats could be booked well in advance for certain dates and the vessel we recommend might not be available. Ideal case is if you have multiple dates available or would like to book multiple days on the water. Having some flexibility is going to help you get first pick of the best Quepos boats available for your trip.
2. Are there any specific target species you would like to pursue?

The next thing to do is figure out what you want to fish for. The two key fishing styles when fishing out of Quepos, Costa Rica are offshore and inshore fishing. However, knowing the particular species you want to target will certainly help us make recommendations and get you on the best boat for your target species.

If you are unsure about what to fish for, just ask us. If you have set travel dates, we will always give you unbiased recommendations on what would be the ideal species to target in that period. This will help you make an educated decision for your trip.

3. How many people are going on this fishing trip?

This information helps us narrow down the right selection of boats we would recommend. Costa Rica is blessed with flat, calm seas, so the boat size is related to the number of people fishing and not the sea conditions.

With that said, we tend to recommend the larger boats like Caribsea for offshore as the vessel is better equipped for deep sea fishing and offers all the comfort and space for a long day off shore.

If inshore is your game, then the smaller boats are better options. Yes, big boats can inshore fish, but the smaller boats are more maneuverable and allow you to get closer to the rocks, reefs and river mouths where the inshore species tend to congregate.

4. Choosing the fishing charter that best suits your needs

Now is the time to pick your boat. We will reply back or offer information on the boats in our network that are available and point out any specific pros or cons to help you make the best decision.

One of the most common mistakes people make when booking a charter is focusing solely on price. Yes, price is important, but if you look around, there are a wide range of prices and the cost to deliver a quality trip is somewhat consistent for any boat in a particular size category.

So, ask yourself: ’Why is the price of renting this one boat so lower than all the others as an average?’ Usually this has to do with the experience you will get, or the effort that crew will put in during the trip, to put you on the fish.

5. Why is there no calendar for boat availability?

This is a great question and one we would like to explain. Here at Caribsea Sportfishing, we try to help every client we can. We specifically don’t show our calendar online for a few primary reasons.

  • Availability is constantly changing and sometimes keeping an online calendar perfect is a challenge. By not showing the calendar, we are able to thwart any double booking problems that might come because of failure to update a calendar online.
  • Scheduled maintenance days vs. available days to fish. We use a calendar to manage all our bookings. However, we also use that same calendar for employee holidays, maintenance days and down time for rest. For maintenance or down days, we can easily adjust those dates if you need that specific date for a fishing trip.
  • Depending on your schedule, we have some options to move other charters to a different date if needed. As a popular local boat here, we get a lot of repeat business that is completely flexible on their dates. Our number one goal is taking care of all clients, but having the flexibility to adjust things allows us to ensure every client is taken care of.
  • If we are booked on one boat, we can likely help with one of our other preferred partners. Since we work with 8 other boats out of Quepos, we are here to help even if one of our boats is booked. By having a calendar online, you might see a date blocked for a specific boat and never inquire. If you inquire, we will always do our best to help and don’t want a calendar to scare you away from inquiring.

In the end, we are here to help with all your charter needs. If we were to show an availability calendar online, it would likely cause more confusion then answers. Since we have flexibility in certain dates as well as a network of world class partners, we can almost always help you with any fishing needs you have during your preferred travel dates.

6. Payment policy and process

Once you make a decision to move forward with booking one of the options we offer, you are required to put down a 25% deposit to confirm your trip. Once you commit to a specific date, we block it off in our calendar and your trip is secured!

In the event you cancel or don’t show up last minute, that 25% allows us to pay our crew and cover the provisions that would be lost if you did not show up and the boat just sat.

The balance of the trip cost is due the morning of your charter, in cash. If you prefer to pay by CC, that is no problem at all. We accept CC payments through Paypal. This payment form has an extra charge of 3.5% for covering the processing fee Paypal charges us.

Now that you have your Quepos fishing trip set, you are in Costa Rica, what is next?

Day of Your Fishing Trip in Quepos, Costa Rica

What kind of clothing should I wear?

We recommend shorts, t-shirt or long sleeve dry fit type shirt, a large brimmy hat and sunglasses. Also, good sunscreen is a must as the Costa Rica sun is hot. For shoes, any sandal or tennis shoe is just fine.

How do I get to the boat?

Our boats are based out of Marina Pez Vela in Quepos Costa Rica. Depending on the hotel or property you are staying at, get a cab or arrange a transfer to the marina. We recommend arriving at the marina around 6:45am. All our captains meet in front of the Mini Price Grocery store at the marina. If you need help with transport, please let us know and we do have some private transfer companies that are available upon request.

Do I need a fishing license?

Yes, you can purchase your fishing license at the marina on your first day of fishing. The cost is $15 per person and it is good for 7 days. After meeting your captain, you will head to the dock to purchase a fishing license. Fishing licenses are $15.00 per person and each person going on the boat must buy one. Unfortunately, even if you don’t want to fish, but just ride along, you will need to buy a license as well.

Next, head down to the boat meet your crew and head out fishing Costa Rica’s abundant waters. The captain will escort you to the boat and introduce you to your crew. On the way out, you should get a quick safety briefing on the ‘what if’s’ in case something goes wrong.

Time to share your thoughts on the fishing trip with the team

This is the time to ask questions and also pick your crews’ minds. Depending on your fishing experience level, this is a great time to discuss the plan with the mates. If you are new to fishing or unfamiliar with the techniques and equipment used here, have no fear. Crews are bilingual and will be happy to help teach you any part of the process you would like to learn.

If you are an avid angler and want to do most everything on your own, no problem. Just let the mates know and they will be there to help assist if you need them.

Do I need to bring food?

Beer, sodas, bottled water, fruit and snacks are included for all trips. On 3/4 day and full day fishing trips, lunch is included as well.

Can I keep the fish I catch?

Yes, and no. All billfish are catch and release (Costa Rica Law) as well as roosterfish. However any tuna, dorado, wahoo, snapper or other meat fish is yours to keep and the crew will be happy to fillet everything out, so you can take it back with you.

What if I want to get a fish mounted or get some great photos?

As you head out, discuss pictures our mounts you want to get with the crew. Having a plan in place in the event you want to get a fish mounted is key. Let the crew know that would be your intention and they will be extra careful with your fish as it gets close to the boat so they can get the necessary measurements. Here in Costa Rica, we don’t kill fish for a mount. These days, companies like Grays Taxidermy can offer life like mounts that are identical replicas of your fish. This is great, because your fish can be released to be captured another day.

Taking pictures is a bit easier, but be sure to talk with your crew in advance, and let them know this is important to you. Knowing where to be during the action and how best to position yourself for great pictures is always helpful. Getting a good photo is when the action is hot and you have a lot of people running around in the cockpit during release time, is not easy. It is good to know the best spot on the boat if you want to get some killer photos for your memories.

Tipping the crew on the fishing charter in Costa Rica, how does it work?

So here it is, you had an epic day on the water and it is time to head back to your hotel. It’s time to say thanks to the crew and give them a tip for all their hard work. We recommend 15% – 20% as a customary tip. This is truly at your discretion. The amount you tip is solely up to you. Our partners are pro’s, so you will never find them standing at the end of the day with their hand out, but a nice tip is a way to say thanks and show your appreciation for all their hard work.

As a norm, we tell all clients to give the total tip to the Captain. This is because every boat has a unique system for breaking up the tips, but most everyone in our network splits things evenly. So just giving it to the Captain, makes things simple and they break the tip up between each other.

I am a professional Captain or Mate!

Can I just charter the boat with the captain and I will do all the other work?

This is a question we are getting more and more over the years and I think it is a good topic to discuss. The typical person that ask this question is usually in the charter or sportfishing business. 

As a competitive tournament angler myself, I have fished with some boats in my life, where I could have done everything the mate did and even better. Part of the joy of fishing nowadays is about the experience and the process that leads to catching the fish, not just the release. 

So while we completely understand the question, there are some good points to consider that are specific to fishing in Costa Rica, where this practice is uncommon, and we at Caribsea don’t offer it as an option. 

1. Safety

No one knows the boat, its systems and emergency equipment aboard like our full time crew. God forbid if something were to happen while you are fishing offshore, you want to know, that the crew on board knows where everything is, what needs to be fixed and how to react based on their experience fishing together.

2. Insurance

As a legal and licensed charter boat in Costa Rica, we have all the necessary insurance required to operate here. Our insurance is with the national insurance called INS. Like any insurance company, if something were to happen to the boat while out fishing or to a passenger on board and they found out we sent the vessel without our documented crew, they would void our claims.

3. Traveling at night

We do a lot of overnight trips to the Costa Rica FADs located on the Costa Rica Seamounts between 63 and 160 miles offshore. We have had many people say they want just the captain, but you have to factor into the picture night watch, sleeping, and fatigue. Not to mention, it goes back to safety. If something goes wrong, you want to know there are people on the boat that know every part of the boat.

4. Maintenance while offshore

Boats are full of maintenance and if you run as many charters as we do, you know things break or fail at anytime. Everything from a bilge pump, to AC unit to Fuel Filters can fail while you are offshore. If you don’t have the mates on board, who is going to fix those things. You might know how to do it, but after paying all that money for your trip, do you really want to sit in a hot engine room priming a Racor system because of a clogged filter?

5. Food and provisions

We always provide food on our charters. Our lunches are typically hot lunches and that is what the crew is there for.

The list of things goes on an on, but these are the primary reasons we don’t allow running a charter without all our crew aboard. I also tend to turn that question around and ask back if I could charter their boat with just the captain? 99% of the time, once a small conversation is had about why that cannot be done, they understand completely and have a great fishing trip in Costa Rica.

With that said, if you are an avid angler and want to do most everything on your own, that is no problem. I always tell our guest, you can have as much or as little involvement in the fishing process as you want.

Everything from rigging baits, to setting the spread is all on you IF YOU WANT. However, if you want to sit back during the dog hours of the day, the crew is always there to step in. Not to mention, they are there to keep you hydrated with ice cold beverages and your belly full with great eats.

Anything else we missed in this Quepos fishing FAQ? Let us know!

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