Costa Rica Fishing License Requirements

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Costa Rica Fishing License Requirements


In Costa Rica, renowned for its rich marine life, adhering to local laws and regulations is essential when engaging in fishing activities. Among these regulations, the process of obtaining a fishing license holds significant importance. Failing to comply with official fishing regulations and rules in Costa Rica can result in serious consequences.

Before embarking on fishing adventures in a fishing haven like Costa Rica, you can find here the official process, requirements, and answers to other essential questions regarding obtaining a fishing license in 2023. If you are wondering how to get your fishing license in Costa Rica, read this article.

Do you need a fishing license to catch fish in Costa RIca?

In Costa Rica, a fishing license is required to engage in fishing activities. Whether you’re fishing on a charter boat or on the shore, this license may be requested by local authorities at any time.

How to get a fishing license for Costa Rica?

A fishing license can be obtained in two methods: online or in person. Both methods involve the INCOPSCA organization:

  1. Obtain fishing license online: INCOPSCA offers an online form to purchase tourist fishing licenses you can find here.
  2. Obtain fishing license in person: INCOPSCA has many offices and booths around Costa Rica. Some of the prominent places include Puntarenas, Quepos, and San Jose. In other areas such as Tamarindo, Flamingo, El Coco there is usually no INCOPESCA representatives at the departure location so it is necessary to purchase your Costa Rica fishing license online 

Obtaining a fishing license in Costa Rica involves presenting identification documents, filling out application forms, paying application fees, and obtaining various permits and licenses that may be required depending on the region and the type of license you are applying for. In some cases, there may also be fishing education and examination requirements.

How much does getting a Costa Rica fishing license cost?

Here are the current prices in September 2023 of fishing license according to INCOPESCA website:

  • Practice sport fishing from a boat 1- 8 days ($16.95 USD)
  • Practice sport fishing from a boat 30 days ($28.25 USD)
  • Practice sport fishing from a boat 1 year ($56.50 USD)
  • Practice underwater fishing 1 year ($56.50 USD)
  • Practice sport fishing from land or kayak 1 year (¢6,215 / around $10.00 USD)

These prices apply for both nationals and foreigners, and the licenses can be obtained online through the INCOPESCA website. The cost of a fishing license in Costa Rica may vary depending on the duration and type of fishing. 

Should you file for a fishing license before you get to Costa Rica?  

Unless there is a INCOPSCA office near where you are staying, it is advisable to apply for a fishing license before you hit the road. Virtually all regions of Costa Rica require a fishing license to go fishing.

By submitting your license applications in advance, you can travel with peace of mind, knowing that you are well-prepared.

Do children need a fishing license in Costa Rica?

In Costa Rica, children under the age of 16 generally do not need to obtain a fishing license. Nonetheless, there may still be specific rules and regulations for children under 16. For example, a child under 16 may not be allowed to fish without an adult present, or they may be permitted to fish only for certain species and in specific areas.

Do tourists need a fishing license in Costa Rica?

Yes, tourists who wish to fish in Costa Rica are expected to obtain a fishing license. These licenses typically come with specific rules and restrictions and grant permission to catch certain species.

Do residents require a fishing license in Costa Rica?

Whether residents of Costa Rica need a fishing license is closely related to the country’s various fishing regulations and local requirements. In general, Costa Rican residents often require a fishing license if they wish to engage in fishing. The specific requirements for obtaining such a license can vary based on the region where they reside and the type of fishing they intend to pursue.

Do you need a separate fishing license for freshwater, sport fishing, and saltwater fishing?

According to Costa Rica’s fishing regulations, separate licenses may be required for freshwater fishing, saltwater fishing, and sport fishing. In Costa Rica, both the region and the type of fishing you intend to do can influence the licenses you need.

The two essential steps are to determine the type of fishing you wish to engage in and to learn about the local regulations in the area where you plan to fish.

Different regions may have varying regulations for fishing licenses, so it is advisable to contact local fishing authorities or tour operators and direct all your questions to them. This way, you can ensure that you are following the specific rules and requirements for the region and fishing type you have in mind.

Do you need a fishing license to surf fish in Costa Rica?

Yes, obtaining a fishing license is mandatory for all types of fishing in Costa Rica. Although you might not always encounter authorities checking for licenses, it’s recommended to have a valid fishing license to prevent potential fines or other monetary penalties.

Do you need a fishing license when going on a fishing charter?

In Costa Rica, you typically do need a separate fishing license to go on a fishing charter. Some companies may include the cost of the license in the price of the charter but it is important to check on this and ask what information you need to provide to secure one. Be careful if you are advised that you don’t need one and you are not asked to provide information to have one in your name. If the boat is inspected by the Costa Rican Coastguards and you cannot show them a fishing license any fish you have caught may be confiscated and the boat returned to shore. 

Do you need a fishing license when beach fishing in Costa Rica?

Yes, you will need a fishing license when fishing from the beaches and shore of Costa Rica.

Do you need a fishing license when river fishing in Costa Rica?

Yes, fishing license is required to fish in the freshwater rivers of Costa Rica.

We have endeavored to provide valuable information about the process and requirements for obtaining the necessary fishing license for anglers looking to explore the rich fishing opportunities in Costa Rica, a Central American paradise for fishing enthusiasts.

Staying informed about the latest requirements ensures a smooth and enjoyable fishing experience while contributing to the conservation efforts that protect the country’s diverse marine life. Whether you’re a resident or a visitor, adhering to these regulations not only keeps you on the right side of the law but also helps sustain Costa Rica’s stunning aquatic ecosystems for future generations to enjoy.

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