Frequently Asked Questions
Frequently Asked Questions
Below are some frequently asked questions from viewers and clients that we’ve answered for your ease. If you have any questions that aren’t included on this page, feel free to contact us directly for answers.
What size & type boat does North Pacific Tours have?
We have one boat, the Don Manuel, a center console panga which has plenty of shade, cushioned seats, 150 h.p. Yamaha 4-stroke single engine with a fighting chair and a safe, knowledgeable crew. We recommend that if you are not familiar with a panga, a typical boat of Costa Rica, that you view our videos on YouTube and read about us on Trip Advisor. If you prefer a larger boat to go deep sea fishing, we would be happy to make arrangements for you as we work with all the boats in the area.
What is included in a fishing trip?
Our fishing trips include all tackle necessary, a cooler with ice for your catch, a knowledgeable Captain and an English speaking mate; another cooler with beer, water, soda, juice, iced tea, fruit, and if you’d like to snorkel, we can also include that as well. Full day trips include lunch and snacks.
If you do not drink alcohol or are a vegetarian, please let us know and we will make a substitution of something else for you.
Do we need a fishing license?
Yes, you will need to purchase an individual fishing license as required by Costa Rican Law. It will cost $15 for 8 days, or you can purchase a yearly license. You can buy one online and there is a link at the bottom of the “Charter Rates” page. Our boats fishing license does not cover individual anglers.
Can I bring my own rod and tackle?
Absolutely. We always encourage our fishing clients to bring their own rod/tackle and if you are unsure what to bring, send us an email and we will let you know what to bring. If you want to trade some gear for partial payment for your trip, that may be an option.
Does North Pacific Tours practice catch and release?
Costa Rica law requires that we release sail and marlin and in addition, we release needle and rooster fish.
Any other fish that is caught will be cleaned and bagged for you to take back to your hotel where they can prepare it for you at a small cost. Any fish you do not want, the crew will be happy to take with them as they have large families and the fish will not go to waste.
Why do fishing trips seem so expensive?
As anyone knows, it is not cheap to buy, keep, operate and maintain a boat; especially in Costa Rica. In order to be a legal boat, it must have Costa Rican flag (documented), registered licensed, insured and other legal fees and taxes. Everything needed to maintain a charter operation – parts, tackle, etc, goes through customs and has duty added on.
Most marine/boat items purchased here cost 2 to 3 time more than you would pay in the USA; gas and diesel are close to $3 more per gallon than the states and we use a lot of it. We also supply food and beverages, which most charters in the USA do not.
Ballyhoo cost $5.00 each and we usually carry 2 bags. If your bottom fishing, a kilo of sardines is $3.00.
I can assure you that you do not want to fish with a budget operation that skimps on tackle, bait, food, maintenance, safety gear, fuel and ice.
There are many discount booking operators that solicit tourists on the beach with big promises and what seem like cheaper price. They are happy to get a one-time customer and will push cheaper boats, which are poorly maintained and outfitted; crew that is not proficiently bi-lingual, skilled or professional. These boats rarely run more than a few miles offshore and will not use their gas to get you to where the real fishing is.
We strive to provide a premium fishing experience aboard our boat and if you’d like to spend a bit more money, I can help you with that as well.
Can we keep our catch?
You may keep your catch: tuna, dorado (mahi-mahi), wahoo, snapper and grouper and the mate will fillet and bag it for you on the way back to shore. Most restaurants in the area will be happy to cook it up for you for a minimum fee.
It is customary to offer a bag to each the captain and mate if there is extra. If you have any unwanted excess of fish, the crew know plenty of people to share it with as they come from large families.
Can I freeze my catch & bring it back to the States or Canada?
It is possible to freeze and pack your fish in your suit case/small cooler. If you bring fish on the plane, it needs to be frozen and iced. Dry ice is not allowed nor is any other chemical refrigerant.
Our clients in the past have frozen their catch, wrap in newspaper and carry it in a small lunch box or cooler back with them. If you were going to ship it back, it will be costly, more than if you were going to purchase in the U.S. and probably not worth the trouble.
Are we guaranteed to catch fish?
We can’t predict the fishing but we can predict that the crew will work hard to get you fish. Our Captains will do their very best to put you on fish and catch as many as possible. How many you catch will depend on season and location.
Can you take out fly fisherman?
North Pacific Tours can take you out fly fishing but you will need to bring with you your own fly gear. The crew is knowledgeable of the waters and can take you to the best spots to fish. If you need assistance in which flies to bring down, we have a list we can share with you.
What is the difference between a half day and full day fishing?
Half Day Coastal Fishing $400
7:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
5 hour tour
5 to 10 miles offshore
Cooler with beer, water, soda, iced tea, pineapple
3/4 Day Coastal Fishing $500
7:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
6 hour tour
10 to 12 miles offshore
Cooler with beer, water, soda, iced tea, pineapple, snacks
Full Day Coastal Fishing $600
7:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
8 hour tour
15 to 30 miles offshore
Cooler with beer, water, soda, iced tea, pineapple, snacks and lunch
Does the Don Manuel have a bathroom?
The Don Manuel does not have bathroom on the boat but the crew is very respectful so that at anytime you’d like to take a quick swim in the beautiful Pacific Ocean, there will not be any problems taking a break. There is a ladder on board and we can also include snorkeling gear at no extra charge, just send me your foot sizes prior to the tour.
Can bottom fishing, trolling and casting all be done in the same day?
We recommend focusing on one particular type in order to get the best results but if you are set on one or all, let us know in advance, and we’ll have the boat set up. If you do not have any experience casting, let the crew know in advance so he can teach you the proper technique in order for you not to get hurt or damage the gear.
Bottom fishing is best during Dec through March but if the fishing is slow, the crew will switch fishing tactics in order to get you fish. Our goal is that you have a great day out with us and catch as many fish as possible.
What is the tipping custom for boat tours in Costa Rica?
Tips for the crew is generally 15%-20% of the daily charter rate for fishing, surfing and snorkeling tours and we recommend basing the tips on their professionalism and efforts.
We promise our crew will work for every cent of it and they will be very appreciative. All tips are split evenly between the captain and mate and is an important part of their income.
Please note that there are factors that are out of control: moon, tide, weather, etc., which will effect fishing and can be slow regardless of crew efforts.
Where is North Pacific Tours office located?
North Pacific Tours operates out of Playa del Coco, in the province of Guanacaste. We pick up at all the surrounding hotels in the area and as well as the beaches of Playa Hermosa, Playa Ocotal, Matapalo and Playa Panama. We are only a 25 minute drive from Liberia International Airport.
Do you refund money if a passenger becomes seasick?
Sea sickness or motion sickness does not warrant a refund of any portion of your charter. If the boat returns early due to sea sickness, you will still need to pay the entire trip. If you are prone to sea sickness, we would recommend taking a Dramamine prior to your trip.
What is NOT included in your trips?
- Fishing licenses
- Rash guards
- Gratuities to the crew which is to your discrection
Does North Pacific Tours offer shared-charters for surfing, snorkeling and fishing trips?
Yes we do – who doesn’t want to save money!
Please give Lisa plenty of notice and she will make a listing on our website and on our social media. The more time she has the better as it can be difficult finding other surfers/snorkelers/fisherman that want to fish the same day as you do. We also recommend that you ask around your hotel if she has no luck.
How long is the boat ride to good fishing?
This all depends on the time of the year and where the fish are biting, but normally, half day trips will take 20-30 minutes and on our full day it may take up to an hour. If it is windy, it will take longer.
Will the boat pick up at the Westin Conchal Hotel?
North Pacific Tours will pick up our clients at all the immediate surrounding hotels in the area but if you are staying at the Conchal Westin in Flamingo, there is gas surcharge due to the distance to pick-up at these hotels. We have had many clients who had rental cars and will drive to Playas del Coco and spend the afternoon in our little fishing village.
Will the tour be cancelled if it is raining or windy?
All tours will go out during rainy, windy or choppy conditions and it is up to the captain to decide if a trip should be cancelled. It is very rare for us to cancel a trip but we will monitor the weather and keep in contact with you via email.