The Ultimate Costa Rican Rainforest Adventure
Anglers travel around the world to experience “jungle fishing”. Towering rainforest trees, rugged landscapes and wildlife, and of course exotic fishing. Some anglers treat these jungle experiences as once-in-a-lifetime adventures, while others get a taste and start searching out even more remote expeditions. We consider Costa Rica the perfect fit for both categories, and with this in mind we’ve designed a combination trip which brings together two of our wildest fisheries into a week-long action-packed adventure. We present to you the Jungle Quest – Tarpon & Machaca Combo.
PART 1 – Jungle Tarpon
The week starts on the Rio Colorado, where anglers target truly giant tarpon. This mighty river on the northern Caribbean coast has long been celebrated as one of the world’s greatest tarpon aggregation points. The coastline consists of sparsely settled rainforest and lagoon systems, where dark volcanic beaches host massive annual sea turtle nesting events and serpentine rivers slowly wind their way through the verdant jungle towards the sea. The bocas, or mouths, of these rivers form rich ecosystems for many predatory fish, including snapper, jacks, and of course legendary numbers of prehistoric tarpon.
There is a reason that generations of fishermen have flocked to this legendary tarpon destination. The sheer numbers of giant tarpon on the Rio Colorado on the northern Caribbean coast are simply remarkable. At key times of the year huge schools of adult tarpon congregate in various river mouths like the Colorado, where they engage in mass feeding and migratory behavior. There are days where tarpon are rolling and blasting bait as far as the eye can see. On such standout days, anglers have the opportunity to hook and jump incredibly high numbers of large adult tarpon from 80 to 200+ lbs. This river in particular is world famous for incredible numbers of tarpon, and while new tarpon destinations in Cuba and Nicaragua have gained notable reputations in recent decades the fishing around the Rio Colorado and several other rivers in close proximity has remained some of the best for adult tarpon.
PART 2 – Machaca Float
After a few days of fighting giant tarpon, the trip transitions to a machaca river deep in the rainforest. This welcome change from ocean tarpon allows anglers to settle into a more relaxed rhythm as they target a truly incredible fish native to Costa Rica’s lowland rivers – the machaca.
A distant relative to the Amazon’s piranha, Brycon costaricensis or the machaca, is an interesting and highly enjoyable fish to pursue on fly. The fish inhabit lakes and fast moving rivers in lowland drainages of Costa Rica. At first glance, the row of ferocious teeth lining the machaca’s grin speaks of a savage predator of smaller fish, and yet this is not entirely true. Juvenile machaca do eat aquatic and terrestrial insects, but as the fish grow to adulthood their diets turn largely vegetarian, consuming any fruit, flowers, and leaves that fall into the waters they patrol.
Slapping poppers and fruit flies onto the surface of the river to mimic the falling edibles entices aggressive topwater takes, and on some windy days when the trees crowning the river are ripe sudden gusts shower down fruit or flower pedals much to the joy of many surface feeding machaca. Its not often that one can speak of the fantastic flower hatch that happened throughout the course of a fly fishing day while floating down a remote jungle river!
LODGING & FOOD
Rough Itinerary Breakdown – Jungle Quest – Tarpon & Machaca Combo
2-8 PEOPLE PER GROUP
- Day 1 – Arrival in San Jose, Costa Rica (SJO). Lodging in San Jose for 1 night.
- Day 2 – Early morning transfer to the Rio Colorado. 1/2 day fishing the Rio Colorado and Rio Tortuguero. Lodging Rio Colorado Tarpon Club.
- Day 3/4 – Full days fishing the Rio Colorado and Rio Tortuguero. Lodging Rio Colorado Tarpon Club.
- Day 5 – 1/2 day fishing the Rio Colorado and Rio Tortuguero. Early afternoon transfer to machaca river. Lodging ecolodge near river.
- Day 6 – Machaca float trip. Lodging ecolodge near river.
- Day 7 – Machaca float trip. Afternoon transfer to San Jose. Lodging in San Jose for 1 night.
- Day 8 – Departure from Costa Rica (SJO).