Nestled between Nicaragua and Panama Costa Rica lives up to its name the “Rich Coast”. Its progressive environmental policies have allowed both land and sea to flourish making it one of the finest fishing and eco-tourism destinations in the world. The fishing is hugely varied, with incredible trips available in both fresh and saltwater. It’s not only the scene of excellent fishing but also a plethora of non-fishing activities and eco-exploration too. If you are looking for something a bit different and unique, then our Costa Rican Jungle Tarpon Lodge combination with dry fly fishing for machaca might just be for you.

Jungle Tarpon Reserve, Costa Rica, river tarpon fishing, Costa Rica fly fishing, Aardvark McLeod

The Jungle Tarpon Reserve

The Jungle Tarpon Reserve is a vast system of freshwater rivers, creeks, and flooded lagoons surrounded by verdant rainforest and swampland. The tarpon journey many miles inland to reach the lagoons. At the time of the their arrival, seasonal rains flood the immense lagoons to create an inland sea surrounded by volcanoes and rife with other primeval creatures like tropical garfish, sawfish, and freshwater bull sharks.

Jungle Tarpon Reserve, river tarpon fishing, Aardvark McLeod

This collection of archaic predators explosively feed on the many species of baitfish flushed into the lagoons by the heavy annual deluge, much to the delight of adventurous anglers. From their time in the tannin-stained freshwater the tarpon have lost their silvery hue and are very dark in colour. Battling these beasts confined by the river’s lush banks is at once an explosive and awe inspiring experience. If you need a breather from throwing large streamers on your 12-weight outfit, the surrounding forest brims with monkeys, wading birds, spectacled caiman, and other interesting rainforest creatures including the majestic jaguar.

Jungle Tarpon Reserve, Costa Rica, river tarpon fishing,  Aardvark McLeod

Jungle Quest – Machaca

Whilst not as big as tarpon, the machaca is a wonderful fish to target on the fly. A distant relative of the piranha, as a juvenile fish they eat aquatic and terrestrial insects, but as adults they turn largely vegetarian consuming 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 top-water takes. Once hooked the fish are as aerial as mini tarpon, doggedly pulling into roots and snags in an effort to break free. If South America’s pacu is the ‘river permit’ then the machaca is the ‘river bonefish’. Fishing is from a whitewater raft operated drift boat style and suitable for two anglers. Most machaca weigh around two to six pounds but there are plenty of larger fish too.

Jungle Quest, tarpon and machaca, Aardvark McLeod

The Itinerary:

Day 1 – Private transfer from San Jose to Sarapiqui, and overnight
Days 2 & 3 – two days drift boat fishing for machaca, overnight at the lodge
Day 4 – Mid-morning pickup and transfer to the Jungle Tarpon Reserve, 1/2 day fishing for tarpon, lodging JTR Riverside Camp (single room)

Days 5 to 9 – five full days fishing for tarpon, overnight at the lodge

Day 10 – Fish 1/2 day tarpon, private transport to San Jose, overnight or depart Costa Rica

Jungle Quest, tarpon and machaca,  Aardvark McLeod

Available Dates:

8 to 17 August 2024 – 2 rods / 1 boat available
22 to 31 August 2024 – 2 rods / 1 boat available
29 August to 7 September 2024 – 2 rods / 1 boat available
19 to 28 September 2024 – 4 rods / 2 boats available
17 to 26 October 2024 – 4 rods / 2 boats available
28 November to 7 December 2024 – 4 rods / 2 boats available

Trip Costs:

Combination trip: US$6,690 per person – single room and shared guide
Jungle Tarpon Reserve only: US$4,990 per person – single room shared guide

For more information on the fly fishing and travel possibilities in Costa Rica please contact Charlotte Chilcott or Alex Jardine or call us on ++44 1980 847389. Alternatively click HERE if you would like us to contact you.