Gone Fishin’–Deep Sea Fishing Costa Rica

Written by Michael Simons on . Posted in Costa Rica Sport Fishing, Guanacaste Tourism, Newsletters

Deep Sea Fishing in Guanacaste Costa Rica

Who’s got it better than me? Who? The other day my phone rings and it’s my buddy Danny from Baton Rouge Lousiana. “Mike, you gotta come fishin’ with me. I got a new boat, and I want you to check it out. Everything is biting right now, it’s some of the best runs we have ever had.”

Sportfishing Danny 002


You see, he retired and moved to Costa Rica about the same time I did, 11 years ago, and we have been friends ever since. Every time I see him he tells me about all the fish he catches, how great his boats are and what a fun time he has every single day. But I never took him up on his offer to go until the other day.

Sportfishing Danny 001

We met at 6:30 am at his condo and jumped in my truck and headed over to Ocotal, where he moors his 3 boats, and hooked up with his partner Rafi. We were loaded and ready to go within a matter of minutes, and headed south down the Gold Coast of Guanacaste. As we sat up on the fly bridge, 35 feet in the air, I found asking myself “who’s got it better than me?” Nobody. I have been out in the Papagayo Bay hundreds of trips since I moved to this paradise, from snorkel trips and scuba diving, to catamarans and sail boats, and the coastline still blows me away each time.

Playa del Coco Costa Rica

I may not have traveled all over the world, but I have been to more places than most people, and there is nothing like it in the whole world. Where the mountains meet the sea, they call it, and each time you are out there, it takes your breath away.

Costa Rica FAQ

There are miles and miles of volcanic formations and cliffs broken up every couple minutes with some of the most gorgeous beaches, shorelines and private coves that God has ever created. We passed dozens of islands and protruding rocks and I swear on my life, there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. While the rest of the world is freezing their asses off, sitting in traffic and struggling to make ends meet, I was lubbin’ up with sun tan lotion, stretched out at the top of the world, watching paradise go by, not a care on the planet. Within a couple minutes we had a school of dolphins racing the 55 foot yacht and we spotted dozens of turtles floating at the surface, soaking up the sun. Who’s got it better than me?

Boat going deep sea fishing in Guanacaste

Danny told me that about every third day, he sees schools of Humpback or Gray Whales and just the day before there was a mother and her calf, playing in the surf. I guess the baby was jumping back and forth over the top of the mom, having the time of her life. Just the week before he told me they were fortunate enough to see a huge Whale Shark basking in the sun, a site very few humans ever get to experience outside of the Discovery Channel.

prior newsletter link

But to be honest with you, I was caught up in my own little world. Nothing is more relaxing than the sound of waves crashing against a boat, the wind whipping my curly blonde hair around while the 88 degree breeze blows against my face; my skin soaking up the sun; no cell phone, no emails, no worries. Now THAT is my kind of meditation. Who’s got it better than me?

The fishing charters team holding a Mahi Mahi

The Captain, Rafael and his two crew mates, Freddis and Jorge, is one well-oiled machine. They had coffee brewed within minutes of us boarding the boat, and they started to get ready from the second that we launched. These guys are professionals. They are here to CATCH FISH, no messing around; you could tell by the way they worked. As soon as we reached their “virgin territory”, the lines went out and we got down to business. This was not a pleasure cruise, I soon found out, as about 10 poles dropped into the sea. This was Costa Rica deep sea fishing at it’s best. If I had any thoughts that I was here to work on my tan, they disappeared with in a couple of minutes, when that famous buzzing sound of a spinning reel, lit up the air. FISH ON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Danny baiting the hooks

Rafi grabbed the pole within seconds of the hit, and you could tell that this guy is one SERIOUS fisherman. He was pulling and reeling, rockin’ and rollin’, and had the fish to the boat in minutes. This is where you separate the men from the boys, and Danny’s crews are all HOMBRES, I promise ya. They gaffed it and had it on the boat, hook out of the mouth and up in the air for a photo within seconds. Yeah buddy, it was a thirty pound Dorado (Mahi Mahi) some of the best eatin’ on the earth, and I was already looking forward to dinner.

Pulling a Mahi Mahi on board

BAM BAM two more within 20 minutes and Danny had to pull Rafi from the poles. “Let Mike give it a try” and down the ladder I went. I gotta tell ya, I was a little nervous. Watching a pro like Rafi reel these puppies in like they were minnows, the last thing I wanted to do was embarrass myself; like the weakling who got sand kicked in his face in those old 60’s commercials, but I didn’t have much time to dwell on the thought. FISH ON!!!!

Michael Simons deep sea fishing in Guanacaste off Coco beach

Now if you have never been deep sea fishing, let me tell ya something, it is much more work than it looks on TV, but worth all the effort. Although they were pretty sure it was another Dorado, I thought it felt more like Moby Dick, and that sucker put up one hell of a fight. You have met your match today, punk, and I fought back. I was NOT going to lose this fish, I assure you, even if it was the last thing I ever did and I died on that boat. Bury me at sea with a 21 gun salute!!!!! After what seemed like an eternity, the most beautiful turquoise Mahi was reefed up on to the deck, flopping and slapping, ready for the grill. Where is the lemon butter? I have conquered the beast!!!! Who has it better than me? WHO?

Turquoise Mahi Mahi leaps out of the water

I started to head to the cooler, to grab a cold Pilsen beer, like a warrior returning from battle: Exhausted but victorious, to celebrate my conquest. That captain’s chair was calling my name when Danny grabbed my Tank Top and pulled me back down the ladder. “Where ya going man?” He handed me another pole as one more had already taken the hook. I told ya, these guys are serious about fishing; there will be plenty of time for drinking later. My arms were already screaming and I could barely hold the beer if I had it, but your pride takes over and the adrenaline kicks in, and you start reeling for your life. I had grandiose visions of the Giant Squid from Ten Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, hooked on the end of my line, pissed off and ready to swallow us whole. Or maybe it was the Great White Shark from JAWS, who would leap onto the back of the boat, chomping on my legs while I pounded on his snout. It is funny because when I saw that beautiful blue color again I found myself chuckling. People go out for hours and don’t catch a single thing accept for a sunburn (that’s why they call it FISHING and not CATCHING) and I was already thinking, just another Mahi Mahi.

Mike holds up his catch


We had 5 within the first 45 minutes, more than most people catch in 8 hours.  If you’re looking to go deep sea fishing in Guanacaste, you want to go on THIS BOAT with THIS CREW. These guys CATCH FISH. They are not here for sightseeing, no matter how spectacular it is. By this time, I couldn’t even feel my arms, as the captain fired up the engine and we headed to deeper water. “Let’s go get something big, enough of these little guys!” Danny said, as the yacht reached full speed. The master Fishing God, Rafi, was back on watch, ready for the challenge.

Deep sea fishing vessel moored in Playas del Coco, Guanacaste

As we got into some deeper water, the waves kicked up, and the swell expanded, but you wouldn’t know it on this baby. It is a 55 foot Ocean cabin cruiser, with huge ass twin diesel engines, bundles of power and it rides like a Cadillac. NO rocking sideways, like smaller boats, as it cuts through the chop like butter, and it is set up like a suite at a Vegas Casino. The entire interior is Air Conditioned and carpeted, with huge comfy sofas you can crash on and larger than my first apartment. There is a big screen TV, a rocking sound system and a kitchen that’s nicer than some of the condos I sell. You could easily spend a few days on this puppy and not leave any comforts of home behind. As a matter of fact, Danny went on to tell us about some of the overnight excursions he offers to his clients. This barge has 3 full staterooms, one with a queen size bed, and a couple of baths so there is plenty of room for guests. One of the coolest tours they offer is to a place called the 76.

It is out in the middle of the ocean, in 8000 feet of water. Down in the bottom of the abyss, there are two huge volcanoes, 4000 feet tall, that create this massive fish hangout where some of the largest monsters of the ocean party on like Woodstock. The fish just keep on coming, no rest for the wicked, so you definitely get your money’s worth. There is a Nicaragua overnight trip too, where the passengers fish all the way there, get to embark to shore, spend the night in a hotel, tear it up like Rock Stars and fish all the way back. I told you: these guys are here to catch fish, not to drive around burning fuel looking at the ocean. You’ve got to try deep sea fishing Costa Rica!

Sail fish leaps from the water off the coast of Costa Rica

I was just settling in to the Lazy Boy Recliner, when I heard the howls of the crew. FISH ON BABY!!!!! And Rafi was at it again, but this time there was no messing around. The thing about catching a Sail Fish is that they DON’T like being hooked, and they do everything in their power to break free from the line. Not 1 minute into the battle, and this absolute MONSTER fish, came flying out of the water, 8 or 10 feet in the air, twisting and turning, fighting for his life. It’s on baby, it’s on.

Sail fish off Playas del Coco

As Fish King was reeling away like there was no tomorrow, I found myself wandering off in thought again. It’s amazing how many people, who don’t really know how to fish, or don’t have the boat to do it right, always tell you that the fishing isn’t any good in the “windy” season. Well if this is bad, I would hate to see how many fish they caught when it was good. Every time we turned around, another fish was on the hook. Once again, Rafi got it to the boat in record time, the crew had it on the deck in seconds, the photo was shot, and Mr. Sail Fish was released, back into the sea, free as could be. I am sure he S#*% his little fish pants there for 15 or 20 minutes, but he was back to life as he knew it, no worse for the wear. I would imagine that as he dived to the depths, he might have passed a Mahi or two; and he had to be laughing. “They released me, Suckers, they always let ME go!”

Fishing charter team holding the Sailfish

Who has it better than me? WHO? Nobody!

Ding Ding Ding! The lunch bell rang, and we all headed inside, the first mates cleaning the fish, so we could take it home later for dinner. Now I have been on plenty of fishing boats in my days, but none of them had a meal like this one. No tuna sandwiches and chips for these guys, and the crew catered to my every need. Danny had prepared an entire loin of filet mignon, longer and thicker than my arm and it was seasoned like you would expect from a Coon Ass Cajun. There was rice and salad, and even a bottle of red wine; knives and forks, served on a real plate, and even a linen napkin to boot. Gourmet meal 20 miles out to sea. Now, I have to be honest with you again, I could have easily laid down, curled up into a fetal position and taken a long nap, especially with the AC cranking and Bob Marley playing, but my pride kicked in and I got my second wind.


We’ve got fish to catch, man, no time for restin’. Where are we going now, I asked Danny, and he smiled that evil smirk that a man gets when he has a plan. “The Secret hole, Mike, the Secret hole.” You see, there is this “tube” in the ocean, 300 feet deep, in the middle of God only knows where, that has hundreds, maybe thousands, of the tastiest meat in the sea, the fish every man would give his left arm to catch: THE GROUPER. These white, flaky, fish, which literally melts in your mouth after you cook it in garlic butter, can grow to be hundreds of pounds. So if you know where they hide, you don’t put it on Facebook. You take that information to the grave like a buried treasure on a pirate island. Arrrrrggghhhhhh Matey!!!!!!!!!

Danny and his team with a red sea bass

Within seconds of arriving, half a dozen lures were dropped to the bottom of the sea and they started pulling these dudes up like they were at a stocked lake. Not only did we catch 15 Grouper, but we were fortunate enough to get a couple Red Snapper as well. BIG ONES. I mean, you have to understand, that this is just not how it goes on most fishing boats. I have been out a dozen times and if we caught 3 or 4 fish we were ecstatic and today we had over 20!!!!!!!!!! And it was only 1 pm. We had to head back early because Danny had a business commitment, but I surely didn’t feel like I got cut short. I have never in my entire life, seen so many fish, pulled into one single boat, in any given day. Who has it better than me?

As the crew pulled in the lines, and we headed back to shore, I had a chance to spend some personal time with the owners of the boat. Rafi went on to tell me that when he left Chicago a couple days earlier, it was 15 degrees BELOW zero and 2 feet of snow on the ground. “Some people I know” he said, “tell me how much they love the cold. IDIOTS, I call them. You can have it. THIS is what I want; 365 days a year of PERFECT weather, beautiful people, great fishing, amazing beaches and a cold beer in my hand.” As I sat up on the front of the boat, the salt spray covering my sunglasses, we were joined by an entire flock of birds, local ocean birds, called Brown Boobies.

Solitary gull off the Pacific coast of Costa Rica

I smiled when they told me the name, because anyone who knows me knows I love Brown Boobies. Actually, I love every colored Boobies; every size, every shape. What man doesn’t? As these dive bombing lunatics veered back and forth in front of the boat, inches from getting drilled, swooping down to the sea every 100 meters or so to pick up a snack for the flight, I just kept sipping my Pilsen. The wind was in my face, the salt was on my lips and I didn’t have a thought on my mind. Who has it better than me? Nobody.

Rods and reels on the fishing boat

The next day was Sunday, and off to Matapalo Beach I went, my usual gig; all the hounds were with me, going crazy in the surf, while I wandered down the sand, my cup of coffee in my hand. For some strange reason I looked out to sea, almost as if something was calling me, and there I saw it and I couldn’t believe my eyes. May lightning strike me dead right now if I am lying to you; but about a half a mile out to sea was the Jacpot, off on another adventure. I knew it was them; there aren’t too many boats this nice, this big, heading South. Later that afternoon, I saw a missed call from Danny, and checked my voicemail. In his deep southern drawl, I heard the excitement of a man with passion and a plan. “Mike, we got our first Black Marlin of 2014. OVER 500 POUNDS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” All I could think about was how lucky I am to know such incredible people and how thankful I am for their friendship.

And of course, I found myself asking; “Who has it better than me?”

Well, obviously Danny, because he gets to do this every single day of his life. Lucky SOB!!! When I grow up I want to be just like him.

Pura Vida, hurry down, I hope you can join us soon.

I want to thank Danny Crosby and his partner Rafi Kodjavakian, and the entire crew of the Jacpot; Captain Rafa Gonzalez and mates Freddi Gonzales and Jorge Corrales. They have four amazing boats:

a 31 ft Bertram called AFISHIANADOS

31 ft Bertram called AFISHIANADOS

a 32 ft Custom Sport Fish DONA DEL MAR II

32 ft Custom Sport Fish DONA DEL MAR II

and my new soul mate, the 55 ft Ocean JACPOT

55 ft Ocean JACPOT deep sea fishing vessel

Not to be left out our new 50 Ft Hatteras – Gryphon

New 50 Ft Hatteras - Gryphon offshore fishing boat

and the best, most seasoned, professional fishing crews I have ever met. You won’t find better deep sea fishing in Costa Rica.  This is not a sightseeing tour; these guys are here for one thing and one thing only; TO CATCH FISH. Please check out their website, and tell them I sent you. They will take excellent care of you, I promise.


I only ask for one thing in return: PLEASE invite me over for the fish fry and the cold Cervezas!


Why Consider Costa Rica Medical Tourism

Written by Michael Simons on . Posted in Costa Rica Living, Costa Rica Medical Care, Guanacaste Tourism, Newsletters

Costa Rica Medical Tourism 

With great pleasure we present to you a Guest Blog post that talks about an issue near and dear to everyone’s hearts…


As locals we know first hand that Costa Rica provides good and sometimes better health care than what is available in North America.  The cost of health care in Costa Rica is also significantly less than North America and Europe – sometimes up to 70% cheaper.

Why doesn’t everyone come down to Costa Rica for Health Care then, you ask? 

The answer is – We Don’t Know! 

Why you wouldn’t want to get the same or better level of care for cheaper AND be able to convalesce on some of the nicest beaches and resort and hotel facilities in the entire world.

Obviously those of us lucky enough to live in Costa Rica already know how good we have it over our Northern Neighbors for cost and quality of health care.

Well our Guest blogger Kenneth Wilson, Ph.D and his company Medical Traveler Costa Rica have dedicated themselves to showing their clients that there is a better alternative to paying exorbitant health care bills.

Here is their story…

Welcome to Medical Traveler Costa Rica. We specialize in providing medical travel facilitation services to individuals looking for affordable, high-quality medical and dental care as well as medical travel programs for employers interested in optimizing healthcare benefits.

Medical Tourism Costa Rica

Medical Traveler Costa Rica was founded by a team of seasoned professionals with more than 60 years of combined experience in medicine and business. Our management team includes a Kenneth Wilson an experienced Ph.D. and Douglas Leland a Fortune 50 international business executive, complemented by a staff of experienced facilitation specialists. 

We bring together our unique and diverse knowledge in the service of our clients to find the highest quality healthcare services available from the most qualified physicians at the best possible prices.

Medical Tourism is one of the fastest growing industries worldwide.  According to a study by Deloite and Touche the annual growth rate for medical tourism is between 10-15% for the next 5 years.  Costa Rica medical tourism is booming, treating over 48,000 international patients a year.  Medical travel continues to play an important role in the health care industry and local economies.

CIMA Medical Traveler 3

The primary driver behind this growth is simple. Significantly lower costs, combined with faster and easier access and an overall higher level of quality. The cost savings can be as high as 90%, and on average is between 50% to 70% depending on the medical procedure and the medical tourism destination. 

We are also seeing a shift in corporate benefit programs. U.S. employers, like PepsiCo, Lowes and Wal-Mart, “are modifying their benefit structure to incentivize their employees to seek the most effective care at their local airport, rather than their local hospital. The reasons include cost and better outcomes

CIMA Medical Traveler 7

What makes Costa Rica medical tourism stand out?

Quality Medical Care:  Costa Rica has invested heavily in healthcare over the past two decades, resulting in a large number of highly educated and experienced qualified physicians covering the complete spectrum of medical specialties and three JCI accredited hospitals.  Many people do not realize that Costa Rica ranks 36th on the World Health Organizations healthcare quality indices, ahead of the United States and 1st by a wide margin in Central America.

CIMA Medical Traveler 2

Affordable Prices:  Advancements in modern medicine are evolving rapidly and offer the promise of dramatically extending and improving the quality of our lives. Unfortunately the rising costs of medical care makes many life enhancing procedures prohibitively expensive. Costa Rica is helping address this need, offering medical services costing 50% to 70% less than the same procedure in North American hospital and putting life changing medical within the reach of more people. 

Medical Tourism Costa Rica

Location: Costs Rica has many advantages over other medical tourism destinations when it comes to fast and easy travel. No medical traveler looks forward to long trans-oceanic flights, onerous customs and immigration policies and long lines. The combination of readily available direct flights from major American travel hubs, simple customs and immigration policies means the majority of medical tourists can arrive at their destination within a few hours of travel without changing time zones and no customs and immigration hassles.

CIMA Medical Traveler 4

Spectacular Travel Destination:  And when it comes to the vacation part of your trip, Costa Rica stands well above the rest. Whether you’re enjoying time with your family before the procedure or enjoying a relaxing recovery in one of our exotic locations, Costa Rica has everything you are looking for in a world class tourist destination. There’s a good reason why the New York Times ranks Costa Rica as a top tourist destination for 2012 and why Costa Rica ranks #1 on the New Economic Forums Happy Planet Index. A temperate climate, beautiful flora and fauna, rich biodiversity, incredibly geography and a pristine coastline on the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans offer something amazing for everyone.

CIMA Medical Traveler 9

At Medical Traveler Costa Rica we understand that medical tourism is a life changing decision made more complicated and confusing by the volume of conflicting information available. This is a decision you no longer need to make alone. 

We provide comprehensive information on the complete range of dental, cosmetic, orthopedic, bariatric and ophthalmologic medical services available. Our knowledgeable Costa Rica Medical Tourism specialists will guide you through the process and answer all your questions. 

CIMA Medical Traveler 6

Our physicians are among the best in the country, board certified and equally experienced as their peers in the United States and Canada.  And we will work closely with you to find the best physician for you needs.

We will also assist you and your friends or family in booking a room in a peaceful recovery retreat, where your post-operative condition can be professionally monitored and special customized diets are available. 

CIMA Medical Traveler 5

We guarantee you will receive the finest care and attention before, during and after your visit.

Our goal is to make the process incredibly easy.







April 2024
« Jan    

Tres Amigos on Facebook

Tres Amigos on Facebook

Sign up for my Newsletter


Prestige Ocean Properties on Facebook

RE/MAX Prestige Ocean Properties

©2012-2020 tanktopsflipflops.com. All Rights reserved.