Archie Fields built the Rio Colorado Lodge in 1972 after discovering one of the finest unexploited fishing areas in the world, at the mouth of Costa Rica's Rio Colorado. Ever since, Rio Colorado's tarpon and snook fishing has been considered by many loyal clients and return customers to be the best in the world.

Typical Length of Stay

Rio Colorado Lodge offers 3 different fishing packages, 3, 4 or 5 days, however, any package can be customized to your wishes. Please contact Yellow Dog for details.

Accommodations and Lodging

Rio Colorado Lodge AccommodationRio Colorado Lodge is built on the banks of the Colorado River, right at the river's mouth where it empties into the sea and where fishing is frequently the best. The whole complex is built on stilts (elevating it from the ground) and is under cover, shielding it from the rain. Rooms are double-roofed, providing a cooling, insulating effect for your comfort. Even the walkways and docks are roofed for your convenience. The lodge features 18 comfortable rooms that are air conditioned (the only East Coast lodge with air-conditioned rooms). All have private baths, hot showers, electric fans, and daily maid service (they can also take care of your laundry).There is a comfortable recreation room with game tables, a video room with satellite TV, a very well-stocked tackle shop, ample outdoor lounging areas, and a very interesting "lodge zoo."

Food and Beverages

Meals are served family style, all you care to eat, and the cuisine at Rio Colorado Lodge has earned high praise from fishermen from around the world. The lodge also has a fully-stocked bar with drinks at reasonable prices. The Lodge's daily Happy Hour is from 5:00 PM to 6:30 PM, when all rum drinks and soft drinks are "on the house." The deluxe package includes alcoholic beverages.

Fishing Information

Rio Colorado Lodge TarponBoth tarpon and snook can be taken any month of the year, and the Rio Colorado Lodge is the only fishing resort in the area that remains open year-round. But like fishing anywhere, there are never any guarantees, and at certain times of the year the chances of scoring big are greater than others. The dry season, from January through May, is considered the peak season in the river and nearby lagoons for tarpon, as fish of all sizes swarm in by the thousands to spawn. Anglers at the lodge have also experienced outstanding fishing as late as July and early August on the inside, but in the fall the sea is calm and the fish move to the ocean, providing prime action along the coast. In other words, the fishing is good throughout the year.

Snook are also present year-round in the waters of the Rio Colorado, and are caught on a regular basis while casting, trolling, surf fishing, and on flies. Small snook (called "calba") move into the rivers in November and December, providing great action for two to three months, with 20-40 fish per rod not an unusual day's catch. They average about five pounds, so light tackle is in ideal. But beware! There are always a few up to 30 pounds mixed in with the smaller calba. The best surf fishing and trolling in the waters near the river mouths is in the late fall, and that's when the monster snook from 25 pounds up are usually caught. You're also likely to tie into a big jack crevalle, bonita, dorado or mackerel while fishing in the sea. Light tackle species including guapote, mojarra, machaca, and drum are also taken in the rivers, creeks and estuaries twelve months of the year, so don't forget a light fly or spinning outfit.

These are the king of all game fish in Costa Rica, and there is no thrill that can compare with hooking a large tarpon. Set the hook hard when they strike, then watch the water erupt as they head for the stratosphere, leaping and twisting clear of the water six, eight, or even twelve times! The average size of the tarpon caught at the Rio Colorado Lodge is around 80 pounds, and fish in excess of 200 pounds have been brought to the boat. On a normal day, you can expect to jump between six and ten fish, and when things are really hot, anglers often jump 20 or more tarpon in a day's fishing. Only flies and artificial lures are used, and all of the fish are released after photos have been taken. Most of the action will be in the calm waters of the jungle rivers and lagoons, with monkeys and brilliantly hued birds watching from the vines and branches of the trees that line the shore. When the fish are on the outside, your guide will often put you in the middle of a school of literally hundreds of leaping fish spreading over an acre or more of calm sea.

For snook, you can choose to troll along the banks of the quiet jungle river or drift silently into a likely lagoon, casting towards the brush. When a snook hits, you'll know you have a real fish on the line, as this is a species that seems to know all the tricks, one moment bulldozing toward cover, then often reversing to break water as they try to shake the hook. Except during the calba runs, the average sized snook will run anywhere from 10 to 20 pounds. Thirty-pounders are not uncommon, and fish in the 50 pound bracket have been caught by anglers fishing with the lodge. Hooking a snook in the surf as you stand waist deep in the warm waters of the Caribbean is also an experience you won't soon forget, especially since fish hooked in the surf tend to run much larger. They will circle and jump frantically, using the surge of the tide and waves to their advantage and testing the angler's skill to the limit.

If you should tire of wrestling big tarpon and snook all day, you may elect to spend an hour or two in the late afternoon finessing guapote, mojarra or machaca along the shoreline near the lodge. The guapote fights for all the world like a black bass, and may run to 10 pounds, although the average size is probably closer to three pounds. The mojarra looks much like a huge bluegill, except the colors are more brilliant and they frequently run one to two pounds or more, and will hit voraciously on small trout spinners or flies. Machaca have been called "miniature tarpon" because of their propensity for aerial acrobatics. They will average four pounds, and nine-pounders have been caught in the past. Try working a surface lure or popper close to the bank, then watch the water explode! Drum feed in the estuaries and lagoons near the river mouths and will take small spinners, flies, bucktails, or plastic-tailed lures bumped along the bottom. In the evening, you can catch big catfish right from the boat dock.

Boats and Equipment

Anglers will fish from the comfort of 23 ft. fiberglass boats, powered by 90 HP, four-stroke motors. Each boat has a center console, and two comfortable fighting chairs with rod holders and U.S.C.G. approved safety equipment. The entire fleet of lodge boats has fish finders, compasses, and radios for maintaining contact with the Lodge and the other boats. Unquestionably, Rio Colorado Lodge has the finest, safest fleet of the best-equipped boats in this part of the Caribbean coast. The Lodge's English speaking guides were born and raised in the area of the Lodge and are all expert fishermen.

The lodge has limited loaner fly rods and reels for tarpon. Customers should bring or may purchase at the Lodge, backing, line, tippets, and flies.

Non-Angling Activities and Options

Costa Rican Cuisine!The Rio Colorado Lodge - while primarily a fishing-focused operation, does offer a number of eco-tour options for non-anglers and fishermen looking to diversify their week in Costa Rica.

Sea Turtles and the Tortuguero National Park
During the months of July, August and September, the itinerary of the tour will vary to take advantage of the annual phenomenon of thousands of sea turtles returning to the area of Colorado, each to lay 100's of eggs in the warm sand. There is a very high probability that you will see one or more giant sea turtles, weighing up to 600 pounds, ending their trip from distant unknown origins, arduously climbing the beach, preparing a deep hole which will be protection and at the same time incubator for its offspring.

How To Get There

Direct international flights to San Jose, Costa Rica (SJO) are available on a daily basis from numerous U.S. cities. Once in San Jose, you will take a domestic flight directly to the lodge. Charter aircraft are available at extra cost for travel at times when commercial flights are not available. Space and weight is usually limited to 25 lbs. per person including luggage and tackle on the flight between San Jose and the Lodge, so please keep your baggage to a minimum. Baggage in excess of 25 lbs. may be allowed at your expense and subject to space and weight restrictions as determined by the air carrier. Your hotel in San Jose can check your extra luggage until your return.

Arrival and Departure Details / Times

You can arrive and depart Rio Colorado Lodge on any day of the week, at any time, depending largely on commercial air schedules and/or charter flights from San Jose to the lodge.

2012 Fishing Package Rates

All rates are per person. A trip of any length of stay can be arranged. Please call Yellow Dog for custom package rates.

Length of Stay 2 Per Boat
2 Per Room
1 Per Boat
1 Per Room
Standard Package
5 Nights / 3 Fishing Days $2,133 $2,385
6 Nights / 4 Fishing Days $2,673 $2,964
7 Nights / 5 Fishing Days $3,213 $3,543
Deluxe Package
5 Nights / 3 Fishing Days $2,426 $2,737
6 Nights / 4 Fishing Days $3,021 $3,371
7 Nights / 5 Fishing Days $3,641 $4,046

* Remember that Yellow Dog's services are completely free! When you book a trip with Yellow Dog, you never pay more than when you book directly with the lodge or outfitter.

What's Included

  • Domestic flight from San Jose to the Lodge
  • Number of nights lodging as specified in your package at Lodge and in San Jose
  • First and last night in San Jose at the Crown Plaza Hotel, (can be modified)
  • Conventional rods, reels and line available at no cost unless lost or broken due to angler negligence
  • Three (3) fantastic meals per day at the lodge
  • Number of full days of guided fishing as specified in your package
  • All taxes
  • Daily Happy Hour at the Lodge bar
  • Open Bar in Deluxe Package
  • Fishing License in Deluxe Package
  • Free daily laundry service

What's Not Included

  • International flights to San Jose
  • Alcohol and other beverages at the lodge in Standard Package
  • Fishing License in Standard Package (available for purchase at the Lodge)
  • Incidentals, telephone calls
  • Equipment, rods, reels, flies, and terminal tackle
  • Gratuities for staff and guides
  • Travel and medical evacuation insurance (available through Yellow Dog)

Travel Arrangements

Yellow Dog has a full in-house travel and reservations system, and can assist with airline tickets, hotels, transfers, and all travel logistics for every destination that we offer. Contact us at 888-777-5060 or for more details on airfare ticketing, travel services and trip insurance.

Other Information

The climate is tropical and rain can occur in almost any month. Be prepared to fish in rainy conditions!

Please note that for safety reasons, the domestic carriers that service the lodge require travelers whose individual weight exceeds 249 lbs. to purchase an additional seat on the flight. Please advise us if this applies to individuals in your party so arrangements can be at the time of booking.

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