Illustrated Guide for Buying Sport Fishing Licenses Online
Personal fishing licenses are required for visitors to Costa Rica who plan to go fishing. Not every member of a party will need to purchase a license, just those who plan to actually hold a rod and fight a fish. Non-anglers in a party who are along just for the ride are not required to purchase a license.
INCOPESCA, the Costa Rican Institute for Fishing and Aquaculture, offers an online form to purchase these tourist fishing licenses. While the form is pretty straightforward, there are some clarifications that can come in handy during the purchase process.
Clicking this link will open a new window or tab in your browser with the license purchase form. You may switch between windows or tabs to reference this page.
The above link should have landed you on the translated, English version of the license purchase page. If for some reason you ended up on a page with the Spanish version, just look for the word “Ingles” in the upper right-hand corner of the page and click it:
You should now be on the purchase page with instructions in English. To add an angler to the license request form, just click the “Add” button:
Fill out each of the fields on this part of the form (all are required). The “Range of days” selector offers three options: 1 to 8 days, 1 month, or 1 year:
When you click in the field titled “Efective start date,” a date picker should pop up. Select the date of your charter, or a beginning date after which you plan to fish:
Now click the “Process Request” button, and you should be taken to the second page where you can add additional members of your party by clicking the “Add Additional Request” button, remove entries made in error, or continue with the checkout process:
Once you have added the names of the anglers in your party and are ready to check out, make sure your first and last names are in the correct fields of the lower credit card form, and that you have entered a telephone number without spaces or dashes. The drop-down menus with “San Jose” may be ignored, along with the “Postal Code in Costa Rica” field. Be sure to check the box accepting the terms of service.
When you are ready to proceed, click the “Request process” button. You should now be taken to the credit card payment page. Select the card type, enter the card number, expiry date, and security code (3 digits on the back of the card), and click the “Pay” button:
While the payment request processes, you may see different progress pages, such as this:
If the process is successful, you should see a success page like this:
One of the columns in this success form is titled “Receipt.” Under this column is a link, “Download,” that when clicked will download a PDF file (the name of which is just a lot of numbers and letters) which is your receipt and your actual fishing license. You will have to click the respective download link for each of the anglers for which you requested a license.
You should also receive an email from INCOPESCA with a copy of your license(s), although if your mail program has a spam filter, the email may be blocked since it is originating in a foreign country.
You can either print out these PDF licenses or, better yet, place them on a mobile device such as a phone. All of the license files for the anglers in your group can be put on just one phone; all you need is some form of a copy of the license.
If for some reason the process placed charges on your credit card, but you were unable to print out or otherwise store your license files, as a last resort you can take a screenshot of the charge on your card statement and bring that with you as proof of purchase. In the remote likelihood that you are actually asked by an official for your license, any form of proof of purchase will suffice.
If all else fails, reach out to the Tamarindo Vacations team, and we will be happy to assist you with the license purchase. Tight lines!