The Last Frontier

Zancudo Never Disappoints

Christine F. Michel December 14, 2011

Eco-tourists and adventurous anglers alike have been traveling to Costa Rica for years. The most visited destination in all of Central America, Costa Rica’s pristine beaches, lush jungles and incredible fishing opportunities make it an easy pick for those looking for a quick getaway.

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Photo: Zancudo Lodge

A direct flight from Miami has your toes in the sand within a few hours, so it’s no surprise this tiny escape continues to increase in popularity. While Costa Rica feels like a world away, major cities along the coast have seen increasing development as the result of a growing influx of travelers. However, the southern stretches of Costa Rica’s Pacific Coast still offer a remote escape that provides one of the last frontiers in this rapidly developing destination.

Whether it’s a breathtaking botanical garden, leisurely horseback ride on the beach, kayak tour, or exhilarating zip line canopy ride, Zancudo’s wide array of eco-tours uncover the hidden treasures of Costa Rica.

If you want to travel off the beaten path away from mainstream resorts and locales, look no further than The Zancudo Lodge. Situated along the bay of Golfo Dulce, The Zancudo Lodge is the ideal place to experience everything Costa Rica has to offer. With exciting sportfishing opportunities, lush tropical surroundings and first-class accommodations, The Zancudo Lodge is a diamond in the rough along this rugged coastline. Whether you’re looking to hook the big one, explore the area’s vast rainforests, or simply relax by the pool and escape from the stresses of life, this all-inclusive beachside resort truly has something for everyone.

While the black sands entice beach connoisseurs from around the world, it’s the superb fishing opportunities that are the main draw. With a wide variety of species both inshore and off, the surrounding waters offer the best of everything for dedicated saltwater anglers. Fortunately, The Zancudo Lodge has a fleet of renovated vessels including 28′ pangas and a pair of 32′ Twin Vees, all powered by twin 4-strokes for incredible speed, range and reliability. These well-equipped platforms enable English-speaking captains to make your dreams come true with no limits or boundaries.

Inshore anglers routinely target hard-fighting roosterfish along the coast with both live and artificial offerings. While fish are commonly encountered from 10 to 40 pounds, the waters of Costa Rica hold some true sea monsters and world-record roosters are never out of the question. So far the lodge record is a monster 90-pounder! In addition to exotic roosterfish, fertile inshore fisheries also offer the opportunity to indulge in numerous species of snapper and jack. The most vicious in this group is the cubera snapper. Slow-trolling large bonito is a sure-fire way to entice the meanest fish, although poppers and jigs also draw them to the surface. This offers your best chance of landing one, as these battlers don’t give up without a fight and can easily break you off on the aggressive structure in the strike zone. Fishing with 80 and 100 lb. braid is the only option with fish this tenacious. The captains have also started snook fishing the rivermouth and mangrove estuary of Zancudo, offering yet another exciting option.

If you are looking for the ultimate adventure, Costa Rica’s offshore waters certainly deliver. Legendary billfish cruise area waters and during peak season—from December through April—multiple releases are the norm. Pacific sailfish are large, aggressive billfish and most are teased to only feet off the transom where you have the opportunity to pitch a live bait, rigged ballyhoo, or colorful fly. Watching the fish turn on your offering and peel line off the reel will excite even the most jaded angler.

In addition to schooling sailfish, three types of marlin inhabit the surrounding waters— blue, striped and black. Most of the marlin encountered are 200 to 300 pounds, but much larger fish are hooked every year. With such incredible variety, a Pacific marlin slam is always a possibility. Of course, in keeping with Costa Rica’s commitment to the importance of sustainable tourism and conservation of key fisheries, Zancudo’s captains follow the common practice of catch and release regarding these majestic billfish.

If you’re looking for non-stop action, dolphin are plentiful in Costa Rican waters. These colorful game fish can be caught on any given day of the year, although most abundant during the wet season when seasonal floods introduce floating trees from area rivermouths to the near-coastal offshore waters.

Yellowfin tuna, although not totally predictable, travel along the coast in large pods. Fish in the 30 to 80 pound range can be a nuisance, with 200-pounders lurking in the depths. The captains target tuna by trolling or with live bait. A favorite way is to approach busting tuna and cast large surface poppers into the mix. For those looking to hone their fly-fishing skills Costa Rica is the place to be, with all of the aforementioned species receptive to a properly presented fly. In addition, Zancudo’s professional staff is ready to lend its expertise to helping fly anglers land the fish of their dreams.

If you’re fished out or have non-anglers in your party, guests of Zancudo Lodge also have the opportunity to explore the beautiful surroundings and curious creatures of the rainforest with a variety of eco-adventures. Whether it’s a breathtaking botanical garden, leisurely horseback ride on the beach, kayak tour, or exhilarating zip line canopy ride, Zancudo’s wide array of eco-tours uncover the hidden treasures of Costa Rica. You can also chill by the beachfront pool or work away your tensions with a relaxing massage.

Even when you’re not on the water you will enjoy first-class amenities at The Zancudo Lodge. Share tales of your day’s activities with fellow anglers while enjoying a frosty beer and delicious local cuisine. The casual outdoor restaurant overlooking the beach was recently renovated and is where chefs prepare local favorites using the freshest organic ingredients. Once you retire for the evening to your comfortable, air-conditioned room, you can watch satellite TV, use your computer with complimentary WiFi or call home and make your friends jealous.

If you’ve never visited Costa Rica you owe it to yourself to see what all the hype is about. A historical record of 2.1 million foreign visitors traveled to Costa Rica in 2010…clearly there’s something special about this tiny piece of paradise.

Getting There

There are daily direct flights to San Jose (SJO) from most major hubs in the United States, Canada and Europe. From the capital city it’s a 7 hour drive to Zancudo, or a quick 45 minute flight to Golfito. When the puddle jumper lands you’ll be shuttled across the sparkling waters of the Golfo Dulce by one of Zancudo’s expert captains. All of the lodge’s packages include domestic roundtrip transportation to the lodge, in addition to meals and non-alcoholic beverages.

Contact: zancudolodge.com

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