Complete Guide to Fishing in Guatemala (Sport, Sail and More)

boats and port for fishing in guatemala
Fishing in Guatemala is an often overlooked activity, but it has become popular recently and a must-do while visiting the country.

Guatemala’s Pacific coast is one of the best sail fishing dilemmas in the world, thanks to the strong currents coming from the west to east from the Mexican coast and then turning back, hitting the coast of El Salvador, creating an enormous, naturally occurring eddy that is rich in bait and pelagic fish.

Sailfish, blue marlin, yellowfin tuna, and Dorado are some of the pretty common species you can encounter in Guatemala. On average, you can easily catch 15 to 20 sailfish a day, and during peak term, you can even expect over 40 sailfish bites a day.

It is the sailfish capital of the world because the numbers here are impressive, yet beyond catching sailfish & marlin, you can have fun in Guatemala with luxurious accommodations, rental cars, flights, gourmet meals, experienced guides, and captains, top-of-line equipment and boats.

In this guide, based on my personal experience, I’ll provide you with the necessary information regarding a fishing trip to Guatemala, the Pacific coast, from fishing seasons to booking, popular fishing spots, the most fun things to do in Guatemala, and getting your catch home safely.

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What Can You Catch While Fishing In Guatemala?

Well, you will be able to catch a bunch of species, but this is a list of some of the most typical and hot ones:

  • Dorado (Mahi Mahi or Dolphin)
  • Sailfish
  • Yellowfin tuna
  • Wahoo
  • Black & blue marlin
  • Bluefin Trevally
  • Horse-eye Jack
  • Mullet Snapper
  • Roosterfish
  • Jack crevalle
  • Spanish mackerel
  • Redfish
  • Snook
  • Tarpon

Guatemala was selected as one of Men’s Journal’s “100 Greatest Adventures” in the world, especially for its sailfish. Sailfish Bay’s program has been featured in Fortune (FSB), Men’s Journal, The Angling Report, Florida Sportsman, Gray’s, Surfer, Sporting Classics, Fly Fish America, Fish & Fly, Business Jet Traveler, and many other top publications.

Guatemala holds the official highest fly-fishing record for the most sailfish released in one day (70 sailfish releases); 235 sailfish were released in three days of fishing.

a marlin fishing in guatemala pacific coast
There are plenty of fish to catch, but the most sought-after while fishing in Guatemala is the Marlin, a challenging but rewarding catch.

How to do this?

To enjoy some sport fishing in Guatemala, you will need to head over to the southern coast of Guatemala. And, you can easily find luxury hotels, rental cars, flights, and vacation rentals In Guatemala with no trouble.

Many companies in the country are offering fishing tours, but some of the most recommended ones are Blue Bayou, Fishing Booker, and Pacific Fins.

Best Time To Fish In Guatemala

Guatemala’s climate can be hot and humid, so I recommend you plan your fishing trip when the weather is comfortable for you. December to May typically offers pleasant weather to many anglers.

If you’re eyeing sailfish, mark your calendars for November to April. Conversely, for billfish, January through April. This is when Guatemala’s Pacific Coast turns into a playground for most anglers. Sailfish are especially abundant during these months, making it a hot spot for those eager to catch sailfish. Yellowfin tuna and Dorado also make frequent appearances, keeping the action consistent.

Weather and fishing align perfectly during this time, offering calm seas and clear skies, ideal for a fishing vacation. Striped marlin, mad marlin, blue, and black marlin are more elusive but show up around late September to December.

Types Of Fishing In Guatemala

  • Saltwater Fishing: Guatemala’s Pacific Coast is a midpoint for saltwater species like sailfish, marlin, Dorado, and yellowfin tuna. The offshore fishing expeditions here are not for the faint of heart but promise big-game excitement.
  • Freshwater Fishing: Inland rivers and lakes such as Lake Izabal and Lake Atitlán offer a change of scenery. Here, you’ll encounter species like bass, catfish, and snook, perfect for those who prefer tranquil, scenic fishing settings.
  • Sport Fishing: Aromatically, this is particularly planned for the thrill-seeker. Sport fishing in Guatemala primarily focuses on battling high-energy fish like sailfish and marlin. The boats are equipped with state-of-the-art gear, and expert guides assist you in the hunt, maximizing the adrenaline rush.
man fishing in guatemala
Believe it or not, fishing in Guatemala comes with a handful of pros and benefits, from staying fit and healthy to a better vitamin D intake and more.

Cost of Sport Fishing in Guatemala

Prices for this kind of tour go from $1000 to $7000 per package, mainly depending on how many of you are going on the adventure, the size of the boat, and what amenities you might receive during the experience. Packages start at two days and one night.

So what are you waiting for? Come fishing in Guatemala for a great adventure. There is no shortage of action in these waters!

Popular Fishing Spots in Guatemala

Pacific Coast

This is Guatemala’s saltwater haven, famous for its sailfish, yellowfin tuna, and marlin. The expansive coastline offers something for every sea angler.

Many Guatemala fishing packages center around this area, providing offshore adventures that are both challenging and exhilarating.

Lake Izabal

If you’re looking to swap the salty ocean spray for freshwater ripples, head to Lake Izabal. It’s a hub for bass and snook fishing, providing a laid-back environment while keeping the excitement dialed up.

Being the largest lake in Guatemala, Izabal offers plenty of room to cast your line.

Lake Atitlán

Nestled amidst volcanoes, Lake Atitlán is more than just a picturesque setting. It’s also a fertile fishing ground, particularly for bass. The lake’s unique geography and vibrant ecosystem make it a must-visit spot for those looking for a mix of beauty and bounty.

Pro Tips For Planning Your Fishing Trip In Guatemala

Guatemala City has very easy travel logistics, which require no extra night in the main city upon arrival, like Costa Rica or Panama.

Once you arrive at the resort, you immediately recognize the quality of Pacific Fins’ accommodations, charter boats, and crews.

They are the best in Central America! Below, I have listed several Guatemala travel tips you need to follow to get the most out of your visit.

Know the Species You’re After

The first step in planning your Guatemalan fishing trip is identifying the species you want to target. Whether it’s sailfish on the Pacific Coast or bass in Lake Izabal, your choice dictates the location, gear, and even the best time to go. This focused approach maximizes your chances of landing the fish you desire.

Pick the Right Season

Weather patterns in Guatemala can significantly impact fishing conditions. The dry season starts in December and ends in April, while the green season falls between May and November.

The months from November to May offer the best saltwater fishing opportunities, while freshwater fishing can be good year-round but peaks in the dry season.

Aligning your trip with the season enhances your likelihood of success.

Consider Local Fishing Tours

Local fishing guides provide expertise that can be invaluable, especially for neophytes. Many offer packages that include not just the boat and guide but also tackle and bait.

Understand Regulations & Licenses

Before you cast a line in Guatemala, familiarize yourself with local fishing regulations. You’ll need a fishing license for both saltwater and freshwater fishing.

Adhering to local laws not only keeps you in the clear but also contributes to sustainable fishing efforts in the country.

Safety Measures Are Non-Negotiable

While fishing is generally a safe activity, the unpredictable nature of the ocean and unfamiliar terrain inland require precautions.

Always check weather forecasts before heading out, don’t forget to carry a first aid kit, and ensure that your fishing vessel is equipped with safety gear like life jackets.

el paredon sunset guatemala
Besides sport fishing, you can find incredible places like El Paredon on the Pacific coast of Guatemala, a relaxed and laid-back beach town.

Is Guatemala Worth Visiting? – Honest Answer!

Guatemala, the largest country in Central America, both physically and in terms of population (17 million people), has much more to offer than just sail fishing and bill fishing.

Two coastlines, 37 volcanoes, Guatemala National History Museum, Mayan ruins, Spanish colonial history, national parks & rainforests, animals, luxury fishing lodges, rental car service, and luxurious hotels.

In short, I would recommend you visit Guatemala if you love fishing trips, nature, and wildlife and are looking for world-class places for a great fishing experience.

Looking for More Inspiration?

I have been traveling and living in Guatemala for over 25 years
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Luxury Guide to Sport Fishing in Guatemala

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Last Updated on June 21, 2024

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