Playa Del Carmen Fishing
…charters, captains, and crews…
At the heart of the Mexican Riviera, the waters in and around Playa Del Carmen offer some of the best fishing in the world.
Remember: Before becoming a major tourist mecca, Playa Del Carmen was a fishing village–that’s correct, a FISHING VILLAGE.
Even if you compare the local competition in places such as Cozumel or Cancun, Playa Del Carmen etches a permanent place as the choice destination for amateur anglers and fine fisherman alike.
If you ask some of the honest charter captains from Cozumel, they will tell you that they plan their expeditions close to Playa Del Carmen when searching for bigger fish.
Moreover, the waters in and around this area offer some delightful deep-sea fishing as well.
It is so good in fact that it has been recognized in several publications (Sportfishing Magazine and Marlin Magazine, to name a few) as one of the most notorious hotspots for sailfish in the world.
Thus, if you’re in the mood to catch some fish for either sport (or snack), you can be sure that you are starting in the proper place when you cast off with your captain in the waters surrounding Playa Del Carmen.
Types Of Fish
Inasmuch as you will find a diversity of people when strolling the streets of Fifth Avenue, you also be flanked by a plethora of fish that inhabit the sea surrounding this area.
Your options will seem almost endless. Moreover, the charter guides don’t hesitate to spew out a succulent list of fishing alternatives if you happen to ask them what is possible to catch in the area.
For starters, this part of the Caribbean and north-central America is famous for its abundance of flora and fauna.
The graph below shows some of the most common varieties of fish that you will likely catch. It also includes some basic information about each of the species.
Please make sure that you click on each of the photographs so that you can see an enlarged version of each:
The local fishing charters also offer many types of fishing.
You can go fly fishing or light tackle spinning.
You can also do some deep-sea fishing or even use some simple bait and bobber techniques that might be equally applicable on a sunny day in the Midwest.
Whatever you decide, your guides will be there to help you.
They usually know what they’re doing.
Make sure you don’t shun their advice.
Whatever you do, don’t behave like a know-it-all macho man. It’s better to leave the tough guy act on the dock and save it for the dance floors in one of Playa Del Carmen’s beachside bars or nightclubs.
Best Season For Fishing In Playa Del Carmen
Where I’m originally from (Minnesota), fishing is a popular pastime.
However, the biggest fish max out at a measly six or seven pounds.
When I talk to my friends back home about visiting this enchanted parcel of paradise, the inevitable conversation always arises:
“I’m thinking about coming down to visit you, but I want to make sure that we are able to do some partying–AND FISHING. When is the best time of year to do both?”
Frankly, the party continues year-round in Playa Del Carmen. However, the fine art of fishing requires a more specific schedule.
Even though there are peak seasons for productive fishing, the waters maintain a reliable and relatively consistent temperature year-round. Consequently, almost any time is acceptable.
Despite this, most guides and charter companies offer advice about seasonal differences. They hope to make your fishing experience in Playa Del Carmen as prolific and productive as possible.
And no, it’s not for some altruistic or charitable reason.
It is simply because they want you to have a great time, catch a lot of fish, and CHARTER THEIR BOATS AGAIN!!!
Simply stated, it’s best for everyone if your experience fishing in Playa Del Carmen is memorably majestic.
The seasonal fishing advice usually goes as follows, and will obviously depend on what kind of fish you are hoping to catch:
- Dorado is best fished during the spring and summer months, from March to July.
- You’ll have the best luck with Amberjack during fall and winter, from October to February.
- And although Wahoo and Sailfish can be caught all year, their numbers are highest during spring, summer and into the beginning of fall – roughly March through early October.
- However, the numbers of most varieties, like Barracuda, Tuna, Snapper and Mackeral, stay more or less constant throughout the year.
Types Of Rentals (e.g., Boat Only or Captain/Crew with Boat)
Once you decide that you’re going to rent a boat, you need to make up your mind about the style you want to do it in.
There are companies that offer large shared boats, or you could choose to charter a smaller boat and pay a little more for the exclusive experience.
You will also have to decide how long you want to be out on the water and whether or not you want a captain/full crew, or simply a knowledgeable person to steer the ship.
Note: You can find places that will allow you to rent a boat and nothing else, but you should be prepared to leave a hefty deposit just in case something happens to the boat or the equipment on it. I wouldn’t recommend this option unless you are very familiar with the area. Most of the charter captains are out on the water every day, so you simply cannot beat their wealth of knowledge.
Whichever option you choose, make sure that the boat size and rental type matches the kind of fishing you want to do.
It makes absolutely no sense to pay money for a craft that is not congruent with your personal fishing goals.
After you choose the kind of boat you will rent, you will need to decide the type of fishing you want to do.
Local fishing companies offer sunset tours, night fishing expeditions, and of course daytime options.
In addition, you will need to decide whether you want to go fly fishing, light tackle spinning, or deep-sea fishing. If you are really bold, you can even go on a spear fishing tour!
Price Ranges For Fishing Trips
Prices vary from season to season, but I would expect to pay $200-$400 for a half-day charter with a captain and crew.
If you want to go fishing for a full day, I wouldn’t expect to pay less than $500-$600 for the charter.
The price of these charters – whether full-day or half-day – usually include snacks and drinks – even beer.
However, if you are going to be drinking beer all day, please make sure that you stay sufficiently hydrated.
A mixture of sweltering sun, a salty breeze, and the physical exertion that can go into reeling in a rambunctious fish can really dry you out!!!
Tipping The Captain And Crew
For those who are not familiar with charter fishing, the question always arises:
“Should I tip the captain and crew when I go charter fishing? If so, how much?”
Generally speaking, tips are not expected as an automatic addition – even with the more exclusive charters.
This is true in all of Latin America.
However, because these companies consistently work with both Americans and Canadians every day, tips have become almost obligatory.
If you have read my article about tipping in Mexico, then you know that the vast majority of visitors DO tip captains and crews.
Consequently, I would recommend tipping around 15% of the total cost of the charter. This is not a rigid requirement, but simply a suggestion.
If you’re happy with your experience, and you can afford paying $200+ to charter a boat, I’m sure you can afford paying that extra 15% to promise the day has been profitable for all participating parties.
In my opinion, it is simply the right thing to do, and it shows your hosts that you have had a great experience in their country.
Finally, if you are traveling with a female friend (or two), don’t forget that they may not favor fishing.
Remember when you were a child and you always had to take the fish off the hook for the ladies? Well, that’s because most women retain a reputation of not being overly fond of fishing.
Thus, it is probably most prudent if you engage them in an alternative activity – like snorkeling, shopping, or massage – so that they don’t become bothersome on the boat.
Fishing is a fun activity, but is even more breathtaking in the beautiful waters of the Caribbean.
Don’t miss out on this exciting experience.
True to Playa Del Carmen’s original identity, fishing is a fantastic way to experience this city’s original character as a small and subtle fishing village!
I hope to see you here soon!
Lots of love,
We went on a 4 hours fishing/snorkling trip 2 days ago. The trip was bought from one of the several tourist booths on 5th avenue. At first, the price was 250 USD but then we got it negotiated to 190 USD.
The boat was very small and it wasn`t fancy at all but it did its job. There’s room for 4 customers in the boat. The captain and his assistant spoke very bad english but everything went very well. You should keep in mind that’s there no WC in the boat so don’t drink too much beer (drinks are included) Or then you have to go snorkling in the half way and pee in the sea as we did :) While snorkling we saw 2 big stingrays and a turtle. The captaind was snorkling with us and he fed the stingrays with fish baits. On the way back I got a 5 kg barracuda. The captain recommended a local restaurant and preparation costs for the barracuda were 200 pesos. We tipped the crew total 400 pesos.
I strongly recommend the fishing/snorkling trip. The snorkling was amazing and catching a barracuda was the highlight of my vacation!
It sounds like you had a wonderful time fishing here in Playa Del Carmen! That price was really cheap. You mentioned that there were 4 other customers in the boat. This is what is called a “shared” fishing trip. Shared fishing trips are nice, but it’s also great to have the boat all to yourself. Of course, it all depends on whether or not you have the money to spend.
In any case, at least you got to get out on the water and do some fishing here.
Thanks for the tip about there not being a WC (bathroom) on board. It is definitely relevant if you’re going to be drinking a lot of beer (like I probably would be).
Also, Josef, I was happy to hear that you caught some fish. That’s the point of fishing, right? Unfortunately, sometimes you can get “skunked” during a fishing trip. Luckily it’s not too often.
Again, I am glad to hear that you you enjoyed your fishing trip, and I hope to see you back here soon!!!
Rufus, do you have any idea which days of the would be best for going fishing around Playa del Carmen? Would like to go, but don’t want to be fighting with other boats for space. Thanks.
With so much open sea in the area, you will likely not have any problem. I wouldn’t worry about it too much. In addition, this January is a little slower than normal, so that makes it even better.
If you are still concerned, Monday-Wednesday is when I get the least amount of fishing requests.
Hope this helps, and I’ll see you here in Playa Del Carmen soon…