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Top Fishing Charters in Riviera Maya

Fishing in Riviera Maya

Riviera Maya fishing has a prize for every angler. The shallows are packed with Permit, Tarpon, Bonefish, and Snook - otherwise known as an Inshore Super Grand Slam. Head out on a deep sea charter, and your line snap tight with Blue and White Marlin, Sailfish, Wahoo, Mahi Mahi, and Blackfin Tuna. This is hall of fame territory, and Riviera Maya fishing charters have guided more than one angler into the IGFA’s record books.

Where to Fish

Mexico’s Riviera Maya is a land of ancient ruins, beautiful beaches, and warm waters full of huge fish. The further south you go, the less developed the area becomes. At its northern tip, the Riviera Maya is five-star hotels and pools on the beach. Head south past Cozumel Island and modern cityscapes give way to ancient citadels. You’ll catch incredible fish wherever you go, but your trip will be very different depending on which town you choose.

Cancun - Picture Perfect

Cancun is one of the most popular destinations in Mexico and it’s easy to see why. The Zona Hotelera stretches along the beachfront like a wall made entirely of good vibes and money. The beach has “wish you were here” written all over it. Step away from beach break central and out onto the ocean, though, and you could be in for the fight of your life.
 

Flats Fishing

Cancun’s inshore fishing focuses around spots like Isla Mujeres and Isla Blanca. Both these areas hold Bonefish, Tarpon, Permit, and Snook, and are just a couple of miles from town. Isla Blanca Lagoon is a particular favorite of Riviera Maya fly fishing enthusiasts, with 12 miles of grass and sand covered by a few inches of water.
 

Deep Sea Fishing

Cancun’s deep sea action is, if anything, even better than the flats. Blue Marlin, White Marlin, and Sailfish can be caught here for almost half the year. Even when they’re not in town, Wahoo, Mahi Mahi, and Blackfin Tuna will keep you busy. The best big game battles happen 20+ miles out, so book a full day offshore and get ready to catch that fish of your dreams.

Playa Del Carmen - On the Edge of the Abyss

Playa Del Carmen is heaven for deep sea anglers. Why, you ask? Because it has Marlin-deep waters less than two miles from shore. Ocean trenches score the seafloor off Playa Del Carmen, channeling monster pelagics well within sight of land. If you’re set on shallow water, you can head over to Cozumel’s flats. But with the world’s second largest reef and some of the country’s best billfishing right on your doorstep, why bother?
 

Flats Fishing

No, it’s not what Playa Del Carmen is known for. But if you head five or ten miles to Cozumel’s northern flats you can find basically every important shallow-water game fish. Boy, do we love this part of the world!
 

Reef Fishing

The Mesoamerican Barrier Reef stretches for 600 miles along Central America’s coastline, so it’s hardly unique to Playa Del Carmen. The great thing about fishing here is that it’s all so close. Spend a few hours bottom fishing for Snapper, Grouper, Amberjack, and Hogfish. As soon as you get bored, you can switch to bluewater fishing while barely moving the boat.
 

Deep Sea Fishing

If you want to catch a Marlin but don’t want to spend more than four hours doing it, then you’re pretty difficult to please. Luckily, Playa Del Carmen can offer you just what you’re after - serious big game hookups without the long trip times. Dare to stay out all day, and you could be in with a serious chance of landing a Billfish Grand Slam, with Blue and White Marlin and Sailfish around for much of the year.

Cozumel - All the Fish, All the Time

The island of Cozumel is harder to get to than towns on the mainland, but once you’re there, you don’t need to go far. Cozumel’s flats are within walking distance of town and the Mesoamerican Reef surrounds the entire island. Add in Playa Del Carmen’s famous deep seas and you can hit three different environments over the course of one day.
 

Flats Fishing

Cozumel’s lagoons hold every species you could think to ask for. Permit, Snook, Tarpon, Bonefish, Mangrove Snappers, Jacks - you name it, they’re here. They start just a mile from town and cover the entire northern shore of the island, so you won’t struggle to find good fishing.
 

Reef Fishing

Go a mile out in any direction and you hit vibrant coral reef. Here you have Cubera Snapper, several species of Grouper, Hogfish, Triggerfish, and bite after bite of big, toothy Barracuda.
 

Deep Sea Fishing

What can we say? It’s just so, so good. Blue and White Marlin, Sailfish, Mahi Mahi, Wahoo, and a few Tuna to round it all off. Most of the fishing grounds are right next to town but you can drop right off the edge of the continent if you’re up for the long haul east.

Tulum - The Lost City

Hidden away at the southern tip of the Riviera Maya, Tulum is the forgotten stop on Mexico’s tourist train. This was once one of the most important towns in Mexico, though. The towering ruins of Tulum’s Mayan citadel stand testament to its former glory. Tulum also has really good flats fishing without a bunch of people spooking the fish.
 

Flats Fishing

You have all the same species with fewer people trying to catch them. Bonefish, Tarpon, Snook, Permit, Jacks, and Barracuda can be caught in the local Lagoons. Ascension Bay has some of the best shore fishing Riviera Maya can offer, as well as some local specialists just dying to show it off.
 

Reef Fishing

Tulum’s offshore fishing scene is still being developed, but the reefs here are too good to miss. Again, lower fishing pressure means awesome catches, with Snapper, Grouper, Triggerfish, and Hogfish in large numbers.

Fishing Seasons

The Riviera Maya fishing calendar is busiest in spring and summer. The season runs later the further north you go. In Cancun, Billfish hit their peak in June and July, while down near Cozumel and Playa del Carmen the action can start as early as April. If you want, you can chase the fish north for a good half a year.
 
Most inshore species are at their best in the summer, too. Snook are the exception and peak in early winter, but they’re present year-round in most places. The reefs are busiest late fall through early spring, but even in the heat of summer you’ll find plenty of tasty table fare.
 
The thing that makes the Riviera Maya so special is that there’s never a bad time to go. They say you can catch a Billfish every day of the year around Playa Del Carmen. Most of the Marlin in the whole Gulf of Mexico pass Cancun at one point or another. Throw in a revolving door of Tunas, Wahoo, Mahi, and Sharks, and you may as well just move here for good!

Where should I go?

Every town mentioned here and many more besides, that’s where. Did you think we’d make this easy? The truth is that every town offers something different. Cancun is the biggest and has the most going on off the water. Playa Del Carmen and Cozumel are much smaller, but arguably have better fishing. Tulum is more limited, with less deep sea fishing and fewer charters. But it also has much fewer tourists and an incredible Mayan heritage. We can’t tell you which place to visit, but we can promise you won’t regret it wherever you go.
 
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Riviera Maya Fishing Seasons

Kick off the year with some rod-breaking action against huge bottom fish at the Playa del Carmen Deep Jigging Tournament. Because who said reef fish are just good for eating?

The Isla Mujeres Island Time Fishing Tournament offers excellent bluewater action targeting Sailfish, Mahi Mahi, Wahoo, Tuna, and King Mackerel in February.

People have gathered at Chichen Itza temple for centuries to watch the spring equinox. If you don't fancy long journeys, Cancun's Food and Wine Festival has great local specialities for you to enjoy.

The Riviera Maya Film Festival offers screenings of the world's best productions, with cinemas set up in Playa del Carmen and Puerto Morelos. The first Marlin will be showing up there, too.

Ascension Bay Permit Tournament offers inshore action for a good cause while  Cozumel's Rodeo de Lanchas Mexicanas (Rodeo of Mexican Boats) provides serious big game battles.

The billfishing season is at its best in June, with Blue and White Marlin and monster Sailfish offshore. Inshore, you've got all your favorite fly fishing species - Permit, Tarpon, Snook, and Bonefish!

July is peak tourist season... for fish! Us humans tend to go in the winter, though, so you can score some serious deals and serious catches if you head there this time of year.

If you can take the heat, the shallows are swarming with top game fish in August. FIsh your way to an Inshore Super Grand Slam then go for a swim to cool off and celebrate!

Mexican Independence Day is celebrated in style each September. Every town is alive with song and dance, as people remember the efforts of great Mexican revolutionaries. Viva Mexico!

Want to witness one of the ocean's most precious events? Tulum's turtle festival is a must-visit activity for nature lovers. See baby turtles make their way into the ocean, and even help them on their way!

Riviera Maya Jazz Festival draws major names from across the world to Playa Del Carmen. November also marks Mexico's Dia De Los Muertos (day of the dead) a unique and unmissable event.

Across the Yucatan Peninsula, people get ready for Christmas with processions, prayer, and solemn reflection. Meanwhile, you can be out fishing for huge Snook, Tuna, and King Mackerel!

Riviera Maya Fishing Calendar

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What People Are Saying About Riviera Maya

"Six hour trip with captain Abraham "

Dave Yuhas fished with Twin Hooks—Galileo on November 6, 2018

Find good captain and crew. Plan on spending money and time so that you can make the memories you want

"Half day trip with Captain Abraham"

David Johnson fished with Fast Action Fishing on October 5, 2018

Use the Fast Action guys. They are knowledgeable and fun to be around.

"Great day with Abraham and his crew"

Sam Treadway fished with Twin Hooks—Galileo on October 3, 2018

The big game isn't around but still fun and a great day

"Half day trip with Misael, Oscar and Tito "

Samara Favela fished with Aquaworld Fishing Cancun - Sea Hunter 1 on September 11, 2018

Take Dramamine for sure and make sure you go with the best crew !! Misael, Oscar, and Tito!!! Best experience from my trip to Cancun

Top Fishing Techniques in Riviera Maya

  1. Deep Sea Fishing

Top Targeted Species in Riviera Maya

Barracuda (Great)

Dolphin (Mahi Mahi)

Sailfish

Wahoo

Top Riviera Maya Destinations