Nothing breaks a monotonous city winter routine as well as a trip to a tropical paradise.If you add the thrill of spearfishing and the company of good friends, there you have the recipe for a perfect holiday.This year Roberto Pusinelli and I chose the Osa peninsula, in Costa Rica, dream destination in the heart of the forest, facing the Pacific Ocean. It truly still is an unspoilt naturalistic paradise, which attracts tourists from all over the world but, fortunately, very few spearfishers yet.

 Costa RicaHere we met with our friend Charlie Slattery (owner of Good Times Charlie Charters) and two more American companions to our adventure, Ian and Brandon. Charlie is our guide – he lives here for six months of the year, he’s an experienced spearfisher, and he has organized our stay with the outmost efficiency.

However, Lady Luck is not looking our way: as soon as we get to San Jose’, the Costa Rican capital, we realize our luggage has been lost, and the internal flight scheduled to take us to our final destination has been cancelled. Those are mishaps even the most meticulous organization could not prevent.

We start realising that the key to our trip’s success would be for us to make the best of a bad situation without ever losing heart. We manage to catch another flight, and, although without our luggage and landed at Drake Bay, we continue to our final destination on an off road vehicle, the only one able to cross the forest and the river bed in this corner of the world so far away from the rest of civilization. The weather turns its back on us too: in mid-January the wet season should be over, but the forest is still battered by torrential rain, so unusual for this time of the year. We finally get to our destination: it’s a true paradise - with a bungalow two steps away from the beach, we are deep in the luxuriant forest - but also extremely basic and without the comforts the average tourist would give for granted: no Wi-Fi, no air conditioning, no hot water…yet again adapting is the order of the day. Roberto and I are certainly not going to be deterred by this, and we worry instead about not having our equipment with us: the first fishing trip is planned for the day after, but our luggage is only due to reach us the day after next. Any freediver and spearfisher knows the importance of having his or her own equipment, which he or she knows and trusts, more so in such extreme conditions as these. Fortunately Charlie, Ian and Brandon have replacement gear, which they kindly lend us so that we can get in the water. We can’t really feel comfortable though, we are finding ourselves in pretty though bathymetrics with strong currents, practically in our swimwear, but the word ‘’adaptation’’ continues to be our mantra. We compensate the lack of technical facilities with experience, without overdoing, and always putting safety first.

Costa Rica spearfishing adventure
Photo credits

The main aim of our fishing trip is to catch a cubera snapper, an incredibly strong predator which, when hit, frequently reacts violently and sometimes hides and, in so doing, damages the fishing gear. At the end of the day Roberto and I manage to take home a couple of beautiful cubera and we are happy with this first trip, but the best news is that our gear has finally arrived and we’ll be able to use it the day after.

spearfishing session Costa Rica
Photo credits ​& Good Time Charlie Charters

With our diving suit, our fins and our spear guns, perfectly prepared by Andrea (DeepBlue Varese) it’s a whole different story…we manage to dive with much more coolness: we can increase our breath-hold time and operational depth as we have full confidence in our equipment, and we can aim at bigger animals in deeper water. The results are evident pretty much straightaway, and both Roberto and I manage to catch two impressive fish, captured between 25 and 28 metres depth.

After a day of well-deserved rest, we start fishing again. Roberto tries to introduce some variety: there aren’t just cubera here, but other snappers as well, greater amberjacks, wahoo and many others. Ian and Brandon too are working hard to increase our haul for the day, whilst Charlie confidently guides us to his fishing spots, provides us with precious insight, and takes incredible pictures.

The fourth and last day of fishing is the hardest yet. The currents are even stronger and frequently take different directions on the surface and in the deep. The visibility is not bad, but we can’t see the ocean bed from the water surface, the chosen spots are all very deep: succeeding in landing exactly where one would like to in these conditions is a very difficult feat indeed! 

Spearfishing session
Good Time Charlie Charters

Despite all adversities Roberto manages to catch a beautiful Amberjack while I stubbornly aim at a huge cubera, estimated weight around 45kg. spotted at great depth. After 5 consecutive dives at around -30m, I finally manage to get myself in the right position to pose a threat, but the cubera has by now understood what’s happening and it’s hiding somewhere in the rocks. Although it isn’t a technique widely used for this type of fishing, I decide to try ambushing my physical condition fortunately allows me to operate in safety, as finding this same spot with a new dive would not be easy at all. After about 40 seconds a big cubera appears, not the giant I had originally chosen but big enough to decide to pull the trigger and re-emerge with a remarkable prey. 


The time to go back to land has now come, with no regrets, but full of desire to return soon to these waters and again make an attempt on the big cubera of Costa Rica. 

See you,


Nicola Manfredi Moving Limits Trainer

Ho scoperto l'apnea per caso, nel 2001, in seguito ad un infortunio che mi ha costretto ad abbandonare le piste da sci alpino. Da allora non sono più riuscito a farne a meno. Pratico questa disciplina ovunque vi sia uno specchio d'acqua: piscine, laghi, mare, oceano. Ho viaggiato in giro per il mondo per praticare la pesca subacquea collaborando con l'associazione Diving For A Cause per promuovere attività umanitarie a sostegno delle comunità locali abbinate ad un concetto di pesca sostenibile e responsabile. Ho partecipato a numerose competizioni agonistiche di apnea, sia indoor che outdoor, più per sfidare me stesso che per ambizione di primeggiare sugli avversari e nel 2015 mi sono laureato campione italiano di apnea in assetto costante senza attrezzi. Ho sempre avuto il desiderio di trasmettere agli altri le mie conoscenze e la mia passione per l'apnea e nel 2016 ho conseguito il brevetto di Istruttore Freediving SSI di secondo livello entrando a far parte del Team Moving Limits.

Diving For a Cause YT Channel

Nicola Manfredi YT Channel

Share this article:

Add new comment