Whether you are traveling alone with your backpack or with your family, Tamarindo offers a wide variety of activities. If you are looking for a very convenient place to rest for a few days, this is the place to come! You'll find everything from hotels of all prices, good restaurants of all kinds, stores and surf schools. Tamarindo is accessible by plane, bus, or you can simply rent a car.
Tamarindo, located in the province of Guanacaste, on the Nicoya Peninsula, is a great place to take a break. It has a large golden beach, a perfect sea for surfing and plenty of restaurants and bars where you can enjoy good local or international food. Here is what you can do in Tamarindo:
1. Go for a surf session
Tamarindo is one of the most famous surf spots in Costa Rica. Whether you're a beginner or an experienced surfer, you'll find what you're looking for here or in the surrounding beaches.
For surfing lessons, you'll find plenty of surf schools on site on the main street (Witch's Rock being one of the best known), just across the street, or even right on the beach where surfboard rental companies set up shop for the day. There are even some free showers, especially at El Vaquero Beach Bar where you can wash off the salt water after your session! Most schools offer group and individual lessons.
For the more experienced, we advise you to go to Playa Grande where the waves are bigger and more regular. You will just have to take a small boat at 1.00 dollar to cross the estuary of Tamarindo to go there. The crossing takes less than 5 minutes and is definitely worth it. Open your eyes wide, you may see a crocodile! Playa Grande is one of the most beautiful beaches of the country !
2. Sailing in Tamarindo
In Tamarindo you will often see sailboats crossing the sea during sunset, making the joy of tourists who want to take the best sunset picture. You can watch it from the beach while sipping your mojito or choose to enjoy it on... a sailboat. Isn't it great?
This is one of the best activities to do with your family or friends. Most sailboats and catamarans offer a meal and/or an open bar. You'll be able to snorkel, and to top it all off, you may even see dolphins, turtles or even whales at the right time of year (yes, you will).
3. Scuba diving
Tired of surfing waves? Why not go underwater? Scuba diving is just a few minutes away from Tamarindo. The starting point is in the Marina Flamingo.
You can get your scuba diving certification or do a discovery dive. You can see white tip reef sharks, manta rays, dolphins and huge schools of fish. If you go in August or September, it is the right season to see humpback whales or turtles! A spectacle not to be missed.
4. Go for a horse ride
One of the must-do's of Costa Rica! Haven't you dreamed of a beautiful horseback ride at sunset on a tropical beach? Well, in Tamarindo, it is possible. A little advice: put on good pants and wear closed shoes. And if you don't want to go back to the hotel full of sunburns, wear a T-shirt and a good hat. With this, you are equipped for a great experience in communion with the animal and the nature.
Sport fishing or fishing for dinner, everything is possible in Tamarindo! The fishing in Tamarindo is excellent almost all year round and you can catch your own dorado or grouper to enjoy with your family or friends! Go to the Flamingo Marina or directly to the village of Tamarindo to make your reservations. If you're not feeling adventurous, you can always go buy your fresh fish from the local fishermen at the end of Tamarindo village. A good way to enjoy fresh fish - we recommend the whole grilled "pargo" (snapper)!
6. Visit the surroundings of Tamarindo
The surrounding beaches are also beautiful! You can take a boat ride across the beautiful Tamarindo estuary through its mangroves to Playa Grande where the Las Baulas Marine Park is located, where giant turtles come to lay their eggs between October and February. As mentioned above, you just have to take the small boat at 1.00 dollar to make the very short crossing and there you are!
You can also bike or walk to the nearby beach, Playa Langosta. And if you have a rental car, you can drive to Flamingo, and enjoy a great meal with your feet up on the sand at the Coco Loco restaurant (don't miss the coconut water cocktail, the Coco Loco, and the seafood and coconut milk rice, the Loco Coco). Also visit Conchal beach with its fine white sand and crystal clear water, or go to playa Avellanas to spend the day and have lunch at the traditional "Lola's" where you will see huge sows roaming freely on the beach.
7. Lounging and sunbathing on the beach!
Tamarindo is also the perfect place to do nothing (yes!), especially if you have spent several days hiking. You can take a nap on the sunbeds and umbrellas rented on the beach for 6.00 dollars. You can read your favorite novel while sipping water from a coconut for $1.50 or buy small shell bracelets for your children. We recommend the "Pan de Azúcar" ice cream that you can find in supermarkets; it is delicious! The most awaited moment of the day, you will have understood it is 5:30 pm when the sun begins to set and that the light is perfect to make magnificent selfies. It's a fabulous show, especially in the dry season, and it's free!
How to get to Tamarindo?
Tamarindo is located on the Nicoya Peninsula. From San José, it takes about 4.5 hours by car. Enjoy the view of the Puente de la Amistad which crosses the Rio Tempisque. Otherwise, you can take a small plane and in less than 50 minutes, you will have your feet in the water. Finally, for the more economical, you can take the Alfaro bus on Avenida 7, Calle 10 in San José.
Where to stay?
There is no lack of hotels in Tamarindo, there are hotels for all tastes and budgets. The great classic is the Tamarindo Diria Hotel, a Beack Resort with a swimming pool on the beach, terrace and casino. Less expensive, you have the small hotel la Laguna del Cocodrilo, which takes its name from the fact that in the beginning, there was indeed a crocodile living in the pond of their garden! Otherwise, much cheaper, you have Selina, a chain of cheap hostels with a younger and cooler atmosphere.
If you don't want to go to a hotel, you can find bed and breakfasts or Airbnb without difficulty. Anyway, it is better to spend at least one or two nights there to do all the activities. You will then go to Samara or Nosara, two other beach, surf, yoga and lazing spots on the same peninsula.