From simple beginnings as a quiet fishing village Tamarindo, Costa Rica has developed into one of the most popular destinations in the Guanacaste province. This town supports a beautiful beach, a range of accommodations, and a number of restaurants. The main boulevard includes various boutiques and art galleries.
Experience Tamarindo Beach.
Tamarindo Beach is a long beach with great waves. The currents here can be strong so watch the posted advisories when swimming, but much of Tamarindo Beach is perfect for those just learning how to surf. The vibe of Tamarindo is best described as “Party and Play.” Great swimming, surf, fishing, and water sports during the day, buzzing nightlife come sunset. Because of its central location, tourists often base themselves here and explore Guanacaste over a number of days. Younger crowds enjoy the local bars and discotheques. Situated only 1 hour away from Liberia airport, we recommend renting a car and exploring these well-maintained roads at your leisure.
Visit Neighboring Tamarindo Beaches.
The different beaches in the area offer a variety of activities for those who want to spend their time in the sand and the sun. Langosta Beach, just south of Tamarindo, is known for its white sand, relaxed atmosphere, and the absence of development. This beach can feel totally secluded at times, with beautiful sunsets and fascinating tidal pools – a popular beach for families! Other popular beaches in the area include Coconut Beach and Hermosa Beach. Avellana Beach, a 30-minute drive south of Tamarindo, is a good surfing beach.
Related Article: Best Beaches in Costa Rica
Las Baulas National Marine Park – Turtle Nesting
Las Baulas National Marine Park encompasses about 1,100 acres of beach and coast and over 54,400 maritime acres. It is named for the leatherback sea turtles (baulas) that return to lay their eggs each year at Grande Beach. Just 30 minutes north of Tamarindo Beach, Grande Beach is a quieter beach known for the Leatherback Sea Turtles that come to lay their eggs. Between November and April, the largest of all living sea turtles dig meter-deep pits and bury their eggs before returning to the sea. These giants (they can get to be 8 feet long and weigh over 1000 pounds!) can be observed at night as they visit the beach.
Related Article: Best Sea Turtle Nesting Sites: Where To Go When
Surfing in Tamarindo
Without a doubt, there’s one thing that seems to have the greatest draw for this boomtown – surfing. The breaks in the area are some of the best in the world, as evidenced by the several international surfing competitions held here every year. The beautiful beaches are popular thanks to the consistency of the waves, and the town is a perfect jumping-off location for beach and point breaks along the coast. The calmest water for swimming can be found on the southern end of the beach while the water just off the busiest part of town is best for surfing. The nearby river mouth offers breaks that are perfect for the more experienced.
Related Article: Best Costa Rica Surf Spots
Tamarindo Estuary Kayaking or Boat Ride
Just north of Tamarindo, between Playa Tamarindo and Playa Grande, is a maze of estuary waterways. Explore this fascinating ecosystem by kayak with a professional guide, who can point out the unique species that live here. Look for crocodiles sunbathing on the river bank and a variety of wading bird species.
Related Article: Top Jungle Tours in Costa Rica
Sailing and Snorkeling Las Catalinas
Sailing and snorkeling tours are typically offered as a duo with the option to go in the morning or for sunset. A guide will drop you off at one or two (weather dependent) prime snorkel spots and point out the best spots to see fish and other underwater wonders!
Related Article: 10 Best Costa Rica Diving and Snorkeling Spots
Marlin and Sailfish are some of the highlights of Tamarindo sportfishing. Five-hour half-day and 7-hour full day fishing charters are available. The half-day tour is generally best for inshore fishing, where anglers might reel in Roosterfish, Snapper, and Amberjack. Fishing in Tamarindo is generally great all year, but Billfish are most abundant mid-April to August.
Related Article: Best Places for Sportfishing in Costa Rica
More Things to Do in Tamarindo
- Access to Witches Rock
- Great Restaurants
Surfing & Other Water ActivitiesSurfing is one of the best activities in Tamarindo, with surf lessons for beginners and board rentals for experienced wave riders. The waves along Tamarindo can range from small to intermediate, depending on wind conditions. Witch’s Rock is a famous spot for seasoned surf veterans. Riders head out onto the water and drop into the lineup from the boat at Witch’s Rock.Snorkeling is best at nearby Catalina Island. Certified divers can SCUBA at Catalina Island, too.Half-day and Full-day sportfishing tours are also a highlight of Tamarindo.
Beach days (and nights)Some Tamarindo visitors end up spending their days lying on the beach or near the pool. That’s what vacation is all about, right? Walk along Tamarindo beach and you’ll see vendors selling fruit and ice cream, massages, surf lessons, handmade, jewelry, and other typical beach town fare.
It would be hard to mention Tamarindo without mentioning its party reputation. Given that its one of the most popular tourist destinations in Costa Rica, you’re bound to notice a vibrant nighttime setting with music, dancing, and drinks. While Tamarindo’s “nightlife” doesn’t come anywhere close to Ibiza or Vegas, you can still expect to find a bit of a party if you’re in the mood.
Approximate driving times from Arenal to popular Costa Rica destinations:
- Liberia: 1 hour
- Papagayo: 1 hour
- Bagaces/Upala: 2 hours
- Other Guanacaste Beaches: 15-30 minutes
- Nosara/Punta Islita: 1.5 hours
- Monteverde: 3 hours
- Arenal: 3 – 3.5 hours