Tamarindo, Costa Rica
More and more these days Tamarindo, Costa Rica is topping the tourist’s list of the must-sees and must-dos in a country with plenty to offer. From elongated beaches over two miles long to surf that just won’t quit, Tamarindo is offers sunny beaches and shady forest all within walking distance.
Tamarindo lies northwest of San Jose by four to five hours, depending on the traffic and weather. Lying in the sparsely populated Guanacaste Province, Tamarindo sits on the Nicoya Peninsula overlooking the Pacific Ocean to the west. Tamarindo is served by plane daily, though you’ll land at the International Airport in Liberia and take a taxi, a bus or drive the rest of the way in. This will take around 45 minutes.
As tourism grows in Costa Rica in Tamarindo specifically, recreational activities become easier to find. What started off as locals offering horse back rides along the beach has ended with major international companies offering everything from sunset sailing tours to forest canopy tours. There’s a plethora of tour outfitters ready to help you with deep sea fishing, kayak fishing, scuba diving, ATV touring, zip lining, cave exploring, mountain biking, rainforest trekking, jungle boat riding and more.
One of the major attractions to Tamarindo is the teeming leatherback turtle, which comes in annually from November to April to lay their eggs safely beneath the incubating sand. A few months later, the hatchlings crawl to the surface and then play follow-the-leader into the ocean. Sightseers to the area can enjoy birding by boat around the mangroves of the Tamarindo Wildlife Refuge with more fauna found in the Marino Las Baulas National Park.
The longest beach with the town’s name is Tamarindo Beach, with Playa Grande north and Playa Langosta south. The Estero Tamarindo splits Tamarindo and Playa Grande, both helping to form the natural bay.
In the hit movie, Endless Summer II (1994), Tamarindo was the first stop for the crew. One of the most consistent breaks for surfing is off Playa Grande, with great left and right peaks. There is surfing all along this coast, but strong currents can make this area dangerous to novices.
There are only two seasons in this part of Costa Rica. The rainy season starts in early May and festers till mid-October. Afternoon rains bring humidity but often dissipate by evening. The rest of the year is dry and inviting, with predictable sun and surf.
There is some place to stay for every traveler and backpacker and surfer who arrives in Tamarindo, Costa Rica. If you’ve got your own transport, it may be wise to stay in an area that has private or guarded parking, as rental car theft and vandalism is on the rise. You can choose to stay in villas, B&Bs, beachside hotels, lodges, cabins, luxury hotels or apartments.