Destination Overview: Playa Junquillal Travel Guide

Tamarindo Advanced Surfing Spots

Playa Junquillal’s surf is absolutely epic – and for experienced surfers, only! (But please don’t swim.) Read all about it in our Playa Junquillal travel guide.

For those who crave long walks at sunset and afternoons lounging in tide pools, ecological Blue Flag-recipient Playa Junquillal is a two-kilometer stretch of white-gray sands and beachfront wilderness – an outdoor paradise where jungle tumbles into sea, tide pools swirl, and boulders crumble into rocky reefs. Here, bluffs reach toward palm trees, the surf churns with seafoam, and the River Nanda Mojo cuts a swath through a 500-acre estuary and natural paradise.

Yes, this is Playa Junquillal – pronounced, hoon-kee-yal– a quiet retreat almost as hard to locate, as it is to pronounce. Located 10 miles south (as the toucan flies) of Tamarindo, this quiet corner of Costa Rica is a testament to the beauty of isolation: nearly deserted beaches, powerful surf swells (experience surfers only!), and molten sunsets that sizzle as they hit the horizon, Junquillal also marks the northern border of important sea turtle nesting beaches, both for olive ridley and leatherback turtles.

Our Playa Junqillal travel guide takes you to and through the best this secluded beach town has to offer.

Playa Junquillal Overview:

Location: North-Pacific Costa Rica, aka The Gold Coast, about 10 miles (16 km) south of Tamarindo

Average Temperature: 75-96º F (23-36º C)

Landscape: Lots of tropical ocean, protected turtle beaches, and dry and wet forest

Closest Airport: Daniel Oduber Quirós International Airport (LIR) – about 80 minutes

Top Activities: Turtle-watching, Surfing, Snorkeling & Scuba Diving, Horseback Riding, and Sports Fishing

Top Attractions: Beaches, Catalina Islands (scuba & snorkeling), Ostional Wildlife Refuge

Great for: Couples & Honeymooners, Anglers, Families & Family Reunions, Destination Weddings, Nature Lovers

We Recommend: For when you crave the quiet but don’t want to stay too far from world-class restaurants, Playa Junquillal is an isolated (yet Tamarindo-adjacent) natural wonderland.

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Property of the Month: Casa Costa Blanca

Casa Costa Blanca beachfront Tamarindo vacation rental-min

Casa Costa Blanca is one of the most prestigious luxury vacation rentals in Tamarindo

Step into another world – into a beachfront paradise, a luxury community, an exotic wonderland. Step into Casa Costa Blanca, one of the most prestigious and spectacular vacation rentals in Tamarindo. In Costa Rica, even!

This seven-bedroomseven-bathroom beachfront villa is equipped with the full menu of luxury amenities (including air conditioning, WiFi and cable television, among others), but what really pulls your spirit is That Ocean. Yes, the wide open Pacific is on full display here – overlooked from every common area, almost every bedroom, and the custom infinity pool and heated Jacuzzi.

And, what is paradise without a full-time housekeeper and groundskeeper? Monday through Saturday, your housekeeper even cooks up a delicious Costa Rican-style breakfast (you provide the ingredients).

It’s the perfect choice for Tamarindo weddings, family reunions, and other groups and celebrations for up to 24 guests. We look forward to welcoming you!

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7 Reasons Why Green Season is the Best Season in Tamarindo

Sport fishing peaks during the Tamarindo green season

Did you know that late Tamarindo green season (September, October, and November) are some of the best months for Tamarindo fishing?

October update! Tamarindo fishing is absolutely booming this month, and we’ve been reeling in mahi mahi, sailfish, tuna, rooster fish, and so much more. The oven is ovening, the grill is smoking, and the ceviche and sushi are super fresh. Nom nom nom…

In other words, we think that Tamarindo green season is the season. Or, at least, a season. A great season, in fact.

Ask any local, and we’ll tell you that the Tamarindo green season gets a bad rap. Yes, it rains. But no, not all the time. Not even every day, depending on the location and the month (and the whims of Mother Nature).

Green season is so named for a reason: In stark contrast to the sun-splashed, oft-parched months of dry season, Costa Rica’s green season (roughly May through November) sees lush landscapes, roaring rivers, well-watered wildlife, and other wonderful benefits, thanks to almost daily showers.

Another thing to know: Tamarindo is located in the province of Guanacaste, the driest province in the country. So, while the rest of the country is drenched, we often see full days of sun – sometimes, for whole weeks after the official start (or before the official end) of green season. And in Tamarindo, prepare for sunny mornings and afternoons, with rains only beginning in the early evening.

In other words, if you’re visiting Costa Rica during the rainy season, choose Tamarindo. You’ll have a better chance of great weather. And even if it does rain, it shouldn’t spoil your vacation. Here’s why. Seven reasons why, in fact!

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Costa Rica Turtle Watching: Ostional Wildlife Refuge

Costa Rica turtle watching at Ostional

Looking for the best Costa Rica turtle watching tour? There’s no better place than Ostional Wildlife Refuge.

When was the last time you visited one of the world’s most important anythings? Welcome to Ostional Wildlife Refuge which, according to the World Wildlife Fund, is “one of the two most important areas in the world for nesting of the olive ridley turtle.” Indeed, this is the place for nearly guaranteed Costa Rica turtle watching. The place in the world, specifically.

Every year, millions of sea turtles lumber onto the beaches of Ostional National Wildlife Refuge. Every year, millions of sea turtles are born on the beaches of Ostional Wildlife Refuge. And every year, thousands of lucky visitors come to these beaches to witness this spectacular event.

And it’s not just that. While olive ridley turtles (Lepidochelys olivacea) are most common at Ostional – up to 150,000 (yes, you read that right!) can come ashore during a single nesting event – leatherback sea turtles (Dermochelys coriacea) and Pacific green turtles (Chelonia mydas agassizii) are also known to nest here.

Alert, alert! As of this post (September 2018), it’s high turtle season and we’re experiencing one of the largest arribadas of the year.

So, who’s ready for some Costa Rica turtle watching?

Ostional Wildlife Refuge At-A-Glance: 

Location: 65 miles south of Tamarindo

Founded: 1982 (declared a protected area) and 1984 (refuge formed)

Maximum Altitude: Sea level

Area: 180 acres; the refuge is part of the greater Tempisque Conservation Area (= tens of thousands of protected acres)

Hours: 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Telephone: 2682-0470

Entrance Fee: $15 adults / $5 children

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Property of the Month: Casa Serena

Casa Serena luxury Tamarindo vacation rental

Casa Serena is – yes, we dare say it – one of the most luxurious vacation rentals in Costa Rica

We’re excited to announce (and launch) our new monthly feature: the Featured Property of the Month – one exceptional vacation rental in Tamarindo every month, each chosen for its beauty, or its perfect location, or its uniqueness, or its recent updates, or for any other standout detail.

One incredible home. Three hundred sixty-five nights it could be yours.

Introducing Casa Serena, a beachfront mansion located within the exclusive community of Hacienda Pinilla. A beachfront labyrinth of lavish interiors and exteriors, where no detail, no comfort, and no luxury is spared.

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Looking for a Major Adrenaline Rush? Don’t Miss this Combo Tamarindo ATV Tour + Canopy Zipline!

Tamarindo ATV tour to secluded beaches

You are here: On the best Tamarindo ATV tour, roaring through dusty backroads, carving out your own secret passage to three of Costa Rica’s most beautiful and secluded beaches. It doesn’t get much better than this!

Imagine this: You’re clinging to the side of a mountain, racing up a country background. The wind’s in your hair and the ocean’s at your back. A cloud of dust billows out behind you, a puff of earth to trace your progress up the bumpy dirt road.

Or this: You’re teetering who-knows-how-high above the jungle floor, your toes curled over the edge of a treetop platform. Behind you, your guide chants, “One, two, three – JUMP!” Suddenly, you’re flying.

Or this: You’re speeding through arid countryside, cutting a swath through scrub and sand. It’s your own secret passage – an off-the-road shortcut to a no-road-access nearly deserted beach.

Welcome to the world’s best adrenaline rush, as only Costa Rica can offer it!

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The Ultimate, Can’t-Miss Checklist for Your Tamarindo Destination Wedding

Tamarindo destination wedding couple-min

Planning a wedding in Costa Rica? Then you can’t miss this ultimate Tamarindo destination wedding checklist.

Are you dreaming of a Tamarindo destination wedding? We are too. Always. Because Costa Rica is both a tropical paradise and a photogenic backdrop – the perfect choice for your jet-set “I dos.”

But, let’s sprinkle a dose of reality into the mix: A destination wedding requires serious planning and firm organizational hand. From long-distance decision-making to the possible language barrier, things can get a little complicated.

Advanced planning and reliable local experts are key. So is our comprehensive Tamarindo destination wedding checklist. Together, we’ll send you sailing off into the sunset. Literally, if you’d like!

Tamarindo Destination Wedding: 12-18+ Months Before

Tamarindo destination wedding at Pangas

Plan a reconnaissance visit to choose the Tamarindo locale perfect for your wedding

☐ Set Your Budget

When it comes to destination wedding planning, the earlier you can set a budget, the better. This is probably the hardest part of your wedding equation, as it depends on destination weddings can incur more expenses than their domestic counterparts: Not only do you have to consider your own airfare and accommodations, but you must also consider whether you will cover your wedding party’s accommodations, group activities, and other destination expenses.

Easy button! If you’re looking for some guidance on budgeting for a Tamarindo destination wedding, please get in touch. We’ve worked with brides and grooms for years, and we have connections with some of the best wedding vendors in Tamarindo and Costa Rica. We can offer tips, provide information, and point you in all the right directions for your budgeting needs.

☐ Draft the Guest List

A guest list is even harder for a destination wedding, given all the related costs you and your guests will assume. (Side note: It’s impossible to set a budget without drafting your guest list.) Not only should you create your guest list well in advance, but you also should send out Save the Dates at least 10 months in advance.

☐ Choose Your Locale

Provided you’ve already settled on a destination wedding in Tamarindo, you may think you have this checkbox under control. Unfortunately, it’s a little more complicated than that: You need to lock in not only your destination, but also your ceremony and reception venues, as well as your guest accommodations and honeymoon locale. Especially if you’re getting married during high or midseason, venues and accommodations book up quickly, often a year or more in advance. Don’t miss out on your perfect Tamarindo wedding venue!

Tip: See our section below on When to Plan Your Tamarindo Destination Wedding, for more information (and the pros and cons) of each wedding season in Costa Rica.

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7 Fun Facts about Costa Rican Independence Day (September 15)

Costa Rican flag

Costa Rica’s flag stands for opportunity, peace, and generosity, among other national traits – all key characteristics celebrated on Costa Rican Independence Day

September 15, otherwise known as Costa Rican Independence Day or el quince de setiembre, is just around the corner. And with it, there will be celebration. There will be marching bands. There will be horns, and whistles, and batons – and a downpour of all things blue, white, and red.

There will be pride. There will be joy. There will be a full day-and-a-half of national fun and ecstatic fun. It’s Costa Rican Independence Day!

  1. Our Independence Was (Relatively) Peaceful

Costa Rica’s penchant for peace dates back much further than 1948, when we abolished our army. In fact, the Spanish Constitution of 1812 declared Costa Rica an autonomous province, but it wasn’t until 1821, after the Mexican War of Independence – in which Costa Rica didn’t fight – that Guatemala and the Central American Congress, via the Act of Independence, officially declared Central America free of Spain.

Fun fact: Though the war ended in September, Costa Rica didn’t learn of its independence until October 1821, when the Independence Act arrived in Cartago. A second fun fact: Due to the nature of Central American independence, Costa Rica shares its September 15 celebrations with Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua.

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5 Ocean-View Tamarindo Vacation Rentals with Air-Conditioning

Tamarindo ocean view

The only thing better than this view is this view with air-conditioning!

What’s the only thing better than an oceanview or oceanfront home in paradise? An air-conditioned oceanview or oceanfront home in paradise! For when you want all the benefits of the tropics without the heat, we’ve rounded up five excellent picks for Tamarindo vacation rentals with air-conditioning. In no particular order:

Casa Tranquila

4 Bedrooms | 4.5 Bathrooms | Tamarindo

Casa Tranquila Tamarindo vacation rentals with air-conditioning-min

Lovely Casa Tranquila is one of Tamarindo’s most exclusive ocean-view Tamarindo vacation rentals with air-conditioning

Located within and surrounded by the breathtaking beauty of Tamarindo Preserve (Costa Rica’s only beachfront gated community), Casa Tranquila is a spectacular luxury vacation rental. Set high on a bluff occupying sweeping Pacific views, this air-conditioned home is a masterpiece of tropical design: Vaulted wood ceilings, stone floors, artisan ceilings, and other details emphasize the home’s sleek modern lines and complementary rustic details.

The star amenity at Casa Tranquila is full, free membership at the exclusive Tamarindo Preserve Beach Club, boasting a beachfront pool, yoga studio, five-star bistro, bar, and gym, plus a beautiful beach safe for swimming.

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Tamarindo Day Trip: Guide to Diria National Park

Howler Monkey

How about a howler monkey welcome to Diria National Park?

Guanacaste is home to eight national parks, each known for their vast habitats, natural beauty, and varied wildlife. You’ve probably heard of many of them: from leatherback turtle beaches at our own Las Baulas National Marine Park to the canals of Palo Verde National Park, Guanacaste is famous for its parks. Except one. One that flies decidedly under the radar.

Welcome to Guanacaste’s best-kept secret. Kick off your flip-flops and get out your hiking shoes. We’re going to Diria National Park!

Here, what was once a protected area is now a national park – an upgrade courtesy of Diria National Park’s varied ecosystems, strong conservation efforts, and entertainment value. That’s right, Diria is not only beautiful but also a fun place to visit: Filled with crystal-clear river waters, a majestic waterfall, interwoven trails, and an abundance of birds, mammals, and other animal species.

Diria National Park Overview: 

Location: 10 miles south of Santa Cruz

Founded: 1991 (became a national park in 2004)

Maximum Altitude: 5,905 feet (1,800 meters) above sea level

Area: 13,410 acres

Hours: 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Telephone: 2686-4968 / 2686-4970

Entrance Fee: $6 adults / $5 children

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